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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 3, p. 394-396
    Received: Oct 5, 1973

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Establishment of Tall Fescue and Koleagrass with Rye as a Companion Forage Crop1

  1. C. S. Hoveland and
  2. R. F. McCormick Jr.2



Autumn-planted tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) in the lower southeastern United States results in low establishment-year forage production. Rye (Secale cereale L.) as a companion crop should improve winter forage yield but may be harmful to stands of the perennial grasses. To study this problem, ‘Kentucky 31’ tall fescue and ‘Perla’ koleagrass (Phalaris aquatica L., previously classified as P. tuberosa var. hirtiglumis Batt, and Trab.) were planted on a new area each year for 3 years, both alone and in association with ‘Wren's Abruzzi’ rye.

Rye, planted with tall fescue or kolea, increased total establishment-year forage yield (October to May) nearly 150% over that of the perennial grasses seeded alone. Autumn and winter (October to mid-March) production of the rye-perennial grass mixtures were 500% greater than the perennial grasses planted alone. Second-year stands of tall fescue were unaffected and kolea was reduced by seeding with rye the previous year. Second-year forage yields (August to July) were reduced 25% on tall fescue and 62% on kolea when established with rye. However, most of the tall fescue yield reduction occurred during August and September when forage quality was low. Broadcast and row plantings gave similar results with both perennial species.

It was concluded that rye could be planted with tall fescue to increase establishment-year forage yields and still result in good tall fescue stands. Establishment of koleagrass with rye was unsatisfactory.

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