For beef and dairy producers and horse owners, forages are the cheapest source feed. Furthermore, cattle and horses prefer to graze and/or consume forage crops over grain feed. While these animals can digest grain, their digestive systems are better suited for processing forages.

Forage product development and management techniques have rapidly progressed over the past several decades. New forage varieties have been bred to for better persistence, higher forage quality, and higher yields. Never before have there been so many options for growers, and AgService Seeds provides all the products needed for a successful forage program.

As a grower, there is much to consider when deciding whether or not to enhance or renovate a forage program, either for pastures or hayfields.

As a grower, there is much to consider when deciding whether or not to enhance or renovate a forage program, either for pastures or hayfields.

Better Persistence

Newer forage varieties are more and more persistent to weather/climate extremes. Plant breeders focus on increased drought tolerance (very valuable for the West and Southwest), increased heat and cold tolerance, and/or better disease resistance. The combination of these increased tolerances results in a more persistent forage stand, which can produce in less-than-ideal conditions and provide better longevity – both of which save on feed and replant costs.

Excellent Marketability

Grass-fed beef and grass-fed dairies continue to gain popularity.

Exceptional Yields

Plant breeders continue to expand the yield limitations of forage species. Many of the newer forage varieties can out-yield their predecessors from decades ago by as much as 50%.

Forage Diversity

Never before have so many forage species been proven as quality options and available to the market. Regardless of your climate, soil type, irrigation/rainfall availability, or management styles, there are excellent forage options to provide grazing, hay and silage for much of the year. This diversity in forage types allows for more consistent forage production in harsh weather conditions. For example, high-quality summer annuals, which love heat and withstand dry conditions, can now provide excellent feed when forage options in the past were far inferior.

Low-cost Feed

Consider the following forage program example. A diary producer, with irrigation or in areas with suitable rainfall, can plant 80 acres of an AgService Seeds pasture mix or even a single species such as Tucker orchardgrass. With a decent soil pH and suggested fertilizer applications, the orchardgrass, for example, can produce up to 6 tons of dry matter per acre. For the 80-acre pasture, that is 480 tons of high-quality dry matter that the animals harvest themselves each year.

That 80 acres can produce enough forage to support nearly 100 cows annually. What is the cost of all that feed? Over the life of that 80-acre stand (a conservative three years, for this example), seed and fertilizer costs about $20,000. With up to 1440 tons of dry matter produced during those three years, feed cost is a miniscule $13.87/ton.

High-Quality Feed

The AgService Seeds forage mixes and other forage products provide exceptional forage quality. Whether grazed, used for silage, or hayed, a well-managed forage program can provide quality feed that is much more affordable than corn silage or purchased hay.

Year-Round Grazing

For many regions, with a little planning, beef and dairy producers and horse owners can manage their farm to provide year-round grazing, which further reduces the cost of feed and required labor. By using a combination or perennials and/or warm-season and cool-season annuals, a quality forage stand can be available for grazing throughout the year in California and other areas. With the numerous types of forages available, there is no reason why a pasture or hayfield should be fallow or dormant.

FORAGE MIXES

Because of various soil types, water availability, climates and other factors, forage management styles vary widely throughout California and neighboring areas. AgService Seeds has developed a variety of quality cereal-grain-based forage mixes to fit the preferences of virtually all area beef and dairy producers. Additionally, AgServices Seeds has developed high-quality perennial cool-season grass mixes for both livestock and horses.

AGS 3 Grain Forage Mix

AGS 3 Grain is a mix of forage grains, with a heavy emphasis on spring grains. It provides very good quality forage. The mix can be planted in spring or fall in mild climates, but in higher elevations or other colder climates, the mix can winterkill.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): 5.0-7.5

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 5.0-7.5

Seeding Rate: 80-150 lbs/acre

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 20% Montezuma Oats, 20% Intimidator Oats, 20% Swan/Cayuse Oats, 15% PR1404 Wheat, 15% Excede Wheat, 10% Beardless Barley

AGS Grain w/Annual Ryegrass Mix

This mix is similar to AGS 3 Grain but adds a small amount of tetraploid annual ryegrass. Annual ryegrass, especially tetraploid varieties,can provide higher forage quality than the cereal grains (higher sugar content), along with providing decent cold tolerance and exceptional spring production.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High):

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 5.0-7.5

Seeding Rate: 80-150 lbs/acre

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 20% Montezuma Oats, 20% Intimidator Oats, 20% Swan/Cayuse Oats, 20% PR1404 Wheat, 15% Excede Wheat, 5% Tetraploid Annual Ryegrass

AGS Economy Forage Mix

AGS Economy is a relatively simple and affordable cereal grain mixture than can be planted just about anywhere. With a majority of mix being spring oats, it is best suited for a spring planting, but can be fall planted in milder regions. One advantage to oats is their ability to thrive in very low soil pH ranges.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 4.5-7.5

Seeding Rate: 80-150 lbs/acre

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 50% Cayuse Oats, 20% Montezuma Oats, 20% Excede Wheat, 10% Beardless Barley

AGS Forage Premium Mix

AGS Forage Premium mix is a very versatile mix. With high-quality cereal grain varieties and tetraploid annual ryegrass, along with a mix of spring and winter grains, it can be planted just about anywhere in spring or fall and produce significant forage for many months. When fall planted, the spring oat varieties provide very quick growth, for grazing opportunities, while the winter triticale, winter wheat and annual ryegrass develop and provide forage during the colder months and the following spring.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 5.0-7.5

Seeding Rate: 80-150 lbs/acre (higher rate when fall planted)

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 30% Merlin Triticale, 30% Intimidator Oats, 20% PR1404 Wheat, 15% Montezuma Oats, 5% Diamond T Tetraploid Annual Ryegrass

Fast Start Horse Pasture Mix

This mix is designed to provide a perennial pasture while incorporating some annuals to provide quick establishment. An exceptional cool-season grass mix, Fast Start Horse pasture mix is a staple throughout the country. It can provide great forage for horses (and cattle) and excellent durability for many years. The mix is also a great option for hayfields. The ryegrass varieties provide the highest quality of the grasses while the tough orchardgrass and endophyte-free tall fescue – which are still very good quality forages – provide persistence in harsh winters and summers.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 5.5-7.5

Seeding Rate: 35-40 lbs/acre

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 25% Boost Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass, 25% Tucker Orchardgrass, 25% Kentucky 32 Tall Fescue, 25% Diamond T Tetraploid Annual Ryegrass

Fast Start All-Purpose Pasture Mix

Fast Start All-Purpose pasture mix is a great mix for any beef, dairy and other livestock. It has basically the same formulation and quality as Fast Start Horse pasture mix, but it adds ladino clover to the mix. The addition of ladino clover provides higher protein content, nitrogen fixation for the grasses, and excellent cold tolerance.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Soil pH Preference: 6.0-7.5

Seeding Rate: 30 lbs/acre

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 30% Kentucky 32 Tall Fescue, 20% Boost Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass, 20% Tucker Orchardgrass, 20% Diamond T Tetroploid Annual Ryegrass, 10% Companion Ladino White Clover

Lyman East #1 Pasture Mix

Lyman East #1 is a premium pasture mix, with an emphasis on clovers and the high-quality grasses. This forage stand is high in protein content, with the addition of high-sugar grasses. This mix does require good soil conditions and consistent water, and it generally last for three years before renovation is required.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low

Soil pH Preference: 6.0-7.5

Seeding Rate: 20 lbs/acre

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 25% Boost Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass, 25% Tucker Orchardgrass, 20% Diamond T Tetroploid Annual Ryegrass, 20% Rustler Red Clover, 10% Companion Ladino White Clover

Economy Dryland Pasture Mix

Economy Dryland pasture mix is a combination of three of the most drought-tolerant perennial cool-season grasses, along with alfalfa, which is a very drought-tolerant legume. The mix can thrive on relatively low rainfall or irrigation amounts while producing quality forage for much of the year. It has the potential to thrive for up to five years.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Soil pH Preference: 6.0-7.5

Seeding Rate: 25 lbs/acre

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Formulation: 35% Kentucky 32 Tall Fescue, 25% Paiute Orchardgrass, 15% Smooth Bromegrass, 15% Alfalfa

LEGUMES (improved varieties)

Companion Ladino White Clover

Ladino clover is a large type of white clover. It often provides better yields due to more upright growth and larger leaves. Ladino clover is an excellent legume to mix with grass stands. Along with providing very high quality forage, as a legume, ladino clover can deposit significant amounts of nitrogen into the soil, which can then be used by the accompanying grass species. Companion ladino clover is an improved variety that was selected from genetics that showed exceptional drought tolerance and plant vigor. Ladino clover can be used in cattle or horse pastures as part of grass mix, and it can often persist for more than five years.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low

Soil pH Preference: 6.0-7.0

Seeding Rate: 6 lbs/acre pure stand

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Rustler Red Clover

Rustler is an improved type of medium red clover. Red clover is a high-yielding clover often used in cattle pastures or hayfield used for cattle feed. It grows in a wide variety of climates and soil types and is an excellent companion crop to grass mixes. Red clover is a high quality forage and can deposit significant amounts of nitrogen into the soil. It is a shorter-lived perennial clover, generally thriving for up to three years.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Soil pH Preference: 6.0-7.0

Seeding Rate: 12 lbs/acre pure stand

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Blackhawk Arrowleaf Clover

Blackhawk is an improved variety of arrowleaf clover. Arrowleaf is an annual clover that can be fall or spring planted for forage purposes or for cover crop use. It is relatively high yielding and good quality. It can withstand a variety of soil types and is quick to germinate.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 6.0-7.0

Seeding Rate: 15 lbs/acre pure stand

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Other Legumes

Austrian winter peas, berseem clover, crimson clover.  Call to ask about these.

COOL-SEASON GRASSES (improved varieties)

Diamond T Annual Ryegrass

Diamond T is a high-yielding, high-quality, tetraploid annual ryegrass. It has finished among the leaders in yield trials at Auburn University, Texas A&M and the Univesity Georgia. Diamond can produce more than 5 tons of dry matter in one harvest. Annual ryegrass is one of the highest-quality forage grasses, with high levels of sugar content, which contribute to rapid weight gain in beef cattle and high milk production for dairy cows. In a Mississippi State University forage quality trial, Diamond T finished among the leaders in forage quality analysis. Annual ryegrass is affordable to establish and germinates quickly. Outside of the Northern U.S. and the higher elevations of the West, annual ryegrass can be fall planted for fall, winter and spring forage.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Soil pH Preference: 5.5-7.0

Seeding Rate: 30 lbs/acre pure stand

Planting Time: Generally Fall Planted

Tucker Orchardgrass

Tucker is a medium-maturity, improved orchardgrass variety. Orchardgrass is a high-quality,high-yielding perennial cool-season grass. Orchardgrass is a relatively tough perennial, persisting in times of drought, cold and heat. It can persist for up to five years in areas that do not suffer from exceptionally hot summers. With an excellent reputation among the beef, dairy and horse markets, orchardgrass can be used for various operations. It can be used an option for pastures or hayfields. Orchardgrass can also be used to interseed into thinning alfalfa stands to prolong production for one to two years.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 5.5-7.0

Seeding Rate: 15-20 lbs/acre pure stand

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Kentucky 32 Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is generally regarded as the toughest of the perennial cool-season grasses. It can withstand heat, drought and cold that can kill most other species. Kentucky 32 is am improved, endophyte-free (horse and cattle safe) variety of tall fescue. It can be planted throughout a majority of the U.S. and is one of the higher-yielding tall fescue varieties. Except for the desert Southwest and Deep South, tall fescue is a quality option for most soil types. Tall fescue is a suitable companion crop is grass and legume mixes. It can often persist for more than five years.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): High

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Soil pH Preference: 5.5-7.0

Seeding Rate: 30 lbs/acre pure stand

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Boost Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is possibly the highest-quality perennial cool-season grass. Boost is a newer, improved variety with excellent yields. Because of its high quality, perennial ryegrass is a favorite among dairy producers, but is equally beneficial to beef producers. Perennial ryegrass is usually a shorter-lived perennial, persisting for up to three years. It does have quick germination and is usually best used as a companion crop in mixes. Perennial ryegrass does not tolerate extended periods of high temperatures.

Cold Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium-High

Drought Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Low-Medium

Forage Quality (Low, Medium, High): High

Heat Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Low Fertility Tolerance (Low, Medium, High): Medium

Soil pH Preference: 5.5-7.0

Seeding Rate: 30 lbs/acre pure stand

Planting Time: Spring or Fall

Other Cool-season Grasses

Hallmark Orchardgrass, Paiute Orchardgrass, VNS Tetraploid Annual Ryegrass. Call and ask us about these.

CEREAL GRAIN VARIETIES AVAILABLE

Oats: Kanota, Cal Red, Montezuma, Cayuse, Intimidator, Swan, TAM 411

Triticale: Pacheco, Merlin, TriCal 115, Camelot, Trios, Forerunner

Wheat: Excede, PR1404, Patron

Barley: Beardless, UC 937