Meadow fescue grass (Festuca pratensis) is a valuable feeding plant. It is well eaten by livestock and grows well after pasturing. The yield is up to 5 t of highly nutrient hay from 1 ha. Better development is achieved as the 3rd and 4th year of life, in grass formations, it is kept for 6 to 8 years and more. It is a perennial plant with a well developed root system in clusters. Roots go 80 cm deep into the soil. Plants are quite well resistant to winter conditions. Resistance to droughts is higher than that of common timothy grass. In the clear form, first of all for getting seeds, meadow fescue grass is seeded in broad rows or broadly. The depth of seed planting is 1 to 2 cm. The norm of seeding (per 1 ha): when seeded in broad rows, 8 to 9 kg; when seeded broadly, 15 to 16 kg. It is cut for haylage in the heading phase. After the meadow fescue grass seeds have matured, they fall down abundantly. Therefore, the harvesting begins at the stage of waxy ripeness.
Red fescue grass (Festuca rubra L.) grows on may natural pastures with all types of soil with various level of moisture. It usually multiplies via trailing vines forming a good ground cover. During the year of sowing, red fescue grass grows relatively slowly and does not achieve its potential by the beginning of the second or the third year of usage. It grows in various climatic conditions, and particularly well on dry, rather poor and heavy soils. It tolerates winter and droughts well. It also tolerates soil covering with water in winter. It is good both for storing and pasturing.
Reed fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.) is one of the most drought-resistant, heat-resistance and stable to poaching varieties of grass. Due to the developed and deep root system, it is capable of extracting moisture at very droughty periods. That is why reed fescue may tolerate high temperatures and stay green during dry summer periods when growth of other grass varieties stops. As compared to other grasses, reed fescue grows well in winter in mild climatic conditions.
Sheep's fescue grass (Festuca ovina L.) is a dense sod lower grass with numerous blades. Powerful root system of sheep's fescue grass goes deeply into the soil. It prefers dry habitats. It tolerates active poaching and cutting to the height of 3.5 cm. It also tolerates shadows well – at the same level as red fescue grass. It is resistant to droughts. Lawns of sheep's fescue grass stay green even during periods of droughts. At the same time, this plant is resistant to low temperatures. It starts growing early in spring. The growth is slow. It reaches complete development on the 2nd or 3rd year. It is a rather long-living grass. It forms a tussock cover in case of thinned seeding. It can become a valuable component of grass blends for standard and meadow lawns and for topsoil intended for various purposes in conditions of drought. It is used for creating drought-tolerating and standard lawns, for grassing slopes, as a component for sport and shadow-tolerating lawns.
Common timothy (Phleum pratense) is a perennial loose-bunch grass with roots in clusters. Its major roots mass is located in the topsoil. Common timothy is a water-resistant plant. This crop is a splendid pasture and haying grass used for feeding cattle, goats, sheep, and horses. Higher yields are marked in grass blends with leguminous plants, in particular, with meadow clover or red clover. This type is used for pastures, green fodder, silage, hay, grass flour. Its application is possible for fixing eroded soils as a forecrop before seeding root crops and grain crops. 100 kg of common timothy contain 3.1 kg of digestible protein, 7.2% of protein. The yield of hay from 1 ha comprises up to 130 dt. When being planted in broad rows, common timothy seed sowing norm is 4 to 5 kg per hectare and when being planted broadly, it is 8 to 10 kg/ha. When timothy is planted mixed with clover, 4 to 6 kg of timothy seeds are used per hectare.
Festulolium — is a hybrid, result of crossing of two grasses: ryegrass and fescue. It creates a splendid opportunity to ensure growing of high quality grass in colder regions. This plant has been bred as a fodder crop with improved properties. As there are several varieties of both crops, there are about ten varieties of festulolium, respectively. Varieties differ from each other mainly with the content of various nutrient in the green mass. Being a hybrid, festulolium took the best from source crops. Ryegrass gave it resistance to low temperatures and powerful roots, and fescue provided the ability of formation of strong green mass. These both grasses gave high growth rate to the hybrid, which makes the vegetation period of the latter very short. The festulolium seeding norm is 25 to 30 kg/ha.
Pasture ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is a high-yield grass of high quality. When used for manageable pasturing, the best varieties are very viable on condition of input of fertilizers, proper management, and not very severe winters. In cold regions, pasture ryegrass plays an important role on short-term pastures with high yield and quality. Pasture ryegrass is compatible with white clover in blends. It is suitable for growing on practically all types of soils, except for very moist ones. Pasture ryegrass is divided into early, middle, and late type of diploid and tetraploid subtype depending on the time the heading appears.
Hybrid ryegrass (Lolium x boucheanum) is a result of crossing of pasture and Italian ryegrass that combines the yield, quality, and stability of both types. The types are classified as perennial ryegrass, medium ripening ryegrass, and Italian ryegrass. It is mainly used for long-term storage, however, new types of perennial ryegrass proved their excellency for pasturing. Hybrid ryegrass is more resistant to droughts as compared to the Italian ryegrass, particularly thick hybrids. The growth rate in spring is the same as with early perennial ryegrasses, while footstalk formation is more comparable to that of medium ripeness ryegrasses. It ensures high flexibility in spring and high quality of rough fodders.
A typical peculiarity of annual ryegrass (Loliym multiflorum Lam. var. westervoldicum) is its ability of quick growth after cutting and high yield. If sufficient amount of nitrogen fertilizers is applied, annual ryegrass can provide up to 50 to 70 t/ha of green mass in 2 to 4 cuttings. The green mass can be used to feed the livestock, and the aftermath can be used as a green manure. Annual ryegrass tolerates shadows well, that is why it can be seeded together with fall-seeded rye, wheat, and spring-seeded annual grasses, such as Australian winter pea and vetch and oats-based blends or fodder lupine. Ryegrass quickly regrows the green mass after harvesting of the cover crop. The first cutting (and even the first 2 cuttings in favorable years are used for hay, grass flour, and silage; the aftermath can be used as a green manure. The aftermath is plowed in late fall for early spring-seeded crops. Annual ryegrass significantly improves physical properties of soil, increases the content of organic substances in it. It must be taken into consideration that it poorly tolerates droughts. It is not recommended to seed annual ryegrass on sandy soils poorly supplied with moisture.
Smooth brome (Bromus inermis) is a perennial rhizogenous, tall, loose-bunch grass. The footstalk is 60 to 100 cm high, leafy. Annual recovery of vegetative shoots of smooth brome starts in late April or in early May. Inflorescence starts to form in the same period. The roots are long, flexible, give multiple shoots, 1.5 to 2 m deep. It is used in grass formations for haylands, pastures, haylage in blends with lucerne as well as the soil fixer on highways and slopes. It tolerates poaching well. It forms evened, bump-free though not thick herbages. Each species of livestock eats this grass well. The hay yield is 12 dt/ha on dry areas of up to 50 dt/ha and more on well-watered bottomland meadows; the hay yield can achieve 135 dt/ha. 100 kg of smooth brome hay contains 57.2 fodder units and 5.9 kg of digestible protein.
Reed canary grass (ribbon grass) (Phalaris arundinacea L.) is a tall perennial grass with well-developed genuflexuous, creeping yellowish-brown 12 to 14 cm high footstalks. Branched filamentous roots penetrate the soil layer by 1.5 to 2.0 m. It is a mesophyte. In spring, it tolerates excessive wetting and flooding with melt water well for up to 2.0 to 3.0 months. It tolerates winter and frosts well. It poorly resists droughts. It is a valuable fodder grass for regions with extreme soil and climatic conditions. It starts to grow in the second half of April and begins to be suitable for pasturing in early May and for cutting in late May. According to its nutrient value, it is similar to common timothy, fescue, and cocksfoot grass. It is well eaten by all domestic animals, on pastures in the form of green feeding, hay, haylage, silage, grass flour. It improves the structure and fertility of soils. It is applied for fixing of soils from washout (on slopes, railroad embankments, in gulleys, near dams, etc.). It forms the harvest of green mass in the year of seeding of 160 to 240 dt/ha, hay of 35 to 50 dt/ha; at the age of several years of 400 to 600 dt/ha of green mass, and 70 to 130 dt/ha of hay.
Cocksfoot grass (Dactylis glomerata) is a perennial loose-bunch grass. The optimal level of ground waters for cocksfoot grass is 50 to 90 cm, and at the level of over 30 cm it falls out of soil. It is attributed to valuable fodder plants. 100 kg of hay harvested in the beginning of blooming contain 54.5 fodder units and 4.3 kg of digestible protein. The content of carotene in 1 kg of fodder is from 1 mg in hay to 4 mg in grass. The maximum yield of green mass in condition of the crop can be achieved as early as on the 2nd or 3rd year of life. The average yield of hay in two cuttings comprises up to 50 to 60 dt/ha. The grass is well eaten in the form of hay and on pastures by all species of livestock, particularly by cattle and horses. It tolerates pasturing well, but livestock does not eat overgrown cocksfoot on pastures well. It demonstrates early vegetation and grows well after pasturing or cutting. It is seeded in the form of grass formations or alone. The norms of seeding are 18 to 20 kg per 1 ha. When planted for seeds broadly, the norm of seeding is 14 kg, and when planted in broad rows, it is 8 kg. Cocksfoot grass reaches its complete development in the third year and is kept in herbage for 5 to 6 years or longer.
Bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) often grows in natural growing condition on the soils rich in minerals and humus. It is viable, has strong underground shoots and surface leafy shoots. It starts growing in early spring. Then it becomes leafy. Bluegrass is present on all long-term pastures for pasturing. It is usually grown in regions with moderate and relatively moist climate both in the southern and in the northern hemisphere. Bluegrass tolerates poaching well. Due to its roots, it is able to recover after gross damages.
Colonial bent grass (Agrostis capillaris) is a low grass with a short rootstalk. Colonial bent grass is resistant to fungal diseases and strawworms, it tolerates severe gas and smoke pollution. It can grow on literally any type of soil and prefers light sandy soils. It also grows well on boggy soils. It is winter-resistant, tolerates spring ground frosts. Colonial bent grass is good for making lawns and grassplots exposed to dry and sunny conditions and having sandy acidic soil. It is most often grown on golf lawns and sports grounds.
Marsh bent grass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) is a perennial low grass with a short footstalk that forms multiple creeping shoots 30 to 40 cm long or longer, with their edges ascending. It grows better on rich soils and worse on infertile sandy and saline soils. Marsh bent grass is a water-resistant grass. Thanks to its high plasticity, marsh bent grass tolerates shadowing. It is moderately resistant to poaching. A well-drained soil is the most important condition of intensive growth and bushing of the marsh bent grass. The marsh bent grass cannot grow normally on the dense soil with poorer water and air access to the grass roots, it gets thinned out, and weeds occupy the lawn. This grass has good prospects of cultivating on laws in various conditions. It can be widely applied for growing on highly decorative lawns, sports grounds, golf fields, recreation lawns, for strengthening of slopes.
Sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense) is one of the most valuable annual fodder crops. It is highly resistant to droughts, has good fodder properties, and is capable of quick regrowing after cutting and pasturing. In favorable conditions, it ensures 3 to 4 cuttings. It is attributed to the Poaceae (Gramineous) family. The root system is formed in clusters, it is powerful and goes 2 to 3 m deep. In its resistance to droughts, Sudan grass is only inferior to sorghum and millet. The best forecrops for Sudan grass are arable crops, fall-seeded grasses, and leguminous plants. Sudan grass is seeded late, and that is why the soil is prepared for seeding by breaking of stubble, deep under-winter plowing, early spring dragging, two pre-seeding cultivations, and smoothing down twice, i.e., before and after seeding. The norm of seeding (per hectare) is 25 to 30 kg in water-rich regions. Sudan grass may be seeded mixed with chuckling vetch, pea or lupine. With that, the seeding norm for Sudan grass and components is reduced by 15 to 20% as compared to the seeding norm for Sudan grass alone. Sudan grass is harvested for haying when blossom clusters appear and for seeds when seeds in panicles of major footstalk have ripen.
Sorghum and sudangrass hybrid (Sorghum saccharatum (L.) Moench * S. sudanense) has the root system similar to all Poaceae plants, formed in clusters. In arid regions where other fodder crops do not ensure satisfactory yield due to lack of moisture and salinity of soils, Sorghum and sudangrass hybrids can ensure continuously high yields with proper agricultural engineering. Sudan grass and sorghum and sudangrass hybrids allow increasing the period of use of the green conveyor for up to 210 days. A valuable biological peculiarity of the grass as a fodder crop is its capability of quick regrowing after cutting and ensure up to 4 cuttings of the green mass up to late fall, while the main fodder crop (maize) only ensures one cutting. 1 centner (dt) of the green mass contains 0.23 fodder units, up to 44.4% of fibers, 27.3% of nitrogen-free extractive substances, up to 16 to 18% of protein. With that, 1 fodder unit contains 100 g of digestible protein. Growing of sorghum and sudangrass hybrids is one of the economically profitable directions among annual crops in the green conveyor.
Millet (Panicum miliaceum) is not only a cereal crop but also a valuable source of fodder for animal breeding. Introduction of millet into the green mass, silage or monofodder of cattle stimulates increasing of milking and improvement of milk taste properties. Green mass of millet exceeds the green mass of maize, mohar, sorghum, and Sudan grass in quality; 1 kg contains 0.2 to 0.4 fooder units and 17 to 25 g of digestible protein. The time of harvesting of millet for green mass comes in late July, before harvesting of maize for green fodder. Thus, it fills the gap between perennial grasses and maize. Millet for green fodder can be harvested from July to October by varying the terms of seeding. The stubble-seeded millet can yield 110–150 dt/ha of green mass. Hay of this crop is better than hay of oats, sorghum, maize or common timothy, it contains 0.52 fodder units per 1 kg of fodder. Millet chaff, which may comprise up to 50% in the structure of fodder blends, contains 0.4 fodder units per 1 kg in an average. High quality of chaff is also caused with the fact that leaves and footstalks remain partially green and fit for silaging in the course of harvesting. Millet peeling is added to combined fodders, the millet nutritional value is somewhat worse than that of oats one but is better than that of wheat, finely ground barley, and rye values. The flour made in the course of millet processing contains 0.92 fodder units and 85 g of digestible protein. Tall varieties of millet can yield 30 to 37 t/ha of green mass and 7 to 9 t/ha of hay, that is, 50 to 80% more than standard millet varieties and 40 to 50% more than Siberian millet, mohar, and oats. All this proves the prospects of use of millet as a fodder plant capable to satisfy the needs of animal breeding.