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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: Choosing and Managing Perennial Grasses for Grazing

Authors
item Brink, Geoffrey
item Casler, Michael

Submitted to: Management Intensive Grazing Symposium Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2008
Publication Date: March 11, 2008
Citation: Brink, G.E., Casler, M.D. 2008. Choosing and managing perennial grasses for grazing [abstract]. Proceedings of the Northeast Wisconsin Grazing Symposium, March 11, 2008, Oconto Falls, Wisconsin. p. 3-8.

Technical Abstract: Grazing-based producers seeking to increase the productivity and quality of temperate pastures should consider meadow fescue. Meadow fescue is a perennial, bunch-type grass native to Europe and central Asia that was introduced to the United States in the early 1800's. After tall fescue became popular, its use declined dramatically. It possesses those agronomic traits that make it an ideal grass for pastures - excellent winterhardiness, adaptation to a wide range of soils, high tiller density, and greater digestibility relative to most grasses. In grazing and clipping trials conducted in southern and northcentral Wisconsin, meadow fescue yielded more forage than orchardgrass and soft-leaf tall fescue, and was more digestible. Producers establishing meadow fescue with or without tillage should remember that maximizing seed to soil contact and minimizing competition from other plants improves the probability of success. Once established, one of the most important management factors governing growth and persistence is residual height. Whether grasses like meadow fescue are grazed or cut for hay, leaving adequate residual (4" or more) increases the rate of growth after defoliation and reduces the time until the forage can be cut or grazed again.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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