Jesup Tall Fescue


At a Glance

Jesup Tall Fescue was released in 1995 by the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station as a replacement for Kentucky 31. It is available commercially as either endophyte-free (EF) or with MaxQ®, an anti-toxicosis endophyte developed by AgResearch of New Zealand and sold by Pennington Seeds. Jesup Tall Fescue and Georgia-5 are the only tall fescue types available with MaxQ®.

Use tall fescue for grazing and hay production. Forage quality and feed distribution are improved when an adapted legume (such as white clover or red clover) is grown in association with fescue.

Jesup (EF) is ideal for pastures and hay throughout the entire US fescue-growing region.


Best adapted to clay or clay loam soils, Jessup Tall Fescue is tolerant to soil acidity and poor drainage. It performs best on soils with good water-holding capacity and a pH of 6.0-6.5. It is not suited to drought-prone, sandy soils.

For best results and benefits, all toxic tall fescue should be killed before establishing Jesup with MaxQ®.  A firm seedbed is important for good stand establishment.  Seed can be drilled into a prepared firm seedbed, no-tilled into sod with a no-till drill, or surface broadcast on a prepared seed bed and packed in with a culti-packer.  Place seed at a depth of 1/4" to 1/2".  Planting Jesup too deep can result in poor stand emergence. This variety can also be sod-seeded in stubble.

Can be overseeded with:

  • Legumes, such as crimson or red clover
  • Ryegrass


Do not graze or cut seedling stand until it reaches 6” - 8” in height. Use light rotational grazing in the first year and never graze or cut closer than 2”. During periods of heat and drought stress, rotate cattle more frequently.


Jesup Tall Fescue was developed by University of Georgia plant breeder, Dr. Joe Bouton, at the University of Georgia Research Station in Athens, Ga. The MaxQ® endophyte is patented and exclusive to AgResearch of New Zealand. Jesup Tall Fescue is a protected variety that can only be sold as a class of certified seed and only by individuals licensed by the Georgia Seed Development Commission (GSDC) under guidelines established in conjunction with the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF).


Dr. Joe Bouton

Dr. Joe Bouton

Dr. Joe Bouton was a Professor at the University of Georgia for 27 years before becoming the Founding Director of the Forage Improvement Division of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, an independent, nonprofit institute dedicated to enhancing agricultural productivity regionally, nationally and internationally. 

Dr. Bouton was a Senior Professor at Noble until his retirement in 2012, when he returned to the University of Georgia to serves as Emeritus Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

During his illustrious career, Dr. Bouton managed breeding programs that developed 26 forage and bioenergy cultivars mainly for use in the Southeastern United States. Eleven of the cultivars developed in his program are currently in commercial production. He is best known for the release of Alfagraze alfalfa, JesupMaxQ tall fescue (a.k.a. MaxP in Australia), and Durana white clover.

Dr. Bouton's most recent research focused on assessing the practical application of transgenic and genomic biotechnologies to the cultivar development process. Concentrating mainly on alfalfa and switchgrass, Dr. Bouton collaborated with other researchers to take the necessary regulatory steps to commercially deploy value-added transgenes such as low lignin and Roundup Ready and to assess the practical efficiency of gene discovery, gene tagging, and genetic marker selection for certain traits such as yield and aluminum tolerance.

Dr. Bouton has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. His awards include the Richard R. Hill Achievement Award from the North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference (1994), the Progressive Farmer Magazine Man of the Year in Service to Southeastern Agriculture (1995), a University of Georgia Creative Research Medal (2002), the Carl Sprengel Research Award from the American Society of Agronomy (2003), the Crop Science Society of America Massengale Lecturer (2010), Garry Lacefield Distinguished Service Award from the Kentucky Alfalfa Council (2010), and Honorary Membership, North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference (2012).

Joe Bouton was born and grew up in Washington County, Mississippi, the United States of America, where his family farmed cotton and soybeans. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from Mississippi State University and his Master of Science and doctoral degrees in Plant Breeding from the University of Florida.


  • Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
  • University of Georgia, Athens Campus