Make this the best season for pasture recovery

Biennial thistle rosettes are prime targets for fall control.

Although many pastures affected earlier by grazing or weather-related stress ultimately received some relief, moisture alone does not overcome stress. Recovery requires a strategic approach. And fall is an excellent time to move along the healing process.

“Weeds are very opportunistic and will quickly appear with moisture,” says Scott Flynn, field scientist with Corteva Agriscience™.  “Change happens fast. The voids left by declining grass from drought and grazing pressure are prime spots for invasion.”

Begin by assessing the current state of your pastures and how grazing lands have been affected. Here are some questions and considerations:

  • What were weed infestations like before pasture stress? If weeds were a problem before, infestations likely will be even worse after stress. Weather and grazing stresses all plants, but weeds often become more opportunistic and competitive in pastures. When rainfall returns, weeds are in better shape to respond, giving them a significant advantage over grasses.
  • How is soil health and fertility? Fall soil sampling gives you time to plan your fertility program and potentially make immediate adjustments. Fall often is a good time to apply nitrogen to coolseason grasses. Weed-and-feed with GrazonNext® HL or Chaparral™ herbicide is an excellent time and money saver during fall or spring.
  • Calculate grazable acres. A hundred acres of pasture isn’t always 100 acres. Grazable acres is the number of acres with healthy, available grass minus acres where weeds, brush or other obstacles effectively fence out livestock. Adjust your grazing program accordingly to prevent overgrazing. Effective weed and/or brush control can increase carrying capacity. 
  • What is the condition of grasses? Inspect rangeland and pastures closely to determine health and forage availability. If drought or grazing stress has thinned stands, focus on  re-establishment to reduce bare ground. Weeds will be fast to fill those voids, making recovery even more difficult. Controlling those weeds is critical heading into the fall and winter.

“It is important to be aggressive against weeds to reduce competition for moisture and nutrients,” Flynn says. “Not unlike an early spring application, grasses respond to weed control and put on growth for later availability. Without weed control during periods of moisture relief, such as late summer or fall, weeds capture the site and put even more pressure on the grass base that was struggling through the dry period.”

Controlling winter annuals, such as henbit, during the fall helps preserve moisture to aid grass recovery

 

GrazonNext HL is an excellent fall treatment option. It controls more than 100 broadleaf weeds, including biennial weeds, such as musk, bull and plumeless thistle and knapweeds; perennial Canada thistle; and other weeds, including winter annuals. If wild carrot is in the weed mix, go with Chaparral, which will control all the weeds controlled by GrazonNext HL, and more.

“In addition to doing a really good job controlling all types of broadleaf weeds, GrazonNext HL and Chaparral provide soil residual control help prevent re-infestations,” says Flynn. “This extended control will help stop weeds into next spring, preserving moisture and allowing grasses to get a head start on the weeds.”

Grazing Strategies

Post-stress grazing management is just as important as it is during times of stress. The importance of managing stocking rate to boost grass recovery cannot be overstated. Don’t rush to restock. Overgrazing during this critical recovery phase will do additional harm and make recovery more difficult.

“Reducing grazing pressure and weed control work together during drought recovery,” Flynn says. “There’s no way you can separate the two. With a strategic plan to manage weeds and stocking rates, you can feel confident you’re doing the best job possible to help your grazing acres return to full productivity.”

 

 

Connect with Range & Pasture:
  

 

 

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.

™®Trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. Chaparral and GrazonNext HL are not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions. ©2019 Corteva