Wait! Grazing Too Early Is Harmful to Your Pasture’s Health

Yes, it appears that we are trying to having an early spring, but I refuse to count those chicks before they hatch!  Abnormally warm weather in February and early March is not that uncommon here in Indiana, unfortunately neither are late March and early April snows.  On average across the state, the accumulated growing degree days are higher than normal so far this year. Now, it is REALLY early still, but I know how some think about ANY new green growth in the pastures.  Let’s think this through together.  Grazing too early in the spring (technically it’s not spring yet) does nothing but remove the solar panel the plants need to start building sugars and growing new roots.  The forages really need to be able to fully leaf out or canopy and get a good start before animals start removing that new growth otherwise production will be reduced. (Want to know what your pasture should look like when it's ready to graze. Here you go!) I know sometimes the hay is not the best quality.  Better to supplement poor hay and keep feeding it, if available, than to start grazing too early.  Now I say that somewhat tongue in cheek because sometimes you want to set the stand back a bit to remove competition.  Such would be the case where you have frost seeded clover into the field.  This would be a factor only if it was not grazed down tighter at the end of the previous grazing season or as dormant stockpiled forage.  If it was grazed down close before, especially if grazed d

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