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Take a Stroll in the Pasture


A long walk on a nice summer evening is hard to beat. Here's an idea, take a stroll through your pasture and evaluate the pasture resources on your acreage or small farm. Invite other family members or friends to join you.

Walk through your pasture and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the predominate type of grass - warm season (bluestem, Indian grass, sideoats grama, etc.) or cool season (smooth brome, fescue, bluegrass, etc.)?
  • Can I identify the plants growing in my pasture?
  • How tall is my grass? Has it been grubbed very short? Is there adequate forage to support my animals?
  • Are there areas that are over grazed?
  • Do the animals prefer certain plants or areas of the pasture over others?
  • What weeds are present and how should I manage them?
  • Are the fences and gates in good condition or are repairs needed?
  • Do I need to supplement my animals to make sure their nutritional needs are being met?
  • Is the soil compacted or plugged because of closely grazed vegetation or animal loafing?
  • Do they have an adequate water supply?
  • Are the animals being bothered by flies or other insects?

Pasture walks can be a valuable assessment tool. Routinely walking your pastures can provide useful information for short-term management decisions about grazing pressure, fertility needs, weed control, forage availability and overall pasture management. For help with getting started with a pasture walk or help with pasture management questions, contact your local University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office or your local Natural Resources Conservation Service Office.

Summer is a good time to evaluate your pasture and your management practices. So take a nice evening walk in your pasture.

By Steve Tonn, UNL Extension Educator