Today we will talk about C4 or warm season grasses.
Like: Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, Vasey grass, Guinea grass, Kikuyu, Pangola, etc.
C4 grasses, in general, are lower in protein and energy than cool season or C3 forages, plus they are higher in fiber.
To get better animal performance in your animals; daily gain or milk production you need to graze these species in a younger stage as when they mature their protein and energy diminish while their fiber increases.
The advantage these C4 grasses have over C3 forages is their much higher production per year and their higher water conversion rate into tons of forage dry matter per acre, besides being the perfect complement to C3 forages when they are together in the same pasture.
As will be seen in the Total grazing online course, the best way to manage them is with Total grazing, but at a younger stage.
It is important that the grazing be Total so a shift to undesirable species does not occur, under selective grazing your animals will select the best species first allowing the undesirable species to take over and dominate your pasture.
Even C4 grasses can cause diarrhea in your animals if they are grazed too young, this is another reason the optimum stage of maturity needs to be observed and it happens when the basal leaves start to turn yellow when growing conditions are good.
To have grass when growth stops it is convenient to allow a portion of the total acreage to stockpile.
This stockpiled grass will be over mature, low in energy and protein but high in fiber.
This high fiber content produces heat when digested, which may be good if it is cold, but very bad if it is hot. Therefore, it is important to use heat adapted genes in your composite, so they continue to consume grass very high in fiber.
We need to remember that ruminants require a minimum of 8% protein in a dry matter basis in their daily intake for their rumen to function correctly, which makes it necessary to provide a small quantity of protein supplement for the better use of this C4 stockpiled grass. Even C3 grasses, when mature, may need some minimum protein supplementation if they have been weathered much.
If you are interested in taking the Total Grazing course once the enrollment opens, join the waitlist here: https://www.rwranching.com/realwealthranchingcoursewaitlist