Conservation Corner

May 30

[ARCHIVED] Forage Plant Establishment, Growth, and Management Practices throughout the Year Summer Stress

The original item was published from May 30, 2017 11:14 AM to May 30, 2017 11:14 AM

Farm pic
Donald Hunter checks out a bran new Red Limousin calf at his 120 acre farm in Eatonville.
By Steve Fransen, Forage Agronomist, WSU Cooperative Extension, Part 2 of a 4 Part Article

Summer stress is a time of slow summer growth; grass roots are shedding and are turning colors from white to gray, to brown and black again. For the west side, summer starts in mid to late June, July and August, until the root regeneration cycle starts again. The remaining grass stubble in the summer is the main pool of available sugars that jump starts the September root regrowth process so the more the stubble is damaged in the summer, the longer it takes for root regrowth the establish in the fall. I also think there is less total fall root regeneration from damaged summer plants. Just about anything that damages the stand or plants in the summer will directly affect the initial forage cycle in the fall.

Read the Rest of the Series Here: Spring, Fall (coming soon), Winter (coming soon)

Summer is the finish line in the forage calendar. Your pasture will make it to the finish line, but the question is what shape will they be in when they arrive? The stronger and fit an athlete at the end of a race the faster they recover. The same is true with our perennial pastures. The final medicine I have to offer, do not overgraze pastures in the summer nor damage plants since fall regrowth will be delayed and forage yield will be reduced compared to a well-managed pasture.

Many folks have heard about stockpiling forage for animal use in the fall and winter. I’d suggest we think about preserving grazeable forage as a source of sugars, nitrogen, and sulfur that stimulates above ground fall growth. This is also a source of phosphorus that stimulates below ground root growth when the forage cycle begins. Summer is setting up the fall recovery cycle that establishes the rest of the pasture calendar and the following year’s production.

Stay tuned for the third installment of this article in the next edition of the Tahoma View, as we learn about the importance of maintaining a healthy grass stand in the fall to ensure a vigorous pasture the following spring.
Read the Rest of the Series Here: Summer, Fall (coming soon), Winter (coming soon)
Read the Rest of the Series Here: Summer, Fall (coming soon), Winter (coming soon)