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Grazing Factsheets - Species - Cool-Season Grasses

Grazing Factsheets

Species
Cool-Season Grasses

Tall Fescue
Kentucky Bluegrass
Orchard
Redtop
Smooth Bromegrass
Timothy

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassSpecies
Cool-Season Grass

Tall Fescue

Illinois

General Use

Tall fescue is widely used as forage, but it also is ideal for waterways, ditch and pond banks, farm lots and lanes.

Animals readily graze fescue during April, May, early June and again in the fall, but show reluctance during most of June, July and August. Fescue is one of the best cool-season grasses available for accumulating growth for fall and winter providing much of the fall and winter feed for a beef herd.

Tall fescue should be part of a forage system, where adapted. Fescue should be rested during the late summer so the growth can accumulate for fall and winter. If fescue is grazed in the summer, every effort should be made to maintain at least 30% of a legume species.

Tall fescue may be used in forage programs for most beef herds, but is not recommended for use as a forage for dairy cows. See management for additional precautions.  

Adaptability

Tall fescue is well adapted to the soil and weather conditions of Illinois. Fescue is especially adapted to the growing conditions of southern Illinois, producing more on acid, wet soils of sandstone and shale origin than other cool-season grasses.

Fescue is one of the more drought-resistant field plants grown in Illinois, and will maintain itself under rather limited fertility conditions.

Varieties suggested for Illinois are Illinois 96, Kentucky 31, Alta, Kenmont and Fawn. Fawn matures about a week earlier than Kentucky 31, and has excellent seeding vigor, but is somewhat more susceptible to leaf diseases. Kenmont matures a few days later than Kentucky 31, and produces slightly more during the summer. Of those, Illinois 96 may be the best option since being free of endophyte, a fescue fungus that greatly effects grazing animals. 

Establishment

Because of differences in growth habits, palatability and the time of year when they should be used, unless a good pasture rotation is planned, other grasses should not be included with tall fescue at seeding time. However, one or two legumes should be used in the seeding mixture with fescue, but can only be maintained with good grazing management. The legumes will furnish high quality forage serve as a source of nitrogen for the fescue, and dilute endorphyte effects.

Fescue and accompanying legumes - except for lespedeza, which should be seeded in the winter or early spring - may be seeded in the spring, fall or winter. Spring seedings should be made early to avoid annual weeds and early summer droughts. Fall seedings usually have far less weed competition and more favorable moisture conditions than late spring seedings. See your local Natural Resources Conservation Service or Extension office for best seeding dates and current recommended seeding rates.

Test soil before making a new seeding. Several alternative fertility plans will be included with the soil test report. Select the one that best fits the individual situation.

Fescue has limited response to rock phosphate. Unless legumes are to be maintained with the fescue, only processed phosphate should be used to meet the phosphorus requirements.

A liberal supply of processed phosphorus helps to promote root development and plant establishment. While small amounts of nitrogen and potash are also of benefit at seeding time, too high a concentration of these elements will interfere with germination and discourage inoculation of the legumes

The starter fertilizer is more effective when banded into the soil rather than broadcast. 

Management

Fescue may be infected with an endophyte fungus. Due to the fungus, animal performance is not as high on fescue as on most other cool-season grasses during the summer. Under these conditions, maintaining a legume with the fescue dilutes the level of ingested fungus. Incorporating a legume also increases forage production during the summer. Fungus-free varieties, such as Illinois 96, Mozark and Martin also lessen the problem.

Legumes are difficult to maintain in a fescue sod, but there are a number of management practices that help to prevent legume disappearance from the Mixture.

Good management of both tall fescue and cattle grazing is important to minimize fescue foot, summer slump and other diseases found in cattle that graze fungus-infected tall fescue. Pastures comprised of tall fescue and legumes have less trouble than pure stands of tall fescue.

Fescue has more resistance to low temperatures than orchard grass, brome grass, timothy or reed canary grass. Leaves remain green later into the winter than other pasture grasses.

Despite the retention of leaves, fescue grows very little after October 15 in Illinois. If fescue produces up to its potential, 60 to 70 percent of its total production will occur by July 1. Most of the later growth occurs in August and September. Therefore, nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate fall growth on straight fescue sods should be applied in the late summer. Dry matter produced after August 1 in several Illinois trials indicate that 30-60 pounds of nitrogen would be enough to encourage optimum production during the late summer.

The greatest benefits for stockpiling fescue occur, from nitrogen; however, don’t forget phosphorus and potassium. Soil testing is the best way to determine phosphorus and potassium needs. When fertilizing fescue intended for fall and winter use, remember to keep the ration of nitrogen high and to apply it by August 15 so that the fescue has an opportunity to use the nitrogen.

To get the best results from stockpiled fescue, the early spring or elongated growth should be removed by haying or clipping by June 1. Many producers harvest a seed crop from the fescue and then stockpile the re-growth for winter use. If a good seed crop is desired the following year, clipping the fescue soon after seed harvest is essential. Removing excess growth after seed harvest will improve quality of fall stockpiles.

If pure fescue stands are used for hay, high yields can be expected if fertilizer - especially nitrogen - is applied during the winter or very early spring. Fescue to be used for hay should receive at least 60 pounds of nitrogen during winter. Phosphorus and potassium may be applied anytime during the year.

Fescue will withstand closer grazing and more abuse than most cool-season grasses. But can be overgrazed to the point that vigor as well as production is reduced. Don’t graze closer than three or four inches, and allow at least 30 days for the fescue to recover. 

Where to Get Help

For more information about tall fescue, contact your local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, listed in the telephone directory under “U.S. Government,” or the University of Illinois Extension. 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassSpecies
Cool-Season Grass

Kentucky Bluegrass

Illinois

General Information

Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass that was introduced from Europe. Because of its sod-forming ability, bluegrass is well suited for erosion control and recreational uses. Bluegrass is very compatible when grown with other grasses and legumes.  

Adaptability

Bluegrass is adapted to well-drained, loamy or heavier textured soils. It does best in soils with a pH of 5.3 or higher that are of limestone origin. 

Characteristics

Bluegrass grows one to two feet tall, reproducing both by budding and by seeding. The leaf blades are one-eighth-inch wide and four to eight inches long, tapering to a boat-shaped point. The leaves are on the stem in an alternating pattern. The seed head is open with three to five branches at each joint.

The base of the seed has a white, cotton-like material attached. The root system is fibrous with short rhizomes. 

Establishment

Kentucky bluegrass should be planted during the normal cool-season seeding dates.
Check with the Natural Resources Conservation Service or University Extension for proper seeding rates.

The seedbed should be smooth, firm and free of weeds. The seed should be placed one-eighth to one-fourth inch deep.

When seed is broadcast, the soil needs to be at least 80% weed-free, rolled, seeded, and rolled again to ensure good seed to soil contact. 

Management

Bluegrass is able to withstand the pressure of heavy grazing. If grazed excessively, though, plants may not recover.

When other species of grasses are grazed heavily, they die, enabling bluegrass to spread and eventually dominate the pasture.

Bluegrass provides excellent forage during the spring. During this lush growth period, it will have a protein content of 20 percent.

To improve forage yields, plant bluegrass with legumes such as ladino clover, Korean lespedeza, red clover, alfalfa and bird’s-foot trefoil.

Bluegrass should not be grazed until it reaches a height of six inches, and it should not be grazed closer than three inches.

When bluegrass has been properly grazed, allow at least 21 days for it to recover before resuming grazing.

Lime and fertilizer should be applied according to a soil test. Bluegrass is recommended for grazing, but seldom is recommended for use as a hay crop. 

Where to Get Help

For more information about Kentucky bluegrass, contact your local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, listed in the telephone directory under “U.S. Government,” or the University of Illinois Extension.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassSpecies
Cool-Season Grass

Orchard

Illinois

General Information

Orchard grass is a cool-season grass that grows in clumps, producing an open sod. Native of Europe, but has been grown in North America for more than 200 years. However, not widely accepted in the United States until 1940.

Orchard grass is leafy, productive and adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Seedlings are competitive enough to withstand competition from weeds and other plants. Once established, Orchard grass will survive many years if properly managed. Suited for pasture, hay, green chop and silage. Can be utilized alone or in a combination with legumes.

Orchard grass is commonly found growing in shady places, such as orchards, undoubtedly led to its most widely known common name. Also is known as cocksfoot, due to shape, especially in the British Isles.  

Adaptability

In the United States, orchard grass is found from Maine to the Gulf states and from the Atlantic coast to the eastern Great Plains. It is common throughout the Appalachian Mountains. It also is found in the high rainfall regions of the western mountains and in irrigated areas throughout the West. 

Characteristics

Orchard grass starts growth in early spring, develops rapidly, and flowers during late May or early June. Leaves are folded in the bud, and in a cross section appear V-shaped. The sheath is distinctly flattened and strongly keeled. Orchard grass reproduces by seed and tiller formation. Tillering occurs almost continuously. In field conditions, the production of new tillers gives orchard grass its perennial character.

Like other grasses, orchard grass produces a fibrous root system. The root system is extensive and deeper than those of Kentucky bluegrass and timothy, but not as well distributed as that of smooth bromegrass.

If soil fertility is low, a large portion of the total production of orchard grass occurs in the spring, whereas at high fertility levels, production is well distributed throughout the growing season. Orchard grass is more heat tolerant than timothy or Kentucky bluegrass, but is less heat tolerant than smooth bromegrass or tall fescue. Grows rapidly in cool temperatures and is especially productive in early spring, and reasonably productive in late fall, but less so than tall fescue.

The optimum daytime temperature for growth of orchard grass is about 70 degrees. However the combination of a daytime temperature of 71.5 degrees and a nighttime temperature of 53.5 degrees is most favorable for the production of top growth. Temperatures above 82 degrees greatly reduce growth and tillering. Orchard grass is shade tolerant, and is found growing in many areas where there is reduced light. Orchard grass can also withstand high light intensity.

Orchard grass is more drought tolerant than either timothy or Kentucky bluegrass, but smooth bromegrass is more drought tolerant than orchard grass and is better adapted to areas that have a combination of low rainfall and high temperature. Drought tolerance of orchard grass probably is related to its extensive root system. Orchard grass persists and grows well on soils that have moderately poor drainage, but does not tolerate flooding or wet soils as well as reed canary grass.

Orchard grass will persist on shallow, rather infertile soil and be moderately productive, yet is responsive to fertilizer applications, especially nitrogen, and becomes very competitive when nutrients are available. Tall fescue and timothy will compete successfully with orchard grass only when nitrogen and potassium are lacking. In the area of adaptation, orchard grass becomes the dominant species when an abundance of nutrients is available.

At the vegetative growth stage, orchard grass approaches the feeding value of alfalfa. At full bloom, about half the value of alfalfa. Aftermath forage is leafy and generally does not decline in feeding value. Thus, time of harvest is much less important with aftermath than with the first crop. 

Establishment

In the area of adaptation, orchard grass usually is established with ease. Orchard grass is recommended to be seeded in early spring or late summer. Contact your local NRCS or University Extension office for specific seeding recommendations.

Oats are frequently used as a companion crop with an orchard grass/legume seeding. The oats are harvested for hay, silage or grain during the summer, and the grass/legume mixture is harvested the next year.

When planting orchard grass, the seedbed should be loose on top and firm underneath. The seed should be planted no deeper than one-fourth of an inch. Press wheels or a cultipacker help ensure stand survival. 

Management

Orchard grass is well suited to early spring pastures due to growth characteristics and better suited to rotational grazing than to continuous grazing. When grazed continuously, animals tend to graze the same areas until the plants are weakened by frequent removal of leaves. Close cutting or grazing, especially when reserves are low, is detrimental to orchard grass. Cutting several times at ground level or continuous close grazing almost always results in a reduction of reserves and serious stand injury, especially at high rates of nitrogen. Orchard grass should not be grazed until eight inches tall, and then no closer than three inches.

Ladino or white clover is well suited for use in combination with orchard grass for pasture. Clover provides the nitrogen for the grass, and if properly managed, both species will remain productive for many years. When grazing is delayed, excessive competition from grass may cause elimination of the legume. Orchard grass should be grazed when eight to twelve inches tall to provide an acceptable balance between yield and persistence of white clover.

Orchard grass may be grown for hay either in pure stands or with legumes. When pure stands are used for hay production, it is imperative that nitrogen be used in combination with other nutrients for high yields. Split applications of nitrogen will help prevent lodging, and tend to give better distribution of forage during the growing season. Nitrogen at a rate of 50 to 75 pounds per acre in early spring and after each cutting is generally recommended; however, application of nutrients should be based on a soils test.

Legumes and orchard grass can be grown successfully in mixed stands if care is taken to favor the legume. Nitrogen or manure should not be applied because it stimulates growth of orchard grass, often at the expense of the legume. High rates of potassium should be applied to enhance legume vigor and survival. 

Where to Get Help

For more information about orchard grass, contact your local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, listed in the telephone directory under “U.S. Government,” or the University of Illinois Extension.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassSpecies
Cool-Season Grass

Redtop

Illinois

General Information

Redtop is a cool-season grass introduced from Eurasia. Because of its ability to establish and spread quickly, redtop is well suited for erosion control. Redtop will provide soil protection when other plants are establishing. 

Adaptability

Few other grasses are adapted to such a wide range of soil and weather conditions. Because redtop will tolerate standing water for short periods of time, it is one of the best grasses planted in association with wetlands and wet soils.

It also grows well on dry soils, clayey soils, acidic soils, alkaline soils and soils with low fertility.

Redtop provides good nesting habitat, escape cover and food for wildlife.

Before 1940, redtop was the second most important pasture grass, behind Kentucky bluegrass. 

Characteristics

Redtop grows three feet tall on productive soils. The leaf blade is one-fourth inch wide, and four inches to 24 inches long, tapering to a point.

The top leaf surface is hairy, and the bottom is smooth. Stems are slender, with a sheath that is shorter than the internode.

The seed heads are loose pyramidal, and will turn red when mature.

The rooting system forms a loose, coarse turf. It has a creeping growth habit, which enables an isolated plant to spread to a diameter of three feet. 

Establishment

Redtop should be planted during the normal, cool-season seeding dates in a firm, smooth and weed-free seedbed.

Check with the Natural Resources Conservation Service or University Extension for proper seeding rates.

When seed is broadcast, the soil needs to be at least 80% weed-free, rolled, seeded and rolled again to ensure adequate seed-to-soil contact. 

Management

Redtop is capable of producing fair hay yields in unproductive soils. These yields can be increased by applying lime and fertilizer in accordance with a soil test. Overall, hay yields are low, with very little fall regrowth. Protein content runs 8 percent to 9 percent when cut at full bloom, and 12 percent to 14 percent when cut before bloom.
Redtop can be planted with timothy, Korean lespedeza, alsike clover and some native grasses.

When added to native, warm-season grass plantings, redtop provides more rapid establishment of cover on fields where erosion could be a problem.
Redtop should not be grazed until it reaches a height of eight inches. It should not be grazed closer than three inches. 

Where to Get Help

For more information about redtop, contact your local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, listed in the telephone directory under “U.S. Government,” or the University of Illinois Extension. 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassSpecies
Cool-Season Grass

Smooth Bromegrass

Illinois

General Information

Smooth Bromegrass is an introduced, rhizomatous, long-lived cool season perennial grass.

The grass is leafy and quite tall, growing to a height of three to four feet. Smooth Bromegrass produces an abundance of basal and stem leaves. Blades are eight to 12 inches long and from one-fourth to one-half inch wide, flat with prominent veins and a W or M water mark.

The leaf sheath is four to six inches long, smooth, and closed forming a tube around the stem. The seed head is a confined panicle that emerges from the upper leaf sheath in late spring or early summer.

Smooth bromegrass should not be confused with many, less desirable annual or at best short-lived perennial cousins. 

Adaptability

Smooth Bromegrass was introduced to the United States in the 1880s, a native of Europe, China, and Siberia, and adapted to most temperate climates.

The region of best adaptation in North America is centered in the corn belt and adjacent areas northwest and northward into Canada.

Smooth bromegrass survives periods of drought and extreme temperatures, but will become dormant during prolonged dry periods. Growth begins again only with the return of cool, short days when moisture is available.

The grass will grow on a variety of soil types, but prefers deep, fertile, well-drained silt or clay loam soils. 

Establishment

Seeds are chaffy and tend to bridge in the seed box of seeding equipment when agitation is not provided.

Seeds should be placed one-fourth to one-half inch deep, and the soil should be firmed around the seed with packer wheels or with the use of a cultipacker after seeding.

Check with the Natural Resources Conservation Service or University Extension for proper seeding rates.

Often alfalfa or other adapted legumes or grasses are planted with smooth bromegrass to form mixtures. In these cases the seeding rate should be reduced accordingly.

Weeds need to be controlled to protect seedlings from competition for moisture and sunlight. Varieties best suited to Illinois include Barton, Beacon, Regs, Southland, and Lincoln. 

Management

Smooth bromegrass will begin growth in late March or early April, with peak growth in May and early June.

  • Grows into early summer better than most cool-season grasses. A second smaller growth peak will take place in September and October if soil moisture is adequate.
  • Species compares favorably to orchard grass, reed canary grass and tall fescue in total productivity, and may provide the highest spring yields. In addition, Smooth Bromegrass is probably the most winter hardy of the cool-season grass species listed above.
  • Nutrient value and palatability for grazing livestock makes it one of the best cool-season grasses for pasture use.
  • Uses a mixture of smooth bromegrass and alfalfa has proved to be a popular pasture mixture, and provides added wildlife benefits to the planting.
  • Legume adds feed value while the grass in the mixture reduces the danger of bloat.
  • Too early, continuous spring grazing can damage productivity of the stand. Grazing management that provides short periods of grazing followed by adequate rest periods will ensure vigorous productive pastures, whether planted as a single species or as a mixture in pastures.
  • Requires a higher level of nutrient management than some species of cool-season grasses if the stand is to remain productive. Stands can become sod-bound unless they are kept well fertilized or mechanically renovated.

Where to Get Help

For more information about smooth bromegrass, contact your local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, listed in the telephone directory under “U.S. Government,” or the University of Illinois Extension.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

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Outline of State of Illinois with GrassSpecies
Cool-Season Grass

Timothy

Illinois

General Information

Timothy is a cool-season bunchgrass that is best suited for hay production due to being a bunchgrass, and leaves open areas at ground level. Timothy is well suited for wildlife plantings. However, Timothy is not recommended for erosion control because of the shallow root system. Timothy is not drought tolerant, but cold tolerant, and lives longer in cool, humid regions.  

Adaptability

Timothy is adapted to fertile, heavy-textured soils with good water-holding capacity.

Timothy is poorly suited to droughty or wet soils, but can withstand flooding for a few days during the growing season or for a few weeks during dormant period. 

Characteristics

Timothy grows two to three feet tall, and forms large clumps. The leaf blades are flat, one-fourth-inch wide, and four to 12 inches long, tapering to a point.

The top leaf is shorter than the others, and extends sharply upward. The seed heads are two to five inches long, and one-fourth-inch in diameter. The sheath is split and hairless with overlapping margins. The rooting system is fibrous and shallow. The plant reproduces by seed.

Timothy differs from most other grasses in that one or two of the lower internodes swell to form a bulb-shaped growth. This is a carbohydrate storage organ which decreases in size at the time of seed maturity. 

Establishment

Check with the Natural Resources Conservation Service or University Extension for proper seeding rates.

The seedbed should be free of weeds, smooth and firm. Timothy should be planted no deeper than one-fourth-inch during the normal cool-season seeding dates.

If the seed is planted using the broadcast method, the soil needs to be 80% weed-free, rolled, seeded, and rolled again to ensure adequate seed-to-soil contact. A good stand of timothy is quick to establish, and seldom lodges. 

Management

Timothy can be grazed, but management is necessary to avoid close grazing by livestock. Timothy is a medium-to-late maturing grass with peak periods of production in late spring and fall.

Timothy is best managed for livestock grazing when planted in pure stands with redtop or in a mixture with any legume except alfalfa.

Grazing should not begin until the grass has grown six to eight inches tall, and should not be grazed closer than three inches.

When cut for hay, timothy cures clean and relatively free of dust and to nitrogen and phosphate. These should be applied in accordance with soil tests.

If timothy is cut at the early head stage and the nitrogen rate is high, stands will be reduced.

Research shows Timothy is best cut before the early bloom stage has ended. At early bloom growth stage, plant quality, quantity and palatability is very high.

Management contributes to higher, long-term yields, and more growth is left for the pasture in the late summer and fall.

The first cutting of timothy and clover mixtures will be mostly clover. However, by the second or third year, most of the clover will have died.

The lack of competition between grass and clover, combined with the nitrogen clover roots, results in higher grass yields.

Early-cut timothy has a laxative effect on horses. Because of the higher levels of protein, calcium and vitamins, a timothy and legume mixture is recommended for colts and brood mares.

Timothy is very palatable, and is favored by horse owners and dairy and beef cattle producers. 

Where to Get Help

For more information about timothy, contact your local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, listed in the telephone directory under “U.S. Government,” or the University of Illinois Extension. 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

Download This Factsheet PDF