Weed Inspection & Forage Identification Tips

Summer means weeds in pastures and hay fields become more of a problem. Set aside time to check your hay fields for problems or poisonous weeds that may affect grazing animals or livestock that will soon be fed harvested forage.

Below are resources we recommend keeping handy to identify potentially poisonous weeds for livestock (with herbicide control options):

Forage Identification
At the same time, perhaps it makes sense to identify what basic grass species are in your fields. Below are checkpoints when in the field to help identify species. This is especially useful after a new seeding or inter-seeding practice.

It’s helpful to start by looking for presence of auricles (short attachments at base of leaf blade, usually helping connect lower leaf to stem) and ligules (small, thin tissue at junction of leaf sheath and stem). Another feature is deciding whether your forage grass has either a rolled or folded vernation.

Below are key traits to help you identify some common forage grass species. For additional visual references, visit http://bit.ly/2uO9x0K

Perennial Ryegrass
Glossy underside of leaves
Long auricles
Purpling at base of stem
Folded vernation
No awns on seed (on more mature plants)

Annual Ryegrass
Smooth, shiny underside of leaves
Long auricles
Rolled vernation
Awns present on seed

Blue, emerald tint (even early)
Flat at the base of stem – folded in whorl
Folded vernation
No auricles, but long ligule

Tall Fescue
Wider, thick leaves – prominent veining
Rolled vernation
Short, but hairy auricle

Corm just above the roots
Top leaf twisted clockwise
Rolled vernation

M or W shaped “wrinkle” on leaf
Usually start 2 leaves out of base
No real auricles or ligules
Rolled vernation