Improvement of the digestibility of tall fescue (Festuca aruninacea Schreb.) inspired by perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)

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    Due to climate change there is an increasing interest in NW Europe for more drought tolerant fodder grass species like tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.). Tall fescue has a high yield potential but a low digestibility. In a pot experiment we determined the digestibility and the sugar, fibre and protein content of 300 non-vernalized single plants (12 cultivars x 25 plants per cultivar) from perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. Tall fescue had a lower digestibility and sugar content and a higher fibre and protein content than perennial ryegrass. The variation in sugar content was as high for tall fescue as for perennial ryegrass. The same positive correlation between digestibility and sugar content was found in tall fescue as in perennial ryegrass. Because of the lower sugar content in tall fescue there seems to be enough margin to improve its digestibility by increasing the sugar content without adverse effects on fibre and protein value.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGrassland Science in Europe : EGF at 50: The future of European grasslands
    EditorsA. Hopkins, R. Collins, M. Fraser, V. King, D; Lloyd, J. Moorby, P. Robson
    Number of pages3
    Place of PublicationAberystwyth, UK
    Publication date2014
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9926940-1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event25th General Meeting European Grassland Federation (2014) - Aberystwyth, United Kingdom
    Duration: 8-Sep-201411-Sep-2014

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