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Manage Fall Grazing to Prevent Spring Weeds

By   /  September 26, 2016  /  5 Comments

Uh-Oh! Grazing your pastures too short this fall could mean more weeds next spring!

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Results of a study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers show that grazing shorter helps we
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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.


  1. Tim says:

    Our cows really like burdock and I’m happy to see some in the pastures. Cocklebur on the other hand just seems to get out of hand.

  2. Bruce Howlett says:

    Poor summer grazing management can have a similar effect on burdock populations. I have seen burdock establish throughout the summer after suitable sites are created. The seeds seem to be able to persist in the soil for many years. I scraped away some sawdust piles that likely have been in place for more than a decade, and immediately found a carpet of burdocks established, even as late as September. Of course, the early-established plants are much larger and are the ones you would harvest for their edible roots.
    Sheep seem to prefer second-year plants to first-year plants.

  3. Robert H Friel says:

    I would like to see an article on controlling “Broomsage”. I don’t like spraying because of the soil life and I don’t have a row crop farm option.

  4. J. Weir says:

    All this study shows is what conditions are favorable for burdock to grow. It did not show that increase in burdock reduced forage growth or loss in cattle gains. Weeds or forbs are utilized by livestock, with most weeds having higher protein content than grass. If livestock owners think that cattle only eat grass need to spend time watching them graze or do something else. Cattle eat weeds and weeds do not compete with grass. This is just like people wanting to spray weeds, it does not pay. You get no increase in gains from herbicide use, all you are doing is throwing money away. People need to quit worrying about weeds and how a pasture looks and spend more time learning how to ID plants and their value as forage.

    • Kathy Voth says:

      Thank you SO MUCH for your comment, John! At first I thought I might have written it myself since that’s exactly what I’ve been saying since 2004 when I first figured out how to teach cows to eat weeds. But over the years, saying it over and over again didn’t seem to make a dent. So in this case I figured, well, at least I can encourage people to manage their pastures in advance of the weed “problem” they might create.

      Anyway, your comment made my day and for that I thank you!

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