Flash Grazing Can Increase Forage UseFlash Grazing Can Increase Forage Use
Get more out of winter pastures in the Northern Plains by grazing them for a little while in May.
February 28, 2014
You don't have to only graze winter pastures in the winter, says Robin Salverson, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension cow-calf field specialist.
Try "flash grazing" winter pastures in the Northern Plains in the spring instead. The grass will grow back before fall and you'll have the same amount of forage to use in the winter.
"Results of a study at the SDSU Cottonwood Research Station suggest that grazing winter pastures in May, targeting 25% relative utilization, allows sufficient regrowth to occur during the remainder of the growing season to maintain sufficient stockpiled forages for winter use," Salverson says.
However, be careful not to graze at a higher utilization rate of 50% in May or extend the grazing period into June, even at a lower utilization rate of 25%. Standing forage available for winter use could be reduced. There was also a negative shift from mid to short grasses when plots were clipped in June.
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