Pasture Grasses can supply a good
yield of quality feed for all livestock. In order to obtain a good
pasture you must have good pasture grasses. There are several grasses
that work well in most pastures. They include Perennial Ryegrass,
Intermediate Ryegrass, Orchard Grass, Red Clover, Ladino Clover,
Alfalfa, and Timothy, just to name a few.
Below is information about these types of pasture grasses:
Ryegrass and Intermediate Ryegrass are considered bunch type grasses,
establish rapidly and have a high forage value. Ryegrasses are an
excellent cover crop and they work best when mixed with red clover and
other grasses. However, they do not hold up well in cold weather which
prevents their use for long term forage production.
Grass is a bunch type grass which adapts to a wide range of soils that
maintain moisture. This type of grass is ideal for frequent grazing and
haying and establishes easier than most cool season grasses. It is a
good choice if you are planning to over seed an existing pasture using a
no-till drill method. Orchard Grassed do not fair well in heat and
Red Clover establishes easily and has shade
tolerance and contributes to adding nitrogen. Red Clover is best used as
a cover crop or planted with other pasture grass seed
mixes. Per year, Red Clover usually produces 2-3 hay crops. It can be
no-till seeded and it is grown mainly throughout the Northern United
Ladino Clover also known as white clover, likes cool
moist soils. It is moderately winter hardy. Ladino Clover is good at
helping re-establishment of legumes in predominantly grass sods and
performs best when mixed with other pasture grasses.
is a perennial crop and should be planted in the spring or the fall. It
is important that these seeds be planted close to the surface of the
soil because they are so small. Because the seedlings are weak they must
be protected from weeds. But after developing, alfalfa plants are
hearty and will re-grow many times after being cut for hay.
is another bunch type grass and likes cool moist soils. Timothy has
good winter hardiness but is very sensitive to drought and heat. Timothy
is not good for long term grazing. When grazing it is best to wait
until the plants are 10 inches tall and stop grazing when plant is about
4 inches. It is also best if the plant is mixed with other grasses such
as red clover.
An important factor in selecting your pasture grass seeds
is to choose one with High Sugar Grass (HSG). High Sugar Grass was
developed for those who want to get the most out of their fields. The
high sugar reserve in the grasses makes them tolerant to all types of
temperatures. They will also re-grow quickly after grazing and will help
keep down weeds. HSG’s are also proven to increase livestock output.
conclusion, it is very important to select the correct type of pasture
grass seeds for your type of soil and the best pasture grass mix for
your livestock. Becoming familiar with the many different types is a
good place to start. Do some more research and check with your local
agriculture extension office in your area.