Location: Forage and Range Research
2011 Annual Report
During FY-2011: The work outlined in the Statement of Work (SOW) was initiated. It was discovered that legumes had died out of previously established pastures. These tall fescue-legume (alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil) pastures were re-established in 2011. However, existing pastures were utilized to collect a second year’s data on livestock intake and gains, fatty acid profiles, ruminal pH and ammonia, and forage production and quality comparing tall fescue with and without N-fertilizer and feedlot treatments. Preliminary results were presented at the Annual Meeting of Western Section, American Society of Animal Science in June 2011, and at the Joint Annual Meeting of ADSA-ASAS in July 2011, and indicated that applying N fertilizer to tall fescue did not influence growth performance or carcass characteristics.
Additional research initiated during FY2011 included installation of lysimeters during the re-establishment of the tall fescue-legume pastures, which were used to determine the initial nitrogen in the leachate. These pastures will be grazed next year. Small plots of binary mixtures of five grasses (orchardgrass, tall fescue, meadow brome, timothy, and perennial ryegrass) and three legumes (alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, and cicer milkvetch) were established and data collection was begun. Ratios in the mixtures included 0, 25, 50, and 75% legume composition. Samples from these plots were used to initiate development of an NIRS equation that can determine composition of legume in mixture plots. In breeding work, two studies were initiated to determine phenotypic and genetic compatibility of tall fescue and orchardgrass with alfalfa. In addition, alfalfa breeding lines were evaluated to determine the physiological and genetic controls of salt tolerance by quantifying the amount of salt-related elements accumulated in shoots and leaves when irrigated with saline water.
Monitoring Methods: The ADODR monitored this research via email, phone calls, personal meetings with the cooperator, and site visits to the field.