Tall Wheatgrass

(Agropyron elongatum)


This is a cool-season grass, native to southern Europe and Asia Minor. There is a wide range of plant sizes and types ranging up to 213 cm (84 in.) in height. The grass is best suited for irrigation or sub-irrigation and does well in alkaline or saline soils where other crops are difficult to establish or are unproductive. Tall Wheatgrass is most often seeded alone. It may, however, be planted successfully with legumes. It is not suited for long-term dryland plantings. There are conditions where it could be used to advantage on sand sites receiving spring runoff, but it should be generally confined to arable land. It does require a long growing season to reach maturity.

Tall Wheatgrass has the largest seeds of any of the wheatgrasses. The seed is easily planted through an ordinary grain drill, but depth must be controlled to a maximum of 2.5 cm (1 in.). For planting small sized irrigated pastures, a cyclone seeded may be used, followed by a spike tooth harrow for covering. In warm valleys at the lower elevations, late summer or early fall plantings are more easily established. At higher elevations or where it is used on non-irrigated land, spring planting will prove more satisfactory. Under irrigation and good management, Tall Wheatgrass is capable of producing 2.78 to 5 metric tons per hectare (3 to 5 ½ tons per acre) of good quality hay.




16.8 kg PLS/hectare

15 lbs. PLS/acre



160,000 per lb. (0.46 kg)



Alcar was released in Washington in 1951. It is a coarse cultivar with blue-green leaves and a dense, highly productive root system. It is used widely in the intermountain region and northern Great Plains.


Jose Tall Wheatgrass was developed and released in 1965 by the Agricultural Experiment Station of New Mexico State University and the Soil Conservation Service. It is especially well adapted to areas of New Mexico and Colorado at elevations up to 2,286 m (7500 ft.). It will grow well on all types of soil, but requires at least 120 frost-free days for seed production.

Jose has been extensively used in irrigated pastures in Colorado and the Pecos River and Rio Grande valleys of New Mexico. Many acres have been planted in irrigated districts of the Trans-Pecos area of Texas. Jose is highly palatable to livestock and is high in crude protein.


The New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station and the USDA Soil Conservation Service first released Largo as A-1876. In 1961, it was officially named Largo.

Largo is considerably larger than Jose. The foliage is coarse and plants are very deep rooted. Under irrigation, plants range in height from 122 to 183 cm (48 to 72 in.).

It has been widely used in the past in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico for soil improvement and pasture on saline and alkaline soils. It is highly productive in herbage and seed yields.


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