Spring irrigation of tall fescue for seed production

TitleSpring irrigation of tall fescue for seed production
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHuettig, KD, Chastain, T, Garbacik, CJ, Young, WC, Wysocki, DJ
JournalField Crops Research
Pagination297 - 304
Date Published2013
KeywordsFestuca arundinacea Schreb., Grass seed crop production, Irrigation, Schedonorus phoenix (Scop.) Holub, Seed yield
AbstractNo information is available on irrigation management in tall fescue [Schedonorus phoenix (Scop.) Holub] seed crops. The objective of this study was to investigate spring irrigation effects on six cultivars of tall fescue managed for seed production. Field trials were conducted with three irrigation treatments: none (control), single irrigation to fill the soil profile to field capacity at anthesis, and multiple irrigations to maintain soil water deficit ≤50mm below field capacity until the beginning of seed fill. Wet conditions in Year 1 prevented multiple irrigations, so only the single (78mm) application was made. Dry conditions in Year 2 were conducive to both single (112mm) and multiple (172mm) treatments. Crop responses to single irrigation were the same as multiple irrigations. Fertile tiller number, spikeletspanicle −1 , and floretsspikelet −1 were not affected by irrigation treatments. Irrigation×cultivar interactions for seed yield were evident in both years. Yield increases varied among cultivars and irrigation treatment, ranging from 15% to 47% in Year 1. In Year 2, seed yield in ‘Velocity’ was not affected by irrigation but was increased by 14% across other cultivars. Seed number and weight were independently influenced by irrigation and cultivar. Irrigation consistently increased seed weight, but increased seed number only in Year 1 which led to the greatest seed yield increases observed. There was no effect of irrigation on HI but WUE was influenced by irrigation×cultivar interactions. Tall fescue seed yield can be increased by strategically timed spring irrigation but the response is dependent on year and cultivar.