Don’t be scared of the big, bad fescue

Luke Nicholls, Sale VIC

Having once grazed 300 cows through a year of drought on just 23 hectares of tall fescue – the only green feed which could survive the heat and dry conditions – Luke Nicholls understands the value of fescue pastures.

So when he had an opportunity to trial a new, soft leaf tall fescue on his share farm near Sale, he took the chance.

Mr Nicholls farms at Pearsondale, milking 170 mostly Friesian cows on 40 hectares with Joe and Julie Scarfo.

“It took me some time to convince Joe to plant the new Hummer tall fescue down the back of the farm, because one of the front paddocks still had some old fescue in it and the cows wouldn’t even look at it,” he said.

“Most dairy farmers won’t grow fescue because they tried old varieties and they were so tough you couldn’t cut them with a mower, let alone graze them.

“Those old varieties scared everyone away from fescues, but the newer varieties have a lot of advantages, especially when you choose a fine, softer leaf variety like Hummer.”

Luke Nicholls and agronomist Simon Hunt in a Hummer tall fescue pasture
Luke Nicholls and agronomist Simon Hunt in a Hummer tall fescue pasture

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