Orchardgrass better than KY-31 in shade
At the recent American Forage & Grasslands Conference, a Virginia Tech student presented a poster entitled “Shade Affects Quality and Productivity of Forage Mixtures for Silvopastures.” This poster documented the results of a study on different pasture species and mixtures grown under various levels of shade. Without trying to explain the poster details, note in the graph on the right that orchardgrass seems to clearly handle a higher percentage of shade than KY-31 tall fescue.
They also measured the toxicity of the tall fescue. As shown in the graph on the left, in simple mixtures, the level of toxic ergot alkaloids increase substantially, whereas intermediate and complex mixtures (fescue plus orchardgrass, clover, bluegrass, alfalfa, and trefoil) remained lower in concentration.
The suggested implications are that using orchardgrass, like Persist, as either straight stands or in a mixture with toxic KY-31 fescue for silvopastures , and using other forages and legumes, will likely result in higher forage productivity and safer pastures.
Used with permission. Mercier, K.M., C.D. Teutsch, J.H. Fike, and K.K. Quick. 2017. Shade affects quality and productivity of forage mixtures for silvopastures.
Cajun II Stands on top again - Twice
It’s true that we just bragged on our endophyte-free Cajun II only a couple of months ago, but sometimes the good news just keeps coming in. So here’s the latest:
Cajun II produced 22% more dry matter last year than the next best entry, outyielding three novel-endophyte varieties and KY-31. In a prior 2-yr trial at Holly Springs , MS, Cajun II produced 12% more over the next best entry. Bottom line? Cajun II is worth a good look if you live on the southern edge of the fescue belt!
Under a 3-year hay trial, Cajun II had the highest yield score over all other commercial entries including three novel-endophyte varieties and KY-31, with third-year yields being 10% higher than the next best entry. This is why we say, “Cajun II - An affordable alternative to novel-endophyte fescue. Long lasting, high yielding, and naturally endophyte free.” Learn more at CajunFescue.com.
White clover can reverse the losses
On the topic of toxic fescue, and solutions to improving cattle performance, those who have a market base in the fescue belt might find a study conducted by The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation worth passing on to their customers and farmers. This study measured the animal and economic performance of cattle grazing on different treatments of toxic and non-toxic fescue with and without white clover. The study showed a net loss of $63/acre when grazing toxic fescue alone. However, fields of KY-31 plus white clover had $85/acre more profit! That’s a pretty easy return! This compliments data showing increased average daily gains using Renovation white clover on toxic pastures in Mississippi.