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Annual grasses

Annual grasses are a group of annual fodder crops.

Biological features

Annual grasses differ significantly in biological characteristics and fodder properties.

Among annual fodder grasses, there are species with slow growth in the initial period and relatively high shade tolerance. For example, a triple mixture of vetch, oats and Sudanese grass allows you to get a green mass of vetch and oats in the first cut, and a green mass from the stems and leaves of Sudanese grass in the second and subsequent cuts.

Their growing seasons are different, unlike perennial grasses, they are characterized by a faster accumulation of the crop. Harvest ripeness can occur 55-65 days after sowing.

Annual grasses are characterized by a short growing season, which makes it possible to sow them at different times, thus providing animals with green fodder for a long period. The combination of fodder crops with a short and long growing season also allows you to extend the use of green fodder in livestock.

Many types of annual grasses, for example, spring vetch, pelushka, sowing rank, broad beans, give high yields of seeds with a high content of protein and essential amino acids, especially lysine.

Major crops

Annual grasses can be divided into two groups depending on which family the crop belongs to: annual legume grasses and annual grasses (bluegrass) grasses.


Under annual grasses in the 70-80s in the USSR, 10-12 million hectares were occupied. By 2001-2005, the area occupied in Russia amounted to 5.9 million hectares. Gross harvest of hay fell by 3 times during this period. The average hay yield did not change and amounted to 1.5-1.7 t/ha. There is no official statistics on the types and varieties of annual grasses used in Russia.

Annual grasses are used for green fodder, hay, silage, granulated and briquetted fodder, and as pasture plants.

To improve the quality and nutritional value of feed, mixed crops of cereals and legumes, and sometimes with plants of other families, such as sunflower, are important.

In the zone of sufficient moisture, they serve as good fallow-occupying crops. For example, a fallow field occupied by a mixture of annual grasses makes it possible to obtain green fodder and free the field in time for sowing winter crops. According to the data for 24 years of observations of the department of crop production of the Moscow Agricultural Academy, the vetch-oat mixture in the seeded fallow of the six- field fodder crop rotation made it possible to obtain 25 t/ha of green mass annually.

Annual grasses can be used as stubble and hay crops. In regions where a sufficient number of warm and humid days remain after harvesting grain crops , stubble crops of vetch-oat or pea-oat mixtures yield 15 t/ha of green mass.

The importance of annual grasses in field fodder production is increasing due to the intensification of agriculture, which creates favorable conditions for expanding the sown areas of annual grasses and increasing their yield. From a biological point of view, intensive crop rotation is understood as crop rotation , which allows cultivated plants to accumulate the maximum possible amount of photosynthetically active solar radiation. At the same time, the use of annual grasses as catch crops makes it possible to increase the use of solar energy by cultivated plants.

Annual grasses, primarily legumes, are of great agrotechnical importance. Almost all of them can serve as good predecessors for grain and industrial crops in crop rotation. Can serve as a cover crop for perennial grasses.


The average yield of hay of annual grasses collected in variety plots is approximately 4 t/ha. Under irrigation conditions, the yield increases significantly. Thus, 10.5 t/ha of hay is harvested during irrigation in the variety plots of the Saratov region, 12.7 t/ha in the Penza region, and 10.5 t/ha in the Krasnodar Territory. However, under production conditions, the yield of annual grasses is much lower, about 1.4-1.6 t/ha.

The yield of annual grasses used as intermediate crops, for example, in the experiments of the Voronezh Agricultural Institute for a vetch-oat mixture sown after winter rye for grain, was 8.8 t/ha of green mass, in the Carpathian region – 7.9 t/ha.


Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Agriculture and crop production. Ed. V.S. Niklyaev. – M .: “Epic”, 2000. – 555 p.