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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - October 22, 2014

From: Beeville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native Grasses as a Hay Crop in Beeville, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I am looking to cut Hay on about 38 acres just west of Beeville, Texas. I want to convert the land to native grasses, but I still want to have a decent hay crop that I can sell. What is a good set of native grasses to establish in that region.

ANSWER:

When Mr Smarty Plants went looking for references and information on this topic, he was pleasantly surprised!  There is quite a bit of literature out there that supports hay production using native grasses.

Here are some of those references:

AgWeb:  Hay Production with Native Grasses

Univ. of Tennessee: Producing Hay from Native Warm-Season Grasses in the Mid-South

Native Prairie Hay Meadows: A Landowner’s Management Guide 

Missouri Dept of Conservation: NATIVE WARM-SEASON GRASS PASTURES

Univ. of Nebraska Extension:  Switchgrass, Big Bluestem, and Indiangrass for Grazing and Hay

 

These grasses are both listed in the above publications and in the List of Recommended Species which covers the area around Beeville  [Postoak Savannah] :

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

 

From the Image Gallery


Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Eastern gamagrass
Tripsacum dactyloides

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

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