Perennial Peanut Hay

Perennial Peanut Hay

Perennial peanut grass hay offers excellent forage for livestock, including: pigs, horses, dairy goats, sheep, rabbits and camels.

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.

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A key attraction to this foraging feedstuff is that it dispenses with the need for costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  For those preferring organic animal feed alternatives, peanut grass hay is ideal. This plant’s growth rate is reliable, dispensing with requirements for chemical treatment because of its long root systems, which harvest nutrients and water from deep in the soil.

Peanut grass hay is ideal forage for:

  • goats
  • sheep pigs
  • rabbits
  • horses
  • more – please ask our team.

This grass contains between 13 to 20 per cent nutritious protein and being a soft hay, like Timothy or alfalfa, it is easily consumed by animals and offers a high level of digestible energy.   Horses and camels will find this grass palatable, easy to chew and swallow and will tend to suffer less colic than with other animal feed. Farmers find their horses may prefer this feed to e.g. timothy or orchard grass.

It is worth knowing that peanut grass hay is relatively high in protein, so health impacts of feeding this product to livestock should be monitored.  If an animal has suffered previously from diet-related problems, then equines can develop.g. laminitis again. If unsure about the sensitivity of your herd, consult a qualified veterinarian.

As with many situations, a balanced diet of peanut grass in combination with traditional grass hays can work well.