Klein Grass - Good or Bad

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1982vett

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Well, after last weeks almost 8 inches of rain. I took the chisel plow to 30 acres of "dead pasture". It was planted to coastal about 40 years ago with little management other than spraying for weeds. I is now (was) a mixture of coastal, common bermuda, bahia, and KR Bluestem. In the winter and early spring it naturally grows Texas Winter Grass, Gulfcoast Ryegrass, Persian clover, Bur Clover, Little Barley among others.

The soil ranges from a sandy loam to a clay based sand. 50 years ago about half of this was farmed and the other half was Post Oak woods.

What I did was chisel plowed once about 6-7 inches deep. Made a pass with a disc harrow. Threw out some fertilizer and cut it in dragging a section harrow behind the disc. I figured one more pass with the disc and harrow but it is looking pretty good now. I guess that will depend on when I get around to planting oats in a few days or weeks. Probably will mix in some winter peas or vetch. Would put some clover in it except for what I'm expecting next spring/summer. I'm expecting a forest of weeds so the need of early weed control will delay the clovers till next year.

The reason I'm asking about Klein Grass is I'm thinking of using it to reseed in the spring if the Coastal and Bermuda grass doesn't come back. I'm not really looking for that to be a problem. I did the same to 10 acres this past spring and the Coastal and Bermuda wasn't killed out, even in the drought we had. Sure their will probably be spots where their isn't any, mostly because their isn't any their now. Those spots are where the Bahia and KR Bluestem are.

Kind of looking for options. I could reseed or sprig these areas back to bermuda. I could let Mother Nature put back what she wants. Or I could spray it all out and start completely over. What I'm leaning to is spray out the Bahia and weeds and seed back Klein and let the bermuda do what it wants. I just don't have much knowledge about Klein. The reason I'm thinking Klein - drought tolerance, good nutritional value, and lower fertilization requirements. Old World Bluestem is another thought since the KR Bluestem is already here.
 

edrsimms

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Kleingrass is a tufted perennial bunch grass with stems 20 to 50 inches tall arising from firm, often knotty bases. The plant gives rise to an open panicle type inflorescence with typical rounded Panicum type seeds. The species is a warm-season grass that can provide good grazing for livestock. The grass is not native to Texas and was introduced from Africa in the 1950's. After more than 10 years of research, Kleingrass 75 was released as the most desirable variety, through joint efforts of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (currently the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service).

During the last 45 years, hundreds of thousands of acres of the arid Rolling Plains and Edwards Plateau of Texas have been planted to a monoculture of kleingrass. The grass has been planted to a lesser extent in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas mixed with native rangeland species for revegetation. Since its introduction, the plant has spread into native rangelands and along highways.
Regions: 3, 4, 5, 7.

Toxic Agent
Kleingrass, if managed properly, provides abundant quantities of good quality forage for livestock. However, sheep, and goats have been known to develop severe photosensitization and liver damage. The latter can also occur in horses. Saponins are suspected (but not proven) to be the photodynamic agent responsible. Green grass growth following moisture or grazing is reported to be relatively more toxic than old or dormant growth.
Livestock Symptoms
Poisoned sheep and goats exhibit typical symptoms of hepatogenic photosensitivity, including: discharges from the eyes and nose
sunburn and edema of skin on the muzzle, eyes and nose progressing to necrosis

Postmortem examination may reveal liver inflamation and lesions. The small bile ducts may be obstructed. The kidneys and adrenal glands, may also show lesions. Researchers have reported toxic symptoms in sheep after several weeks of grazing, while in other cases, symptoms appeared after only a few days. Morbidity can reach 100% if affected animals are not removed from pastures.

Horses are also susceptible to kleingrass toxicity, but unlike sheep, they do not exhibit classical early photosensitivity symptoms. Therefore, it may be difficult to detect poisoning as early. Basically, horses receive liver damage but without outward signs of photosensitivity. Poor body condition and weight may be the only early symptoms (i.e. "hard keepers"). With long-term exposure, liver damage may lethal in horses.


Cattle have not been reported to be susceptible to kleingrass induced photosensitivity. Therefore, they are the species of choice for grazing kleingrass pastures. If other livestock species have access to kleingrass, caution should be used. Animals should be closely monitored, and time spent grazing kleingrass should be very limited, especially during periods of green grass growth. Rotational grazing to other grass species may help. If symptomatic animals are removed from kleingrass, most will recover from toxic effects.
 
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1982vett

1982vett

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Thanks Ed for the reply. I am aware of the photosensitization and liver damage aspect of Klein but horses, sheep and goats aren't in my picture and won't be. What I'm looking for is satisfactory results from grazing and haying. I know some is grown in our area but it is not really that prevalant. What I have seen I think shows promise but I've not fed it. I understand it takes some grazing management much like most prarie grasses or bunch grasses.

So if you were to do it again, would you plant Klein or something else...
 

edrsimms

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http://www.pogueagri.com/Kleingrass_Verde.aspx

http://aces.nmsu.edu/news/1999/021099_FORAGE.html

http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.go ... o2verd.pdf

Yield, Morphology, and Nutritive Value of
Introduced Warm Season Perennial Grasses in
Central Texas
M.A. Sanderson, P. Voigt and R.M. Jones
To effectively design forage systems, producers need information
on productivity, quality, and persistence of warm-season grasses
suitable for planting on grazing lands and haylands. The yield,
morphological traits and nutritive value of some alternative warmseason
perennial grasses were evaluated 2 sites in Texas over a
2 year period. WW- B. Dahl old world bluestem and Irene tufted
digitgrass performed as well as weeping lovegrass or kleingrass
and the nutritive value of both was superior to lovegrass. These 2
grasses would be promising alternative forage grasses for livestock-
forage systems under limited nitrogen fertilizer inputs in
Texas.

http://www.swcs.org/documents/resources ... plains.pdf
 
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1982vett

1982vett

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Yep, that is what I'm talking about.

I'm really wanting the hands on, year after year, love it hate it testimony. Sort of like some of the Bahia discussions turn into. The suff the charts and test plots and forage analysis doesn't capture.

Oh, sorry, but growing under irrigation is not an option so we don't need to go their. Only the Good Lords' irrigation system available here.
 

Brute 23

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Its not bad... but there is better. I have some Klein fields and were there when I got there. I would not plant any more of it.

Look into ww-b-dahl bluestem.
We had this planted in Waco and it did very well. Makes alot of grass with little rain. Cattle will flat out eat it down before they touch coastal. They had some that was planted in the in the spring and they didn't get rain until July or Aug and it still came up. You can broadcast or drill it in. It is fire-ant resistant so birds,,, especiall quail,,, love it. Along with other wildlife.
 

novatech

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Around here the bluestem, Klein and tifton held up well, considering the drought. Most got a spring cutting and will also get a fall, although thin, cutting depending on how the cold holds off.
I have been investigating the WW B Dahl for a few years now. The low input fert. and low water requirements make it very promising. Several people have told me that it is very aggressive and will choke out the Bahia. I really like the fact, mentioned earlier, that the dahl suppresses fire ants and is wildlife friendly. (Maybe the quail would have a chance to reestablish.)
You may be surprised in the spring at how much bermuda comes back up. My Bahia all died off but the seed bank in the ground came up immediately after the rain.
As far as the weeds are concerned I would hold off until the spring after the clover is done. I have been using Grazon P+D ( now called Trooper P+D). It has a residual that lasts for a while but found it is gone by the time the clover is coming back the following fall.
 
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1982vett

1982vett

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novatech":20uvxybn said:
Around here the bluestem, Klein and tifton held up well, considering the drought. Most got a spring cutting and will also get a fall, although thin, cutting depending on how the cold holds off.
I have been investigating the WW B Dahl for a few years now. The low input fert. and low water requirements make it very promising. Several people have told me that it is very aggressive and will choke out the Bahia. I really like the fact, mentioned earlier, that the dahl suppresses fire ants and is wildlife friendly. (Maybe the quail would have a chance to reestablish.)
You may be surprised in the spring at how much bermuda comes back up. My Bahia all died off but the seed bank in the ground came up immediately after the rain.
As far as the weeds are concerned I would hold off until the spring after the clover is done. I have been using Grazon P+D ( now called Trooper P+D). It has a residual that lasts for a while but found it is gone by the time the clover is coming back the following fall.
Speaking of how well the Tifton held up. I have been surprised how fast a little moisture brings it back. It and the seeded Giant have jumped out. They were the last to succumb to the drought also. If I had to choose between the two I think I'd have to pick the Tifton85. Although the Giant is having to compete with the Common Bermuda (which the Common went dormant first and really hasn't done much since the rain) it just doesn't seem to spread as aggressively.

My neighbor planted a small patch (less than 2 acres) of the WW B Dahl. He had to move his cattle off that place back in May or June for lack of water and forage. Our area caught some nice rain in early July and this place caught a 5 inch rain in early August (we didn't get that one). Anyway, The WW B Dahl was waist high when he cut it two weeks ago. The KR Bluestem and various other native grasses are really putting on a show too. He has 40 acres of Tifton85 that was a little thin but was knee high.

Don't know what to make of the fire ant resistance in the WW B. Almost sounds like a fairy tale. Can only hope I guess.

Brute, your statement that their are better grasses is what has me concerned. I've heard that too. Just like I've been told that their are better grasses than KR Bluestem.
 

Brute 23

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When the B-dahl first came out the guy I worked for had it planted and they had some people that would come out and check it every so often. He planted some for grazing and alot in the turnrows of crop fields. Supposetly they never found one fireant bed in any of the spots planted. After like 2 or 3 years there was actually a few quail in those spots. :D Coincidence or not, I don't know. I do know that I saw the birds and we planted more and more every year.

We also had a pasture that was split right in half. Half in coastal, half in B-dahl. They would go right to the B-dahl first, always. The man had reg. angus and would put his heifers and young bulls on it because he said they finished out nicer.

I don't know... take it for what its worth. There may be more to it than I know... :D
 

bird dog

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A quick comment on the WW B Dahl. I recently (in July) bought a place east of Waco and I noticed the neighbor had a large pasture of a reddish tinted bunch grass about 8" tall. He also had a hot wire running the length of my driveway. I also noticed around the edges that where the bunch grass wasn't growing, the grass was ate down to the root. The neighbor on the other side is an older gentleman who cuts everyones hay in the area so I ask him what type of grass that was. He replied that it was WW B Dahl and the mans cows wouldn't eat it. He also stated that the reason he had the hot wire up was his cows would push thru the fence on to my driveway where the bermuda was growing. My question is would this mans cows not eat it because it was rank and mature due to lack of rain or is there another reason?
One other thing the man said that I had not noticed until I looked a little closer was that the rain water runs off between the clumps and causes some erosion and makes the pasture that much rougher. It does make good quail habitat but I have yet to see any birds.
 

dcarp

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I have Klein in my hay field, makes great hay. If I put a bale of Klein and a bale of Bermuda out at the same time the bale of Klein will be gone first. Can't say about pasture as I have Texas Tuff and common bermuda in my pastures, or I did before the drought. I graze the hay field in the late fall and early winter to give the overseeded(ryegrass) pastures time to grow up. The cows seem to graze the Klein down well. When I move them off the field I drag it to break up any leftover natural fertilizer. The Klein seems to tolerate my program as it comes back each spring well(if we have rain that is)
 
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1982vett

1982vett

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dcarp":166he69q said:
I have Klein in my hay field, makes great hay. If I put a bale of Klein and a bale of Bermuda out at the same time the bale of Klein will be gone first. Can't say about pasture as I have Texas Tuff and common bermuda in my pastures, or I did before the drought. I graze the hay field in the late fall and early winter to give the overseeded(ryegrass) pastures time to grow up. The cows seem to graze the Klein down well. When I move them off the field I drag it to break up any leftover natural fertilizer. The Klein seems to tolerate my program as it comes back each spring well(if we have rain that is)
I don't mind selling the bermuda because of that. Mine seem to prefer the prarie grasses and ryegrass mix type hay over the bermudas. My Texas Tuff is coming back strong. Fertilized it last week. Should get a nice cutting off of it unless I need to graze it. I plowed up 30 acres of pasture to refurbish plus the 10 acre millet field to plant oats. I might have gotten a bit over zealous taking that much out all at once. The 20 acre haygrazer patch has oats volunteering nicely so I've shut them off of it too.
 

artieg

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now I know why my goats died, klien grass growing wild here in san antonio, dont need it, dont like it, dont want it, round up wont kill it, how do i kill it forever? this grass has taken over, it kills out everything. i am not a farmer, but have lots of land with trees, i dont want to kill my trees, mowing is practically impossible. HELP!!
 
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