Yield, forage quality, and mineral content of six introduced cool-season grass species grown for hay in eastern South Dakota.
Producers often learn about forage species grown in other regions and inquire about the performance and adaptability in their locale. The objective of this study was to determine yield, forage quality, and mineral concentration of six introduced cool-season grass species grown for hay in eastern South Dakota. We harvested grasses for hay on a common date in 2008 and 2009 using field scale plots and harvest techniques, and included species familiar (smooth bromegrass and intermediate wheatgrass) and unfamiliar (meadow bromegrass, hybrid bromegrass, orchardgrass, and timothy) to producers in the northeastern Great Plains. Orchardgrass and timothy, commonly grown further east, produced less than the other grasses. Forage quality and mineral concentration tended to be superior for orchardgrass because it was observed to be less mature than the other species. Calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur were similar to previous research for cool-season grasses and would meet the nutrient requirements of gestating and lactating beef cattle. Magnesium, copper, and zinc may be too low to meet requirements of beef cattle, especially if in lactation. In this region, we demonstrated that meadow bromegrass and hybrid bromegrass grown for hay in the northeastern Great Plains were equal to intermediate wheatgrass and smooth bromegrass in yield, quality, and mineral concentration.