Register for Managing for Quality Native and Introduced Pastures workshop

Come learn how to make the most productivity of your pasture. This has been a challenging year for pasture management with an extremely dry 2017-18 fall and winter and 2018 spring and summer.

Cattle feed is expensive today because of hay shortages and grass that did not grow this summer. Those acres have to work as hard at growing grass as they would growing anything else. In other words, pastures, too, must be stretched to the max. With today’s high input costs, you need all the extra grass you can get. That means taking care of all the pests that might limit productivity. 

● Assess what pests you have in your pastures. You have to walk through them and look closely. What insects are out there? Do you have brush and trees in places you don’t want them? You have to manage all of those issues.

● Consider fertilizer.  Do a soil analysis through the Shawnee County Extension Office, then follow the recommendations provided by the agriculture agent. These tests are free for Shawnee County farms and ranchers, up to $600 each, from a cost share program, as long as money is available. The cost share program is sponsored by the Shawnee County Conservation District.

● Look for weeds. If you see them coming in, your pastures likely need better weed-control management. Weeds will take over when pastures are overgrazed. It’s a balancing act of having the right number of animals for the available forage. It can also be a matter of getting more uniform utilization across the whole pasture, forcing the animals to eat in all sections so they don’t overgraze some areas and open the door for weeds to take hold.

The No. 1 tip for pasture managers is to understand what’s going on out there.

Take time to walk pasture ground or ride your four-wheeler around to observe pests, weeds, and other pasture-productivity issues. Only make an investment in some management practice when you know what’s going on. You can’t know that by doing a 55-mph drive-by. 

A special Managing for Quality Native and Introduced Pastures program is being planned by the Shawnee County Weed Department, Shawnee County Extension, Shawnee County Conservation District and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. John Welborn will be the guest speaker. Meet at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 28, at the Shawnee County Extension Office meeting room at 1740 SW Western on the Kansas Expocentre grounds. RSVP by Nov. 26 to Jolene Savage at 785-232-0062 ext. 100 to ensure adequate training materials.

Call Leroy Russell, Shawnee County Extension Agriculture Agent, at 785-232-0062 ext. 108 or email [email protected] if you have questions or need further information.