Known for its palatability and superior winter hardiness, timothy is the latest heading of all cool season perennials. It is well suited as dry cow hay due to its low uptake of minerals such as potassium. It makes excellent horse hay. Timothy has a shallow root system allowing great spring production with poor performance in the heat and drough. However, it does well on heavy, wet, and peaty soils. The small bulb at the base stores nutrients giving it persistence through the drought and heat periods.


Choose an earlier heading variety when combining with alfalfa because timothy will not tolerate harvest during the jointing (stem elongation) and early heading stages. Keep the cutting height 3 to 4 inches for stand persistence. Does not graze well. Use a late heading variety for grazing. It tolerates mechanical harvest well, with proper fertility. Fall cuttings should be early enough to allow carbohydrate reserves to be replenished. An early application of N will significantly boost production.


Timothy can be spring or late summer planted. It needs to be planted into a very firm seedbed keeping the depth 1/8 to 1/4 inch. It is slow to establish so control weed pressure and leave 4 to 6 weeks from seeding date to summer drought for spring plantings and the same period before frost for fall plantings. In the South, timothy is often fall planted as a cover crop, harvested or grazed in the spring and then killed off to make way for spring crops.

  • Has excellent disease resistance
  • High yield with good fall production for a timothy
  • Mainly for hay and silage or late season grazing
  • Available in organic only

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  • High dry matter yield producer
  • Very late heading
  • Best of the timothy varieties for grazing

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  • Good stand density
  • Yield distribution throughout the growing season
  • Good persistence for Timothy
  • Stable high total yields
  • Mid late maturity

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  • Good tillering with very high yield
  • Early heading
  • Works well with alfalfa
  • Fall seeding allows early spring harvest
  • Excellent for double crop in South

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Timothy Maturity Palatability Winter Hardiness Digestibility Grazing Suitability
BarPenta 9 9 8 8 7
Dolina 8 8 9 8 6
Presto 7 9 9 8 8
Kootenai Early for Timothy 8 5 9 Not Suited

Ratings values only comparable for products within this chart
1 = least desirable   10 = most desirable   *T = Tetraploid   D = Diploid