“Biological diversity is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it.”
~ E.O. Wilson, Biodiversity
Native Grasses for Better Grazing and Hay
‘In early summer months, cattle will gain faster on new warm-season grass than almost any other grass.’ Ken Lenox, fifth generation cattle rancher in south central Missouri, quoted in Today’s Farmer
Missouri’s native warm season grasses, such as Big Bluestem, Eastern Gamagrass, Indiangrass and Little Bluestem, will give you exceptional forage long after your exotic cool season grasses have gone dormant. They also handle flood and drought much better than their cool season counterparts. A forb component creates a native prairie meadow and adds nutritional value to summer forage and winter hay.
Cost share programs help you convert pastures
- Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)—up to 50% cost share and annual payments for converting cropland to a less intensive use (new enrollment closed).
- Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP)—Lots of incentives for restoring wetlands and uplands.
- Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)—up to 75% cost share and annual payments for plans that enhance environmental quality.
- Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)—up to 90% cost share and annual payments for easements or restorations of grassland.
- Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)—up to 75% cost share for wildlife habitat development plans.
Recommended Pasture Species
- Big Bluestem
- Canada or Virginia Wild Rye
- Eastern Gamagrass
- Little Bluestem
- Sideoats Grama
- Ashy Sunflower
- Compass Plant
- Foxglove Beardtongue
- Gray-Headed Coneflower
- Illinois Bundleflower
- Lanceleaf Coreopsis
- Maximilian Sunflower
- Pale Purple Coneflower
- Partridge Pea
- Pasture Rose
- Purple Blazing Star
- Purple Coneflower
- Purple Prairie Clover
- Rattlesnake Master
- Roundhead Bush Clover
- Roundhead Lespedeza
- Sensitive Briar
- Showy Tickclover
- Slender Lespedeza
- Tickseed Coreopsis
- Wild White Indigo
- White Prairie Clover
Steps for Converting Pastures to Native Prairie Species
- Plan ahead
- Contact your MDC Private Land Conservationist (PLC) or USDA office to plan your project.
- Call your Grow Native! seed and plant materials dealer.
- Prepare for planting
- Depending on your project, you may have to completely kill and remove existing cover with a non-selective herbicide. Be prepared to spray twice and consider burning the residue to expose bare ground.
- Locate your equipment
- Call your MDC PLC, USDA service center or Grow Native! private contractor to find equipment that will handle native grass seed.
- Hire a Grow Native! trained contractor