What Do You Do When Your Grass Gets Ahead of You?

While some of the country is droughty, other folks have found that a cool spring and lot of precipitation means that the grass got away from them and is turning to seed heads. On Pasture Community members are asking each other "Should I mow?" "Should I trample?" "Should I just stockpile?" Here are some thoughts from Troy Bishopp, our own Grass Whisperer, when he ran into this problem in 2015. I’ve got too much grass. Great gobs of gargantuan grass! Wait! Did the Grass Whisperer just say that? Is there any such thing as too much soil-covering grass?! Let me rephrase. I’ve got too much grass that won’t be harvested in a timely fashion and meet industry standards (8 to 10 inches), for proper grazing management. How did this happen? It’s simple. Three days over 85 degrees and several deluge rainfalls around May 10th propelled the cool season pasture into a growth frenzy. Such is the life of a Northeast grass farmer now turned prairie farmer. If you’ll remember just a short time ago (and according to my grazing planning chart), we had a cool, dry spell around these parts of 14 days from April 25th to May 8th. Because of this, I was cautious in not taking the early pasture down too low with too many bovines. This knowledge was also suggested to my grazing clients at the conservation district. It was a good strategy agai

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3 thoughts on “What Do You Do When Your Grass Gets Ahead of You?

  1. Well, Mr. Bishopp, I never realized that with the dung beetles. I didn’t know why I’d see ’em all Winter and then they’d all but disappear from March to June. And this year, as my sweet clover really is demonstrating itself, I’ve seen few dung beetles. This makes since with what you say since the clover is keeping manure really gooey. I sure don’t want lower quality forage, but this higher quality stuff is dampening my dung beetles. Quite a dilemma.

  2. We plan our rotations so that all fields get n opportunity to go to full expression every couple of years. Hopefully this will help with deeper root growth and soil nutrient minding it should also leave some more carbon deeper in the soil. As long as the grazing period is managed so that we leave a greater residue performance does not seem to be reduced.

  3. Our grass ALWAYS gets ahead of us in June. We deal with that by cutting hay wherever we can – but only for the purpose of managing that excess of grass.
    Of course we FEED all of that excess June forage during our long, cold winters.
    The difference is that we cut hay to preserve the forage that would otherwise be buried under the snow – rather than cutting all the hay we can to feed during the winter.

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