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Thread: Palatable grass varieties for Sheep

  1. #1
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    Palatable grass varieties for Sheep

    Musing about grass seed varieties.
    Very noticeable that Sheep graze the headlands , anywhere that has not been seeded with commercial varieties, before they will reluctantly eat the commercial mix.
    We use the usual mix of Rye grass and Clover....years two or three can see probably 40% Clover.
    Try to operate a clean grazing system Year one seeds....Sheep......Year two Cattle or silage.... Silage....Three back to Sheep or silage again followed by Sheep.
    Looking to finish lambs late June / July with the aid of creep feed. Fairly heavily stocked.
    Googling brings up Names like Cocksfoot ....not so suited to silage!
    Decades ago I can remember usual mix used Timothy and Cocksfoot as the dominant seeds with a small quantity of Rye grass, of course a fair dollop of clover was present.
    Resultant pastures could end up with the big clumpy lumps, but stocking rate was much less at the time.
    Chicory / Plantain etc do not lend to Silage cropping plus they seem to perform best with strip grazing.

  2. #2
    Senior Member b slicker's Avatar
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    Re: Palatable grass varieties for Sheep

    Quote Originally Posted by Gee View Post
    Musing about grass seed varieties.
    Very noticeable that Sheep graze the headlands , anywhere that has not been seeded with commercial varieties, before they will reluctantly eat the commercial mix.
    We use the usual mix of Rye grass and Clover....years two or three can see probably 40% Clover.
    Try to operate a clean grazing system Year one seeds....Sheep......Year two Cattle or silage.... Silage....Three back to Sheep or silage again followed by Sheep.
    Looking to finish lambs late June / July with the aid of creep feed. Fairly heavily stocked.
    Googling brings up Names like Cocksfoot ....not so suited to silage!
    Decades ago I can remember usual mix used Timothy and Cocksfoot as the dominant seeds with a small quantity of Rye grass, of course a fair dollop of clover was present.
    Resultant pastures could end up with the big clumpy lumps, but stocking rate was much less at the time.
    Chicory / Plantain etc do not lend to Silage cropping plus they seem to perform best with strip grazing.
    Plantain, or 'rib grass' as it is otherwise known in its natural state is persistent and historically has been regarded as a valuable and palatable herb in permanent pasture.

    But the modern bred variety (or varieties) don't seem to be very persistent, and I sometimes wonder if it needs a particular soil fungus (or similar) to be successful.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wee Dram's Avatar
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    Re: Palatable grass varieties for Sheep

    We used to always add a bit of cocksfoot to our grass seed mix. I liked it for it's drought resistance and it's ability to take a pounding when outwintering cows but i wouldn't have thought it would be very high on any sheeps palatability list. I always thought it was as palatable and digestible as rusty old barb wire and like you say if left it can become dominant and clumpy in a ley.
    For sheep perhaps some of the fescues would be best or some of the other smaller leaved grasses. In your system where you want a grass that does sheep, cattle and silage i would guess your rye grass mix will be as good as any. Pretty wide choice of different rye grasses these days.

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