Grazing Management of summer active tall fescue

During the summer of 2013-14 the Agricom research and development team conducted an extensive grazing trial near Ballarat comparing the utilisation of Hummer MaxP® tall fescue to Demeter. The objective of the trial was to demonstrate that unlike Demeter tall fescue the utilisation and palatability of Hummer MaxP® does not decline as quickly as Demeter, making grazing management easier.

Quick facts

  • Hummer MaxP® was bred for increased palatability and animal intake, improved overall yields including during winter and MaxP® endophyte which provides good protection against many major insect pests
  • The trial was sown in the autumn 2013 with the trial running between the 2nd of December 2013 and the 10th of January 2014
  • Sheep were grazing the fescue and were allocated 2.5kg of drymatter per head per day

Trial results

Results of the trial are presented in Chart 1 which displays the percentage of pasture being utilised by stock from week 1 to week 5. The longer the fescue is left ungrazed, palatability declines and animal intake decreases. Chart 1 findings include:

  • The utilisation of Demeter declines from 60% in week 1 to 20% at week 5
  • The utilisation of Hummer MaxP® starts at 60%(week 1), maintaining high utilisation, then decreases to 47% in week 5
  • Maximum utilisation is 60%, this is from providing more forage that the animals require (2.5kg/head/day)

Summary

From the animal system study, Hummer MaxP® has a number of other advantages:

  • Potentially offers producers more flexibility in their overall grazing management during critical times
  • Rotations may be left a little longer than traditional fescue pastures like Demeter, which reduces the risk of palatability problems when the fescues turn 'rank'.

It is important to remember that like all continental tall fescues there is a large flush of growth associated with reproductive growth in early spring and this needs to be managed with heavy stocking rates or mechanically removed and utilised as silage or hay.

For a full detailed report please contact us for more information.

tall fescue
Chart 1: Results from trial measuring animal utilisation of Hummer MaxP compared to Demeter over 5 weeks

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