Managing summer pastures

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Beginning in June, we tend to see a transition on our pasture management. The first couple of weeks of the month will typically provide proper moisture and temperature favorable for cool season grasses to produce.

As we move into the period when temperatures increase, our cool season grasses will slow.

Main goals

Summer pasture management should have a couple goals. First, we should be slowing down the rotation and allowing more time for the rest of the forages to recover. Secondly, summer is the opportunity to stockpile forages for late fall and winter grazing. Coming out of the spring flush, where forages were growing rapidly, livestock are moved quickly and the rest periods between grazing paddocks are only 15-18 days, we will need to be slowing down the rotation.

Leave something behind

The goal is to ensure that pastures are not overgrazed, and to leave more leaf residue. By doing so, we are protecting the soil and utilizing photosynthesis to assist the plant to recover more quickly. As summer progresses, the rest periods between grazing can be up to 30-40 days, just depending on rainfall and temperatures.

The second management opportunity of summer pasture management is stockpiling forages for winter grazing.
Identifying fields that have well-drained soils will be better suited for grazing stockpile than fields that have soils that are not well drained.

Fields to stockpile

Try to stockpile fields that have tall fescue; the forage species is renowned for stockpiling because of its ability to maintain high levels of nutrients during the winter months, compared to other cold-season species. Other forage species will deteriorate more quickly after a killing frost and will not maintain quality.

These are just a couple of tips for summer pasture management. If you would like more information, contact the office at 330-339-5584.

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