Production, Digestibility, and Perloline Content of Fescue Stockpiled and Harvested at Different Seasons1
- Henry A. Fribourg and
- Richard W. Loveland2
The management of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) to utilize spring, summer, or early fall production in summer, fall, or early winter, could help harmonize livestock pasture requirements with available forage supply. Such utilization must be accomplished without appreciable loss of quality. The effects of several stockpiling schemes (spring, summer, late summer, fall, and spring + fall) on tall fescue dry matter yield, in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM), and perloline and total N contents were investigated over a 3-year period. Nitrogen at the rate of 50 kg/ha was applied in March and September each year. Yield or composition of stockpiled material was not different when fescue was removed gradually or as a single hay cut, and the year × treatment interaction was not significant. Stockpiling did not affect production at other times of the year. Stockpiling made 3,700, 1,300, 650 and 1,000 kg/ha more dry matter available than continuous clipping in summer, early fall, late fall, and winter from spring, early summer, late summer, and fall stockpiling, respectively. Total N content of stockpiled herbage sometimes was lower than the National Research Council's requirement for a lactating beef cow and, occasionally, for a dry beef cow. Herbage stockpiled in spring, in early summer, and in late summer, had 45, 49, and 59% IVDDM, respectively. Fall-stockpiled herbage had IVDDM in excess of 60%. The perloline content of stockpiled fescue was low <0.16 mg/g), but summer regrowth after stockpiling removal had a relatively large alkaloid content (0.46 mg/g). Although the largest yields of stockpiled forage resulted from spring accumulations, the quality was low. Lowest quality was measured in forage accumulated in summer. Stockpiling in late summer or early fall produced sufficient material to extend the grazing season several weeks into winter.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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