Grazing Management of Tower tall fescue

Key Points

  • Grazing management is different in the first 18 months after establishment
  • Use good rotational grazing management
  • Adjust stocking rates in mid-spring if set-stocking is used

Good ryegrass grazing management is all that is required for Tower tall fescue.  Tower is a leafy and palatable grass with a very late heading date (up to 28 days later), which makes the grazing similar to a good perennial ryegrass.

When grazing in the first 18 months it is important that Tower is not over-grazed.  It is very palatable, and low residuals can occur quicker than farmers are used to with ryegrass.  During this phase take care not to leave animals in the paddock too long,  aim for a grazing residual of 1600 kg DM/ha, and do not set-stock or make hay/silage in the first year.  The guidelines below are for established Tower pastures.

Tower is delicate in the first six months, so requires controlled grazing to avoid over-grazing.

Dairy Farms

Graze when pasture mass reaches 2700-3000 kg DM/ha.  Repeat.

Sheep and Beef Farms

If rotational grazing is used, graze with cattle when pasture mass reaches 2700-3000 kg DM/ha, and with sheep at 2300-2700. 

If animals are set-stocked through spring (e.g. lambing), stocking rates need to be adjusted to match increasing pasture growth rates.  This may require more ewes per hectare on Tower paddocks at the start of lambing, and mobs to be combined after tailing/docking.  Other options include adding cattle to lambing mobs, or using Tower paddocks for ewes with multiple lambs.

Stocking rates and grazing frequencies in spring need to match increasing pasture growth rates to keep Tower in optimum quality.