K-State Veterinarians Share Innovative Summer Grazing Strategies on Cattle Chat: A Comprehensive Approach to Pasture Health and Productivity

By Trish Svoboda

On a recent episode of Cattle Chat, veterinarians from Kansas State University discussed summer grazing strategies that can help maintain the health and productivity of pastures.

Brad White, a veterinarian at K-State said cool-season grasses are likely thriving and highly productive in most regions. However, the growth of warm-season grasses may not have fully commenced yet, depending on the location. It’s crucial to strategize because both these types of grasses experience periods, known as dry spells, when their productivity decreases.

K-State nutritionist Phillip Lancaster advises adding annual warm-season grasses to pastures to improve nutritional balance. Once the cattle have finished grazing on cool-season plants, it’s a good strategy to sow grasses such as sorghum-sudangrass, pearl millet, or crabgrass directly into those pastures. This method, also known as overseeding, provides an excellent grazing option for the cattle.

Lancaster explains that as you shift to fresh pastures, observing the recovery and regrowth of previously grazed pastures can provide insights into the rotation speed needed to keep the plants in a vegetative state.

To maximize the advantages of grazing cool-season plants in a pasture, it’s crucial to maintain their immaturity for an extended period. Lancaster points out that one of the objectives in cool-season forage systems is to prevent the plant from entering a reproductive phase as much as possible. White further emphasizes the importance of preventing the plant from seeding and becoming ‘stemmy.’

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