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On Grass…..
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Fern(Mi)    Posted 08-07-2004 at 06:49:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
…..a few days ago somebody had asked a question about Timothy and Foxtail grasses? Something like were they the same? And somebody said they were, which got me. Timothy has made great livestock hay for hundreds of generations. Foxtail has not made much of anything even longer with the exception of pretty ground cover, for a wild grass..
Having asked our AG extension agent about foxtail grass nutritional value, he suggested no real study he knew of had been done this grasses feed value likely lower than straw. Then I wondered why some one would pass along this kind on miss information. I admit I don’t know these grasses individual food values, but to suggest two different grasses were the same bothered me. So while cutting hay today I took the time to grab a few stems and blossoms and laid them in my scanner. Here they are, left to right: Timothy hay, Foxtail grass, Orchard grass, Quack grass, and Brome grass.

Clearly the Timothy and Foxtail are different in appearance and size, even down to the leaves. And, as far as research is concerned Foxtail grass has generated very little interest in Ag colleges. Timothy matures the latest of my pictured examples, making it a very forgiving late season’s hay cutting feed.
Orchard grass chiefly planted, in orchards to start is widely planted elsewhere now. It matures early and reseeds itself easily making it popular in orchards where its planting has out lasted a many the orchards. A very strong upright heavy stalked plant. Tough able to take a many a mowing yet providing a soft earth covering under an orchard canopy.
Quack grass is considered and written up a noxious weed and the planting of it is outlawed in the State of Michigan. Yet if hard pressed it makes a very good to an excellent grass hay.
Brome grass makes an excellent hay by itself. Medium season’s maturity medium strength stalk.
Maybe a recap; Timothy, Brome and Orchard grasses are often planted with Alfalfa’s. The idea’s are varied. Timothy nicely fill in in those fields prone to wet spots drowning out the alfalfa while yet providing some support for the remaining alfalfa’s first cutting. Brome or Orchard either one may be planted for the sole purpose of adding support to the heavier Alfalfa plant in an upright position for easier hay cutting, Brome for earlier cuts and Orchard for later cuttings following.
Goes something like cutting Alfalfa planted with Brome cut first, followed by Alfalfa with Orchard grass second , and Timothy last before the recycling subsequent second and third cuttings all the alfalfa fields.
While this report may be far from complete. I hope it interests some younger minds to look into a science education.
Besides, my uneducated sinuses have been driving me crazy!
Meanwhile, there are more grasses growing our there: Sudan grass, Reeds Canary grass, Crab grass, to mention some more. That’s it for what I know about the grass my cows are on. So eat beef and the next meal drink milk. Might add it is not kosher to drink milk with a beef meal, being the milk was freely given while flesh was decidedly taken.

Ron/PA    Posted 08-07-2004 at 12:28:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
We rely chiefly on timothy, since we bed everything in hay, on occasions we will bale up a bit of foxtail for bedding. Even the pigs don't nibble on that.
As a kid I used to help out a neighbor farmer and he always swore that one year he hadda feed foxtail to his steers and they lost weight on it. IF in fact that were true the nutritional value must be zip. Don't have any idea if it's really true though.

toolman    Posted 08-07-2004 at 12:00:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
timothy brome and even orchard grass is a preferred feed around here, horses have done very well on the timothy hay , got to watch the they don,t get anywhere near any foxtail though isn,t good for horses.

KellyGa    Posted 08-07-2004 at 09:45:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Very interesting and very informative, thanks Fern. :) I mowed my grass this morning and piled some in the back yard for the chickens to feast on, nothing smells so good as fresh cut grass, and it must taste pretty good too, as they are eating it now. Well, I just stopped in for a few minutes to cool myself and get a glass of tea, I am going to get back to it now. See ya...

Old John    Posted 08-07-2004 at 07:32:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi There Fernan,

Real good explanation on the grasses & hays.

Do you or anyone on the board know anthing
about Big Bluestem, Little Blue Stem, Indian
Grass or Switch grass??

I got a real deal on about 25# of Native Grasses.
Enough for 3 acrtes or more.
Then I got reading up & found that they gets
about 6 or 7 feet tall. Might be as big as Johnson Grass, which I know is a noxious weed.
I never got around to sowing them.

Are they any good for pasture, hay, or even deer feed? Or,Should I just bury them or give em away to somebody, that don't know what they are.

I've only got 13 acres & I can't see mowing 7 ft. grass. What dya think?
'Til Later,
Old John

Fern(Mi)    Posted 08-07-2004 at 17:41:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Old John:
You asked some very good questions I absolutely have no answers for. All the grasses you mentioned I have never heard of nor seen. But, that's alright. The New world continents are covered in as varied a vegetation that reaches far beyond any one individual’s imagination. I’m going to cut and past your thread to my files as this may well make for some interesting researching this Winter. And, I am not one to ignore new fodder to chew on nor a topic a friend of mine may exaggerate on, the poor soul.

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