drought and summer mowing..

Help Support CattleToday:

pdubdo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
189
Reaction score
37
Location
southern Oklahoma
I've been mowing through some of my native grass pastures this past month to then stockpile grass for winter. Also knocking back the ragweed and lespedeza (or however you spell it) that is just now starting to flower. However we're into a dry spell/"flash-drought" type period (southern Oklahoma) and grasses are looking pretty dry. Do I keep mowing (about 6 inches high) or pause till we have some rain in the forecast? Currently no rain forecasted any time soon. I could see that mowing now might stress the grasses more and hurt future growth?
 

TennesseeTuxedo

CT Supporter
CT Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
18,147
Reaction score
2,602
Location
Live in Franklin, TN farm in Warsaw, KY
I've been mowing through some of my native grass pastures this past month to then stockpile grass for winter. Also knocking back the ragweed and lespedeza (or however you spell it) that is just now starting to flower. However we're into a dry spell/"flash-drought" type period (southern Oklahoma) and grasses are looking pretty dry. Do I keep mowing (about 6 inches high) or pause till we have some rain in the forecast? Currently no rain forecasted any time soon. I could see that mowing now might stress the grasses more and hurt future growth?
I’d keep mowing at the height you indicated.
 

Brute 23

Brute 23
CT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
10,219
Reaction score
1,904
Location
Gulf Coast of South Texas
It's pretty much a lose- lose either way. There is no right or wrong.

Exactly what you are describing is why we spray herbicide in the spring instead of mowing right now like you are trying to do.
 

libertygarden

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2016
Messages
125
Reaction score
19
I think that mowing at 6" will get rid of the weeds towering over the grass. So even though you cut the blade length of the grass, it will take in more energy without competition. The rain will come when it comes.
 
OP
P

pdubdo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
189
Reaction score
37
Location
southern Oklahoma
What kind of grass?
Just native pasture: Kleingrass, little bluestem, some kind of side oats gramma-looking stuff, some patches of switchgrass, a little Bermuda. And then some Johnson grass patches I am not mowing. And some broomsedge, which I’m working to get rid of. Prob a lot of others I haven’t identified yet!
 
OP
P

pdubdo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
189
Reaction score
37
Location
southern Oklahoma
Cattle graze s. lespedeza when it blooms. It relocates tannins from the leaves.
I’ve read that, but over the last 2 years it’s crowding everything out in some areas and I see no signs of grazing….but didn’t know the tannins thing. I’ll get out and take a closer look. Maybe I checked during the wrong period.
 

FungusProudKY31

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
363
Reaction score
409
I’ve read that, but over the last 2 years it’s crowding everything out in some areas and I see no signs of grazing….but didn’t know the tannins thing. I’ll get out and take a closer look. Maybe I checked during the wrong period.
I have a selection planted on nearly 30 acres and it's claim to fame is a less woody stem. I have the old unimproved type in newly cleared ground that came up on it's on and the cows avoided it two rotations ago and grazed it on the last round. It is excellent feed quality if managed. We have a local guy who does hay with the improved variety/selection and has a high price and a waiting list. The RFV exceeds his alfalfa. But he manages it very well. A side benefit: the tannins in s. lespedeza will worm your animals. Plenty of university research on that. Several negatives: it need a fall rest to restore energy to the roost to remain vigorous. It does not release the N it produces as a legume. The transfer to other plants in the area is via consumption, manure and urine.
 

SPH

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2013
Messages
646
Reaction score
29
Location
Iowa
We rotate pastures throughout the summer and fall and are finding that after we move them off the first pasture they go out on if we mow down stuff they didn't eat such as weeds and less desirable grass varieties the pasture comes back really nice that they have some good eating for the fall after it rested over the summer. We have 1 pasture with some decent clover that we usually would bale about half it with our 1st cutting hay then would graze it late summer or early fall and the clover would really come back nice without having all the other overgrown grasses and weeds for it to fight with. However, that backfired on us last year with the drought we are pretty much still in as after we baled it we got very little rain and it hardly grew back so this year we didn't mow any of that pasture to make sure we didn't run out of grass too soon like we did last year and had to start feeding hay sooner than we would like to. It's really kind of a crapshoot in a drought because timing of when you mow and when you get rain is everything.

Somewhat on topic here in regarding drought... Several years ago we needed to kill off the alfalfa stand in our main hay field that needed to be re-seeded so we got 1 cutting off it then no-tilled soybeans in June and sprayed the field with Round Up to kill everything else off. Well we didn't see any rain for a long time after we planted the beans and what did come up was so poor from the lack of rain that it would have cost more to run a combine through the field than beans it would have harvested so we just mowed them down and let the cows graze what was left in the fall. Needed to do the same this year too so instead of beans we sprayed the field after 1st cutting and drilled Japanese millet this time so we had something we could still bale for forage. Luckily got a timely rain right after it was put in the ground and a few others rains along the way so got a decent stand. It didn't make as much hay as we hoped for but we're still in a moderate drought zone but did get much better results than the last try with the beans. We don't crop farm so taking our main hay field out of production for a full year to do corn like many around here would probably do isn't a very feasible option for us. Have done sorghum sudan before but that takes a long time to dry and the bales don't hold up too well over the winter.
 

Latest posts

Top