Farm and Field

Depend on fall rains for pasture regrowth

Posted: Aug. 5, 2018 12:01 am

Stunted, stemmy pastures unable to support grazing cattle still have potential.

Depend on fall rains to bring fall regrowth, said University of Missouri Extension forage agronomist Craig Roberts.

Cool-season grass growth always slumps in summer. Fescue goes dormant. This year, the slump dives deep with lack of rain and too much heat. In spite of that, Missouri farmers should prepare for fall regrowth for winter grazing.

Roberts reminds farmers to think back to the big drought of 2012. After a prolonged dry spell, rains returned Sept. 1. After the drought, grass grew, and soybean fields made big yields.

To prepare for fall growth every year, farmers clip pastures to encourage regrowth and apply 40 to 50 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer. Then they wait for rains and new grass.

"If you prepare and it rains, you win," Roberts said. "If not prepared, you can't win."

But Roberts cautions farmers not to clip too early. "Wait to clip the canopy until mid-August," he said.

Friendly weeds may prove welcome this year. Grassy weeds such as crabgrass, foxtail, barnyardgrass and goosegrass are summer annuals. "Weeds are just waiting to grow. If we get some rain, they may make forage to bale," Roberts said. "Weeds aren't great. But this year, take what Mother Nature gives. However, avoid baling poisonous or thorny weeds. We just want friendly weeds."

Cool-season grasses have two main growing seasons. The spring season provides two-thirds of annual production. That other third of growth usually goes into stockpile, which is left unbaled and held for winter grazing.

When cows harvest grass by grazing, it cuts winter feed bills, and management-intensive grazing, taught in MU grazing schools, boosts production per acre by one-third.

Herbicide injury app

University of Missouri Extension has introduced a new mobile app to identify herbicide injury.

MU Extension weed specialist Mandy Bish said Herbicide Injury ID allows users to send photos of injured plants to MU Extension for preliminary diagnosis and feedback. Users also can scroll through a library of more than 200 photos to look for similar types of damage.

When the app launches, users can choose from four options -- diagnose injury, search by herbicide, view sites of action or send photos and detailed descriptions to MU for diagnosis.

Bish said the app is not limited to corn and soybeans. It includes photos of some ornamentals, cucurbits, tomatoes and trees. It will continue to be expanded.

Download the Herbicide Injury ID app from the Apple App Store or Google Play on any mobile device. For iPhone and iPad, go to itunes.apple.com/us/app/id1297001308. For Android devices, go to play. google.com/store/apps/details?id=doit.herbicideinjury.

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