Nitrogen Effects on Yield and Forage Quality of Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue
Negative animal effects of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) infected (EI) with the endophytic fungus Acremonium coenophialum Morgan-Jones and Gams are reduced by substituting endophyte- free (EF) tall fescue or other forage species. A field experiment was conducted on Maury silt loam (fine, mixed, mesic. Typic Paleudults) soil from 1986 to 1988 to compare forage yields and quality of ‘Kenhy’-EF, Kenhy-EI, and ‘Johnstone’ tall fescue with ‘Ensilo’ (diploid) and ‘Reveille’ (tetraploid) perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and ‘Bison’ ryegrass (Lolium intermediate). Each cultivar received 0, 75, or 150 kg ha−1 of N annually. At 150 kg ha−1 of N, Johnstone produced the highest 1987 to 1988 average dry matter (DM) yields of 6.7 Mg ha−1 compared with 5.7 Mg ha−1 for Kenhy-EI. Tall fescue generally produced higher yields than ryegrass. Ground cover after 3 yr for Reveille of 72% did not diffei from Kenhy-EI (79%), but Ensilo (61%) and Bison (31%) were lower. Endophyte effects on yield and quality of Kenhy were seldom significant. Two-year weighted average in vitro dry matter disappearance (IVDMD) values were 685, 663, 626, 628, and 641 g kg−1 for Reveille, Ensilo, Kenhy-EF, Kenhy-EI, and Johnstone, respectively. Increasing N levels increased N concentration of tall fescue but did not consistently affect that of ryegrass. These results indicate that some cultivars of ryegrass can persist at this location, but that summer productivity is well below that of tall fescue. However, some potential may exist for germplasm improvement of perennial ryegrass based on existing cultivars. Endophyte effects on yield and quality of Kenhy tall fescue under the conditions of this study were small.
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