Date of Graduation

Fall 2015


Master of Science in Plant Science (Agriculture)


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Melissa Remley


Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is a cool season perennial grass commonly used in year-round forage production systems. Producers often wrap large round bales of tall fescue in plastic. The fermented product of this practice, termed baleage, allows the forage to be stored for later feeding. During periods of rapid growth in the spring and the fall, the nutrient content of tall fescue can be imbalanced and cause nutritional disorders in grazing animals. To improve the nutrition of tall fescue, it is known that fertilization of phosphorus (P) can help improve leaf nutrient content of P, magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca). Additionally, nitrogen (N) fertilization is known to improve forage quality. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of both N and P spring fertilization on tall fescue nutrient content and yield, as well as the effects of these treatments on baleage quality from these pastures. A 2014-2015 field study utilized eight different two-acre pastures, each with a P rate of 0, 25, 50, or 100 lbs P/A and a N rate of 0 or 50 lbs . These studies found that N and P fertilizer did not affect yield and did not change tall fescue leaf calcium or magnesium content; however leaf P was increased with P fertilization. N treatments increased baleage protein content in the 2014-2015 study, but other quality measures were not affected by N and P treatments. The 2015-2016 field study using only P treatments and more replicates will be completed and replicated an additional year to further elucidate effects of P fertilization on tall fescue baleage.


tall fescue, baleage, nitrogen, phosphorus, wrapped bales

Subject Categories

Plant Sciences


© Cheyenne Adele Arthur

Open Access