Maximizing Production Potential of Tall Fescue1
- Earl Kroth,
- Richard Mattas,
- Louis Meinke and
- Arthur Matches2
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is grown primarily for forage on over 162,000 ha in Missouri. Fescue is managed for spring and summer pasture and for both seed and fall forage production. Spring and fall growth is often stockpiled for late fall and winter feed. This study was conducted to determine the effects of rate and time of N applications and forage management on seed yield, and on quality and yield of forage.
Plots were layed out on established stands of tall fescue on Gerald, Lebanon and Edina silt loams (Umbric Fragiudalf, Typic Fragiudalf, fine mixed mesic; Typic Argialboll, fine montmorillonite, mesic, respectively.) Nitrogen rates on Gerald and Lebanon soils (Southwest Missouri) were 0, 33, 67, 101, and 134 kg/ha in different time combinations, including December, March, June, and August. Forage management included: (a) removal after seed harvest and again in December, (b) stockpile after seed harvest, harvest in December. Nitrogen rates on Edina silt loam (North Missouri) were 0, 67, and 134 kg/ha in different time combinations, including December, March, July, and August. In addition to the two management systems listed above, forage was round baled at the early head stage and harvested again in December. Effects of treatments were evaluated by seed yield and yield, crude protein, and IVDMD of the forage.
Nitrogen for seed production was more efficient when applied in December, while March was a better time to apply N for forage production. One-hundred-one kg/ha was the optimum rate for both purposes. Severe lodging was caused by 134 kg/ha N at both locations. Failure to remove plant residue after seed harvest reduced seed yields the following year from 42 to 45%. These residues average 7.0% crude protein and 52% IVDMD. Forage round baled in the early head averaged 10.9% crude protein and 52% IVDMD. August was the best time to apply N for fall forage production and 101 kg/ha was the optimum rate.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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