Austrian farmers cast major doubts on a successful implementation of a continuous grazing system on short swards due to the assumption it may cause high ecological and mechanical stress on grassland. Productivity, forage quality and botanical composition of a continuous grazing system have therefore been investigated for a period of six years on a mountainous site in Central Austria. Growth rate, digestibility of organic matter, energy concentration and content of crude nutrients were analysed, as well as the botanical development of the swards. Even under unfavourable climatic conditions, in mountainous areas continuous grazing on short swards resulted in high yields and excellent forage quality without any negative botanical impact on the grassland ecosystem during the observation period. The results suggest that this grazing system can be recommended for practice in Austria.
Pötsch, E.M., Resch, R., Häusler, J. and Steinwidder, A. (2010): Productivity and floristic diversity of a continuous grazing system on short swards in mountainous regions of Austria. 23rd EGF General Meeting “Grassland in a Changing World”, Kiel, Germany, Grassland Science in Europe, 15, 29. August - 2. September 2010, 988-990.