Producing high-quality brome hay requires adequate fertility and timely cutting. Smooth brome hay can be an extremely high-quality forage if harvested at the bloom stage. Producing quality hay, however, eliminates producing a seed crop. Brome hay should be cut between early heading and full bloom this is usually mid-May to about June 1 to optimize quantity & quality.
Smooth brome should never be cut before early heading stage or below a stubble height of 4 inches as stand reduction or loss can occur, particularly during dry soil conditions.
As grass hay matures, forage quality drops rapidly. Research has shown that crude protein content declines rapidly between boot & mature seed stages. Crude protein levels in well fertilized hay harvested at early heading range from 10 to 18%, but drop rapidly after heading to about 8%. Decreases in crude protein levels by as much as ½ % per day after heading have been recorded.
If hay production is to be maintained, the brome cannot be grazed following haying because it needs time to rest and to replenish food reserves to adequately produce a crop for the next year.
Brome Hay needs adequate amounts of Lime & Phosphorous. These levels should be checked by a soil test. Brome needs about 80 to 120 pounds of actual nitrogen annually. In this area we usually recommend 90 to 100 pounds of actual Nitrogen on established brome stands. September to February is the best time to apply Nitrogen on brome as long as the ground is not frozen and there is not snow on the ground.
From the Kansas Forage Publications Database: