Bermuda Grass, Cynodon Dactylon, is a perennial warm season grass that is grown throughout the Southern United States including the Imperial Valley. Bermuda Grass is grown primarily for seed production used in commercial and residential turf applications. Bermuda Grass is very drought tolerant and when irrigated, produces a high quality grass hay.
Due to the long growing season in the Imperial Valley, Bermuda grass farmers are able to make a seed crop followed by multiple Bermuda Hay crops. When irrigated with a good farm management and growing practices, farmers produce high quality grass hay that is used widely in the domestic and export markets.
Bermuda Hay has become a very popular feed in the United States for horses. Bermuda Hay is also fed to some dairy and beef cattle in the United States. In the export markets, Bermuda Hay is used to feed young cows, as well as cows that are not producing milk. Bermuda Hay is also becoming a popular feed in some of the Asian markets for horses.
Bermuda Straw is a by-product of a Bermuda seed crop. After the seed is harvested, the remaining forage is baled. Bermuda Straw is a low cost feed source that is used as a “filler” in feed rations for cattle. It has become popular in the Asian markets with beef cattle producers as these feeders desire a product that is very low in beta-carotene.
Bermuda Straw quality is based on customer preference as some customers prefer greener color straw while others prefer light colored Bermuda Straw.