Tall fescue is the most widely grown cool-season grass in Argentina, making up 30% of the total cultivated pasture area of 3500,000 ha. Continental tall fescues are suited to zones in Argentina receiving 600 mm/yr or more of rainfall. Where annual rainfall is close to 600 mm, persistence will be more reliable where more than one-half of the rain falls in summer and autumn, and where soils have high water-holding capacity. Continental tall fescue cultivars are well adapted in the southern part of the Buenos Aires province (Tandil) and in the western areas of the province, which have less rainfall and hot summers, but where there are deep soils with good subsoil water storage.

Tall fescue also may have a role in improving soil quality in western areas of Buenos Aires province. Groundwater passes through this zone and contributes to raised water levels and salinity in the humid pampas further downstream. Current farming practices of repetitive annual cropping, fallowing, and alfalfa do not utilize excess precipitation in the cool season very well and therefore are contributing to the problem downstream. Deep-rooted perennial plants that respond to rain all year round are needed, and tall fescue is a good option because of its high potential for beef cattle pasture. The humid pampas, such as the saline Pampa Salada, are well suited to tall fescue because it is one of the few grasses able to tolerate wet soils, surface flooding, and salinity. Tough-leaved cultivars with the Neotyphodium coenophialum endophyte have been very persistent in this zone. As cultivars with novel endophytes become available, they may be used increasingly.

In provinces west of Buenos Aires province, the summer-dormant Mediterranean tall fescues are adapted to the lower rainfall and hotter summers. They can be used in areas with rainfall as little as 350 mm, especially where that rainfall is more likely to fall in winter and spring than in summer.


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