I didn’t even know it, but as I was driving down the gravel-road to my parents farm in Missouri for Christmas, I realized that I miss fescue.
It snowed a few inches in Missouri right before Christmas, and I was bowled over by how much green was showing through the snow as it melted. The main forage species in Minnesota don’t hold up well to winter weather, they’ve died back to a beige/brown color.
Fescue is a fantastic winter forage, as it stays green all winter, and the cows actually like it more when the weather dips below freezing. Apparently there’s not nearly as much of it in Minnesota as I’m used to having in Missouri, where it’s the dominant forage species. What I’ve read so far suggests that tall-fescue is difficult to establish in Minnesota because the young plants can’t handle extremely cold winters.
We have a bit of spare fescue seed left over from seeding a CRP field, so we’ll have to try it here in Southern Minnesota. I hope we can establish some, maybe try to plant it in the spring to give it time to establish, because fescue is the only game in town when it comes to winter grazing.
The intensive grazing types seem to like meadow fescue, too. It doesn’t make the same hay but some like it better for grazing. We get a lot growing wild.