Timothy

Forage Use: Haylage/Balage and Dry Hay

Known for its palatability and superior winterhardiness, timothy is the latest heading of all cool season perennials. It is well suited as dry cow hay due its low uptake of minerals such as potassium. It makes excellent horse hay. Timothy has a shallow root system allowing great spring production with poor performance in the heat and drought. However,  it does well on heavy, wet, and peaty soils. The small bulb at the base stores nutrients giving it persistence through the drought and heat periods.

Establishment

Timothy can be spring or late summer planted. It needs to be planted into a very firm seedbed keeping the depth 1/8 to 1/4 inches. It is slow to establish so control weed pressure and leave 4 to 6 weeks from seeding date to summer drought for spring plantings and the same period before frost for fall plantings. In the South, timothy is often Fall planted as a cover crop, harvested or grazed in the spring and then killed off to make way for spring crops.

Management

Choose an earlier heading variety when combining with alfalfa because timothy will not tolerate harvest during the jointing (stem elongation) and early heading stages. Keep the cutting height 3 to 4 inches for stand persistence. Does not graze well. Use a late heading variety for grazing. It tolerates mechanical harvest well, with proper fertility. Fall cuttings  hould be early enough to allow carbohydrate reserves to be replenished. An early application of N will significantly boost production.

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