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Lydia Cranston

Doctor of Philosophy, (Plant Science)
Study Completed: 2014
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata); physiological and morphological responses to water stress, defoliation, and grazing preference with implications for the management of the Herb and Legume Mix

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Farmers are increasingly using herb and legume mixes pasture (containing chicory, plantain, red clover, and white clover) to improve animal performance compared to traditional grass and clover based pasture. Mrs Cranston conducted field and glasshouse studies to investigate the effect of drought, defoliation management, and grazing preference on a herb and legume mix. She reported that: i) lax grazing to 8 cm with sheep supports the maintenance of all four species in the mix better than hard grazing to 4 cm; ii) chicory and plantain have different strategies for coping with moisture stress, with the larger taproot of chicory providing an advantage under field conditions; iii) ewe lamb grazing preference varied between seasons and was affected by species availability, vertical access, and palatability. Her results can be used by farmers and advisors to define optimum grazing management criteria for the herb and legume mix.

Professor Paul Kenyon
Professor Stephen Morris
Professor Peter Kemp