Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
November 25, 1999

Marbles Can Be Lost In Pastures

This year we have seen grazing areas eaten into the ground. This is true for all areas grazed by horses, cattle or sheep. The lack of moisture in late summer or early fall curtailed forage growth reducing the grazing potential. Cracks in the ground were large enough to loose marbles if you wished to participate in a marble game in most pastures. Hay feeding started early this year but livestock prefer to graze any available forage growth. Basically if we are providing supplemental forage it is all relevant. The forage grazed now simply won’t be available for later in the winter.

As we enter into the Holiday Season it is time be thinking about any adjustment needed to improve the grazing management systems for next year. Thinking about these adjustments is very important. It is much easier to make changes with a piece of paper and pencil than trying to adjust fences after they are installed. This makes for hard work and loss of time. Since available water is the key to any grazing system, all areas must have a constant water source.

Many of the grazing areas will need a fertility jump-start for the spring of 2000. Frost seeding plays a very important and cheap method of adding or increasing legumes in the present grazing areas. A simple method for applying legumes -- especially Red Clover -- is to add the seed to the fertilizer being applied. It is not too early to be locating seed for next year’s application.

This is an excellent time of year to collect soil samples for use after the frequently referred to millennium. I urge you to collect these samples even if it means storing them under the bed for later use. It is much easier to collect soil samples under dry conditions compared to frozen or muddy fields. Having dry soil samples to work with next spring is much easier than dealing with wet soggy or muddy samples. Also if you decide you do not want to send these in for a soil test then they are easily discarded. Applying the desired mix of fertilizer will also assist greatly with establishing a stand of legumes. The ratio of N, P, and K is very important when establishing legumes in a stand of grass.

Another very important use of a dry soil sample is having ample soil available to check for herbicide carryover that may interfere with the establishment of forage. Having a dry bucket of dirt available in the late winter or early spring often is considered an insurance policy for legume establishment.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - November 25, 1999
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT112599.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004