Figure 1. Generalized tall fescue US adaptation map

Before current sophisticated computer tools were available for generating maps, most textbooks,
seed catalogues, pasture fact sheets, and technical guides included an adaptation zone
description or a map that showed general zones where the species being discussed could be
grown. Typically, these maps were produced by a graphics artist working with an agronomist or
agro-meteorologist and used general agricultural concepts and broad groupings of precipitation
and temperature and/or soils (Figure 1).

(Source: Tall Fescue, American Society of Agronomy Monograph No. 20, 1979, p. 15).

However these maps are of minimal value in decision-making at the individual farm level. They
are inadequate since the scale is too coarse and they do not give specific locations for
successful or optimal yield. Most maps do not reflect all the critical factors that govern
plant survival and growth (minimum, maximum, and optimal ranges for precipitation, temperature,
photoperiod, soil pH and drainage, elevation, slope, aspect, etc.).

This project has developed a new generation of maps that are more specific, consider more
information, and can be adapted to reflect anticipated changes in factors. These will be
linked to rules for formulating pasture mixtures to create an interactive decision support tool
to identify the best plant material for any given situation.