North Central Research Extension Center


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Perennial Forage Planting

April 27, 2015

Perennial Forage PlantingForage_Planting

Economic situations affect land use to some degree, particularly on marginal soils.  The high commodity prices of recent past years drove land coming out of CRP, hay lands, and some farmable pasture into crop production.  Now with strong cattle prices and the decline of grain prices, there is interest in establishing some perennial forage for hay or grazing.

A seeding mix of several species may be considered if the forage may have multiple uses as both grazing and haying.  Including alfalfa can offset the need to annually fertilize tame grass with nitrogen if it makes up to 30-50% of the stand.  Meadow brome grass is a productive palatable nutritious grass that makes better regrowth than smooth brome if grazing is being considered.  Intermediate (pubescent) wheat grass might also be included as it contributes ease of establishment with good yield potential and drought tolerance.  A mix of 3lbs alfalfa, 7lbs meadow brome, and 5lbs pubescent wheat grass should be an adequate seeding rate.

Fairway crested wheatgrass is an option for planting areas that may see heavy use, as it has the ability to persist with severe grazing.  For small acreage horse pastures that see this kind of use, it should be considered or for pastures that will be used early in the season.  Crested is typically the earliest grass ready for spring use.  It does however go dormant in the hot months and loses quality if left to produce seed heads.

Filed under: Livestock Update
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