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Pasture Management

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Date:                 May 4, 2020
Agent:               Damon Pollard

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. Today’s topic is Pasture Management.

Every farmer knows the value of rotation, whether it be for crops or pastures, but many are not aware of the tremendous strides that have been made in pasture management through carefully controlling the amount of time allowed for grazing rotation. The grass in a pasture is just like grass in your lawn. If you mow it off really short every couple days and never allow it to fully leaf out between mowings, you’ll really weaken your stand. On the other hand, if you set your mower deck higher and mow less frequently, the taller grass will make a thicker stand that is healthier and grows faster. A side benefit of this is shading out of weeds. It will not be necessary to continuously apply herbicides to keep the weeds down. An animal, no matter what the species, will preferentially graze tender regrowth over tougher mature grass. If they are left on the pasture for several weeks, they will graze the same spots over and over again. Eventually the grass will die out and those spots will become weed choked. By having many small paddocks and moving the animals every two or three days, you will get faster regrowth, higher yields, better animal performance and less weed competition.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service – Burke Center. If you would like more information on this topic, please call us at 439-4460.