Throughout the United States, a lot of alfalfa is grown with grass. This is sometimes done by design, but other times it occurs unintentionally. In some areas, grass is very well adapted. It is less prone to winter damage, although this past winter we found that grass, too, can die over winter. There has been expanding interest in growing grass in alfalfa mixtures. Why? Especially on fields that are variable, yields can be higher and more consistent with grass. Grass, if harvested at the right stage, will have higher fiber digestibility than alfalfa. Typically, it will dry down faster for haylage or hay.
Let’s look at some of the advantages for including grass with our alfalfa plantings:
1. Grass may grow in areas of the field where alfalfa plants are not well-adapted.
2. Grass may fill in spots as alfalfa plants die rather than weeds so acceptable yields may persist longer.
3. Grass-alfalfa mixtures dry faster than pure alfalfa.
4. Grass forage quality declines more slowly than alfalfa during second and later cuttings because grass regrowth is mostly leaves.
5. Grass suffers less damage from wheel traffic of harvest equipment or manure spreaders.
6. Grass sheds rainfall better than alfalfa, both in the windrow and in the bale.
From an animal nutrition perspective, adding grass to alfalfa also has some advantages:
1. Grass-alfalfa mixtures come closer than pure alfalfa to meeting the desired TDN:CP ratio of 5-7.5:1 for beef cows on high roughage diets.
2. Grass adds more potentially needed fiber than alfalfa for high grain or corn silage diets.
3. Grass can reduce acidosis in dairy rations without impacting milk production by lowering non-fiber carbohydrates.
4. Bloat risk is less when grass is part of the pasture mix.
Hay has been tested. Crude protein is 16.76. Hay put up with little rain.
Satisfied good quality