Ronnie Bardwell, LSU AgCenter, Area Dairy Specialist and Kun Jun Han, Agronomist Southeast Research Station
Fescue is a cool-season perennial forage that has potential as a grazing and hay crop for south Louisiana. Newer endophyte-free varieties have been shown to generate animal performance similar to annual ryegrass pastures, but adaptability on farms in southern Louisiana and Mississippi (south of I-20) has not been well documented. The demonstration took place on the Stewart LeBlanc farm located 2-3 miles north of Amite, LA.
This demonstration had two objectives which were:
1) Will fescue survive in Southeast La.?
2) Will the addition of inter seeded clover improve the quality of fescue production.
Two varieties of fescue, Max Q & Max QII were planted on a prepared seedbed at the rate of 25 pounds per acre on October 22, 2010. Analysis of soil sample was as follows:
Ph 5.8 fine sandy loamPhosphorus 49 ppmPotassium 54 ppmCalcium 1102 ppmMagnesium 125 ppmOrganic Matter (%) 3.1 ppm
Fertilizer was applied per acre as follows:
Ammonia Nitrate (33-0-0) 150 lbs.Ammonium Sulfate (21-0-0-24) 50 lbs.Diammonium phosphate (18-46-0) 50 lbs.Murate of potash (0-0-60) 100 lbs.Pelletized (HiCal) lime 300 lbs.
Seeds were planted with fertilizer and harrow was dragged afterwards. On December 17, 2010, the 14 acre field was sprayed with 2-4D LVE at the rate of 2 pints/acre in a tank mixture of 157 lbs. of 32% N, insol applied per acre.
Forage samples was analyzed on both varieties – analysis was:
February 2011Max Q Max QIIProtein, % 15.42 13.61ADF, % 19.52 15.43NDF, % 31.58 34.86TDN, % 75.84 78.51Yield, lbs DM/acre 536.70 700.90May 2011Max Q Max QIIProtein, % 13.12 12.72ADF, % 33.76 33.68NDF, % 55.72 55.34TDN, % 63.68 63.61July 2011 Max Q Max QIIProtein, % 10.61 11.96ADF, % 40.47 39.85NDF, % 73.74 74.20TDN, % 57.48 58.42Durana and Patriot, white clovers would have been inter-seeded across both varieties of fescue in September 2011.
This demonstration was sponsored by Pennington Seed, Louisiana Beef Industry Council, Kentwood Cooperative, and the LSU AgCenter.
During the sampling in July, the stands of both varieties were reduced about 30% from May. At the end of September, 2011 all the fescue plants had died. The cause of the fescue plants dying is not known, but possibilities could have been extreme hot dry summer, competition of other summer grasses or the lack of growth of fescue plants to adequately cover the crowns.
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