Several tall fescue cultivars have been developed for New Zealand and Australia. Since they are not discussed extensively in other chapters and are often not known outside their country of origin, they shall be described briefly here. Continental cultivars can be divided into "soft-leaved" and "tougher-leaved" cultivars, giving them different suitability to livestock types and farm systems. Cultivars previously developed in the United States and Europe (see Chapter 19), such as Kentucky 31, AU-Triumph, Demeter, Dovey, Jesup, and Quantum, have been of the tougher-leaved type. They have lower nutritive quality than the soft-leaved types; however, they are more persistent in environments not ideally suited to tall fescue, such as those with lower summer rainfall, less controlled grazing management, very hot summer temperatures, and lower soil fertility.
New Zealand-bred cultivars are usually of the softer-leaved types (e.g., Advance, Vulcan) and have lower leaf strength, better palatability and palatability quality, and later flowering dates (Stewart and Charlton, 2003) than tougher-leaved cultivars. They provide high-quality forage and can be used to achieve high performance in beef and dairy cattle and sheep. Examples include the following:
Grasslands Advance was bred from several sources, including parents of Grasslands ‘Roa' by AgResearch Grasslands. Roa was a low leaf-strength cultivar of high feed value widely used in New Zealand from 1980 to 1994. Advance is a soft-leaved and very palatable cultivar that has been extensively tested and evaluated on many farms since 1995, confirming high animal production. It has good seedling vigor resulting in fast establishment and good production in all seasons. It is a late-flowering cultivar, allowing for easy spring management. It is persistent when used in a suitable environment and has excellent rust tolerance.
Vulcan was bred for a soft leaf and has higher feed quality than AU-Triumph and Quantum. It has good tolerance to grazing, good summer production, but is less productive in winter and has less seedling vigor than AU-Triumph.
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