Yield and Composition of Tall Fescue Stockpiled for Different Periods1
- Henry A. Fribourg and
- Kenneth W. Bell2
Stockpiling of late summer and early autumn growth can provide forage for grazing during late autumn and early winter when small amounts of forage are produced in the U.S. humid mesothermal regions. Three experiments were conducted on Typic Paleudult, Typic Paleudalf, and Typic Hapludult soils to quantify the amount and composition of tall fescue [Festuca arundinacea (L.) Schreb.] forage stockpiled in summer and/or autumn following frequent clipping prior to stockpiling. These forage yields were compared to the regrowth after stockpiled forage removal and to continuously clipped fescue. Treatments consisted of combinations of date of stockpiling initiation and duration of stockpiling. Stockpiling started in July or August resulted in accumulations of 1.0 to 1.4 Mg ha−1 dry matter (DM) the 1st month, and an additional 1.1 to 1.5 Mg ha−1 the 2nd month. When July stockpiling was extended into September, a further 1.4 Mg ha−1 DM was accumulated. Stockpiling summer growth for grazing in October, November, and December resulted in a small loss of accumulated DM, and large losses occurred when harvest was delayed until January. Crude protein (CP) concentrations for stockpiled forage generally decreased from 80 to 150 g kg−1 of DM at the start of stockpiling to 20 to 90 in winter. Concentrations of aciddetergent fiber (300 to 340 g kg−1 of DM) and neutral-detergent fiber (620 to 710 g kg−1) did not vary with duration of stockpiling. Concentrations of K were 0.6 to 0.9 mol kg−1 at the start of stockpiling and decreased linearly to 0.15 to 0.30 in winter; P decreased from 0.09 to 0.12 mol kg−1 in summer and early fall to 0.035 to 0.06 in October and later. Stockpiling autumn growth resulted in accumulation of only 1.3 Mg ha−1 DM of relatively high quality forage through December. These data indicate that stockpiling fescue is a viable option in areas receiving 1000 to 1200 mm annual precipitation. Start of forage accumulation may begin as early as the beginning of summer, or may be delayed to late summer or early autumn. Losses of DM and nutrients may be substantial in January or later.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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