Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 13, 2007
Publication Date: February 13, 2007
Citation: Brink, G.E. 2007. History repeats itself: Good management NOW makes FUTURE management easier. In: Proceedings of the Lancaster Profitable Pastures for South Western Wisconsin Winter Symposium, February 13, 2007, Lancaster, Wisconsin. p. 1-6. Technical Abstract: Pasture-based livestock producers must often consider whether to manage pastures on the basis of what is best for the animal or what is best for the plant. Given that pastures are the principal and most economical source of feed, producers should manage pastures based on the needs of plants. Decisions to graze early or for an extended period may provide feed in the short term, but prove detrimental in the long-term. One of the most important considerations is residual height. Adequate residue permits plants to produce new leaves quickly, while inadequate residue forces plants to rely on stored carbohydrates for new growth and lengthens the rest period between rotations. Other factors influencing plant recovery from grazing include grass species, nitrogen fertilization, water stress, and season of the year. Grasses such as bluegrass and ryegrass tolerate shorter residual than orchardgrass or smooth bromegrass. Appropriately-timed N application can not only increase yield, but increase growth of tillers, which provide growth for the following year. Producers should consider feeding stored forages or alternative feeds such as annuals rather than mismanage pastures. Prior to winter, grasses should have an adequate residual (4 inches) to retain stored carbohydrates for spring growth.