Meadow Bromegrass

Credit: 
Percy Folkard, (BC FLNR)
Scientific name: 

Bromus riparius Rehm.

Type: 
Agronomic Grass
Annual precip. min (mm): 
350
Annual precip. max (mm): 
600
Seed size: 
Large
Seeds per kg: 
182,000
Typical seeding objectives: 
PR Suitability note: 
Well suited to the Peace region. Fleet and Paddock varieties were developed at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Regar was developed in Idaho. In variety trials, Fleet had higher yield than Regar at Groundbirch, while Paddock had higher yield than Regar near Ft. St. John.
General Description: 

Meadow bromegrass is a hardy, long-lived, high-yielding, cool season perennial grass. It regrows very quickly after grazing, even late in the season. Meadow bromegrass has fibrous roots and short rhizomes which spread slowly.

Stems grow up to 1.2 m (47 in.) tall with many basal leaves in established stands. Both the leaves and sheaths have long, sparse hairs. Growing points remain near the ground throughout the growing season. Seedheads are 20 cm (8 in.) long with purple-tinged spikelets, which have 5 to 10 cross-pollinated flowers. Seeds are very long and awned, which causes bridging in seed drills.

Meadow bromegrasss is sometimes identified as Bromus biebersteinii R & S. However, based on plant characteristics, most North American introductions and varieties should be classified as Bromus riparius.

Origin: 
It was imported into North America from Zek, Kars Province in Turkey, in 1949.
Distribution: 
Not widely distributed except where it has been introduced for use on pasture. It is not as drought tolerant or winter hardy as smooth bromegrass, and is better adapted to the cooler and moister areas within the adaptation range of Smooth bromegrass.
Uses: 
Pasture, hay, stockpiled grazing.
Optimal time of grazing use: 
First grazing after the plant reaches 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 in.). Early grazed or cut meadow bromegrass can be stockpiled for fall, winter, or spring grazing.
Recovery after use (rating): 
H
Recovery after use: 
Requires 4 to 6 weeks rest after grazing; but regrows very quickly. Meadow bromegrass can be grazed repeatedly over the season, since defoliation from grazing is usually well above the growing tip.
Forage yield (rating): 
H
Forage yield: 
Can yield 4,600 kg/ha (4,100 lb/acre) in Black and Gray soils of northern prairie regions. Stocking rates of 3.25 AUM/ha (1.3 AUM/acre) for each grazing are possible.
Palatability/Nutritional Value: 
Before flowering and head development, crude protein can be 15 to 20% and digestibility 70 to 75%. Meadow bromegrass maintains its quality well during the fall, winter, and spring.
Longevity (rating): 
H
Longevity: 
10 to 20 years.
Invasiveness (rating): 
L
Competitiveness (rating): 
M
Competitiveness: 
Slow to spread so requires higher seeding rates to establish successfully.
Weed resistance (rating): 
L
Weed resistance: 
Weeds can compete with new seedlings; but weed resistance improves as stand becomes established.
Erosion control (rating): 
M
Drought tolerance (rating): 
H
Drought tolerance: 
Meadow bromegrass has good tolerance to drought and recovers quickly, with brown leaves becoming green as soon as moisture is available. Drought tolerance may not be dependable in areas of low precipitation.
Winter hardiness (rating): 
H
Winter hardiness: 
Tolerates early frosts and maintains its forage quality throughout the cold season.
Soil texture preference (rating): 
A
Flooding tolerance (rating): 
L
Flooding tolerance: 
Meadow bromegrass has poor tolerance to spring or growing season flooding and has poor tolerance to excess soil moisture. It may withstand flooding for up to 10 days.
Salinity tolerance (rating): 
M
Salinity tolerance: 
It has slightly less salinity tolerance than smooth bromegrass.
Acidity tolerance (rating): 
M
Acidity tolerance : 
It can tolerate soil pH levels as low as 5.7 but highest yields are on soils pH 6.0 to 7.5.
Pests and/or disease threats: 
Usually minor problems but can include threats of head smut and silvertop, especially of concern for seed growers.
Ease of establishment (rating): 
M
Ease of establishment: 
Seedlings are vigorous and establish quickly. Establishment can be challenging if low seed rates are used or seed-to-soil contact and placement is compromised.
Application requirements: 
Will establish well if seed is placed 1.5 to 2 cm (1/2 to 3/4 in.) deep and seeded at higher rates. A seeding rate of at least 10 kg/ha (9 lb/acre), or a minimum seeding density of 175 PLS/m2 is recommended. Surface broadcasting without soil incorporation is not effective. To prevent seed bridging, add agitation to the seed tank or mix seed with fertilizer or heated grain.
Suggested mixtures: 
Meadow bromegrass can be seeded with legumes such as alfalfa, red clover, and alsike clover.