Runaway Grass – What Can You Do?

I can’t believe how much forage growth we have already had this year in Indiana.  It seems early, but it is only about ten or twelve percent ahead of last year now.  I’ve already heard from a few people asking the best way to try and keep it under control.  My wife, who is a bit vertically challenged, already thinks it is getting tall when she has to move or put up a new stretch of temporary fence.  With warmer days and certainly no shortage of water, forages are growing fast and do appear out of control! You will probably note, as you walk or drive your ATV around the fields, that there may be differences in growth.  The reasons for those differences can vary but include irregularities in fertility, last autumn’s stop grazing heights, soils, compaction, rest after grazing, and the forages themselves.  I don’t have time to cover all of those today, but will cover what I can. One of the problems, with quick early growth, if you want to consider it a problem, is competition.  If you have over seeded or frost-seeded legumes into the pasture, you need to somewhat keep their competition at bay.  Those fields need to be grazed enough to keep existing forages, mainly grass, from competing too much with the legume seedlings for light.  All of this can be accomplished by keeping the livestock moving and not staying in

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2 thoughts on “Runaway Grass – What Can You Do?

  1. G’day Kathy/Rachel,it seems to me down here that farmers in the US only seem to have spring growth to rely on for both stock growth and winter feed(please correct me if I am wrong).Perhaps we are lucky in our district in that we only get isolated snow falls and so by protecting our “cool season sps” over summer and when the season changes they spring back to life and provide feed over winter in our woodland grazing areas.The same apply’s in winter if you avoid damage to your warm season sps they will “come away” in late spring and provide feed over summer.We endevour to set aside at least 10% of our grazing each spring to run its course and if the weather permits,do not graze it until the following Fall.The 10% is rotated each year and it maintains /improves plant diversity over time due to the transference of seed carried by wind, water and bird/animal life.The problem with the 4 inch rule is that summer heat impacts the cool season crowns(assuming your pasture is perennial based)and so would impact the fall growth before the first snows.My question is,”are most of your grazing pastures re-sown each on farms (except for the rented open range lands)”?How important is the availability of irrigation water in summer to maintain pasture growth?We have friends in WY ,who if they do not get summer water via irrigation their place looks like a desert.As a sheep farmer (retired,but still active on the farm)it seems to me there is not many articles on the sheep industry in On Pasture,but then I guess its a pretty small segment over there…Frank.

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