Some factors influencing landholder opinion of the native grass Microlaena stipoides

Catherine Allan, R.D.B Whalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microlaena stipoides is widespread in the higher rainfall areas of Australia. It is consistently reported in the literature as providing high quality forage, yet anecdotal evidence suggests a wide range of opinions about the value of M. stipoides among graziers who manage areas with abundant M. stipoides. This paper addresses three questions relating to this divergence of opinion. Are landholders responding to inherent variability within M. stipoides? Is M. stipoides responding to different site and management conditions, prompting landholders to value it preferentially where site or management suit? Or are the landholders' judgments of M. stipoides influenced less by the actual performance of the grass on their properties than by social factors? Data collected from ten properties in the Victorian Upper Murray included a morphological assessment of M. stipoides samples, quantitative site and pasture information and qualitative data from interviews with property managers. Ecotypic variation and responses to site and management variables were found, but there were no apparent relationships between these parameters and the value judgments made by the landholders. The only physical factor which appeared to have any influence on landholder opinion was the annual rainfall for their property, although this was not through direct impact on other site attributes. It seems that social rather than physical factors may need to be explored in order to understand the factors influencing landholder opinion of M. stipoides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-189
Number of pages12
JournalRangeland Journal
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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