Forbs

Forage Use: Grazing Dairy, Beef, Horses, Sheep, and Dry Hay

Forbs are a high value crop that has some valuable advantages for your livestock. They are known for their exceptionally high energy levels and have high protein levels of 20-23%. Forbs are a very mineral rich grazing herb. Two forbs that are a very good fit for pasture grazing are chicory and plantain. Chicory can be a little harder to manage due to its tendency of going to seed in the summer. Also, to be the most productive, it needs more rest periods. Plantain fits very well into grazing mixes and has excellent regrowth as well as very high digestibility.

Establishment

Establish into a firm seed bed is imperative. The mono-culture seeding rate should be 5 to 8 lbs and 1 to 2 lbs in mixes. Forbs respond well to fertilizers, especially nitrogen.

Management

Forbs need to be managed properly. Chicory is not very persistent if it does not get a 25 day rest period between grazings. It can be used in a wide range of soil types and can be planted mono culture. Plantain is not recommended for use in a mono-culture situation but works very well in use with brassicas for grazing and pasture. It is ready to be grazed when the leaf tears before the plant is pulled out. Yield data shows over 6 tons of dry matter for well managed plantain.

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