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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
March 25th 2013

Sure doesnt look like spring

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Wow! The difference a year makes. This time last year we were planting corn in many parts of central and southern Illinois. Not so for this year, many are clearing more than a foot of snow that fell hard and fast yesterday. It makes you start to wonder if we can fire Punxsutawney Phil.

From a cattle producer's standpoint, this late winter weather has shackled the chances of getting to grass soon and certainly got many stretching limited supplies of winter feed. The last blog post gives some insight on how to stretch feeds.

Looking forward, when green grass does get here... and it will, it is key to apply management. Pastures will need to recover from abuse this fall and have the opportunity to develop and maintain root mass. This root mass will be extremely important to productivity of the plant. Managing pastures to avoid overgrazing will be extremely important. Fight the urge to run out to the first sign of green and let the grasses establish themselves.

If you must get out onto pasture early, then rotation will be important. Make sure you can give the grass a rest period to recover. Quick rotations always fit best with lush spring growth. Then slow your rotation as grass growth moderates in the late spring and summer months. The rule of thumb is "take half, leave half."

As for now, we welcome the moisture, but would like to see it accommodated with warmer temperatures so that we can grow some grass.

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