This article is written for those completely new to the livestock production world. Or maybe for new landowners looking to establish a strong pasture for future use. Either way, you are looking to make a pasture and, of course, you want it to be the best it can be. To do that, you want to use the best forage and seed for your area. So when you go to your local rural store/seed store and you see a bag of seed that says something like “All-season pasture forage mix” you think you’ve found exactly what you were looking for. But take a closer look. After looking at what is in those mixes, you might be surprised by what you find.
Often times these species specific, or all-season mixes are just sales gimmicks designed to get you to spend your hard earned dollar. But sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough. First you should be aware of what kind of forages do well in your area. There are species that just won’t grow in particular climates. When you see these pre-mixed seed bags, look to see what species of forage are in them. Often there is a mix of species that will grow in the warm season or cool season. This is not a good purchase. Mixes that contain both are just trying to get something quick and green to grow, and might not be a worthwhile investment.
Looking at the forage mix bag
Next, check to see if the included species even grow in your area. For instance, many “southeast” specific mixes contain a high percentage of tall fescue see. Fescue is a staple forage in much of the southeast, but just does not proliferate in most of Florida. So check to make sure mixes contain viable species and preferred varieties.
Next, check to see how well the included species grow together. For instance, planting too much of an upright growing forage might shade out shorter varieties. Also check to see if the mix includes any legumes. Legumes are a terrific complement to our forages, provided they will grow in our area. Many times pre-mixes will contain white clover because it does well or at least comes up in most areas, during most planting seasons.
Finally, check to see if the price fits your budget. If you find a good mix that works for your area, make sure the pre-mixed bag is worth the price. It might be cheaper buying whole seed and mixing yourself. But if you are covering smaller acreage, it just might be economical to buy the pre-mix.
All in all, the pre-mixed forage seed bags you see at stores can be hit or miss. As with most things, do your research before making any purchases. And always read before you buy. To learn more click here.