Editor’s note: Relevant and up-to-date information that had been available on Foragebeef.ca is gradually being added to BeefResearch.ca. (More information). The new Rejuvenation of Hay and Pasture page, which is previewed below, is one example. Further webpages will be added or updated on BeefResearch.ca to include the valuable content from Foragebeef.ca, ensuring that information remains freely available online. Completion is expected by Spring 2020. 

Rejuvenation of a forage stand, whether hay or pasture, involves using one or a combination of methods to increase productivity with a shift towards higher yielding forage species that provide improved nutritive value for livestock.

The first step in deciding whether to rejuvenate a forage stand is comparing the potential productivity with the current status of the pasture or hayfield. This will help determine if, and what, improvements or management changes are needed.

A stand assessment starts with evaluation of the current plant population. What desirable plant species are present as compared to undesirable plants? Are there invasive species? Poisonous plants? Are there large areas of bare ground and evidence of erosion? Conducting a pasture or range health assessment is an important first step to identify best options for rejuvenation.


Evaluating Your Management System

  • When does grazing occur?
  • What stocking rate is applied?
  • Frequency and level of utilization?
  • Are rest periods provided and are they long enough?
  • What is the timing and frequency of hay cuts?

Although largely out of a land manager’s control, soil moisture is the most important variable when rejuvenating a forage stand. Moisture status of a pasture or hayfield from the previous growing season as well as forecasted precipitation must factor into the choice of timing and method of rejuvenation. With adequate soil moisture, particularly under irrigation or in high rainfall areas, rejuvenation options become less risky and more cost effective.

RELATED ARTICLE: BCRC: Stored Forages: Hay, Greenfeed and Silage

If a forage stand does need rejuvenation it is critical to identify the reason for decline in productivity. Is grazing mismanagement a factor? Is fertility lacking? Has management not been adjusted to account for dry conditions? If the cause is not eliminated and management practices adjusted, any positive effects of rejuvenation will be short-lived.

  REJUVENATION OPTIONS (used alone or in combination) If YES, then consider the following:
Are there undesirable species that need to be controlled?
Is there still an adequate density of desired plant species?
Is the density of desired plant species too low?
Is the density of desired plant species too high and the stand needs to be thinned in order to increase productivity?

To learn more about forage and pasture rejuvenation health visit the new web page.

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Source: Latest from Beef Cattle Research Council

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