Fall is a critical time for your grazing lands, whether you’re managing through working to restore balance in your pastures or simply setting up your grasses for success.
This is the season for repair — at least when it comes to pastures, says Scott Flynn, field scientist with Corteva Agriscience™.
“During the spring, we control weeds so they’re out of the way of grass production,” Flynn explains. “In the fall, especially in cool-season grasses, we’re looking to repair the stand.”
Cool-season grasses are growing new tillers and rebuilding root systems that will carry them through the next growing season.
“Think of it as maintenance season for grasses. Remove the competition from those undesirable weeds, and we can go into the next season with some dense, highly competitive grass stands that will hold back weeds,” Flynn says.
Maintaining that competition is critical to long-term weed control, says Bruce Anderson, Extension forage specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He adds that fall is an excellent time to evaluate what worked and determine what you could improve in your grazing program. Adding in more rotational grazing is a good way to improve the health, vigor and density of rangeland and pasture grasses.
“As you rotate, leave more residue behind when moving livestock to new pastures,” Anderson says. “Healthy, competitive grass stands are essential to reduce weed populations. Weed control, along with carefully monitored grazing, will lessen the opportunity for weeds to take hold while helping to thicken grass stands.”
Fall is an excellent time for biennial and perennial weed management. Treating biennial weeds, such as musk and bull thistle and spotted knapweed, or perennials, including Russian knapweed, Canada thistle and leafy spurge, can reduce suppression of forage grasses.
“While the benefits of fall weed control often aren’t noticeable in the fall, they stand out in the spring,” says Mark Renz, Ph.D., weed specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Removing these troublesome species allows the forage grass recovery in absence of competition. This often results in higher grass yields in pastures and rangeland.”
Fall timing helps herbicides that already translocate well — such as GrazonNext® HL, Chaparral™, and Graslan® L herbicides — reach the root structure more efficiently, a critical element in successful control of perennial weeds.
“These later-season treatments can be just as successful — and equally as important — as spring or early summer herbicide applications,” Flynn says. “Fall applications perform well on many weed species because the herbicide moves from the foliage to the roots along with the plant’s winter food reserves.”
This is a good time to catch up on pasture weed control for other reasons, too:
To learn more about fall weed control and herbicide selection, visit your local Extension service office, ag chem dealer or applicator, or contact your local Corteva Agriscience Range & Pasture Specialist.
Label precautions apply to forage treated with Chaparral or GrazonNext HL and to manure from animals that have consumed treated forage within the last three days. Consult the label for full details.
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