"Brush or unwanted woody plants are invading Kansas' range and pasture lands at an ever-increasing rate," says Paul Ohlenbusch, a range and pasture management specialist for Kansas State University Research and Extension. "Increased control costs, low livestock prices and environmental concerns have made brush management more difficult than ever before."
Mr. Ohlenbusch notes it's just not possible to apply a control measure once and think the problem is solved. He suggests a long-term management plan in which producers reduce the brush and then maintain it at a manageable level. Steps to develop the long-term plan include:
- Set objectives - understand how brush management fits into the objective of the operation.
- Inventory brush problems - Identify the types and locations of brush species on range or pasture.
- Because different brush species have different control options and need to be treated at different times, knowing the species to be controlled is important.
- Control methods might combine a herbicide and prescribed burning. For example, large patches of buckbrush can be treated with the herbicide 2, 4-D one year to reduce the canopy cover and promote grass growth. The following year the pasture can be burned. "This approach is often more effective and cost-effective than herbicides or burning alone," says Mr. Ohlenbusch.