Does Mowing Winter Pastures Markedly Improve Spring Green-up?

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rocfarm

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I finally broke down and mowed about 7-8 acres of my Klein grass field this winter in the hopes that clearing the tall stuff off that went ungrazed last year would produce more palatable growth in the spring. I only mowed the stuff taller than 12" or so and left the stuff that was shorter. Mowed it to about 5" height.

Question for you experienced pasture managers: Will clearing this taller duff off the pasture make an appreciable difference in spring or is it a wash or even a waste of time and equipment?

For the last three years I didn't bother with mowing these spots and later the cows didn't bother grazing it come spring, even when it greened up to the point of new growth getting taller than old dead stuff.
 
I don't know Klein but I suspect you are not putting enough grazing pressure on it during the growth before it sets seed.
Hit it hard for up to 5-6 days but never 7. Let it rest 3 weeks to month then graze it again for a few days. Let it come back
and mow it to 5" or so and let me know what you think. (my rotational grazing pov)
 
I don't know Klein but I suspect you are not putting enough grazing pressure on it during the growth before it sets seed.
Hit it hard for up to 5-6 days but never 7. Let it rest 3 weeks to month then graze it again for a few days. Let it come back
and mow it to 5" or so and let me know what you think. (my rotational grazing pov)
I have purposely under stocked, but noticed that myself. I put up a portable electric fence last week to force them into that area of the pasture come spring. So that should help. But I'll always have this problem as I manage for wildlife and grazing, so have to let pastures go to seed at regular intervals to maintain a bit of cover and seeds for the birds (20-30 birds were actually wintering in this grass before I mowed it. I left a few acres of iffy stuff in an attempt to give them a bit of cover).

Just wondering if mowing tall, dormant C4 grasses in winter has actually been proven to increase yield and palatability come spring green-up, or maybe it doesn't really matter.
 
Do you feed hay? If so. Can you feed on these areas? That could help also...

I don't know Klein grass either. But I've been battling broomsedge the last 6 years and have almost won the war. Done it thru grazing with pigtail posts and polywire thru growing season, and hay feed on particular spots during winter.

I've knocked it back 90 percent.

I'm gonna look into the Klein grass now. 😆
 
This thread speaks on klein grass. You've possibly read it already.


Appears they graze it well. Just need to focus the animals on it during growing season. Doesn't sound like it will stockpile for shite.

So mow away good sir. If it makes you feel better mow. I mow from time to time to keep things under control. Especially buttercup, pigweed, and stick weed. Haven't really had to though since using pigtails and polyqire...moving at least every 3rd day.

I'd be sitting whole bales out and letting the waste hopefully smother it out. Hard year for that approach and attitude though. Limited hay everywhere. I'm still wasting some to kill the BS... We shall see.

Maybe unroll across it?
 
Klein is a bunch grass. The tops are stemmy and seedy and cattle won't usually eat them but they provide seed for regrowth and wildlife as well as cover and nesting sites. Watch cattle when they eat Klein. They stick their head into the bunch and eat the leafy stuff at the bottom leaving the top. It makes it look like they are not eating it at all. Mowing won't hurt it as folks do it all the time when baling it but is really not needed. Its slow to come up in the spring but thrives in mid summer when it is actually needed the most.
 
Klein is a bunch grass. The tops are stemmy and seedy and cattle won't usually eat them but they provide seed for regrowth and wildlife as well as cover and nesting sites. Watch cattle when they eat Klein. They stick their head into the bunch and eat the leafy stuff at the bottom leaving the top. It makes it look like they are not eating it at all. Mowing won't hurt it as folks do it all the time when baling it but is really not needed. Its slow to come up in the spring but thrives in mid summer when it is actually needed the most.
That said about it being a WSG, does it hurt it to mow shorter than 5 inches? Let the cool season stuff come up through it? Would there be any benefit there?

I'm learning here.

Is it something mostly found out west and deep south?
 
Mowing it won't hurt. The weather usually breaks it down in the winter except for the base of the plant and base is pretty tough and won't allow other growth to come up through it. Its not enough to worry about as the cool season grasses just grow all around it the small base. There is plenty of soil between the bunches. I am not sure of its range. Its seems to like deep blackish dirt just fine and since the tops don't get consumed, it handles heavy grazing well.
 
With out a pic it's hard to say but most likely it was a waste. I would not shred Klein to 5". If you want to slick it off for aesthetics pretty much run the shredder almost all the way up. Get above the clump and trim some off the stemmy top.

It's a little early to be clearing out grass for spring, imo. We have a long way to go still. Especially with Klein because it is know for holding good nutrition through cooler weather.

Here in a month or two a light disking wouldnt hurt it. The disk plus a drag will usually take out the left over standing grass if it's not too thick.

Wildlife love Klein. Deer quail etc. Especially early on. The ideal situation it to grow it and graze it before it seeds out, then rest it, graze it before seed, then the last time in the fall let it go to seed and stand through the winter. That is how nature plants native grasses. Fall seed makes spring grass. You can not put a time line to grazing because growth is not linear because rain and temperature are not consistent. You have to put eyes on it and adjust accordingly.
 
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Clinch, got the same problem. Do you know your pH and phosphate levels in the broomsedge fields?
 
Klein is a bunch grass. The tops are stemmy and seedy and cattle won't usually eat them but they provide seed for regrowth and wildlife as well as cover and nesting sites. Watch cattle when they eat Klein. They stick their head into the bunch and eat the leafy stuff at the bottom leaving the top. It makes it look like they are not eating it at all. Mowing won't hurt it as folks do it all the time when baling it but is really not needed. Its slow to come up in the spring but thrives in mid summer when it is actually needed the most.
This is spot on.
I wouldn't mow it. It wont hurt it but I won't help it either imo. Letting Klein get tall and seed out in the fall is a good thing imo. I reseeds and travels across a field well. And as mentioned it comes on later than other grass. I really like Klein grass a lot of the reason is the lack of attention it requires compared to say Bermuda.
 
This thread speaks on klein grass. You've possibly read it already.


Appears they graze it well. Just need to focus the animals on it during growing season. Doesn't sound like it will stockpile for shite.

So mow away good sir. If it makes you feel better mow. I mow from time to time to keep things under control. Especially buttercup, pigweed, and stick weed. Haven't really had to though since using pigtails and polyqire...moving at least every 3rd day.

I'd be sitting whole bales out and letting the waste hopefully smother it out. Hard year for that approach and attitude though. Limited hay everywhere. I'm still wasting some to kill the BS... We shall see.

Maybe unroll across it?
Yup, read that thread and a lot of other info on Klein. Really trying to keep my stand thick. From my observations, I think I could stock a cow per acre to my Klein for about 3 to 4 months out of the year if spring rains are good. The plan this year is to put the cows on it starting in Midmay and leave them as long as possible. But weather often changes my rotation plans.

I currently don't have any weed pressure in that field so not worried about using mowing to control them. My goal would be to thicken the Klein and increase it's yield.

My Klein seems to stockpile ok, but they don't really eat it first. They go for the native grasses or the KR Bluestem. Always had enough of these other grasses for winter stockpile so far so don't really know if cattle would eat the Klein later.

I don't plan on buying hay. Have a few bales left over from previous experiment that have already staged for February use, but I put them in different paddocks so I can just open the gate when the time comes. I put one in a somewhat bare spot at the rope of a mild slope and another at the crest of a little rise where it's thin grass. Hoping the cattle's waste and nutrients will flow down to the grass below the eating area. I might buy a few bales for next winter if prices come down and my cattle are not in the condition I want come July, but so far I've had really good luck with understocking and utilizing tubs during poor grazing conditions.

Been so understocked that I haven't been able to force the cows to eat the Klein for the past few years, but I am looking forward to the poly wire making a difference come spring and summer. Of course if I could keep that stuff grazed to 5" I'd not mow. But they didn't touch it from August to November. They just grazed native grasses And the KR Bluestem in the same paddock and let the Klein get tall, and we've already moved to them to our native grass stockpile/winter grass/burr clover pastures.

I charge myself $30/hour to mow, and I mowed for about 3 hours the other day. If it doesn't look like it pays off in the spring, I won't do it again.
 
That said about it being a WSG, does it hurt it to mow shorter than 5 inches? Let the cool season stuff come up through it? Would there be any benefit there?

I'm learning here.

Is it something mostly found out west and deep south?
I was told that when it's dormant it doesn't matter if you go shorter. The crazy thing was that when I mowed it last week it still had some green blades down in the bunch part because of the warm winter we are having!

There is not much winter stuff coming up in my Klein, so can't speak to the winter grass thought.

My main thought was that, if I get more light to the ground, I'd give the stuff a chance to thicken up because three years of seed heads dropping meant a seed bank there in the soil might be underutilized come spring. I wouldn't mind if the Klein spread, either. Happy to have it.

But, in my pasture, it seems to be giving way to KR Bluestem, even though the cows heavily graze that first.
 
With out a pic it's hard to say but most likely it was a waste. I would not shred Klein to 5". If you want to slick it off for aesthetics pretty much run the shredder almost all the way up. Get above the clump and trim some off the stemmy top.

It's a little early to be clearing out grass for spring, imo. We have a long way to go still. Especially with Klein because it is know for holding good nutrition through cooler weather.

Here in a month or two a light disking wouldnt hurt it. The disk plus a drag will usually take out the left over standing grass if it's not too thick.

Wildlife love Klein. Deer quail etc. Especially early on. The ideal situation it to grow it and graze it before it seeds out, then rest it, graze it before seed, then the last time in the fall let it go to seed and stand through the winter. That is how nature plants native grasses. Fall seed makes spring grass. You can not put a time line to grazing because growth is not linear because rain and temperature are not consistent. You have to put eyes on it and adjust accordingly.
Didn't really take pics, but pulled these from my videos. Before and after. Thankfully, not worried about stockpile. Have more than enough to make it to March, so trying to get a jumpstart on spring.

I left more than 4 acres of the stuff standing, so I'll get to do a comparison come spring as well.
 

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This is spot on.
I wouldn't mow it. It wont hurt it but I won't help it either imo. Letting Klein get tall and seed out in the fall is a good thing imo. I reseeds and travels across a field well. And as mentioned it comes on later than other grass. I really like Klein grass a lot of the reason is the lack of attention it requires compared to say Bermuda.
This stand is already 15 to 20 years old, so I think you just may be right. But it seems to be thinning out a bit. Want to keep it around.
 
Mowing it won't hurt. The weather usually breaks it down in the winter except for the base of the plant and base is pretty tough and won't allow other growth to come up through it. Its not enough to worry about as the cool season grasses just grow all around it the small base. There is plenty of soil between the bunches. I am not sure of its range. Its seems to like deep blackish dirt just fine and since the tops don't get consumed, it handles heavy grazing well.
Last year the weather in central Texas was dry and didn't break it down. was standing tall and proud this past week when I mowed it. see pics below.
 
This stand is already 15 to 20 years old, so I think you just may be right. But it seems to be thinning out a bit. Want to keep it around.
Klein doesn't require a lot of fertilizer.
But in competition with kr Blue stem you should find it worthwhile to get your dirt right. Test p and k now and give it 50 pounds of nitrogen late spring and watch it run the kr over.
Rain is required of course.
 
Klein doesn't require a lot of fertilizer.
But in competition with kr Blue stem you should find it worthwhile to get your dirt right. Test p and k now and give it 50 pounds of nitrogen late spring and watch it run the kr over.
Rain is required of course.
No money for fertilizer-or at least not financially viable. The mowing cost largely prepaid, as no debt on equipment. But couldn't figure out how to make fertilizer pay for itself on my place. Did do a soil test, though. My p and k are actually ok. N, of course is low.
 

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