With the hot and dry weather that has prevailed over the past month and with little rain in the forecast, of all years this may be the one to take a serious look at pasture management. Stocking rates are always a guess; many times determined the winter or spring before turnout and not re-evaluated until the cattle are pulled and too much or too little grass is left in the pasture. Especially in a dry year, it is critical to keep cattle from grazing grass too short and giving more drought tolerant, undesirable species the opportunity to proliferate. A flexible grazing plan is best, where continual evaluation of forage conditions in the pasture is included, trigger dates employed to make stocking rate changes, and a plan is in place to "expect the unexpected."
On July 2, these topics and many more will be discussed at the "Sustainable and Profitable Pasture Management" meeting in Miltonvale, Kan. Walt Fick, Kansas State Research and Extension rangeland management specialist, and Dwayne Rice, Natural Resources Conservation Service range management specialist, will both be presenting topics on plant identification, determining stocking rates, brush/weed/cedar control methods, and drought preparedness and strategies. Tom Meek, Clay County Conservation District manager, and Josh Roe, KSU watershed economist, will also be talking about protecting water quality in pastures and funding opportunities for pasture renovation. The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Firehouse Meeting room and later move to a pasture near Miltonvale for a hands-on practicum. The Milford Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy will be sponsoring a roast beef dinner. Please RSVP to the Washington County Extension Office at 785-325-2121 by June 29 to reserve your seat.
Funding for this event is being provided by the Milford Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy project, with support from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
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