Section 67
Chapter 66,199

Using orchardgrass and endophyte-free fescue versus endophyte-infected fescue overseeded on bermudagrass for cow herds: I. Four-year summary of forage characteristics

Coblentz, W. K.; Coffey, K. P.; Smith, T. F.; Hubbell, D. S., I.I.I.; Scarbrough, D. A.; Humphry, J. B.; McGinley, B. C.; Turner, J. E.; Jennings, J. A.; West, C. P.; Popp, M. P.; Hellwig, D. H.; Kreider, D. L.; Rosenkrans, C. F., J.

Crop Science 46(5): 1919-1928


ISSN/ISBN: 0011-183X
DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2005.11-0442
Accession: 066198862

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A systems trial was designed to evaluate forage characteristics within mixed-species pastures consisting of (i) endophyte-infected tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.; E+) mixed with common bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] and other forages; (ii) endophyte-free tall fescue (E-) overseeded into dormant common bermudagrass; and (iii) orchardgrass (OG; Dactylis glomerata L.) established under the same conditions as E-. The E- and OG pastures were grazed with either twice weekly (2W) or twice monthly (2M) rotation schedules, but E+ was grazed only as 2M. Across 41 sampling dates (2000 through 2003) the mean forage mass across all forage systems was 3809 kg ha(-1), and there was an interaction of forage system and sampling date (P = 0.001). In vitro dry matter disappearance (IVDMD) and crude protein (CP) varied (P < 0.0001) with sampling date in seasonal patterns that were generally predictable. Frequencies of tall fescue in E- and E+ pastures increased (P < 0.10) over years, reaching numerical maxima (61 to 72%) at the end of the trial. For OG, frequencies reached numerical maxima of 52 and 42% in 2W and 2M pastures, respectively, but then declined (P < 0.10) over time, ending at 39 and 24%, respectively. At the end of the trial, reinfection of OG pastures by rogue E+ plants reached a numerical maximum frequency of only 10%, and concentrations of total ergot alkaloids in tall fescue plants from E- pastures were only about 25% of those for E+ pastures, thereby suggesting that pasture toxicity can be reduced substantially for at least 5 yr using these alternative forage systems.

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