Many studies have shown that legumes increase animal performance in grass pastures (Bouton et al., 2005). Inoculated legume seed should be planted at the appropriate time for each region and for each species. Experience by the authors in the United States indicates that greater success is achieved when the clover is seeded after the E- or the novel endophyte tall fescue seedlings have had several months in which to get established, especially after existing vegetation has been grazed or clipped down to a 5- to 8-cm stubble. In New Zealand and Australia, it is recommended to plant clover seed at the same time as fescue. Many tall fescue pastures contain volunteer common bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.), of which hundreds of local ecotypes have evolved over time. Many of these well-adapted strains, however, do not produce much forage, even when soil moisture is sufficient for growth in summer. Overseeding of tall fescue into pastures of improved bermudagrass cultivars has worked well for lengthening the grazing season and increasing forage and beef cattle productivity (Fribourg et al., 1978, 1988; Wilkinson et al., 1968). This approach works well where the ranges of adaptation of tall fescue and bermudagrass overlap and when the bermudagrass ecotype or cultivar has an open sod. Careful management is required for such a mixture to be maintained for several years. In summer, the bermudagrass must not be grazed so low as to damage the drought-inhibited tall fescue, while in spring the tall fescue must not be allowed to shade the bermudagrass for extended periods. Thus, in summer, the pasture mixture must not be grazed lower than 8 to 10 cm, and in spring, forage growth must not be allowed to remain above 10 to 15 cm for more than a week. If tall fescue is managed for hay or silage, the crop must be harvested as early as possible in the spring (boot to inflorescence emergence stage) to avoid inhibiting bermudagrass growth. Managing the tall fescue canopy to avoid excessive or extended shading and maintaining a 30% or more white clover composition or applying moderate amounts of N fertilizer (30-40 kg N/ha two to three times during the season) can sustain balanced stands of tall fescue and bermudagrass. In northern Georgia and southern Tennessee, the grazing season was extended from the usual 6 or 7 mo to 10 mo (Mitchell et al., 1986), and animal production per unit land area increased by 50% when compared with bermudagrass alone.
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