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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Grazing management for warm-season grasses in eastern South Dakota
Year: 2006
Author(s): Mousel, E., Gates, R., Maaland, C.
Source Title:
Source Type: Other
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Native warm-season grasses like big bluestem, little bluestem, indiangrass, switchgrass, tall dropseed, and prairie dropseed are high-yielding, high-quality forages that have potential as a source of perennial summer forage. In eastern South Dakota, warm-season grasses produce 70 to 80% of their annual yield after June 1. On the other hand, cool season grasses such as smooth bromegrass and Kentucky bluegrass produce more than 75% of their annual yield before June 1 and often are nearly dormant and unproductive during the heat of the summer. Warm-season grasses can provide grazable forage during the summer after cool-season pastures have been utilized and have gone dormant. Warm-season grasses are well adapted to most soils in eastern South Dakota, making them an attractive alternative on less productive sites or marginal cropland. Warm-season grasses can be successfully utilized in simple mixtures or monocultures. However, they respond to grazing differently than cool-season grasses and therefore must be managed differently. Improper management of warm-season grasses can result in poor livestock performance, declining yields, and damage to stands. Native warm-season grasses evolved under brief periods of high-intensity grazing so they are not well suited to lengthy periods of continuous stocking or close, frequent grazing. Proper grazing management will optimize both yield and quality of warm-season grasses while maintaining a vigorous stand.
Publisher: South Dakota State University FS931e