Tall fescue is best seeded in the fall in Kansas. Where there is adequate soil moisture, this would be a good time to establish a tall fescue pasture or hay meadow. By starting now with soil tests, variety selection, and seedbed preparation, tall fescue can be a productive pasture for many years to come. Both tall fescue and smooth brome grass make good cool-season permanent pasture in eastern Kansas. Tall fescue is hardier and grazing tolerant that smooth brome grass and is much more tolerant of wet conditions. Tall fescue can be utilized for fall and winter grazing much better than smooth brome grass.
Be sure to use either endophyte-free or nontoxic (sometimes called novel or “friendly” endophyte-infected) varieties of tall fescue when establishing a new pasture, or renovating an old pasture if improved animal performance is the main objective. Old KY-31 endophyte-infected fescue would be acceptable to plant where you know excessive grazing will occur, for example in grass traps or pens for animal receiving facilities. In this instance, ground cover and animal comfort are the main goals.
By Ryan Flaming, County Extension Agent, Agriculture & Natural Resources