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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
Seed Heads Fescue- 5 10 13

Keep fast-growing grass vegetative

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Grass has been green for some time now, but cool temperatures hampered early growth. With a couple of warm days this past week, the grass has finally begun to take off. The quick spring growth is the plants effort to get to its reproductive state. When the plant becomes reproductive (produces seeds) the mission is accomplished and growth slows. Palatability and quality also decline as the plant matures.

Thus, it is important to keep the plant vegetative. This can be accomplished by grazing or mowing. Quick rotations through pasture paddocks can help keep plants vegetative without overgrazing. The key is to take the tops off of the grass to return it to a more immature stage where it will work hard (grow fast) to get to the reproductive state. If you can keep the plant vegetative (between 4 and 10 in. tall), you will increase pasture production, palatability, and forage quality.

I have spotted some seed heads already in pastures that have yet to be rotated through at the Orr Beef Research Center. The picture above was taken 5/10/13 here at the OBRC. The picture illustrates seed production starting in fescue. Orchard grass seed heads are even more prevalent than the fescue. I suggest producers monitor pastures and consider rotating cows quickly to keep plants vegetative.

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