3 Tips to Get More From Your Pastures in ’24 and Beyond

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Early grass growth

Investing in your pastures during the grazing season can help ensure they’re ready when the time is right to grow your herd.

Just as rebuilding the cattle herd won’t happen overnight, preparing your grazing acres to support those extra animals takes time. And it needs to begin well before herd expansion.

“A female throws only one calf a year,” Sam Ingram, a Range & Pasture field scientist with Corteva Agriscience, says. “Similarly, cattle producers get only one grazing season per year to improve their pastures. It’s important to make the most of each opportunity.”

Even as market conditions continue to pressure herd rebuilding, the delay presents an opportunity for producers to get the jump on solidifying their forage base. “Our advice is to take advantage of this window — a time while there are fewer hooves on the ground — to position your grazing acres for when you decide the time is right to grow your herd,” he says. Ingram offers up these three recommendations on where to start:

  1. Focus on existing acres. Rather than searching for pastureland to buy or rent, work to improve and maximize the acres you already have. “Controlling broadleaf weeds and eliminating brush not only helps increase grass production but also improves utilization,” Ingram says. “Grazing avoidance, in effect, shrinks pastures and concentrates grazing in other areas, which exacerbates the problem.”
  2. Invest for the long haul. Although input prices and interest rates continue to pressure profit potential, cattle prices remain strong. “If you have resources to invest in your operation, dedicating some to your grazing acres — whether that’s in weed and brush control or complete renovation — can pay dividends for years to come,” Ingram says. “And then there’s infrastructure: A single cross fence, for example, can enhance grazing management. Improving water distribution can add flexibility too.”
  3. Manage drought and drought recovery. “Moisture has returned to many drought-stricken areas, but others continue to suffer,” Ingram notes. “Drought recovery takes time — several years in some instances. Give grasses as much as time as possible to rebuild root structure before rebuilding your herd.” Ingram recommends scouting pastures early and eliminating weeds before they outcompete recovering grasses. DuraCor® herbicide provides residual control to keep weeds from robbing valuable moisture well into the grazing season.

“Grazed forages offer the lowest-cost way to feed a cow,” Ingram says. “Regardless of cattle economics or whether you’re expanding or maintaining herd size, keep an eye on the expense side of the ledger to help increase profit potential.”

Under normal field conditions, DuraCor® is nonvolatile. DuraCor has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with DuraCor and to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. DuraCor is 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. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions. 


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