Livestock: Meadow brome is typically used for pasture, hay and haylage. It is highly palatable to all classes of livestock and is one of the best forage grasses for intensive rotational grazing systems.

Erosion control: Because of its dense network of roots, meadow brome provides good erosion control on those soils to which it is adapted. However, due to meadow brome rhizomes being much shorter than those of smooth brome, smooth brome is the better choice for erosion control.


Meadow brome (Bromus biebersteinii) is a long-lived, rapid developing, leafy, cool season grass that spreads by short rhizomes. The numerous long, light-green leaves are dominantly basal, lax, and mildly pubescent. The numerous erect stems appear earlier in the growing season than smooth brome. The awned florets are produced in large, terminal panicles. When grown under irrigation, it can reach 2-6 feet in height and is very productive in close spaced, one-foot rows. Meadow brome has 93,000 seeds per pound.

Adaptation and Distribution

Adapted to a wide area of the United States and Canada, meadow brome can be grown under dryland conditions that receive 15 or more inches of annual precipitation, under irrigation and more humid areas with higher rainfall. Meadow brome is one of the earliest species to initiate growth in the spring and makes tremendous growth during cool conditions. Due to its deep root system, meadow brome is capable of strong summer regrowth following grazing or haying. Meadow brome is very winterhardy and produces well in areas with spring frost such as high mountain valleys. In areas with significant spring frost and little snow cover, meadow brome is a much better species selection than orchardgrass. Meadow brome performs best on fertile, moderately deep to deep, well-drained soils. It does not grow well in saline soils and wet areas with high water tables or areas prone to flooding. Meadow brome prefers full sun, but will tolerate semi-shady areas or areas with reduced light.


A clean, firm seedbed is recommended. Dryland and erosion control seedings should be made in the late fall or very early spring when soil moisture is not limited. Irrigated seedings should be made in early to mid-spring. On dryland, do not seed later than May 15th or a failure may occur because of drought and hot summer conditions before the grass is well established. Meadow brome does not flow uniformly through a drill unless it is diluted with rice hulls or corn meal. For dryland, irrigated or higher rainfall areas, a seeding rate of 15 to 20 pounds per acre is recommended. In mixes with legumes, meadow brome should be planted at 8 to 10 pounds per acre. Seeding depth is 1/4 to 1/2 inch.


New plantings under irrigation or in higher rainfall areas should not be grazed until late summer or early fall. New plantings under dryland conditions should not be grazed until the second year. Harvesting for hay is recommended during the establishment year to allow for root development. On established stands, spring grazing should begin when plants are 8 to 12 inches tall. Remove livestock when stubble is 4 inches tall. A recovery period of three to four weeks is recommended. Allow 4 to 6 inches of fall regrowth to build up food reserves for early spring growth. Meadow brome responds very well to fertility management.