Pick the Right Pasture Seed Blend
The benefits of raising grass-fed livestock are well known, but establishing the perfect pasture grass continues to prove problematic for some. When managed properly, pastures ensure the highest level of animal health and environmental friendliness. Key to that operation is the right combination of grass, legumes and forbs to not only sustain your animals, but help them thrive. Customized pasture seeds are tailored to compliment your natural environment while providing proper growth of your animals, and maintaining your property. Remember, your pasture is an investment. Specialized grass seed companies, like Nature’s Finest Seed, provide high-quality seed blends customized by region, resources and grazing style to provide animals with highly palatable, nutrient-rich forage.
Matching Your Region with the Right Pasture Seed Blend
The most important aspect to consider when choosing a pasture grass seed blend is your regional location. Soil, temperature and water availability vary greatly across the United States. The right pasture seed blend in balmy Mississippi will be significantly different from the right blend for a similar purpose in arid Arizona. Regional considerations that should be incorporated into the design process include:
- environmental elements such as soil conditions, sun/shade tolerances and heat tolerances
- drought potential, disease and pest risk, possible invasive traits
- water availability (dryland vs. irrigated)
For best results, consult soil survey maps and get your soil tested to find out your soil type, drainage, composition and forage capability. Your local Cooperative Extension Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service are both excellent resources for assisting you with any of these actions.
Matching Your Animals’ Needs with the Right Pasture Seed Blend
An animal’s nutritional needs, natural preferences and ultimate purpose are all important considerations when choosing a pasture seed blend. The right option for a herd of beef or dairy cows can be significantly different from the needs of a horse enclosure or sheep flock. Customizing your pasture seed mix for the right purpose is the best way to ensure healthy, productive animals. Examples of customized blends include:
a short, dense pasture made up of soft, leafy grasses preferred by the peculiar mouths of llamas and alpacas
Complimentary and palatable grass varieties necessary for more selective animals, such as those found in a horse pasture seed mix
substantial nutrient-dense and palatable grass species designed to keep beef cattle eating instead of roaming, while supplying dairy cows with all the energy needed to maximize milk production
blended mixtures with shrub-like broadleaf forbs for wandering grazers like goats
In addition to appropriate grass seeds, an ideal pasture seed blend will have carefully selected legumes to compliment your land and herd’s particularized needs. Legumes’ importance includes offering additional digestible protein, calcium and minerals to animals, and providing natural nitrogen and soil erosion control for the land.
Best pasture seeding practices incorporate both regional standards and animal needs to find the best customized solution to sustain the land, maximize growth potential and help animals thrive as natural grazers. Keep these concepts in mind next time you’re looking for the right pasture seed blend.