Copyright © Graeme Finn

Perennial Pastures

"I seed a heavy mixture of different legumes - mainly alfalfa, vetch, and sainfoin along the grass. The more legumes the better… up to 60 percent. The vetch and sainfoin help to prevent bloating. When I am sod seeding I like to use 10 lbs per acre of grass blend which is hybrid brome grasses, smooth leaf tall fescue, and orchard grass. The legume is at 5 lbs an acre: Splendor 4 alfalfa, Veldt milk vetch, and sainfoin. After a couple of years there is more vetch and sainfoin repopulating in the stand. I find that a mixture of grasses and legumes gives me the best milk production and weight gains for my grazing cattle. Do not be afraid of using legumes, with grazing management they can be the best for your pastures."

  • With grazing management, legumes like alfalfa, vetch, and sainfoin can be the best for pastures. 
  • By having a good mix of grasses and legumes in the pasture stand, we can improve fertility in addition to livestock production.
  • By having multi-species in a pasture stand, we can have good, productive grazing from spring to fall.
  • ​Plant diversity suppresses the spread of harmful insects, diseases, and weeds.
  • Inter-layering legumes through the grass canopy lessons bloat and creates a more efficient pasture (than the alternate sole grass or sole legume pasture).
  • Plant diversity increases nutritional opportunities for grazing livestock.

Don't be afraid of legumes!

  • A quality forage has low fiber, high protein, and tastes good.
  • Sugars in a plant are the immediate product of photosynthesis, which have not yet been incorporated into the plant structure. The less mature the plant, the greater proportion of total dry weight is made up by cell solubles. This is good grazing.
  • In immature plants as much as 90% of the cellulose maybe digested while in mature grasses less than 25% maybe digested.
  • Over grazing is the most harmful practice to any pasture and is the most common way that weeds get ahead of pastures.
  • Always consider leaving a forage solar panel for quick growth after grazing.
  • Rotational grazing is beneficial to both the cattle and the pasture land.
  • Electric fencing is one tool that can be used to make grazing easier.
  • Fresh water is essential.
  • Stock piled forage is needed for fall winter grazing.​

What Factors Make a Quality Pasture?

Pastures
Southern Cross Livestock
51.38455829999999,-114.2620222Crossfield, AlbertaT0M0S0CA
Phone: 14033122240 Website: www.southerncrosslivestock.ca