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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Burns, Joseph
item Chamblee, Douglas
item Giesbrecht, Francis
item Isley, Charles

Submitted to: North Carolina Technical Bulletin in Forages
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/25/2002
Publication Date: 8/1/2002
Citation: Burns, J.C., Chamblee, D.S., Giesbrecht, F.G., Isley, C.H. 2002. No-till establishment, defoliation, seasonal growth curves and yield, stockpiling management and nutritive value.. North Carolina Technical Bulletin in Forages.

Interpretive Summary: The presence of a toxic endophyte in Kentucky 31 tall fescue has resulted in depressed daily performance of ruminants and the abortion of colts in pregnant mares. The development of new cultivars with the presence of a novel or friendly endophyte has potential to replace fescue with the toxic endophyte. This bulletin provides information on how to successfully replace established stands of tall fescue with improved cultivars. Daily growth curves from a range of defoliation intensities are also presented along with the nutritive value of the forage produced during the growing season. This information is needed to develop intensive grazing systems. Data are also presented on summer accumulation strategies for the use of tall fescue during the autumn and winter. The information in this bulletin provides the extension agent and producers with technology to shift from toxic tall fescue stands to no-till establishment of improved tall fescue and how to improve utilization efficiency to improve economic returns from tall fescue pastures.

Technical Abstract: Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is a major forage grass grown throughout the north-south transition zone. Much of the research on tall fescue has been conducted at the higher elevations (above 500 feet) and to the west and north of the transition zone. This bulletin provides information on 1) the no-till establishment of endophyte-free or novel-endophyte tall fescue into existing endophyte-infected tall fescue stands that have been killed; 2) the influence of various degrees of defoliation on developmental growth, including daily growth rate and associated nutritive value during the growing season; and 3) the yield potential and nutritive value of late summer-accumulated (stockpiled) tall fescue in the southern and lower elevations (below 450 feet) of the transition zone. Results have applications wherever tall fescue is grown in North Carolina and other mid-Atlantic states. Findings show that tall fescue pasture yield and quality can be greatly improved through proper defoliation practices and that endophyte-free tall fescue cultivars can be no-till established into infected pastures. Further, that judicious planning and management can result in late summer-accumulated tall fescue that can be effectively utilized from October to March.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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