What is the best way to use festuloliums?
Before we can answer the proposed question, we must first examine some other questions such as, "What is a festulolium?" A festulolium is a hybrid grass that is the result of crossing Meadow Fescue and a ryegrass (either perennial or annual - diploid or tetraploid). Sometimes a Tall fescue is crossed with a ryegrass and called a festulolium as well.
A "festulolium" can be many different types of grasses with varying yields, palatability, digestibility etc. One reason that festuloliums are gaining in popularity is that they are more winter hardy than annual ryegrass, and often more winter hardy than perennial ryegrass (if the breeding is MF X PRg). Also the "summer slump" associated with ryegrass is not as severe with a festulolium. Season-long production can be gained for multiple years if the correct festulolium is planted.
What if I choose a tall fescue cross?
You will get a high yielding variety. However, the one negative thing observed with these varieties is that the cows prefer to eat other grasses before they eat these. In the University of Wisconsin grass grazing trials held in Lancaster, WI, two different festuloliums were entered in the 1998 seeded trial. If you look at the 1999 grazing results you will note that the cows did not graze the festulolium any better than they ate tall fescue (not very well). The two varieties yielded well, but the cows rejected them compared to ryegrasses and orchardgrasses. This cross does not provide the animal producer with a very palatable forage.
What is "Duo" festulolium?
Duo is the result of a cross of Meadow fescue and a perennial ryegrass. Duo has the winter hardiness and consistent summer growth of a meadow fescue, and the quality of a perennial ryegrass. This cross gives the producer optimum feed value in a high yielding forage that should last several years. Combine all of the traits of a perennial ryegrass with the meadow fescue, and you get a high yielding, high quality, highly palatable forage grass.
What is the best way to use "Duo" festulolium?
Duo can be used in a variety of ways. It will work well mixed with tetraploid perennial ryegrass (like Power) and tetraploid annual ryegrasses (like Rival™ Brand) for a grass pasture. In fact, Ampac Seed Company has a Pasture Perfect® mix, Renovator Special, that utilizes these three grasses. Duo will help make the pasture viable for season long grazing. This pasture would "crank out the milk" for a dairy farmer! Add some Jumbo II Ladino Clover or some StarFire II Red Clover and you will increase your tonnage and have a very high quality forage.
Duo will also work well with alfalfa. If added into alfalfa at the time of seeding, add 1-3 lb/ac along with 18-20 lb/ac of Radiance HD or Attention II alfalfa. This combination will provide high yields and a very high quality forage that can be harvested for dry hay, haylege, or green chop, or it can be grazed.