Pasture Grasses and Legumes for Animals

One of the most important aspects of raising livestock is providing them with a nutrient-rich diet. This is typically accomplished by feeding the animals hay, grains, and other supplements. However, pasture grasses and legumes can also provide a significant amount of nutrition for livestock, reducing the overall cost of raising them. Many farmers are now starting to use pasture grasses and legumes as the primary source of animal feed.

What are pastures?

Pastures are simply areas of land covered by grasses and legumes (forage crops) for animals or livestock to graze on. They are a valuable source of food for grazing animals, as well as a way to improve soil health and provide protection against erosion. Grasses and legumes in pastures can be grazed by cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and other animals.

What are forage crops?

Forage crops are grasses, legumes or other forage plants that are grown to provide feed for livestock. The crops can be harvested and fed to the animals in a barn, or the animals can be allowed to graze directly on the field. Forage crops are an important part of the feed supply for cattle, sheep, and goats.

Pasture grasses and legumes

Grasses and legumes are two of the most important types of plants used as animal feed. Each has its own unique set of benefits that make them ideal for different purposes. Grasses are generally high in fiber and relatively low in protein, while legumes are generally high in protein and relatively low in fiber. When used together, the two can provide animals with all the nutrients they need to survive and thrive.

Pasture grasses are a type of grass that is commonly found in fields and meadows. These grasses are used for grazing livestock, such as cows and sheep, and for hay production. They are rich in nutrients, which makes them ideal forage for grazing animals. Forage grasses include guinea grass, elephant grass, straw wheat, bromegrasses, and fescues.

Forage legumes are a type of plant that is used for animal feed. These plants produce pods or seeds that are rich in protein and other nutrients, making them an excellent source of food for livestock. Forage legumes include alfalfa, clover, and vetch, among others.

Read: A Beginner’s Guide to Cattle Farming

A List of Forage Grasses

There are many types of grasses or examples of grasses that are edible and good as animal feed. Find below the list of 50 forage grasses and their botanical names.

Common NameBotanical Name
Gamba grassAndropogon gayanus
Southern gambaA. tectorum
Carpet grassAxonopus compressus
Imperial grassAxonopus scoparius
Signal grassBrachiaria decumbens
Para grassBrachiaria mutica
Palisade grassB. brizantha
Rugi, congo grassB. ruziziensis
Buffel grassCenchrus ciliaris
Rhodes grassChloris gayana
Bermuda grassCynodon dactylon
Giant star grassCynodo nlemfuensis
Pangola grassDigitaria decumbens
Jaragua grassHyparrhenia rufa
MolassesMelinis minutiflora
Guinea grassPanicum maximum
Klein grassPanicum coloratum
Blue panicPanicum antidotale
Elephant grassPennisetum purpureum
Kyasuwa grassPanicum pedicellatum
Kikuyu grassPanicum clamdestinum
Sugar caneSaccharum officinarum
SetariaSetaria anceps
Spear grassImperata cylindrical
Guatemala grassTripsacum laxum
Stubborn grassEleucine indica
Weeping loveEragrostis tremula
Wutsiyar jakiAristida stipondes
Blue drop-seedSporobolus pyramidalis
Lemon grassCymbopogon citratus
WheatgrassAgropyron  spp.
Bent grassAgrostis spp.
Meadow FoxtailAlopecurus praiensis
Beach grassAmmophila spp.
Blue stems grassAndropogon spp.
Tall OatgrassArrhenatherum elatius
Grama grassBouteloua spp.
Bromo grassBromus spp.
Buffalo grassBuchloë dactyloides
Wild-ryeElymus spp.
LovegrassEragrostis spp.
Centipede grassEremochloa ophiuroides
FescueFestuca spp.
Rye grassLolium spp.
Indian Rice grassOryzopsis hymenoides
Paspalum grassPaspalum spp.
Canary grassPhalaris spp.
Timothy grassPhleum pretense
Foxtail MilletSetaria Itálica
Stipa or Needle grassStipa spp.

Read: A Beginner’s Guide to Goat Farming

A List of Forage Legumes

Find below a list of 50 pasture legumes and their botanical names

Common NameBotanical Name
Pigeon peaCajanus cajan
CalopoCalopogonium mucunoides
CentroCentrosema pubescens
Greenleaf DesmodiumDesmodium intortum
Silverleaf DesmodiumDesmodium uncinatum
GliricidiaGliricidia sepium
Hyacinth bearLablab purpureus
Lucaena, lead treeLeucaena leucocephala
GycineNeonotania wightii
KudzuPueraria phaseoloides
StyloStylosanthes guyanensis
TownsvilleStylosanthes humilis
AlfalfaMedicago sativa
MimosaMimosa pudica
Buffalo leafAlysicarpus viginalis
Birdsfoot TrefoilLotus corniculatus
Red CloverTrifolium pratense
White CloverTrifolium repens
Sweet CloverMelilotus officinalis
Alsike CloverTrifolium hybridum
Kura CloverTrifolium ambiguum
Tufted VetchVicia cracca
Common vetchVicia sativa
SoybeanGlycine max
Black MedicMedicago lupulina
Butterfly peaClitoria ternatea
Yellow lupin seedLupinus luteus
West African albiziaAlbizia ferruginea
Winged beanPsophocarpus tetragonolobus
Wild sennaSenna tora
White lupinLupinus albus
AcaciaAcacia nilotica
BerseemTrifolium alexandrinum
Black gramVigna mungo
CarobCeratonia siliqua
ChickpeaCicer arietinum
Chinese albiziaAlbizia chinensis
Chilean mesquiteProsopis chilensis
Grass peaLathyrus sativus
Horse gramGleditsia triacanthos
Hedge lucerneDesmanthus virgatus
Jack beanCanavalia ensiformis
MellettiaMellettia extensa
LentilLens culinaris
OrfotVachellia oerfota
OkanCylicodiscus gabunensis
Mug beanVigna radiate
LablabLablab purpureus
PeanutTrifolium resupinatum
OtholobiumOtholobium candicans

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Akinbobola A.

I'm a livestock farmer, certified animal scientist and agro consultant. You can follow Livestocking on Facebook and Twitter. Click here to send me an email
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