Fescue good or bad?

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I have been reading a lot and I cant for the life of me figure out if it is good to plant or not? I am looking for something to provide more year round grazing for my cattle. I would like to not feed them any grain but what grass is good for winter? I live in southern Illinois and the winters here are pretty mild. thanks.
 

dun

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kenny thomas":az3xo7jl said:
Fescue good or bad? YES
Good in the spring, fall and winter and bad in the summer.
That pretty well sums it up. It's the easiest and best I've found for stockpiling. Summer slump problems can be addressed with inclusion of clover in the patures. The clover will halp to dilute the endophyte in the fescue to a degree.
 

alftn

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I agree, have patches of Ber. thrown in, on the hiller ground, takes the dry better....
 

western

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fescue can be good when managed right (using clover, stockpiling, etc...). its hard to fined that one "silver bullet" though. you can grow turnips and rye for winter feed and sundan grass or use chicory for summer feed. year around grazing requires a forage system (more than one type of forage). Good luck
 

JRGidaho`

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I grew up in Southern Illinois so I know what the climate and soils are like. If I were raising cattle there, I would have at least half of my acres in a fescue-based pasture. Why? November thru March there is no lower cost way of feeding cattle in that part of the world. There should be no reason you should ever have to feed hay there if you manage the fescue appropriately.

With a sound grazing management plan, endophyte-free fescue will persist there and you would have no animal health issues. Planting one of the friendly endophyte varities costs a little more up front, but over the life of the stand the added cost is negligible and the persistence benefits make it worthwhile.

As a couple fo the earlier posts said, include clovers and some other grasses and even endophyte infected tall fescue can be good pasture.
 

dun

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JRGidaho`":1fakdrmj said:
I grew up in Southern Illinois so I know what the climate and soils are like. If I were raising cattle there, I would have at least half of my acres in a fescue-based pasture. Why? November thru March there is no lower cost way of feeding cattle in that part of the world. There should be no reason you should ever have to feed hay there if you manage the fescue appropriately.

With a sound grazing management plan, endophyte-free fescue will persist there and you would have no animal health issues. Planting one of the friendly endophyte varities costs a little more up front, but over the life of the stand the added cost is negligible and the persistence benefits make it worthwhile.

As a couple fo the earlier posts said, include clovers and some other grasses and even endophyte infected tall fescue can be good pasture.
Since you brought it up, how does the persistence of the freindly endophyte pastures correspond to the toxic ones? I don;t know if it's because most of hte folks around here treated them the same but the few people that planted the friendly stuff complained about it not lasting more then a few years. With good MIG practices will it persist as well as the toxic?
 

alftn

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The friendly stuff does not hold up as well, around here, some of the bigger guys planted it and after awhile they drill in( KY 31/32 ?) again..You may not like fescue but it is tough...
 

JRGidaho`

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dun & others,

I would say anywhere north of I-70 endophyyte-free varieties persist with reasonable grazing management. I know of fields of MO-96 (the first endophyte-free variety) seeded in late 1970's that were there for at least 25 years. As far as I know, they are still there.

Between I-70 and I-40, it takes good grazing management and good soil fertility to keep endophyte free varieties for 10 years or more. If it were seeded on a bottomland soil rather than an eroded upland site, the odds of survival go up significantly.

South of I-40 I would only consider planting one of the newer friendly endophyte varieties. Yes, the seed is much more expensive, but over the life of the stand it is a negligible input cost. Lost production by having infected Ky31 is a much higher cost.

If people insist on treating a pasture they seeded to an endophyte free variety exactly the same way they treat Ky31, then about three years is the life expectancy.
 
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