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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Seasonal Growth Rate Patterns fo Orchardgrass and Tall Fescue on the Appalachian Plateau


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 82 No. 5, p. 869-873
    Received: July 10, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. R. Ford Denison  and
  2. H. Douglas Perry
  1. USDA-ARS, Appalachian Soil and Water Conserv. Res. Lab., Box 867, Beckley, WV 25802.



Information about the seasonal distribution of forage growth rates and variability among years is needed to design improved grazing systems for the Appalachian Plateau. Growth rate and the influence of weather may depend on regrowth stage. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to develop a method to give separate seasonal growth rate curves for plots in the 1st and 3rd wk of regrowth, and to derive such curves for the Appalachian Plateau. The new method, which required 12 harvest schedules (identical except for starting date), was applied to orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) and tall fescue (Festuca urundinaceu Schreb.) growing on a Gilpin silt loam (Typic Hapludult) near Beckley, WV, in 1986 through 1988. Growth rates were highest in spring each year, especially for plots in the 3rd wk of regrowth. Growth rates of plots in the 1st wk of regrowth showed a clear summer slump only in 1987 (during a prolonged drought). For plots in the 3rd wk of regrowth, periods of very low growth rate (apparently due to drought) occurred in both 1987 and 1988, but timing differed by approximately 4 wk between years. Growth rates in fall were generally less than or equal to summer growth rates, except in comparison to drought periods. Grazing strategies based on the expectation of higher growth rates in fall are unlikely to succeed on the Appalachian Plateau.

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