Before turning calves out to pasture this spring, some forward-thinking could help drought-ridden pastures take the heat. Investing in proper pasture management allows cattlemen to further their grazing land lifespan and improve the quality of their forage.
Years of drought make stands very thin and lead to a lot of exposed soil – even in recovery, and exposed soil allows weeds to spread. Holding cattle off of pasture for just a while longer can help the land recover better. Additionally, post-drought pastures are especially prone to annual weeds such as ragweed and buttercup species. These shallow-rooted plants will then get to call dibs on the newfound moisture in the soil before it can reach forage grasses.
Weeds are especially important to manage from an economic standpoint, as well. A Corteva Agriscience zonal biology leader says anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds of forage is lost for every pound of weed production.
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