can anybody give me the ups and downs of fescue. Are there ways to manage it or should you just try to plant something else? has anyone treated their hay with amonia to kill the endophyte, or is this hear say?
In my area (elevation 4500', short cold growing season, little rain but all irrigated, usually rotated with other crops) nothing I've seen grows like fescue. We plant pure grass stands, and usually only grow it for 3-6 years before rotating to other crops. The forage yield I see is about 50% more than any other grass I've seen. We fertilize fairly heavy, and rotational graze it. I am very happy with it. As fertilizer prices rise I am tempted to add a legume to the mix, but I feel the yield loss, weed issues and worry of bloat still outwiegh the added fertilizer expense.
Far as endophytes go, never had a problem, but all the varieties I plant are endophyte free. I know some older pastures I lease are not, but never seen an issue. I bought some hay standing one time that I knew the grass supposedly had an endophte problem, which is why no one grazed it off. I was a nervous little pup feeding that stuff, but again never saw a problem. I have heard it can be worse in other climates.
If you do a search on here for endophyte you'll get way more information then you can digest.
Enophyte in fescue is why clover was invented. If you have a mixture of other grasses or clover in the fescue, there may be some decline in production but we sure don;t see it. Some of our fescue has been growing on this farm since it was cleared 75 plus years ago. That has got to be some high endophyte stuff to persist that long.
In a lot of MO if it wasn;t for fescue there wouldn;t be any cattle.