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Crabgrass in Pastures

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Date:  May 14, 2021
Agent:  Damon Pollard

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension-Burke Center. Today’s topic is Crabgrass.

When we think of desirable forages for pastures, we hardly think of crabgrass, and many of us spend a good amount of time and money to eliminate it from our lawns. However, crabgrass is a high-quality summer forage that is well adapted to Burke County. Naturally occurring wild crabgrass is the form we often see, but by planting an improved variety such as “Red River” or “Quick and Big”, you can add a palatable and fast-growing forage to your pastures for improved summer grazing.

Crabgrass does best on well drained soils but still makes moderate production on moist clay soils. Most Burke County soil pH levels of 6.0 – 6.5 are optimum. Crabgrass can be seeded in mid-May once soils are at least 60’F. Broadcast 3-6 lbs. of uncoated seed or 5-8 lbs. of coated seed to the acre, then cultipack seed immediately. Using a drill, seeding depth should be ¼-½ “, and producers should disconnect drop tubes and let them dangle dropping seed in a loose row, then culti-packing behind the drill.

Crabgrass is an annual that’s behaves as a perennial by reseeding, so producers will need to let the crabgrass reseed at least once, usually toward Fall, by removing livestock about 3-4 weeks before the first frost is expected. Light discing in late winter/ early spring helps to incorporate volunteer seed and rejuvenate the stand.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension-Burke Center. If you would like more information, call us at 764-9480.