By Tony Dean
Old World Bluestems Volume 2
In Volume 1 of “Grazing Old World Bluestems,” Tony Dean addressed the issues surrounding the Old World Bluestem (OWB) family, including the invasive nature of these grasses. In this issue, he examines OWBs as a forage for livestock and the management needed to make these grasses productive.
Old World Bluestem as a Forage for Livestock
OWBs were initially brought to the United States as a forage for livestock and for erosion control capability. Ironically, some of the characteristics that make these species invasive also cause them to be a desirable grass for grazing.
One of the primary survival characteristics of OWowBs is their ability to withstand heavy grazing. OW Bs are genetically prone to grow upright like our native bluestems; however, with heavy grazing pressure, plants begin to take a sod growth form. This protects the leaves, as they are only a few inches above the ground. When moisture is adequate, a seed stalk is produced.
To read more pick up a copy of the February 2020 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.