Wednesday, 8 October 2008: 8:45 AM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 371F
Summer-dormant, cool-season perennial grasses are being used in place of traditional, summer-active cultivars for high quality winter forage. One reason for this change is the ability of cultivars with summer-dormant attributes to tolerate increasing annual temperature, decreasing precipitation, and repeated severe summer droughts. Summer-dormant tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire] cultivars have been recently introduced to pasture systems in the Southern Great Plains. Management of these new forages differs from that of traditional, summer-active cool-season grasses. Annual legumes, due to their growth cycle, may potentially be a good companion for summer-dormant tall fescue. During 2004-2007, we evaluated a range of annual legume species, including clovers, medics, peas, and vetches, for compatibility with Flecha MaxQ tall fescue under grazing in two north-Texas environments (Vernon – 25 inches and Vashti – 30 inches annual precipitation). Based on forage production, cattle (Bos taurus) grazing preferences, reseeding potential, cold tolerance, and effects on companion fescue, we concluded that annual medics (Medicago spp.), are the most compatible annual legumes with summer-dormant tall fescue in semi-arid environments with high soil pH and prolonged summer drought.