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Головна / Information / Forage plants: main species

Forage plants: main species

These crops are often used as fresh animal feed, as well as for harvesting hay, haylage, silos. They are also considered a category of artificially dehydrated feed. In addition, herbs are grown to create cultivated hayfields or pastures.

They contain a certain list of useful micro and macro elements, therefore they have an increased nutritional value. Active use in haymaking and grazing purposes allows you to increase the amount of milk yield, positively affecting the gastrointestinal tract and the general condition of farm animals.

The main types of fodder crops can be divided into:

  • Perennial. Grow, as a rule, in the steppe and mountainous regions. Most often they appear in the form of clean crops for arable land and cultivated pastures that are not involved in crop rotation. Annuals. They are more common in desert or semi-desert regions. They are based on early flowering or fast maturing vegetation. Often there are spring and summer crops. Annual fodder grasses are subject to cultivation in order to develop field crop rotations. Often used as preparation for land intended for sowing pastures and hay areas.

All forage crops genetically replicate the same basic food, usually concentrated or succulent. At the same time, each species has its own nutritional level, which satisfies the body’s need for a certain amount of substances aimed at ensuring the vital activity, growth and development of the body.

Forage plants

The widest group of plant foods is bulk. It includes coarse, succulent and green types of herbs. They constitute the main diet of ruminants, mainly small and large cattle.

Forage plant species

There are a huge number of crops that make up the main types of fodder plants. These are about a hundred names belonging to different families in botany. However, there are four main species, and they differ in different characteristics: morphological, biological, economic parameters and processing methods.

The classification looks like this

  • cereals (timothy grass, cocksfoot, foxtail and meadow fescue, comb-shaped wheatgrass, columbus grass, etc.); >
  • sedge (especially steppe and desert);
  • forbs (goatbeard, Austrian wormwood, yarrow, creeping buttercup, tuberous valerian, etc.).

As a rule, all this fodder grass is well eaten by animals, and poisonous species are practically absent. At the same time, they replenish the body with the necessary nutrients. Many plants are finally bred into a whole culture. The species are usually winter-hardy, therefore they survive well different climatic conditions, temperature changes, humidity fluctuations, etc. They are fairly easy to care for, so pasture owners don’t have to pay too much attention to them.



The family of cereals or bluegrass is quite common in the steppe zone. There are about a thousand species. In their composition they have a relatively high percentage of proteins, fats, fiber and other substances. They provide the bulk of the crop for hay or pasture forage, except in desert areas. Forage grasses are divided into three main groups: dense-bush, rhizomatous, and rhizomatous. In addition, they can be divided by height and structure:

  • Horsemen. They are characterized by low activity, grow slowly after mowing. Well suited for hayfields.
  • Half-storey. They have a lot of vegetative shoots. Application for hayfields and pastures is possible.
  • Grassroots. They grow quickly, thanks to the growth of a shortened shoot. Great for pasture.

As a rule, forage cereals propagate by cross-pollination with the help of wind, mainly in the morning, while the seeds are shed. However, this is typical of perennial grasses, which constantly form new above-ground shoots.

Forage cereals are characterized by rapid growth, as well as a fibrous root system that allows them to accumulate moisture. The main species of plants used for fodder purposes include meadow timothy grass, cocksfoot and bezost bonfire, which is actively eaten by various farm animals.

It is useful to understand the rhizomes of crops in order to better plant them. This way you can achieve a greater yield, avoid diseases and pests.


Perennial and annual grasses of this family are used to obtain feed with a high protein content. They usually grow in the natural environment in small groups. For sowinguse them along with cereals to create temporary or permanent pastures. They are also used to create:

  • green mass;
  • syn preparations;
  • herbal flour.

Bean fodder plants for animals are highly nutritious, lengthening the period of use of sowing. Legumes include alfalfa, clover and other grasses.

At the same time, they coarsen more slowly, so they are eaten better than cereals. They also have a long flowering and fruiting period. Even after digestion or mowing, the vegetation quickly recovers.

Note that legume herbage prefers fertile soils, with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction, with moderate moisture and aeration.


These cultures come from the Sedge and Sytnikov families. On the territory of deserts, this is a rather valuable fodder crop due to the absence of many species. However, in other regions, sedges are produced more as fodder plants for hay. This is due to the fact that they are quite poorly eaten by animals. Therefore, for example, in northern latitudes they are mainly used for hay harvesting.

They are divided into the following groups:

  • large-stemmed (eaten poorly or exclusively in the vegetative phase):
  • moisture-loving (eaten satisfactorily);
  • small-stemmed (eaten well)

For hay or silage, the vegetation is mowed before the flowering phase. Often add herbs that have a high level of sugar in their composition. This greenery can be consumed by animals of all kinds, especially goats, sheep and cattle living in the steppe, desert or mountain zone.

They contain enough phosphorus and potassium. Approximately 41% of sedge species are considered good or excellent eaters because of this.


This group includes greens belonging to other families defined by botany. This is the largest group, which makes up 60 – 70% of the herbage in various pastures and meadows. Often they are of great economic importance. This is especially true for species of wormwood and saltwort.

This group is considered nutritious (exceeds cereals). However, animals eat poorly – the following factors contribute to this:

  • pubescence;
  • thorniness;
  • unpleasant, often bitter taste.

Annuals and perennials for farm animals from these families are considered a desirable admixture if they grow within 15-20% of the total vegetation. Herbs help improve nutrition and mineral diversity.

There should not be a lot of forbs in the hayfield. This is due to the fact that they are crowding out more valuable cereals and legumes. In addition, among herbs, the highest percentage of poisonous, as well as weeds.


In most cases, fodder plants are grown in field or fodder crop rotations. Today, the cultivation of such crops is even accepted as an independent branch of agriculture, which is called fodder production.

Processing crops of this type makes it possible to reduce the cost of livestock products, so in our country quite large sown areas are allocated for fodder plants.