Social Links Search




Pasture care - hail recovery and more

Pasture care - hail recovery and more

By Scout Nelson

In the diverse landscape of Nebraska, managing pasture and forage health presents unique challenges, from dealing with hail damage to handling poisonous plants and optimizing irrigation practices.

Poisonous Plants in Nebraska Pastures:

Nebraska is home to 17 primary toxic plant species that can pose significant risks to livestock. These plants can cause symptoms ranging from difficulty breathing and excessive salivation to nervousness and staggering.

Poisonous plants like prairie larkspur, Riddell groundsel, Lambert crazyweed, wooly locoweed, and chokecherry are more prevalent, especially during drought conditions when forage is scarce.

The state also contends with poison hemlock and spotted water hemlock, which thrive in moist areas. Nebraska Extension offers a resource, Nebraska Plants Toxic to Livestock (EC3037), available through local extension offices for identifying and managing these risks.

Dealing with Hail Damage:

Hail can severely impact perennial forages, necessitating swift action to safeguard future yields. When hail strikes, it's vital to assess the damage promptly. For pastures, moving animals to allow for plant recovery is crucial. In alfalfa fields, the timing of the hail relative to the harvest schedule dictates the response.

If the hail occurs more than two weeks before harvest, the focus should be on managing the regrowth, while immediate harvesting may be necessary if the damage occurs closer to harvest time. Utilizing disk mowers can help recover lodged crops effectively.

Irrigation Strategies for Alfalfa:

After a wet spring, adjusting irrigation schedules is critical. Although alfalfa is resilient and can resume growth after dry periods, over-watering can cause damage and encourage weed growth. It's advisable to stop irrigation a few days before cutting and resume once regrowth begins.

Employing tools like evapotranspiration gauges and soil moisture monitoring can enhance irrigation efficiency, allowing for better use of natural rainfall and reducing the need for supplemental water. During peak summer months, alfalfa may require up to half an inch of water per day, especially under hot, windy conditions.

By understanding and implementing strategic management practices, Nebraska farmers can effectively navigate the challenges of pasture and forage management, ensuring the health and productivity of their crops.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-gabrielabertolini

New wheat variety battles fungal disease New wheat variety battles fungal disease
Student fights to beat pinkeye in cattle Student fights to beat pinkeye in cattle

Categories: Nebraska, Crops, Hay & Forage, Alfalfa

Subscribe to newsletters

Crop News

Rural Lifestyle News

Livestock News

General News

Government & Policy News

National News

Back To Top