Mixed-Grass Plantings

Mixed-Grass Plantings

 

stands of grass composed of several varieties of cultivated perennial or annual leguminous and cereal grasses. A distinction is made between mixed-grass plantings for pasture and mixed-grass plantings for cutting (one or two cuttings primarily for hay and silage or multiple cuttings primarily for grass meal and haylage). The use of mixed-grass plantings may be short-term (one or two years), medium-term (up to five, six, or seven years), or long-term (ten years and more). Short-term mixtures of perennial grasses are planted in field-crop rotations. Medium-term mixtures are used in and outside of feed-crop rotations, as well as in the reserve plots of field rotations. Long-term mixtures are used only on lands where rotation is not practiced. Mixtures of annual grasses are used in field and meadow forage-grass cultivation (in rotations and as preparatory crops when establishing long-term meadows).

The selection of grass species and varieties is based on biological characteristics and on agricultural and ecological requirements. Compared to pure stands of grass, mixed grasses produce higher yields, resist weeds and pests better, provide a feed with a better ratio of nutrients, and are easier for animals to digest.

In field-crop rotations mixed-grass plantings usually consist of two grasses (clover-cereal, alfalfa-cereal, or esparto-cereal), although sometimes three or four are used. The cereal components include timothy, meadow fescue (in the zone of clover cultivation), awnless bromegrass, tall oat grass, the couch grass Agropyron tenerum-Roegneria trachycaulon (in the zone of alfalfa cultivation), wheatgrass, Roegnaria, and black-eyed Susan (in the arid zone). Grass mixtures used in meadow rotations usually have three to five grass species, including legume-cereal mixtures or only cereal grasses. Plantings may also include, depending on the conditions of the site, meadow foxtail, reed canary grass, redtop, orchard grass, alsike clover, bird’s-foot trefoil, and the medic Medicago falcata. For pasturage English ryegrass (in regions with mild winters), Kentucky bluegrass, and other grasses may also be used. The chief grass components in the grass mixtures of long-term pastures are orchard grass, meadow fescue, meadow foxtail, and Kentucky bluegrass; the principal legume is white clover.

REFERENCES

Minina, I. P. Lugovye travosmesi. Moscow, 1972.
Spravochnik po kormoproizvodstvu. Moscow, 1973.

I. P. MININA

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