Should I Clip My Pastures?

Jeff McCutcheon, Knox County Extension Educator, Ag & NR

It is mid June and you are standing in a pasture field with the owner. The cows were rotated out of this field the day before. The ripening grass seed heads come up to your waist. The green leaves of the grass and clovers have, for the most part, been grazed to about 2 inches or 1200 lbs. of dry matter per acre. It does not look too bad. Yes, the spring flush got ahead of the owner, but with this year’s growth pattern, it was hard to keep up. The owner asks “Do you think I should clip this pasture?” In the following discussion you run through the reasons to clip pasture to see if they apply. Continue reading

Do we really need to “baby” forage seedings?

Jeff McCutcheon, Knox County Extension Educator, Ag & NR

Forage producers understand that the stage of growth determines when to harvest. For example, to optimize both yield and quality, grasses should be harvested in the boot to early seed head emergence time period and legumes should be harvested in the bud stage. But is this also important in the seeding year? Since we spent so much time and money to plant the forage shouldn’t we treat it carefully, take fewer grazings/cuttings, to give it a chance to establish? To answer these questions let’s review grass and legume growth. Continue reading