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Grasses and Grazing

Learn about pasture management, stocking rates and grass production from beef and dairy specialists and agronomists around the country.

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Summer brings both warmer days and more humidity, conditions that can challenge our livestock and the forages they graze.

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Can beef cattle be finished efficiently on pasture? That was a question another extension specialist at the University of Kentucky and I had seven years ago when corn prices were soaring to unprecedented levels, and feedlot finishing costs were high.

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As the growing season advances, producers should know about what proportion of the annual forage production occurs by month. Typically, about 25 to 30 percent of the annual forage production should have occurred by June 1 for most regions of the U.S. other than the Southwest region.

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Native warm-season grasses such as big bluestem and switchgrass are good options for complementing cool-season grass forage systems.

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For all of us who have grazing livestock, we have two seasons that overlap: the growing season and the grazing season. But can we make one or the other longer?

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When I teach my course on pasture management to livestock producers and get to the topic of grazing, the ranchers ask very practical questions, such as: When should I open the gate to let the animals into a field?

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