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Pasture Plant Selection & Grazing Management T.C. Griggs Dept. Plants, Soils, & Biometeorology.

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Presentation on theme: "Pasture Plant Selection & Grazing Management T.C. Griggs Dept. Plants, Soils, & Biometeorology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pasture Plant Selection & Grazing Management T.C. Griggs Dept. Plants, Soils, & Biometeorology

2 Environment & site conditions Availability of soil surveys:

3 NRCS, Bozeman, MT

4 Alfalfa, white clover, & red clover

5 Adapted pasture species -- Grasses – -- Grasses – Orchardgrass Orchardgrass Tall fescue Tall fescue Bromegrasses Bromegrasses Ryegrasses Ryegrasses Wet meadowland grasses Wet meadowland grasses Kentucky bluegrass Kentucky bluegrass Wheatgrasses Wheatgrasses Wildryes Wildryes -- Legumes – White clover White clover Red clover Red clover Alfalfa Alfalfa Birdsfoot trefoil (NB) Birdsfoot trefoil (NB) Cicer milkvetch (NB) Cicer milkvetch (NB) Sainfoin (NB) Sainfoin (NB) Alsike clover Alsike clover Strawberry clover Strawberry clover

6 Wet meadowland grasses Timothy Timothy Reed canarygrass Reed canarygrass Creeping foxtail Creeping foxtail Meadow foxtail Meadow foxtail

7 Basic grasses for Utah pastures Irrigated: Tall fescue (endophyte-free) Meadow brome Orchardgrass Irrigated: Tall fescue (endophyte-free) Meadow brome Orchardgrass Dryland: Smooth bromegrass Intermediate/pubescent wheatgrass Thickspike/streambank wheatgrass Crested or Siberian wheatgrass Russian wildrye Dryland: Smooth bromegrass Intermediate/pubescent wheatgrass Thickspike/streambank wheatgrass Crested or Siberian wheatgrass Russian wildrye

8 Species with more defoliation tolerance/rapid recovery Orchardgrass Orchardgrass Tall fescue Tall fescue Meadow brome Meadow brome Perennial & Italian ryegrasses Perennial & Italian ryegrasses Kentucky bluegrass Kentucky bluegrass Creeping & meadow foxtails Creeping & meadow foxtails Crested & Siberian wheatgrasses Crested & Siberian wheatgrasses White clover White clover Red clover Red clover

9 Species with less defoliation tolerance/slower recovery Smooth brome Smooth brome Timothy Timothy Reed canarygrass Reed canarygrass Intermediate & pubescent wheatgrasses Intermediate & pubescent wheatgrasses Quackgrass Quackgrass Bluebunch wheatgrass Bluebunch wheatgrass Warm-season perennial grasses Warm-season perennial grasses Alfalfa Alfalfa Birdsfoot trefoil Birdsfoot trefoil

10 Forage plant information resources Comparative Characteristics of Forage Species in Montana Comparative Characteristics of Forage Species in Montana Plant Guides & Fact Sheets in USDA NRCS National PLANTS database Plant Guides & Fact Sheets in USDA NRCS National PLANTS database Intermountain Planting Guide. USU Extension Publication AG 510. Intermountain Planting Guide. USU Extension Publication AG 510.

11 How many grasses can remain productive & compete with weeds when grazed this closely?

12 Pasture plant requirements Green leaf area for sunlight capture, or energy reserves to support regrowth Green leaf area for sunlight capture, or energy reserves to support regrowth In grasses, energy reserves are above ground in stubble In grasses, energy reserves are above ground in stubble Maintain stubble through winter for survival & spring recovery Maintain stubble through winter for survival & spring recovery Roots require energy from shoots in order to absorb water & nutrients to potential Roots require energy from shoots in order to absorb water & nutrients to potential

13 New tiller (shoot) = stack of phytomers from a bud Vegetative shoot (where is the apical meristem?)

14 Reproductive shoot Shift in status of shoot apex Internode elongation creates true stem

15 Manage reserves or retain some leaf area

16 Orchardgrass, 30 hr

17 Timothy, 10 days

18 Residual leaf area & growing points; How much height or pasture mass to leave?

19 Impact of defoliation on root depth & function

20 Targets & monitoring Animal performance Animal performance Herbage mass & maturity stage Herbage mass & maturity stage Amounts to graze, stockpile, or conserve Amounts to graze, stockpile, or conserve Pasture growth rate Pasture growth rate Residual leaf area or stubble Residual leaf area or stubble Soil water & nutrient status Soil water & nutrient status Weeds Weeds Market conditions Market conditions

21 Seasonal carrying capacity Annual forage prod. Seasonal utilization level Average daily intake Length of grazing season x x

22 Grazing systems Continuous stocking: livestock have access to entire pasture all of the time. Potentially higher individual animal performance. Continuous stocking: livestock have access to entire pasture all of the time. Potentially higher individual animal performance. Rotational stocking: livestock are moved through a series of subdivisions (paddocks) which are grazed & rested. Potentially higher carrying capacity. Rotational stocking: livestock are moved through a series of subdivisions (paddocks) which are grazed & rested. Potentially higher carrying capacity.

23 Rotational stocking & dry lot NRCS, Bozeman, MT

24 General guidelines Initiate grazing when plants are 6-10 in. tall Initiate grazing when plants are 6-10 in. tall Limit grazing in a paddock to no more than 7 days Limit grazing in a paddock to no more than 7 days Terminate grazing when stubble is 3-4 in. tall Terminate grazing when stubble is 3-4 in. tall Allow at least days regrowth Allow at least days regrowth


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