Is Your Grass Getting Ahead of You? Here’s What to Do

I have always been a promoter of forage/pasture staging.  It's a way of making sure all your forage doesn't mature at the same time, and instead remains as vegetative as possible for as long as possible. But, where drought is a factor, or when a cool spring suddenly warms up, make that extremely challenging. Here in Indiana where I live, the fields that were “just” grazed are even trying to go to seed because the grass decided to go into survival mode just to be on the safe side. This is also where I have to ask myself sometimes, “does the grass know something that we don’t?”  I’ll even go way out on a limb and say, could it possibly know what weather might lie ahead? Honestly, I don’t think so, but it sure appears that way sometimes. Early maturity could conceivably be tied to future drier conditions, but that would be assuming a lot. The real topic at hand is how to manage this floodgate of maturing forage. When forages are growing fast, move animals fast. When forages start slowing down, then slow the rotation down too. It is still important to keep the animals moving and never grazing closer than three to four inches whenever possible on cool season forages. When the floodgates are open though, you are usually better off top grazing. Top grazing is literally just that, allowing the animals to just graze off th

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2 thoughts on “Is Your Grass Getting Ahead of You? Here’s What to Do

  1. Thank you for the helpful article. Your thoughts have confirmed my idea that if you must clip, clipping higher is better than lower.

    What might your thoughts be on how the higher setting affects the control of woody species, if a person wanted to set those back at the same time as clipping the grass to keep it vegetative? I am speaking with regard to pasture in south central Missouri, fescue country.

    1. I should qualify my answer in that if clipping higher actually stimulates new growth and tillering in fescue and other cool season grasses, I agree clipping higher should be better. However, I dont know for a fact that clipping higher does stimulate new growth and tillering in fescue and other cool season grasses.

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