It is derived from the Arachisglabrata Benth. plant (sometimes called ‘rhizoma peanut’) and offers similar animal nutrition benefits to alfalfa.
If alfalfa is in short supply, or budget doesn’t stretch to this more premium product, perennial peanut grass hay is an effective alternative.
Perennial peanut grass is a warm-weather legume, which should not be confused with peanut hay, which comes from the plant Arachis hypogaea, which is left after harvesting peanuts and has no nutritional value for foraging livestock.
Perennial peanut grass is grown for the nutritional qualities of the peanut grass for livestock, or as a ground cover.
It can be a useful crop where it is difficult to grow any other type of hay. In areas where the soil lacks nutrients (such as for growing alfalfa), livestock owners or agricultural farmers can grow this crop easily.
Perennial peanut hay can also be preserved and enhanced in a silage-making process that ferments the peanut grass to improve the nutrients.
Unlike some grass hays, perennial peanut grass can exist in a pasture indefinitely. The downside for would be crop growers is that Arachisglabrata can take years before the farmer sees a viable harvest. Perennial peanut grass is ‘sterile’, i.e. it does not produce seeds, but is established by planting rhizomes (spreading roots) harvested from a parent plant. Once established, a perennial peanut grass crop can last 20 to 30 years, according to plant biologists and some industry suppliers have reported longer.