Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 9, 2007
Publication Date: August 9, 2007
Citation: Brink, G.E. 2007. Meadow fescue - What is this grass and why are we interested in it? Proceedings of Lancaster Profitable Pastures for SW Wisconsin. Technical Abstract: Meadow fescue is a bunch-type grass native to northern Europe and Central Asia. It was introduced to the United States in the late 1800’s but its use declined after tall fescue became popular. It is very palatable and high quality, with fine, light green leaves. It establishes slower than tall fescue, but is winter-hardy and adapted to a wide range of soils. It is better adapted to grazing than haying. Interest in this grass has increased in Wisconsin after studies indicated that despite having lower yield than tall fescue, apparent intake was equivalent. Discovery of meadow fescue ecotypes on farms throughout southwest Wisconsin, and the performance of European germplasm in North America, has also led to greater interest among public and private breeders. In different trials, meadow fescue has provided as much or more annual yield than orchardgrass or tall fescue. Before replacing existing pasture with this species, however, producers should determine if an economic advantage exists with utilizing this grass, and if so, follow recommended practices for pasture renovation including appropriate seeding rate, grass suppression, and N fertilization.