Social Links Search




Effective grazing for healthy pastures year-round

Effective grazing for healthy pastures year-round

By Scout Nelson

Pastures, much like bank accounts, need careful management to maintain their value over time. This comparison was highlighted by Kansas State University veterinarians on a recent episode of Cattle Chat, emphasizing the importance of strategic grazing.

"When we have cool-season grasses right now, they should be doing pretty well in most parts of the country and are very productive," said K-State veterinarian Brad White.

As summer approaches, the focus shifts to warm-season grasses, which may not yet be fully active, depending on the region. Planning becomes crucial, especially during the dry spells when productivity declines.

Phillip Lancaster, a K-State nutritionist, recommends the integration of annual warm-season forages into pasture rotations. This adjustment helps maintain a steady nutritional value when cool-season grasses begin to falter under the heat.

"Adding some annual warm-season forages to your grazing land rotation can be very beneficial so that you get something that is peaking in production when cool-season grasses are slowing down because of the heat," he advised.

Cool-season grasses struggle during hotter months, reducing productivity. Lancaster suggests overseeing pastures with sorghum-sudangrass, pearl millet, or crabgrass after grazing on cool-season plants.

Crabgrass is a good alternative without potential animal health issues like nitrate toxicity, making it a viable option for maintaining pasture health.

Experts suggest that rotational grazing is a crucial strategy for maintaining plants in a vegetative state. By monitoring the regrowth of grazed pastures, adjustments can be made to the grazing schedule, ensuring plants are not forced into reproductive stages.

Lancaster explained that monitoring previously grazed pastures can help determine the optimal rotation speed for maintaining plant health.

The goal is to prevent cool-season plants from maturing too quickly. "So, keep it from going to seed and getting ‘stemmy,'" added White, underscoring the need for timely pasture management.

By adopting these practices, producers can ensure their pastures remain productive and healthy, effectively supporting cattle grazing needs throughout the year.

Photo Credit: kansas-state-university

Young farmer earns top Ag scholarship Young farmer earns top Ag scholarship
FFA honors Kierra Eck for livestock expertise FFA honors Kierra Eck for livestock expertise

Categories: Kansas, Crops, Hay & Forage, Livestock, Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle

Subscribe to newsletters

Crop News

Rural Lifestyle News

Livestock News

General News

Government & Policy News

National News

Back To Top