Several years ago, Mark and Liana DeWeese, owners of Double D Ranch, purchased 30 acres of native pasture adjacent to their original 90-acre site outside Claremore, Okla. The new pasture was riddled with invasive weeds, including sumac, blackberries and many other eastern Oklahoma weeds. Nearly half of the acreage was nonproductive.

The DeWeeses partnered with Stillwater Milling Company, the largest feed mill in Oklahoma, to determine a long-term plan to increase productivity of the native pasture. The plan combined cultural practices and strategic herbicide applications.

“The targeted weeds were turning brown and dying less than one week after the first application of herbicide,” says Mark DeWeese. “They chose DuPont™ Cimarron® MAX herbicide for the program. “Within three weeks after application, native grasses were growing where they had been virtually absent for approximately 100 years.”

They applied spot treatments of Cimarron® MAX the following spring to troublesome patches, he reports - by then only 10 percent of the pasture. By the second year, they had increased total grass production by 100 percent. Heifers on the improved pasture gained more than 300 pounds on average that summer.

Sticking with their long-term weed management program helped stave off problems others experienced during the major drought that hit eastern Oklahoma a few years later, DeWeese adds.

“We applied Cimarron® MAX that May and, amid a drought that brought wildfires and empty ponds, we were able to graze the same number of animal units on the pasture land, while other pastures in our area were 50 percent shorter than normal,” he reports. “Considering that hay prices shot up to five times normal during the drought, effective herbicide use helped us save considerable money on input costs.”

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Copyright © 2010 E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. All Rights Reserved. April 2010.

This article first appeared in Weed Wise newsletter, a free electronic newsletter from DuPont Land Management, your source for pasture and rangeland management. Sign up today for your free subscription.