There are so many different aspects of farming that go into producing the final product that comes to your table. From nutrition, to shelter, to processing with our friends at Chop-N-Block, we take careful precautions every step of the way. We’ll be discussing some forage options in our upcoming blogs. Today, let’s talk about rhodesgrass.
“Callide” rhodesgrass comes from Africa and was first imported into Florida in 1903. It’s a robust, warm-season perennial that is perfect for Central and South Florida but doesn’t survive well in northern parts of the state in the winter. The plant can grow from 2 feet to 6 feet in height. It thrives in flatlands rather than sand, and even though it will tolerate periods of flooding, it can’t withstand long periods of standing water.
A good way to establish a new crop is to precede it with an annual grass in the cool season and till in April or May. Plant callide rhodesgrass in early spring to early fall. Mix with filler for the most uniform seed distribution. The rhodesgrass seed can be broadcast after the last disking and rolled to press into the soil, which will typically give enough coverage. Disking to cover is not recommended as it presses the seed too deep into the soil. Because the seed is light, it doesn’t work well with many mechanical seeders either. Want to see a ranch in action? Visit us for a tour.
Cattle shouldn’t graze on a new planting until the height reaches 1 ½ to 3 feet. Rotational grazing with periodic rest periods will give the best results. For hay, two hay crops can be harvested prior to June, and one to two more in the fall prior to the first frost.
Callides rhodesgrass is a great perennial grass that can be used for foraging and hay, but it needs to be carefully monitored for length and pests. For more on raising cattle, visit our blog.