Hybrid Bromegrass

Percy Folkard
Scientific name: 

Bromus inermis Leyss. x Bromus riparius Rehm.

Agronomic Grass
Annual precip. min (mm): 
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Seed size: 
Seeds per kg: 
Typical seeding objectives: 
PR Suitability note: 
Hybrid bromegrass was developed at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and is suited to the Peace region.
Key considerations: 
Hybrid bromegrass is long-lived but is much less invasive than smooth bromegrass. It has regrowth characteristics similar to meadow bromegrass, which makes it more suitable for pasture than smooth bromegrass.
General Description: 

Hybrid bromegrass is a newly developed, slightly creeping, winter hardy, long-lived perennial forage grass. It was developed from a cross between smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.) and meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rehm.). It is a dual purpose forage for both hay and pasture systems, producing a high quality, high volume first cut hay crop (like smooth bromegrass) followed by good regrowth for grazing and stockpiling (like meadow bromegrass). Several varieties developed by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are currently being tested in the Peace Region.

It has short, slowly spreading rhizomes on its roots, and is therefore less invasive than smooth bromegrass in pasture mixtures. Hybrid bromegrass grows stems that are slightly taller than both its parents, growing upright to 100 cm (39 in.). Leaves are wide and have a similar “W” constriction halfway to the leaf tip, like smooth bromegrass. But like meadow bromegrass, leaves are hairy, with thicker shorter hairs.

Seed heads are produced in the 2nd or 3rd week of June, progressing to seed ripening by late July. More heads are produced in older stands and yields are higher than meadow bromegrass. Hybrid bromegrass is cross-pollinated. Seed size and chaffiness can cause bridging when harvesting or applying seed.

Developed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, from crossing smooth bromegrass with meadow bromegrass in 1976 and 1977. Initial variety releases from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada were AC Knowles in 2000 and AC Success in 2003.
The distribution of hybrid brome is limited to where it is introduced as the two species do not normally cross because of differences in maturity. It is has wide adaptation similar to the parent plants.
Used for pasture, hay, and stockpiled grazing. There may be some potential for use in silvopasture and rehabilitation settings.
Optimal time of grazing use: 
First grazing when plant reaches 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 in.), as with meadow bromegrass. But hybrid bromegrass will mature 4 to 7 days ahead of meadow bromegrass as its growth rate is intermediate between smooth bromegrass and meadow bromegrass.
Recovery after use (rating): 
Recovery after use: 
Stand recovers after 8 weeks (56 days) of rest. If cut or used early enough in the season, it can be used for stockpiled grazing. Like meadow bromegrass, the growing tip on vegetative leaves is usually below the level of grazing, enabling the plant to keep growing without any pause or change in rate of growth. However, in tillers that have become reproductive, the growing tips may be removed during grazing, and regrowth will be slower, having to come from auxiliary buds.
Forage yield (rating): 
Forage yield: 
Similar in forage yield to smooth bromegrass and 10% higher than meadow bromegrass in all soil zones. It has similar regrowth to meadow bromegrass. Yields of 6,500 kg/ha (5,800 lb/acre) in the Dark Brown soil zone and 6,300 kg/ha (5,600 lb/acre) in Black and Gray soil zones have been produced.
Palatability/Nutritional Value: 
Very palatable to all classes of livestock especially in the spring and early summer. This grass has low fibre content and crude protein levels of 10 to 12%.
Longevity (rating): 
Lives at least 10 years.
Invasiveness (rating): 
Hybrid bromegrass is much less invasive than smooth bromegrass when grown in mixtures.
Competitiveness (rating): 
Similar to meadow bromegrass in competitiveness.
Erosion control (rating): 
Erosion control: 
Hybrid bromegrass has some rhizomes on its roots which give it some erosion control potential.
Drought tolerance (rating): 
Drought tolerance: 
Like other bromegrasses, hybrid bromegrass goes dormant during severe dry periods. It regrows quickly when there is moisture again.
Winter hardiness (rating): 
Winter hardiness: 
Similar to smooth bromegrass in winter hardiness; leaves in the fall tolerate more frost than smooth bromegrass but less than meadow bromegrass.
Soil texture preference (rating): 
Soil texture preference: 
Suited to all soils but prefers well drained soil.
Flooding tolerance (rating): 
Flooding tolerance: 
Can withstand 1 to 2 weeks of spring flooding.
Salinity tolerance (rating): 
Acidity tolerance (rating): 
Acidity tolerance : 
It may tolerate pHs as low as 5.5. Similar to other bromegrasses in acidity tolerance.
Ease of establishment (rating): 
Ease of establishment: 
Establishes very easily with very vigorous seedlings.
Application requirements: 
Stands can be poor if seed placement is poor or rates are low. Will establish well if seed is placed 1.5 to 2 cm (1/2 to 3/4 in.) deep and seeded at higher rates. A seeding rate of at least 10 kg/ha (9 lb/acre), or a minimum seeding density of 175 PLS/m2 is recommended. Surface broadcasting without soil incorporation is not effective. To prevent seed bridging, add agitation to the seed tank or mix seed with fertilizer or heated grain.
Suggested mixtures: 
Mix with alfalfa for pasture or hay, or combine with grass species.
Management considerations: 
Hybrid bromegrass responds well to fertilization and in a mixture with alfalfa.