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Article

The Potential of Deep Roots to Mitigate Impacts of Heatwaves and Declining Rainfall on Pastures in Southeast Australia

Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dominik Schmidt
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1641; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081641
Received: 29 June 2021 / Revised: 5 August 2021 / Accepted: 7 August 2021 / Published: 10 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling Impacts of Changing Environmental Conditions on Plant Growth)
Declines in growing-season rainfall and increases in the frequency of heatwaves in southern Australia necessitate effective adaptation. The Sustainable Grazing Systems Pasture Model (SGS) was used to model the growth of three pasture species differing in root depth and root distribution under three different climate scenarios at two sites. The modelled metabolisable energy intake (in MJ) was used in a partial discounted net cash flow budget. Both the biophysical and economic modelling suggest that deep roots were advantageous in all climate scenarios at the long growing season site but provided no to little advantage at the short growing season site, likely due to the deep-rooted species drying out the soil profile earlier. In scenarios including climate change, the DM production of the deep-rooted species at the long growing season site averaged 386 kg/ha/year more than the more shallow-rooted species, while at the site with a shorter growing season it averaged 205 kg/ha/year less than the shallower-rooted species. The timing of the extra growth and pasture persistence strongly influenced the extent of the benefit. At the short growing season site other adaptation options such as summer dormancy will likely be necessary. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat stress; drought; climate impacts; pasture systems; adaptation heat stress; drought; climate impacts; pasture systems; adaptation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Meyer, R.; Sinnett, A.; Perera, R.; Cullen, B.; Malcolm, B.; Eckard, R.J. The Potential of Deep Roots to Mitigate Impacts of Heatwaves and Declining Rainfall on Pastures in Southeast Australia. Plants 2021, 10, 1641. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081641

AMA Style

Meyer R, Sinnett A, Perera R, Cullen B, Malcolm B, Eckard RJ. The Potential of Deep Roots to Mitigate Impacts of Heatwaves and Declining Rainfall on Pastures in Southeast Australia. Plants. 2021; 10(8):1641. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081641

Chicago/Turabian Style

Meyer, Rachelle, Alexandria Sinnett, Ruchika Perera, Brendan Cullen, Bill Malcolm, and Richard J. Eckard 2021. "The Potential of Deep Roots to Mitigate Impacts of Heatwaves and Declining Rainfall on Pastures in Southeast Australia" Plants 10, no. 8: 1641. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081641

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