Running a Small Farm

St. Augustine Grass For Your Pasture

by Myrtle Herrera

If you are raising horses or cattle, you need a fast-growing and durable grass to meet the needs of your animals. Although you can choose from many grass varieties, you should consider using St. Augustine, a time-tested grass that can meet your coverage and animal nutrient needs. Here's why:

Climate

St. Augustine grass thrives in the southern United States where temperatures remain temperate all year long. It does not do well in cool temperatures but absolutely thrives in the heat since it comes from Africa, the Caribbean, and Mediterranean areas. It has large stems and wide leaves that aggressively spread, providing excellent lawn and pasture coverage. 

General Advantages

Although the grass does thrive in full sun, it also handles shade and salt well. St. Augustine grass is somewhat drought-resistant. This variety also fights off weeds and other grasses while resisting diseases and pests. The chinch bug is one of its biggest enemies and can cause yellow spots. These spots may not be attractive on a lawn, but they aren't a big problem in pasture grass. 

Pasture Advantages

Horses need a minimum of 11–15 grazing hours each day on good grass to meet their physical "dry matter" needs. Experts say that a quality pasture allows horses to take in 1.5% of their body weight each day. Horses thrive on St. Augustine grass, particularly when it is used in a blend with bent grass and blue grass. It can provide a healthy diet for your horse while making your pasture look green and beautiful. Florida has a large horse population, ranking number three in the United States at over 500,000 animals. Florida pastures often are covered in St. Augustine grass.

St. Augustine grass works well for cattle in the southern United States because it produces high yields and is tough and persistent. It can handle two or three yearlings per acre throughout an entire year, with the ability to handle up to four during July and August. St. Augustine grass is a practical choice for livestock.

If you live in a warm climate, you should consider using St. Augustine grass for your pasture ground. It makes a practical and attractive covering for lawns, as well. Its hardy nature combined with its aggressive growth and resistance to drought, pests, and weeds make it an excellent choice for raising livestock; in particular, horses and cattle. If you need a productive and hardy pasture grass, give St. Augustine grass a try. 

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