A study of our organic pasture: grasses

Common name: Perennial and annual grasses.

Scientific name: Lolium perenne and Lolium multiflorum. 

Why we use them: Grasses are the ‘backbone’ of a pasture, the primary feed for cows. We have a medley of ‘historic’ and recently sown grasses on the farm. Typically, conventional farming sees pastures sprayed out with glyphosate, which means more of a monoculture is created.

The old variety grasses that have been here since the farm was first broken in, are; Cocksfoot, Tall Fescue, Prairie, Grazing Brome, Phalaris, Yorkshire Fog, Brown Top and Paspalum. Over the years we have used a wide range of new cultivars to ‘top up’, or rejuvenate pastures to keep them thick and productive. We do this during Autumn, using an air seeder on the back of a tractor. This year we have used the perennial, tetraploid (Base) and diploid (one50). It’s important to have a good, thick pasture cover, as it helps with limiting weeds. In what’s termed an ‘open pasture’, weeds readily pop through. It also helps with limiting ‘pugging’ from animals, especially in winter.