Orchardgrass

Orchardgrass is one of the most widely used forage grasses in North America. Great Basin Seed carries multiple varieties with traits suited to your needs and circumstances.

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Orcahrdgrass, Dactylis glomerata, Tucker Orchardgrass, Orchardgrass & Annual Ryegrass Mix
Orchardgrass, Dactylis glomerata, Benchmark Plus Orchardgrass, Crown Royal Orchardgrass, Pawnee Orchardgrass, Blizzard Orchardgrass, Quickdraw Orchardgrass
Close-up of the Orchardgrass in our Premium Irrigated Pasture Mix

Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) is a widely distributed pasture grass, especially on irrigated pastures. It is used for hay, pasture or silage. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. It is one of the best forage grasses for use in pastures and combines well with other grasses and legumes. It has a dense network of roots and provides good erosion control. Orchardgrass is often used in seed mixes for upland game birds and conservation plantings. Orchardgrass is one of the earliest species to grow in the spring. It is a cool-season perennial bunchgrass introduced from Europe and Asia. It is found throughout North America.

Orchardgrass is a standard ingredient in our irrigated and dryland pasture mixes. We provide added value by combining early and late maturing varieties to our mixes.

Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) is one of the more useful and widely distributed pasture grasses, especially on irrigated pastures. It is suitable for non-irrigated rangelands where precipitation is 18+ inches annually. It is a cool-season perennial bunchgrass. It was introduced from Europe and Asia and is found throughout North America.

Orchardgrass used for hay, pasture or silage. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock. It is one of the best forage grasses for use in pastures and combines well with other grasses and legumes. It has a dense network of roots and provides good erosion control. Orchardgrass is often used in seed mixes for upland game birds and conservation plantings. Orchardgrass is one of the earliest species to grow in the spring.

Dactylis glomerata performs well on different textured soils ranging from clay to gravely loams and on shallow to deep soils. It is moderately tolerant of acid and alkaline (pH range of 5.8-7.0). It does not grow well in saline soils and areas with high water tables. Dryland varieties have the ability to establish and persist in areas that receive as little as 11 inches of annual precipitation. Orchardgrass is one of the earliest species to grow in the spring, making tremendous growth during cool conditions. Under irrigation or in moist situations Orchardgrass can attain heights of 24-48 inches.

Orchardgrass cures well as hay, and can be mixed with alfalfa or other legumes to provide high quality hay. It also provides excellent pasture and has the ability to remain green and continue growing while being grazed. It recovers very quickly after being grazed or cut. It is good to excellent forage for livestock and wildlife, and is especially relished by deer. Orchardgrass responds well to nitrogen fertilizer and irrigation.

Other grass species that are frequently paired with orchardgrass include perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, annual ryegrass and intermediate ryegrass.


Early, Medium and Late Maturing Varieties

Orchardgrass Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) is available in early, medium and late maturing varieties. This means you can choose a variety that reaches maximum forage/hay potential at a time that meets your goals and needs. If, for example, you want an Orchardgrass that mixes well with and matures at the same time as Alfalfa, a midium-late variety is usually the best option.

Maturity is the most important factor in determining forage quality. When hay is harvested at the vegetative leafy stage the likelihood quality forage is optimized. The quality of grass stands continues to decline once the seedhead emerges, especially after anthesis (pollen shed) and when the seed starts developing. As a general rule, take the first cutting when alfalfa is at the late-bud stage and orchardgrass is at the boot stage. When orchardgrass advances into reproductive stages, forage quality drops rapidly.

The same variety can mature at different times in different climates, so it is important to consult with your local FSA/NRCS agency or talk to someone in your area who has experience.

The tabs below divide our offerings into their respective maturity times and will help you narrow your decisions. If you need additional help, give us a call at 435-283-1411

Potomac

Potomac Orchardgrass is productive, persistent and rust-resistant. Produces good yields. Usually matures too early to be compatible with alfalfa for hay.

Paiute

Paiute Orchardgrass produces an abundance of basal leaves and leafy upright stems. Intended for use is for forage production on semi arid lands. Matures too early to be compatible with alfalfa.

Hallmark

An early maturing, vigorous, high yielding variety. Has good resistance to leaf disease and good seed yields. Very popular, released 1969.

Benchmark Plus

Premium variety with superior forage yield. Ideal for pastures or hay, selected for persistence under heavy grazing. Moderately drought tolerant.

Pawnee

Pawnee is a medium maturing orchardgrass developed for drought and grazing tolerance, increased stem rust resistance and forage yield.

Benchmark Plus

Premium variety with superior forage yield. Ideal for pastures or hay, selected for persistence under heavy grazing. Moderately drought tolerant.

Quickdraw

Quickdraw demonstrates rapid regrowth after cutting. Highly palatable, drought tolerant. High sugar grass. Medium maturity

Crown Royal

Crown Royal is one of our most popular varieties. Superior yield highly palatable, excellent drought tolerance, rapid regrowth. Medium to late maturity

Blizzard

Selected for superior winter survival and high forage yield potential. Widely adapted throughout the U.S. and Canada. Medium-late maturing.

Sundown

Sundown is a late maturity orchardgrass suitable for grazing or haying. Features aggressive tillering and fast re-growth.

Haymaster

Haymaster has excellent yield and quick recovery. Use for hay, silage or pasture. Ideal for alfalfa or clover mixes. Excellent disease resistance. Late maturing

Extend

Extend orchardgrass is an excellent choice for alfalfa or clover mixes. Demonstrates superior yield, excellent plant vigor and palatability. Late maturity.

Latar

Latar is an old variety. Low lignin, high digestibility. A good for use with alfalfa. Newer varieties offer superior performance and yield. Late maturing, released in 1957.

Approximate Orchardgrass Maturity times*

*Maturity times will vary based on your geographic area and climate.

Custom Seed Mixes:

Don’t hesitate to call if you want a custom mix. Wildflower seed mixes with the proper species selection is able to supply critical pollinators with flowers, year after year.

We are here to help. Give us a call. 435-283-1411

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