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Working Ranch - November/December 2017

pasture management BY LORETTA SORENSEN Sure… it’s all guesswork when you’re dealing with the weather, right? So why prepare? LOOK AT LAST YEAR It’s no secret that every year brings interesting grazing challenges and requires grazing strategy modifi cation on your grazing lands. Major events such as drought, fi re, fl ood or insect damage can impact grazing strategies for more than one or two seasons. Assistant Professor and Range Management Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Mitchell Stephenson, says the amount of grass available in a particular pasture or paddock is heavily infl uenced by grazing activities in the prior season. “Consider how much recovery time your pasture or rangeland had over the past season,” Stephenson says. “What kind of precipitation did you receive in the past year? How will that affect the amount of grass available to you in the upcoming season?” Evaluating how a pasture or rangeland area was used in the past season should include consideration of both how heavily it was grazed and what time of year the area was grazed. “There’s never a time when we recommend overgrazing an area,” Gene Schmitz, Livestock Specialist at the University of Missouri, says. “Be sure you understand the minimum nce the dust of roundup and symphonies of weaning have died down, beef operators might have a few moments to contemplate what Spring 2018 will bring for their operation. While every pasture across the nation has unique properties and requires specifi c management skills, some of those principles are fairly universal. In penciling out your operation’s 2018 grazing strategy, these key activities could help launch a productive start to the season. Maintaining notes on each grazing paddock or pasture can reveal which areas are most productive. Why does one area perform better than another? Your observations could lead to increased overall pastureland production. LAURIE LANIER, VA 40 I WORKING RANCH I NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017


Working Ranch - November/December 2017
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