Steer Performance and Productivity of ‘Kenhy’ Fescue and Persistence of Fescues in the Central Appalachians1
- J. C. Burns and
- R. W. Harvey2
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), intermediate white clover (Trifolium repens L.), and orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) are the main hill land pasture (HP) species in the Applachian Mountains region, but frequently are semidormant during midsummer, which results in reduced animal gains. ‘Kenny‘ fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) has characteristics that may permit greater productivity than HP at the higher elevations (920 m). This study compared steer (Bos taurus) daily gain and yield of total digestible nutrients (TDN) from Kenhy fescue and HP in summer and early fall of 1975 and 1976. The grazing trial, on a fine loamy, micaceous, mesic Typic Hapludult (Watauga silt loam), was discontinued after the second year. Invasion of Kenhy by Kentucky bluegrass and white clover reduced Kenhy stands from 97% in 1975 to 72% in 1977 and to 17% by 1978. From July through fall, steers grazing Kenhy gained less (0.34 vs. 0.59 kg day−1 than steers grazing HP (P ≤ 0.09), but in the dry summer (1976) Kenhy was more productive (1300 kg TDN ha−1 vs. 1030). A subsequent 5-yr small-plot study verified stand changes noted in the grazing trial. Kenhy and ‘Kentucky 31’ fescue (K-31), receiving two or four N applications of 56 kg ha−1 each year were equally invaded by HP grass species. Kentucky bluegrass appeared in the fescue sods by the third year (12% for Kenhy and 6% for K-31) and all treatments were less than 55% fescue by the fifth year. Productivity of Kenhy was less sensitive to summer stress than that of HP in the Central Applachian region, but neither Kenhy nor K-31 were competitive with HP species at this elevation.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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