The lush pastures of spring are now behind us and summer time brings new pasture management challenges. By this time of year, two things are happening in the paddocks that need to be addressed.
First, the grasses that the cows missed (for whatever reason) are now mature. These grasses are now headed out and have lost both nutrient content and palatablity. At this stage dairy cows will not eat it and every clump of mature grass means lost grazing potential. Some paddocks might only have half the useable grass that it had in the spring. The best option to correct this is to clip off the pasture and wait for a good rain. The mature grass will grow back and the cows will happily eat the new growth. The clipped grass will fertilize the paddock as well.
The other thing that is happening this time of year is that the weeds are blossoming and getting ready to go to seed. Now is the time to get them clipped off before they go to seed and multiply their presence. On our farm the prime weeds that need clipping are milkweed, golden rod, canada thistle and buttercup. None of these plants have any value as livestock feed and should be eliminated. Clipping your pastures before they go to seed, if done every year, will eventually get rid of these weeds.
So now is the time to check each paddock. Are there mature grasses past their prime? Are there weeds that are getting ready to go to seed? If so, you might want to consider clipping them off.