INITIAL HEIGHT AND DEFERMENT PERIOD ON SIGNALGRASS PASTURES
Abstract This study aimed to evaluate the initial heights (10, 20, and 30 cm) and deferment periods (171, 141, and 109 days in 2010; and 131, 100, and 71 days in 2011) of Urochloa decumbens cv. Basilisk (signal grass). The factors were arranged in split plot, in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Pastures deferred for a short period had lower masses of forage (5,977 and 6,904 kg/ha of DM in 2010 and 2011, respectively). In 2010, pastures deferred for a short period had lower mass of live stem (942 kg/ha of DM), dead leaf blade (785 kg/ha of DM), and dead stem (1282 kg/ha of DM), higher number of vegetative tillers (797 tillers/m²), fewer reproductive tillers (2 tillers/m²), less falling index (1.4), higher mass of live leaf blade (655 kg/ha of DM). The higher pastures had fewer vegetative tillers (495 and 431 tillers/m² in 2010 and 2011, respectively), larger masses of forage (5,285 and 5,942 kg/ha of DM in 2010 and 2011, respectively), dead leaf blade (968 kg kg/ha of DM in 2010) and dead stem (1,902 kg/ha of DM in 2010). Based on the results obtained in the two years, for use in July, the signal grass can be deferred for 71-109 days with an initial height of 20 to 30 cm. The initial height of 10 cm is recommended when a deferral period above 130 days is adopted.