Monday, April 8, 2013

Wait for Adequate Pasture Growth

Spring is finally arriving here in PA, and all of us are anxious to turn our sheep out to pasture. However, it is important to wait until the grass is at least 5 inches tall before turning the sheep out. Pasturing too early will cause decreases in pasture production throughout the entire grazing season. Forages stored energy reserves in their roots last fall so that they have the energy to produce leaves in the spring to start the photosynthesis process. If plants are grazed off too soon, these root reserves will be used up and this will cause plants to slow their growth. Give plants enough time to not only produce the new leaves for this growing season, but to allow for enough growth that after grazing the plant has enough energy to rapidly re-grow. A bit of patience now will pay off over the course of the grazing season!