University of Missouri Extension

M181, New February 2012

Dairy Grazing: Selecting the Right Forage

Prairiegrass (Bromus wildenowii Kunth)

Cool-season grasses

Prairiegrass, often called Matua grass, is a cool-season perennial bunchgrass. Despite its name, prairiegrass is not native to North America. Prairiegrass is adapted to well-drained and fertile soils where the soil pH is 6.0–7.0. Generally, soils that support good alfalfa production work well for prairiegrass. Prairiegrass produces well in summer as long as soil moisture is adequate, and it overwinters well if a 5-inch stubble is left in autumn. Despite the productivity of prairiegrass under ideal conditions, individual plants do not persist well in the Midwest. Stands are best maintained by allowing for a reseeding period every year. One reason prairiegrass does not persist well is that it is a “jointed grass.” This means that prairiegrass elevates its growing point above ground during tiller development. Grazing or cutting prairiegrass after the growing point has been elevated above grazing or cutting height dramatically reduces subsequent regrowth and may result in plant death. As a result, prairiegrass does not tolerate continuous grazing, so it is best suited for rotational grazing with long rest periods.

PrairiegrassPrairiegrass
 

Yield distributionYield distribution of Prairiegrass in Missouri.
 

Seed head
Seed head

Collar region
Collar region


 

M181 Dairy Grazing: Selecting the Right Forage | University of Missouri Extension

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