Plant Growth And Development

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Check us out at Growth is the process by which a plant increases in the number and size of leaves and stems. The result of plant growth is forage production and the amount harvested by animal or machine is forage yield. The growth of both plants and animals requires energy. Animals get their energy by digesting the plants they eat. Plants get their energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process where the green pigment in the plant's leaf (chlorophyll) absorbs energy from sunlight and, using this energy, water, and carbon dioxide, produces oxygen and simple sugars. The plant then uses these sugars to make more complex sugars and starches for storage as energy reserves, to make cellulose and hemicellulose for cell walls or with nitrogen, to make proteins. How the plant uses its energy depends on the developmental stage of the plant and on environmental conditions. When leaves are removed from a grass or clover plant, new leaves develop and grow from buds on the crown or stems of the plant. This growth requires energy which comes from reserve carbohydrates (sugars and starches) or from actively photosynthesizing leaves remaining on the plant. Most closely harvested plants have a predictable plant growth-energy reserve cycle (Figure 1). Manipulating this cycle is a useful tool in managing forages. Let us look at orchardgrass as an example. When the leaves of an orchardgrass plant are harvested, new leaves will start to grow. If ...


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