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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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Let me suggest an experiment you can do at home: On July 4, dive deep in the closet to pull out your heavy winter coat and wear it on a leisurely stroll across your pasture. If you don’t feel the urge to spend the rest of the day cooling off in the nearest water trough or creek, you probably are in the early stages of heat stroke and should call 911.

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Johnsongrass is an aggressive perennial grass that’s mainly considered a weed. However, it has actually been used as forage in the southern U.S. for over 150 years. Johnsongrass has a surprisingly high level of quality as forage when grazed at the appropriate time. But there are some serious toxicity issues that can occur when the grass undergoes environmental stress.

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Annual ryegrass in the pasture – if you love it, keep it. If you hate it … well, that may be a problem.

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When I do a Google search of the word noxious, three words typically come up: harmful, poisonous or very unpleasant. If we apply this to weeds forage producers fight, we often have some that are harmful, some that are poisonous and many that are just very unpleasant.

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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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