Love grass is considered a weed by many farmers, but to Loren and Steve Pollard, it is a small but important part of their diversified agriculture operations.
Most farmers try to eradicate love grass from their fields. This tall grass is native to the prairie states. Yet unlike the native buffalo herds who thrive on this native plant, domestic livestock shun this tough, wiry plant. Yet the Pollards, who farm over twenty sections of land around Dover, Crescent, Hennessy and Kingfisher, Oklahoma, love grass seed has become a valued cash crop that has allowed Loren and now his son Steve to expand their operations to cover well over 20 sections of land in central Oklahoma.
“Love grass seed is very hard to grow” explains Steve. “We have to burn it in late March. We pay the Kingfisher Fire Department to come out and help us do a controlled burn. Harvesting time is very critical. We only have a couple of days to get the seed in so we have to monitor the crop very closely.” Like many crops, some years the Pollards are unable to harvest love grass seed. And unlike food crops such as wheat and soybeans, crop insurance is unavailable for love grass.
“The market for love grass seed is small but steady and profitable” explains Loren. “A lot of our seed goes overseas, and some goes to states such as Alabama and Louisiana and is used for road building projects.”