Charlem Winter Active Fescue Logo with Ship
Charlem Winter Active Fescue in Paddock

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Charlem Winter Active Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)

Charlem is an extremely persistent, densely tillered, Mediterranean-type, winter-active fescue.

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Key Features

  • Grows more winter feed and later maturing than traditional fescues
  • Very high dry matter production and extremely soft leaf
  • Deep-rooted perennial
  • Ideal lucerne companion plant
  • Alternative to phalaris where persistence is required

Plant Characteristics

  • Mediterranean type
  • Perennial tussock-forming grass with deep root system


  • Charlem is a winter-active, mid/late flowering variety. Mediterranean types exhibit winter activity and varying levels of summer dormancy and consequently have greater tolerance to summer drought.

Where can I grow it?

  • Excellent drought tolerance
  • Better heat tolerance than perennial ryegrass

Sowing Rate

  • 15-25 kg/ha

Blend Rate

  • 4-10 kg/ha

Seed Size

  • 404,000 seeds per kg (Source: Pasture Varieties used in NSW 2006-2007, Bev Zurbo, 2006)

Frequently Asked Questions

Suited to a wide range of soil types but best adapted to medium-fine textured soils. Will cope and produce in poorly drained conditions and waterlogging.

Good base rates of phosphorus are necessary for maximum DM production especially during establishment phase. DM production is directly related to nitrogen availability. Consult your Upper Murray Seeds agronomist or fertiliser advisor for nitrogen application rates.

Fescue should be sown at approximately 10-20kg/ha on its own or 4-10kg/ha in a perennial blend. Sow into a weed-free seed bed at 1-1.5cm depth. Rolling the seedbed after sowing will aid establishment. Fescues are best sown in autumn, because growth will be slow at soil temperatures below 12˚C.

Avoid sowing fescue with ryegrass, as fescue has poor seedling vigour while ryegrass is very competitive and has the potential to crowd out the fescue seedlings. Fescue is commonly sown with phalaris or cocksfoot.

During emergence it is essential to monitor regularly for damage from insects such as RLEM and lucerne flea, and spray as required. Inspect during early stand life for populations of black-headed cockchafer and slugs. Contact your Upper Murray Seeds agronomist for spray application rates.

Fescue is a slow establishing species so early weed control is crucial to the long term viability of the stand. Always use knockdown herbicide to ensure you are sowing into a clean seedbed. Monitor for post-emergent weeds and spray as required. Use options such as spray-grazing for broadleaf weeds once the stand is established.

Charlem fescue can be lightly grazed when plants resist pulling and the root system is well developed, this is typically in late winter or early spring. Fescue should be rotationally grazed to ensure plant does not exceed 10-12cm, which will maximise tillering and encourage active leaf growth.

Charlem will provide nutritious and palatable feed throughout winter with some spring growth.

To optimise livestock weight gain and health, ensure livestock are vaccinated and drenched. To prevent nutritional problems, make gradual diet changes when introducing hungry stock to lush pastures.

An animal health problem known as ‘fescue foot’ has been reported in cattle grazing fescue dominant pastures but it is a very rare condition. Charlem does not contain wild or novel endophytes.

Replicated Dry Matter Trial