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Forage grass

Selecting forage crops that fit your growing conditions, crop rotations, and livestock requirements is an essential part of forage planning. Our hay and pasture mix lineup will provide solutions for a range of goals and growing conditions. The standard mixes that we have will cover a variety of uses for your needs. We also keep lots of different individual species and varieties available and are happy to assist you in designing custom blends for your specific project.

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Forage grass
Dairy hay

Forage, Hay & Pasture Products

Feeding livestock is something we take very seriously at Martin Seed. Whether you are just taking care of the family “pets” or feeding out a herd. You want someone who has years of local knowledge to help you choose what works on your pasture or hay production acres.

We offer custom blends of fresh forage seed products – the best the market has to offer in quality and germination. There are a lot of options to choose from, our advice is to check the seed tag – If your buying cheap seed with a lower germination rate and planting more pounds per acre to achieve a proper stand, have you saved money buying that cheap seed? Planting better quality, higher germ rate and less pounds per acre is the way to go… The age old saying of “cheap ain’t good and good ain’t cheap” is especially true when it comes to seed products. 

FIELD GRASS SPECIES

We’ve put together a list of the most commonly used cool season grasses. If you have precise goals for an area, we can build a customized blend to meet those requirements. From choosing a drought tolerant species to pair with alfalfa or designing a twenty species grass and legume pasture mix, Martin Seed is ready to blend your seed.

CONCEPT OF NURSE CROPS FOR NEW MIXED HAY SEEDING

A nurse crop is an annual crop used to assist in establishment of a perennial crop. The widest use of nurse crops is in the establishment of legumaceous plants such as alfalfa, clover, and trefoil. Occasionally nurse crops are used for establishment of perennial grasses.

Nurse crops reduce the incidence of weeds, prevent erosion, and prevent excessive sunlight from reaching tender seedlings. Often the nurse crop can be harvested for grain, straw, hay, or pasture. Oats are the most common nurse crop, though other annual grains are also. Nurse cropping of tall or dense-canopied plants, may protect more vulnerable species through shading or by providing a wind break.

Depending on the situation nurse crops should be considered carefully. Some people don’t like the idea of nurse crop since the typical cereal grain used for the purpose may act more like a weed, taking up water and nutrients needed by the more important perennial forage crop. On the other hand, when soil erosion is a serious threat, a nurse crop can save the day.

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages to including a nurse crop with your new hay or pasture seeding.

    Advantages
  • Nurse crops provide erosion control where needed.
  • Nurse crops can help with weed suppression.
  • Roundup-ready alfalfa provides easier control of nurse crops at early stage of growth.
  • Nurse crops can provide extra forage or grain during the establishment year for a perennial forage.
    Disadvantages
  • Alfalfa or mixed hay harvest usually begins sooner without nurse crops.
  • Nurse crops use water, nutrients and sunlight otherwise available to the perennial forage crop.
  • Nurse crops generally reduce first-year perennial forage crop yield and may result in thinner stands.
  • Excessive nurse crop seeding rates add to seeding cost.

Generally, nurse crops should be used only when needed. Otherwise, clear seeding of alfalfa or mixed hay is likely to be more efficient in the long run. Waiting to harvest grain from a nurse crop can result in significant reduction of stand in the alfalfa or other perennial hay seedings. Consider the comparable value of oat grain from a thin, nurse crop seeding compared to the value of a good stand of multi-year alfalfa or mixed hay forage established without a nurse crop.

Forage, hay and pasture Support
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