November 5, 2016


Let’s talk about specific grass planting scenarios:

• Grass that could be occasionally covered with water.
• Late and early grazed rangeland grasses.
• Irrigated grasses planted on high PH soils.
• Adding specific legumes to grass blends to add 1.5 tons more yield to “mid-summer grass slump”


Hercules will establish on soils with a PH as high as 10.1!
• More forage and better quality than Alkar or Jose
• Good growth early in the spring
• As with Newhy, be sure to graze before heading

Below is a pivot of grass established on a true salt grass flat in Pine Valley, Nevada

The pivot was first seeded to Johnstone hybrid fescue (a test tube cross between fescue and ryegrass). The Johnstone did well in the lower PH part of the pivot, but could not handle the higher PH areas of the field. The rancher overseeded the field with Hercules, and the Hercules could handle the high PH.

Established Johnstone on left (lower PH)
A higher PH on right. Hercules established easily on the whiter ground where the fescue could not.

Overseeded with Hercules on very high PH soil. Note, white alkalai soil at my feet. 

If I had to recommend variety(s) today on this soil type, I would recommend a blend of Johnstone/Macbeth/Hercules/Strawberry Clover. Note: every situation and every ranch and soil type is different. 
I need to place my feet on your soil, listen to you, before I can make an actual recommendation. I am happy to come to your ranch and jump in your pick up and listen to you!



Early established Forage Kochia





On nasty alkalai soil. Photo taken in August.

Russian Wild Rye is a range grass that has been known to grow 4-5 inches with no water! Must not be planted with any other grass except dryland alfalfa. Great for grazing in the late season. The reason this grass cannot be planted with any other grass is because it is as palatable as orchard grass. The cattle will cherry pick the Russian Wildrye, and leave the other species to get wolfy. Not so when you mix some dryland alfalfa with Bozoisky.




A test tube cross between Rye grass and Fescue. Cattle like the high sugar from the Rye grass parent. Do not try to add cover crops such as clovers and brassicas to any fescue stand. It is complicated so call me and I will tell you why. 


This is Rush Intermediate Wheatgrass, planted on dryland near Cambridge, ID.

This is a grass that requires a little more annual precip. usually 12 inches or more. It can stand very wet conditions in the spring, sometimes standing water for a month and not dying. It is one of the grasses we put in blends where there is flooding in the spring. This is a very palatable grass. It replaces Oahe when planted side by side with Oahe at Praire, Idaho the rancher told us that the elk congregated heavily in the rush and left the Oahe alone. The rush got depleted by the elk, but it tells you that the elk sensed the palability of the rush vs. the older variety Oahe. 


Crescent Valley, Nevada
This grass will stand 10.0 PH and can stand to be covered with water in the spring.

Note: how salty the soil is. Newhy survives!



Note: The width of a Meadow Brome leaf on the right compared to the Fescue shown on the left. Meadow Brome has some alkali tolerance.

The variety we love to sell is called MacBeth, developed by Montana State University. There are 5 varieties of Meadow Brome, but they are all equal in irrigated university trials, but when entered into a dryland trial MacBeth doubles the yield of all the others. This means drought tolerance! Ranchers will tell us they have plenty of creek water, but we know this adequate water is really good two years out of five. So, we recommend MacBeth and it always works out well. A rancher near Bruno, ID had a MacBeth/dryland alfalfa blend with windrows unto his waist. He loves MacBeth. 


MacBeth is a Meadow Brome variety mixed with alfalfa. The windrows were waist high.