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What is the best aggressive field grass?  RSS feed

 
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SE GEORGIA. Clear cut seven years ago. I've turned plowed/ harrowed. Hard work. Boat load of lime/ ten ten ten. I've got grass to grow in other areas I've prepared this away. Q: raising goats. WHAT is best fast spreading aggressive drought resistant GRASS you know?
 
Posts: 944
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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You cleared brush by hand and want to grow grass...

... For goats?
 
Posts: 67
Location: mid Ohio, 40.318626 -83.766931
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I used the goats to clear cut my property, 5 years ago you couldn't walk from one end to the other. Now I have 2 fields of clear pasture and the goats are working on the 3 rd field now...
 
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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Bermudagrass is a traditional, common, and vigorous pasture grass for your region.  It's only drawback is the seeds are quite small, and it is just as common or more so to start it from "sprigs" or small sections of the running rhizomes.  As long as you plant these in a cleared field in the sun it should establish with decent moisture, and will tolerate extreme drought once established.  It will turn brown and go dormant in a hard freeze, but animals will still eat it, and excess summer growth can be cut for hay.  Some farmers drill in a winter pasture crop like rye or clover into the bermuda sod and these grow up through it in the winter and spring, to be replaced by the bermuda in the summer from the roots.
 
pollinator
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In my honest opinion there are a few mistakes that have been done, but nothing that cannot be remedied.

You never mentioned where you are from, but I have had really good luck with a pasture forage mix from Tractor Supply that was decent in price. It was $50 for 25 pounds, at a seeding rate of 25 pounds to the acre. I do not have goats, but do have sheep and even in the few times I have overgrazed it, it has done really well. It also did well during (2) severe droughts. That being said, what I planted was the "Northern" mixture as I live in Maine, but for those further south, they have a Southern mixture, and I would recommend that obviously. It has a really nice mix of cool and warm season grasses that fatten my sheep up nicely.

As for the fertilizer, I am not a huge fan of commercial fertilizer as I prefer manure, but have used it some because it was required by a grant. In your case though you used the wrong mixture because 10/10/10 is a general fertilizer and not a great one for starting grass. Again I am not a fan of commercial fertilizers, but even if forced too, a person would want to use something like 05/13/41...basically anything low on nitrogen. All that will do for beginning fields and pastures is give nitrogen for the weeds to grow, which will stunt the grass that you are trying to grow. What a person is really looking for is the middle number, that is what gets the roots established. BUT this is where a person has to be really careful because nitrogen (the first number on the NPK) dissipates very quickly, and while the last number, Potash is sucked up by the plants, is just just not released if it is not used...but phosphorous...that is the bad guy. That is what causes the pollution if it is overdone. Really try and never go over on the middle number no matter if manure or commercial fertilizer is used; it is the bad guy of the NPK world.

Now with all that said, most likely manure will be a far better alternative. 90% of the land out there needs more organic matter, and this helps increase that, along with getting the NPK levels up. Ruminant poo 85% of what they eat back out, so really you just have to do a manure test, see what they are putting down into the soil, and then supplement the 15% that is being grazed off and not returned as poo. In my case, my pastures need 50 pounds per acre of 10/10/10...but keep in mind, my fields are established. I dislike commercial fertilizers so instead I use manure gathered over the winter months to get me where I need to be. At the same time, a ruminant does not kill off a lot of seeds in the sward they eat, so spreading manure often means overseeding too.

It is possible to get certain grasses to grow that lessen your need for even manure, but sadly we do not live in a perfect world. A lot of the grass types that allow for nitrogen fixation, do not tolerate grazing so well. In my hay fields I use a variety of grass types, but have lately switched to a 50/50 timothy-clover mixture, I need almost nothing for manure for that, but that would not be a good grazing sward however.

This is about the best I can do for a reply as really there is not enough information given to help you any better than this.
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Un Jung wrote:SE GEORGIA. Clear cut seven years ago. I've turned plowed/ harrowed. Hard work. Boat load of lime/ ten ten ten. I've got grass to grow in other areas I've prepared this away. Q: raising goats. WHAT is best fast spreading aggressive drought resistant GRASS you know?



Goats are browsers and prefer to not bend their heads to the ground to feed, pasture for horses is not the way to make goats happy campers.
Their favorite foods are shrubs, bushes, scrub type woody plants.
They will eat grasses once they grow up tall enough for their liking, even though it isn't their favorite type of food.

Sudan, Bermuda, and native grasses like buffalo grass would be good choices for the bulk of pasture planting.

Like Travis, I like the pasture forage mixes from TSC for a good base of plants, then I over seed with other plant types to get a wide variety in a pasture.

Redhawk

 
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I recommend research done by the Land Institue. Wes Jackson is its founder. They are working on several perennial species, one of them is a perennial wheat. They have a seed exchange, and send their test breeds to be grown by members of its alliance.

It's rare to see a research body not backed by giant corporations with profit in mind.
 
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Location: Upstate SC
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Since the 1970's, Bahia grass has spread throughout South Carolina  to become the dominant grass in vacant fields and along roadsides, so it obviously self seeds and spreads effectively.  Compared to bermuda grass it is more drought tolerant and more tolerant of poor soil, but provides a lower quality graze than bermuda.  When I first moved here, the pastures were mostly bahia with a little fescue in the cooler, slightly shaded areas.  As I improved the fertility of the soil, bermuda grass appeared and now covers about 1/3 of the pastures.
 
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