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Bahiagrass Pasture Seed

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Bahia Grass Pasture Seed Varieties

The primary varieties of Bahiagrass, Argentine, Pensacola, Tifton 9 & TifQuik are used for PASTURE forage production. Each has their specific application usage that will work best in your location, application, soil type and usage program.

Picture right: Pensacola with growth for seed production. Approximately 3' tall.

Pensacola Bahiagrass

CATTLE: All four primary varieties of Bahiagrass are used to provide forage for cattle. TifQuik provides the highest total tonnage, followed by Tifton9, Argentine Bahia (in certain soil types) and then Pensacola Bahia. Protein values range from 3-8%. Visit our for more pasture information for cattle.

HORSES: Pensacola Bahia and Tifton 9 are the recommended Bahia's for equestrian forages. Argentine Bahia produces a condition known as ergot on its seed. These diseased seeds can cause abortion problems in pregnant Mares if they eat the seed heads. The seed heads can also be managed through mowing or by keeping pregnant horses confined. Horses actually like the taste of Argentine Bahia over the other bahias.

Bahiagrass for Pastures:


HAY: Protein content of Bahia ranges from 3 to 8 percent in hay depending on time of production and management.  While not quite as good as hay produced from the hybrid Bermuda's, Quality Bahia can provide a sustainable food source for live-stock.  It also provides a good supplemental source of roughage.  

Comparisons of Bahiagrass & Coastal Bermuda for wintering stocker calves:


Coastal Bermuda

Pensacola Bahiagrass

Crude Protein 13.1 4.9 10.3 6.7
Hay Consumed Daily - lbs. 11.5 11.6 11.7 10.9
Average Daily Gain - Lbs. .82 .54 1.07 .73
Increase in Gain - % 42 -- 47 --
Source: McCormick, W.C., W.H. Marchant, and B.L. Southwell - 1967. Coastal Bermuda grass and Pensacola Bahiagrass hays for wintering beef calves.  Georgia Agri. Experiment Station - Rec. Bull.19.

Pensacola is still considered a good variety for planting for forage production. Its low cost of seed, combined with use of Pensacola Bahia as a land builder / rotational crop in peanuts and tobacco make it a popular choice today. These characteristics keep sales of Pensacola Bahia high even with the improved variety of Tifton 9 Pensacola Bahia.

Pensacola Bahiagrass

TOTAL FORAGE PRODUCTION: TifQuik and Tifton 9 produce most total forage, followed by Argentine and Pensacola. Argentine forage production can drop off over time due to compaction of the soil in the sod from a condition known as "sod-bound" (usually 3-5 years).

This requires a cycle of reconditioning the soil in Argentine to restore forage production.   Pensacola and Tifton 9 have less problems with becoming "sod-bound", thus production levels stay higher for longer periods of years.

HOW TO: - Seed Pastures.


Bahia grass is one of the main warm season pasture grasses in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and has long served as a major grass in the cattle growing industry especially of the pampas of South America. Argentine Bahia was introduced in Florida in the early 1940’s to provide pasturage for the early cattle ranches in the mid to southern portions of Florida. At that time Florida received almost daily afternoon rains and had a wetter season than we now enjoy.

The Argentine Bahia grass was readily received in areas of heat, high humidity, and rainfall. The Pensacola Bahia was actually discovered growing in the panhandle district of Pensacola Florida and the emergence of one of the major grasses of the United States was in the making. This grass was found to fare best in the mid to upper areas along the Gulf Coast of Florida where it was drier and cooler. Overtime Bahia grasses have spread throughout the southern coastal regions to Texas and up the northeast coast to the Carolinas.

Bahia is an easily seeded bunching grass and is used in planting permanent pastures. The Bahia forms a thick, dense sod, grows fast under average rainfall, light to medium green in color and can withstand the impact of larger herds of cattle and horses. Pensacola Bahia can withstand heavy foraging and recovers fast. Bahia is resistant to most all diseases and has few insect problems. The Argentine variety is the finer bladed and more the tropical of the bahias. Pensacola is the favorite variety of most of the adapted areas. Pensacola grows farther north and can take the cooler weather better that the Argentine. It can easily be seeded or grown for sod and pastures are seeded as the easiest and cheapest method.

The best forage source of Bahia is the Tifton variety. Bahia is easily managed with low fertility rate and drought resistant qualities in the Pensacola and Tifton varieties. They are all palatable to livestock and are adapted to the turf damage caused by livestock. Additional feed sources may be needed with livestock that needs higher protein levels like dairy herds. Bahia grows this enough to crowd out most of the weeds and mowing unused pastures early in the spring will help to keep seeding weeds down to a minimum. Bahia grasses have great drought tolerance (except Argentine) and put down deep root systems and if it becomes to dry it can go into a dormancy stage until the next good rainy season. - Establishment

Establishment of the varieties of Bahia are easily seeded by mechanical means with a seed drill, seed broadcaster or even by airplane. The seed germinates according to the variety with the Pensacola taking up to 30 days, depending upon the soil temperature and moisture. Some seeds that don’t germinate can remain in the ground for months until the right conditions occur. Seedlings should be allowed to fully develop and a good root system developed before livestock is turned on the pasture. Smaller amounts of livestock should be pastured at first. If you have favorable weather (warm) with rain that has been sufficient, the grass will establish faster.

Varieties of Bahia for Pasture use:

Seeding is done at the rate of 25-25 lb. per acre for Argentine and 20-30 for Pensacola and 10-25 for Tifton. Each seed size is slightly different according to the variety and the seeding rates are adjusted. Bahia grass seed can be planted practically any time of the year in the southern areas that do not get frost and can be planted from early spring into the middle of August depending on how far north you are planting. Seeding can be done with a seed drill, broadcast spreader or hand broadcasting in small acreage. Seed should be cultipacked into the ground at least ˝ inch. - Pasture Maintenance

General Maintenance requirements for Bahia are quite low compared to the other grasses that are grown for pasturage. Bahia requires between 80 and 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre per year for the best production. Additional liming is usually needed of most soils at a rate of 1-2 tons per acre depending upon soil testing and these tests should be conducted every 2 years. The addition of potassium and phosphorus can be determined at the same time. Occasionally Bahia will need to be over seeded to promote new growth due to the climate or the age of the pasturage and natural decline.  In some areas rejuvenation requires busting up the sod-bound grass by harrowing or other mechanical means.

Watering is not one of the main necessities in maintaining a Bahia pasture. They are generally well adapted for drought conditions and if it gets too dry Bahia will go into dormancy and will return at the next wet spell. Bahia grass places much of the plant energy resources into the deep root system that it develops. Some of the roots can grow into the ground down to ten feet deep. Of course if irrigation is in place watering during the extreme dry spells certainly won’t hurt and in the seeding stage it can help to establish the grass faster but this is usually not necessary.

Pests and diseases are very few in the Bahia grasses. The main pests are the armyworm and the mole cricket. There are preventative measures for these and you need to contact the county agent to get the best pest control information. Dollar spot is the only disease that has much effect of the Bahia grass growth.

Pasture Fertilization will be determined by the fertility of the soil and can be done by a soil test. Generally Bahia does not require as much fertilizer as the other pasture grasses and if legumes have been grown in the soil there will be less need of as much fertilizer. A general addition of 30 lb. per acre of N, 15 lb. per acre of P and 30 lb. per acre of K would be added in the seeding stage as a starter feed for the fastest seedling growth. The additions of fertilizer on a yearly basis would be to add 60-80 lb. N per acre, 20-50 lb. P per acre and 60-80 lb. of K per acre per year divided into two applications.  (Such as 20-5-20).  Additions of sulfur and minor elements are beneficial.  Liming can offer additional benefits if your soil is acidic.

Managing Pine Trees and Bahiagrass for both Timber and Cattle Production. Cattle grazing on pine tree lands.
Bahiagrass field's Information on growing Bahiagrass pastures for seed production

LEFT: Picture of a large Pensacola Bahiagrass pasture under harvest for seed production in North Florida. Notice combine in middle of picture.   Growing a beautiful tomorrow!®
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