Buffalo grass, a perennial grass native to North America, grows widely in India as a forage and lawn grass. It tolerates drought and can grow in full sun with minimal irrigation and mowing. It forms a dense turf and thick sod that people can use for construction purposes. Various research institutes in India have developed buffalo grass hybrids. The crop is easy to cultivate and has high-profit potential in the right area and market. The plants are short and have a short seed-to-harvest time. Farmers sow buffalo grass by seeds or sod at 2-3 kg per acre. Each plant can produce up to 2 kilograms of sources, but the average is 1 kg.
Cultivation Points For Buffalo Grass
Every crop has its own set of requirements. The crop depends on the soil, water, fertilizer, climate, and weather conditions. Consider the below points before you cultivate buffalo grass. You should also understand the market for a good profit. Many people growing buffalo grass in your area might create a surplus in the market and drive the price down.
The product might be scarce, and the price might go high. Check the availability and acceptability of buffalo grass with your local dealers and customers. You can fill the gap and profit from buffalo grass cultivation if there is more demand than supply.
Climate for Cultivation
Buffalo grass likes temperate weather. It can tolerate drought and grow in full sun with minimal irrigation and mowing. Additionally, It does not like frost or waterlogging, so it avoids cold and wet weather. It might grow in temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius, but it avoids weather below 10 degrees Celsius.
Ideal Soil for Buffalo Grass Cultivation
Buffalo grass cultivation has a big advantage: it can tolerate drought and grow in full sun with minimal irrigation and mowing. It grows in almost any soil, including sandy and clay soil. You might need to water it less often in sandy soil and more often in clay soil. It does not like waterlogging, so you should worry about soil conditions that drain water poorly. You should always ensure good drainage and water removal channels in case of heavy rains or flooding. The ideal soil pH must be between 6.0 and 8.0. It prefers slightly alkaline soil and grows well in loamy soil too. You might want to apply lime before sowing in some cases.
You can propagate buffalo grass with seeds or sod. You can treat the seeds with fungicide optionally, but soaking them before propagation for at least 4-5 hours will improve germination and speed up the time. The seeds usually germinate 14 to 21 days, and the plant develops leaves in 2-3 weeks. You can sow the seeds directly on the ground or prepare sods too. You need to transplant the plants propagated by sods in 60 to 90 days.
Tilling the soil loosens up the soil. Using a rake will ensure that there are no lumps and you can make a smooth surface. Well-drained soil that is slightly alkaline is perfect for buffalo grass. If the soil is acidic, apply lime before sowing. If the soil is sandy, add organic matter to improve water retention. Irrigate the soil before sowing to moisten it. No trellis or mulching is required for buffalo grass cultivation. You can use a tiller mounted on a Mahindra Tractor to attain best results.
Planting, Spacing, and Density
With the right spacing and arrangements, you can plant 10,890 plants per hectare. You have two options for planting: direct sowing or germination in trays. If you choose to germinate in trays, sow the seeds in potting mix and water them regularly. Then, move the plants to the field in 2-3 weeks. They grow slowly, so late transplanting could affect their establishment. Most people prefer direct sowing. For direct sowing, prepare the area and spread the buffalo grass seed over it. Use about 1/4 pound per 100 square feet. You can sow the seed by hand or use a spreader for larger areas also. Keep the seed-to-seed distance at 30-50 centimeters. One acre of land can hold 4,400 plants.
Wait for 60 to 90 days from seed sowing before harvesting. Harvest when the plants are dry and the seeds are mature. Cut the plants at the base and thresh them to get the seeds. Separate these seeds from chaff and store them in a cool and dry place. You only need to harvest once a year. You can use harvesters to finish your job – Just mount them on your VST Tractor and harvest with ease!
In conclusion, let’s look at the post harvest storage and maintenance of Buffalo grass crops. Once harvested, the seeds are to be stored in a cool and dry place in paper or cloth bags. Transport to market immediately or within a week. Buffalo grass seeds lose their viability rapidly. They must be sold or sown as soon as possible. Avoid exposure to moisture or heat to prevent fungal growth or germination.