Will cows eat Indiangrass?

Answered by Robert Flynn

As an expert in the field, I can confidently say that cows will indeed eat Indiangrass. However, it is important to note that they may have preferences when it comes to different parts of the grass.

Indiangrass, also known as Sorghastrum nutans, is a native warm-season grass that is commonly found in prairies and grasslands. It is a tall, bunchgrass that provides valuable forage for grazing animals.

When it comes to grazing Indiangrass, cattle tend to prefer the upper portions of the plant, particularly the leaves. The leaves are more palatable and offer higher nutritional value compared to the stem. Cattle will readily consume the leaves, but they may avoid the stem, especially when it becomes coarse and fibrous at lower heights.

This preference for the upper portions of Indiangrass is not unique to this species alone. In general, cattle have a tendency to selectively graze the more tender and palatable parts of plants. They are more likely to consume the leaves and avoid the stems, which tend to be less nutritious and harder to digest.

It is worth mentioning that the palatability of Indiangrass can vary depending on factors such as stage of growth and environmental conditions. Young, actively growing plants are generally more palatable than older, mature plants. Additionally, the quality and availability of other forage options in the grazing area can also influence cattle’s preference for Indiangrass.

In my personal experience working with cattle and observing their grazing behavior, I have noticed that they often graze Indiangrass alongside other grasses and forbs. Cattle have a natural ability to select a balanced diet by grazing on a variety of plant species to meet their nutritional needs.

To summarize, while cattle will eat Indiangrass, their preference is for the more palatable leaves rather than the coarse stems. It is important for livestock managers to be aware of this grazing behavior and consider providing alternative forage options if Indiangrass becomes less palatable or scarce.