Herbicides for Pastures

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With warmer weather, weed pressure on our pastures and hayfields is starting to increase. Due to last year’s record moisture, weed populations are on the increase.

Some weeds, like spiny amaranth, can be hit hard now, while immature and germinating. Others, like horsenettle and blackberry will germinate with warmer soil temperatures are tougher and even 80% control is hard to achieve and should be sprayed while in bloom. Dogfennel can be controlled with the proper herbicide and targeted late mowing.

With weeds, our natural instinct is to mow the weeds down and then spray to keep them from coming back. That doesn’t work. Herbicides enter the weeds through the leaves so spraying first is the ticket. Mow only after the weeds are wilted and twisted. Weeds well on their way to dying will have a much harder time recovering from mowing.

Properly applied herbicides are not a hazard to grazing animals. Always follow the label, and observe any grazing restrictions and withdrawal times for hay. If small black cherry or red maples are present in your pasture, spraying them will cause them to wilt, making them toxic to livestock. Move your animals to another pasture until the leaves of these have turned brown and dropped.

By implementing a planned weed control program with properly timed appropriate herbicides, producers can make this year’s grazing season productive and profitable.