Management consideration for tall wheatgrass

1.     Establishment
Tall wheatgrass is almost always sown as part of a mixed pasture with legumes and other saltland grasses.

Tall wheatgrass pastures require all the standard pasture establishment procedures associated with non-saline sites. That is, weed control the previous spring to reduce the annual weed seed burden and then cultivation or direct drilling after the opening rains in autumn. Spring sowing is possible for tall wheatgrass, but does not usually suit the other species in the mix, especially any annual legumes.

2.     Management and grazing
Grazing management is one of the greatest challenges with tall wheatgrass. It is strongly tussock-forming and can quickly become rank and very unpalatable for livestock. Frequent hard (rotational) grazing over the active growing period is essential and can mean the difference between a productive sward and paddock that is almost impossible to drive across (because of the large tussocks that can be 2m high), is almost completely unpalatable, has low nutrient status, provides no ‘space’ for complementary species, and acts as a source of potential weed seed. Slashing or burning can be used if the pasture has gotten out of control.

3.     Animal nutrition
There are no particular animal nutrition issues other than the unpalatability of rank tussocks. Short, vegetative tall wheatgrass has similar nutritional qualities to the other temperate perennial pasture grasses.

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