Hemarthria Grass a Hardy Option for Florida Cattle


As we have seen throughout this look at foraging stocks, certain types of grass are better suited for certain types of pasture land. And with Florida supporting a wide variety of biomes, it is vital that the rancher can both recognize the type of land he’s pasturing in and understand which grasses that land can best support.  


For those ranchers who are needing another tool in their forage toolbelt, consider the subject of this month’s column — Hemarthria grass.


Hemarthria altissima, more commonly known as Limpograss, is a favorite of many Florida ranchers due to its increased tolerance for the wet, sandy soils seen in many areas of the state. 


Originating in the tropical regions of Africa, Limpograss was first introduced to Florida in 1964. Studies of the Limpograss stock through multiple agricultural laboratories resulted in four cultivars being developed in the 1970s and1980s, with two further cultivars becoming available within the past decade. 


This grass thrives in flat or gently sloping soil and is best known for its ability to grow in sand and poorly drained soils. As a warm-season perennial grass, Limpograss should be planted in Florida’s wet season (June through August). However, seed can be planted as early as April, as long as appropriate irrigation is used. Just be sure to let the grass fully establish before grazing or mowing the field. 


Another perk of Limpograss is its ability to continue growing after a frost or a freeze. Its growing season extends into the late fall, which also makes it an ideal candidate to be used as stockpiled forage. 


Perhaps most importantly, Limpograss is considered highly digestible by livestock, especially when compared with other summer grasses. While the grass will maintain much of its nutritional value as it matures, the protein concentration can be rather low. Ranchers should be aware of this and be prepared to supplement or substitute the stock as appropriate.


If your pastures contain rainy, soggy, and/or sandy areas, Limpograss may be an option to provide your animals with the forage they need.


This column is sponsored by Labor Solutions, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.


BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with officers in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Arcadia, and Plant City. You can also visit his Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch online at DH-LR.com A cattle rancher and citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

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