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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.
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 www.foragrass.com
for more pasture information for cattle.
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.
INFO FROM UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IFAS:
Bahiagrass for Pastures:
HAY: Protein content of
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:
|Hay Consumed Daily - lbs.
|Average Daily Gain - Lbs.
|Increase in Gain - %
|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.
|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).
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 1940s 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 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 dont 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
Varieties of Bahia for Pasture use:
Tifton 9 Bahia
TifQuik Bahia Grass
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 ˝
- Pasture Maintenance
General Maintenance requirements for
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 wont hurt
and in the seeding stage it can help to establish the grass faster but this is usually not
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
Trees and Bahiagrass for both Timber and Cattle Production. Cattle grazing on pine
||Seedland.com'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.
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