Overgrazing During Hot And Dry Weather Has Long Term Consequences

This week, high late-spring temperature occurred in the Midwest. A brief respite from the heat is predicted to occur, but high temperature quickly comes back again with no rain predicted to happen. Cool-season grasses will likely begin being in a dormant state. For the well being of the forage, do not graze cool-season grasses and legumes to a height less than 4 inches. Meristems are where cell initiation, continued division, and elongation occurs. When close grazing happens, meristems cannot produce what would be the next growth to graze. In time, less productive plants that can take close grazing (examples: Kentucky bluegrass and white clover) will become more dominant. This happens because the meristems are at or slightly below the soil surface. Troublesome weeds may begin to appear and become dominant, too, when overgrazing occurs. Another measure to consider is if more than ten percent of the area is visible soil, that is an indication that the stand is either thin or overgrazing is happening.

Watch and listen carefully. Your forages may be crying out “Don’t overgraze if you want to see us next year!”.

 

If plants could cry out, they would yell “Stop” when overgrazing begins to occur. Note the visible manure in the upper center and the crushed aluminum can in the lower center of the photograph. If the pasture was properly grazed, the manure and aluminum can would not have been visible at the distance that the photograph was taken. (Photo Credit: Keith Johnson)

If plants could cry out, they would yell “Stop” when overgrazing begins to occur. Note the visible manure in the upper center and the crushed aluminum can in the lower center of the photograph. If the pasture was properly grazed, the manure and aluminum can would not have been visible at the distance that the photograph was taken. (Photo Credit: Keith Johnson)

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