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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: REDESIGNING FORAGE GERMPLASM AND PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR EFFICIENCY, PROFIT, AND SUSTAINABILITY OF DAIRY FARMS Title: Forage Fescues in the Northern USA

Authors
item Casler, Michael
item Albrecht, K - UNIV. OF WI
item Lehmkuhler, J - UNIV. OF WI
item Brink, Geoffrey

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2008
Publication Date: October 15, 2008
Repository URL: http://www.cias.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/fescuefinalweb.pdf
Citation: Casler, M.D., Albrecht, K.A., Lehmkuhler, J., Brink, G.E. 2008. Forage Fescues in the Northern USA. Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Research Briefs. September, 2008. p. 1-15. Available: http://www.cias.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/fescuefinalweb.pdf

Interpretive Summary: Tall fescue and meadow fescue are important components of livestock agriculture and soil conservation programs in Wisconsin. Meadow fescue was likely introduced into Wisconsin in sometime in the 1800s or early 1900s. Anecdotal, survey, and DNA evidence from the driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin suggest that naturalized populations of meadow have persisted for decades in pastures and remnants of the oak savanna ecosystem. This naturalized meadow fescue is adapted to a wide range of habitats, including drougthy ridgetops, waterlogged bottomlands, deep shade, and a wide range of grazing or hay managements. Tall fescue was introduced into Wisconsin in the 1950s, shortly after the development of the KY31 variety. Historically, its most important use has been as a component of grass mixtures for roadside right-of-ways. New soft-leaf varieties are increasing in popularity due to their high forage yield and improved palatability to livestock. Both tall and meadow fescue are becoming increasingly important in grass-based grazing systems in many parts of the USA and Canada. This publication will be useful to farmers, ag agents, conservationists, and other practitioners who work in the areas related to livestock agriculture and soil conservation.

Technical Abstract: Tall fescue and meadow fescue are important components of livestock agriculture and soil conservation programs in Wisconsin. Meadow fescue was likely introduced into Wisconsin in sometime in the 1800s or early 1900s. Anecdotal, survey, and DNA evidence from the driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin suggest that naturalized populations of meadow have persisted for decades in pastures and remnants of the oak savanna ecosystem. This naturalized meadow fescue is adapted to a wide range of habitats, including drougthy ridgetops, waterlogged bottomlands, deep shade, and a wide range of grazing or hay managements. Tall fescue was introduced into Wisconsin in the 1950s, shortly after the development of the KY31 variety. Historically, its most important use has been as a component of grass mixtures for roadside right-of-ways. New soft-leaf varieties are increasing in popularity due to their high forage yield and improved palatability to livestock. Both tall and meadow fescue are becoming increasingly important in grass-based grazing systems in many parts of the USA and Canada.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014