Phalaris and cocksfoot prove superior to tall fescue in two drought prone environments of southern NSW

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Abstract

Two tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) cultivars, Fraydo and Demeter, were tested against cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata) cv. Currie, and phalaris (Phalaris aquatica) cv. Landmaster, for persistence and productivity at Wagga Wagga and Cootamundra in the medium rainfall zone (long-term annual average 530-615 mm) of southern New South Wales, Australia. Herbage quality was assessed at the Cootamundra site only. Summer dormant cocksfoot cv. Kasbah was also included at the Wagga Wagga site. Fraydo tall fescue was shown to be more persistent in both environments than the summer active cultivar, Demeter, maintaining a basal frequency of >10% into year 4 of the experiment at both sites where annual rainfall ranged from 243 - 566 mm. However, there was no corresponding increase in herbage yield (P = 0.05) at either location. Kasbah cocksfoot maintained a higher basal frequency into year 4 and yielded more cumulative herbage than both tall fescue cultivars at Wagga Wagga. The Mediterranean cultivar of tall fescue, Fraydo, was shown to be no more persistent than the summer active cultivar of phalaris at either site. However, phalaris produced 97% and 138% more herbage than cv. Fraydo. Over all, the herbage quality of phalaris was similar to that of both tall fescue cultivars but the crude protein content of Currie cocksfoot (16.2%) was higher than both tall fescue cultivars and phalaris (mean 14.3%). It is concluded that tall fescue ' even summer dormant cultivars ' should not be included in general purpose pasture swards in drought-prone medium rainfall cropping environments where phalaris or Kasbah cocksfoot are viable alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationFood security from sustainable agricultureAustralian Agronomy Conference
EditorsH. Dove, RA Culvenor
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Regional Institute
Pages1-4
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event15th Australian Agronomy Conference - Lincoln, New Zealand, New Zealand
Duration: 15 Nov 201018 Nov 2010

Conference

Conference15th Australian Agronomy Conference
CountryNew Zealand
Period15/11/1018/11/10

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