Forage Production, Use by White-tailed Deer, and Seasonal Crude Protein Level of Three Cool Season Forages in Georgia

In the southeastern United States, food plots are often used to compensate for annual fluctuations in forage quantity and quality. We evaluated forage production, seasonal use by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and seasonal crude protein levels of MaxQ fescue (Festuca arundinacea), Regal ladino white clover (Trifolium repens), and Durana white clover (T. repens) planted alone or in combination. We planted two 1-ha food plots in the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Blue Ridge physiographic regions of Georgia in November 2002. We measured forage production (kg/ha) and use every 30 (±3) days over one year. MaxQ fescue had greatest amount of standing crop across regions throughout most of the study period. Forage production and standing crops of Durana and Regal were similar throughout the study except during the second spring in the Coastal Plain, when Durana had greater standing crops than Regal. MaxQ fescue and combination plots produced similar amounts of forage over the three regions. Generally, Durana and Regal had greater use over the three study areas. Durana and Regal white clover consistently maintained higher crude protein levels than MaxQ fescue across the three research sites. Key words: cool-season forages, crude protein, Durana ladino clover, Festuca arundinacea, food plots, forage production, forage use, Georgia, MaxQ, Odocoileus virginianus, Regal ladino white clover, supplemental food plots, Trifolium repens, white-tailed deer

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