Cock’s-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
Cock’s-foot, orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) is a perennial bunch-grass cereal. During the sowing year it grows slowly and yields properly only in the second to third year of life. Under favorable conditions its herbage continues for 6-8 and sometimes longer. In the spring orchard grass reaches its vegetative period very early and grows fast after mowing and grazing, it is resistant to stomping that is why is considered to be one of the best pasture grasses. It provides the earliest feed on pastures. There are 5-6 grazing cycles possible. It can be mowed many times and has high yield of green mass. It is willingly consumed by all livestock on the pastures as well as in hay. The leaves of the crop cover almost 60-80% so the forage value at a young age is very high. In one hundred kg of hay contains 54 k.o. and up to 3-4 kg of digestible protein. In favorable conditions it yields 50-80 centner/he of hay,350-450 centner/he of green mass, and 3,5-4 centner/he of seeds.
Cock’s-foot is cold resistant though is not tolerant to late spring frosts and snowless winters. Orchard grass is quite draught resistant. It has well developed root systems which penetrate into the soil to a depth of 1meter so the plant withstands draught. It can not withstand an excessive moisture and flooding more than 10-12 days. Due to the fact that the orchard grass grows well in shade, it is considered to be a valuable grass for planting in gardens and parks.
It grows well in various soil types from light to heavy and drained peatlands. But the best are fertile soils, and sandy are not suitable for it. In warm and dry soils, it is often sown in mixtures with alfalfa and sainfoin.
It is sown with row method with СЗТ-3,6 seed drills. The seeding rate is 9-10 million pcs / he. In physical mass – 12-14 kg / he. Enfolding depth on medium in mechanical composition soils is 1-2 cm, on light – 2-3, heavy – 1 cm. Cocksfoot responds very well to fertilizers. It is better to mow it in the ejection phase of panicles – before flowering.