Tall fescue - Festuca arundinacea

Festuca arundinacea is a species of the grass family ( Poaceae ) . It is native to Europe and northern Africa. It's a very important forage in temperate extensive production systems of cattle and is cultivated for this purpose in many places of the world like USA, Argentina, Uruguay and Australia .


Has membranous ligule ; small atrium; heavily streaked leaves, pronounced midrib ; Leaves are rolled in the knot. The leaf blades are 3 to 12 mm wide and from 1 to 6 dm length . They are prominently rough on top and bright face on the underside. The leaves are narrower at the tip and margins are irregular and sharp to the touch. The leaf sheaths are smooth , divided and reddish at the base.

Presents necklace, which is a band of meristematic tissue that manages to increase the length of the blade. Once the blade has its maximum length , the cells stop dividing collar . The collar region is distinctive tall fescue . The atria are round with fine hairs . The ligule is short and membranous, measuring up to 2 mm.

Caespitose habit and having short rhizomes ; The inflorescence is a panicle up to 5 dm , usually 1-3 dm . The panicles or panicles open and branched vary by a very narrow without . The short branches have several spikelets. The spikelets are from elliptic to oblong, 1-2 cm. Each espiquilla has from 3 to 10 florets. However, only about half of florets produce seed. Florets within spikelets are interconnected by the central axis or raquilla . Rachilla segments are in each mature floret ( seed).

Flowering stems are hollow nodes and compounds and is commonly called " rods " . The reeds are usually erect , strong , smooth and up to 2 m . The upper segment of the stem, which holds the panicle , is the stem . The base of the stem is usually reddish. Festuca arundinacea is a hexaploid with 2n = 6x = 42 .

Biology and phenology

It has two sowing depends fundamentally on the climate of the region . It can be sown in autumn, in the first half of September. In this case , production would be low in spring but from ideal in summer. If sown in spring , is the most appropriate dates in late February for a proper setting and to compete with the spontaneous vegetation. However, good yields were not obtained until the following autumn .

For fall planting , the phenological cycle is characterized by the beginning of growth in late winter . In spring, growth is optimal, and behind the use of stem elongation by mowing or grazing tall fescue regrowth again optimally. But the most important and most profitable of tall fescue is summer time , where growth exceeds even that of ryegrass and cocksfoot , since it has a good adaptation to hot always areas as you have irrigation. In autumn growth continues until mid- winter and depending on the variety , you may get break vegetativo.1


Microterma species widely used in arable Rugs intolerant to heat, drought and shade. It stays green all year , and resists many diseases, the cut is very tolerant and persists even if low maintenance. Prefers fertile soil with pH 6 to 6.5 (range 4.5 to 9.5 )

For pasture quality must always keep height low at high loads. Remains green even in summer with low humidity . Wheatgrass is well with fellow member , phalaris , white clover, red clover and alfalfa. It is ideal for breeding and wintering areas .

Its main production limitation is the possible presence of a disease called festucosis ; it is an infection with a fungus , Neothypodium coenophialum , which produces intoxication on animals that consume it. This poisoning generates a series of clinical symptoms, resulting in low production of meat or milk, and even death of animals. To prevent infestation , the seed must be analyzed prior to planting.

There are some techniques to control the effects of festucosis , but in any case preferable not to introduce the disease in fields that do not have populations of Festuca .

After implanted , their first grazing should be short in duration , leaving a balance of 1,500 kg DM / ha or 5 cm high , to get back to pastorearla when reaches 15 cm in height. In the spring must be kept to a height of 5 to 15 cm of remnant , at a frequency of grazing 15 to 20 days . During the first fall after planting should not graze within 3 cm, or allow the plant to grow to over 15 cm. This is because in this period the plant develops large amount of tillers . So it will be vital in the fall fertilization effect for the development of these tillers .

To maintain excellent forage quality during vegetative growth , the leaves should be grazed before the age of 20 to 30 days produced since then their quality declines due to increased mortality of leaves and tillers . During the breeding season (September to November ) , should encourage the development of new tillers eliminating reproductive stem before flowering ; this is essential to ensure the summer production . If the summer is dry , decrease the frequency of grazing to protect the survival of plants.

Interest and forage utilization ( Spain )

Festuca arundinacea is used in combination with a legume-grass prairies. In areas of Southern Spain , the combination with Medicago sativa (alfalfa ) is a durable and stable production combination . In central and northern areas of Spain , the combination with Trifolium repens ( white clover ) allows you pasture management easier as it does not cause bloating .

As grass , can be used with Dactylis glomerata L. ( cocksfoot ) but can differences and seasonal growth cycle . If the pasture is grazed , there may be problems in being able to form selectivity cattle , fescue tillers . But if it does a good pasture management and grazing and mowing alternations are made, peude maintain a balance of species. You can also make a combination with meadow fescue, orchardgrass , white clover and / or alfalfa should be of regadío.2

As advantages of its use, is good quality forage in spring regrowth that can be exploited by grazing. It presents a rapid replenishment of its reserves after defoliation so that may be a system of intensive and frequent exploitation as long interval between harvests 3-4 weeks longer . Has a high adaptability to the environment and with good management , you can get higher than other grasses being its production yields up to 10 t mat.seca / ha. In addition , high earliness in spring allows it to quickly establish and compete for resources with the spontaneous vegetation. The disadvantages of their use , palatability in adverse times such as excessive heat and drought in summer or freezing in winter, can be increased by tightening the stems and leaves are . Also, if continued grazing takes place , there may be depletion of reserves and get , even death of the plant.