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Consider nutrient needs when selecting forages

Consider nutrient needs when selecting forages

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Texas native grasses

Indiangrass and little bluestem.

One may be surprised to learn that bermuda grass and bahiagrass are not native to Texas, much less to the United States. There are numerous species of grasses and forbs that can be utilized for forage throughout the state of Texas. Keep in mind as we select forages we need to be mindful of our production system goals, location (soil type and rainfall), and the nutrient needs of our livestock (and/or wildlife).

Many livestock producers are considering forage species and varieties that do not require as much fertilizer as bermuda grass. At the same time, many landowners have expressed interest in restoring native prairies for wildlife habitat enhancement. Native grasses are well-adapted and quite persistent with good grazing management, but typically are not used for hay production. Native grasses may require longer time to establish and are less tolerant of overstocking. If interested, check with your local county extension agent, Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel or Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists to determine which species are best adapted to your location.

Some native grass species: Little bluestem, Indiangrass, Eastern gamagrass, switchgrass, sideoats grama, big bluestem.

Some native forb species: Maximilian sunflower, Engelmann daisy, Illinois bundleflower, Bush sunflower.

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