June 29, 2012
With Early Heat and Early Dormancy, Pastures Short
It’s time for a reality check in pastures. It’s dry, and even if it does rain, you still will be short of pasture this year.
If your pastures are based on cool-season grasses like needlegrass in the Panhandle or brome and bluegrass in eastern Nebraska, rain will help, but only a little. These grasses have already been growing for over three months and are reacting accordingly. For the next eight weeks or so they are going to be almost dormant due to summer heat and will have very slow growth no matter how much rain or fertilizer they receive.
In pastures with warm season grasses, like in the Sandhills and many areas of southern Nebraska, there is a little more hope. These grasses do most of their growing in late June and July, but even if they get lots of rain in the next couple weeks, total production isn’t likely to catch up with expectations.
Alternative feed plans will need to be made in many areas this summer.
Extension Forage Specialist