Growing Multiple Forage Species is Good For Your Pastures and Your Animals

Thanks to Jesse Morrison of Mississippi State and the Soil Science Society of America for this article from January of 2018. It might help you give some thought to what you want to plant if you're thinking of adding to your pastures this year. Although it might seem like grazing animals will eat any grass in the field, they are actually picky eaters. They prefer a “buffet” of grass choices. And while it’s good for the grazing animals, growing a variety of forage plants in the field also benefits the plants, the soil, and the environment. Most of their grazing time, grazing animals are making decisions about what to eat with every bite. Luckily for the animals, they don’t normally have only one option for their meal in a pasture setting. Growing multiple plant species in the same space at the same time, polyculture, is the norm in pasture grazing scenarios.   Usually, perennial grasses serve as the primary component in pastures for grazing. Most polyculture systems add in annual species because of their flexibility and low cost of establishment compared to their perennial counterparts. Using legumes (clovers, alfalfa, and peas) can increase protein and nutrients in the available forage. Including legumes also supplies the plants in the pasture with naturally produced nitrogen fert

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