“If you were lucky enough to have more grass than needed this year, don’t forget that next year could be hotter and drier than this year— producing less grass,” cautions Bruce Anderson, agronomist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “But you can boost carrying capacity and gains on next year’s pasture by strategically managing your extra grass this year.”
Identify pasture improvements that could help future grazing. Control weeds, accumulate enough growth on warm-season grass pastures to conduct an effective prescribed burn next spring, or select pastures where stressing the existing stand will help you establish legumes next spring. All of these practices temporarily reduce pasture growth, but they can provide long-term benefits. Thus, it is better to do them when you have extra grass rather than when grass is short.
Avoid overgrazing this fall unless you are doing it intentionally in preparation for interseeding next spring. Heavy fall grazing weakens plants as they go into winter and causes them to grow less vigorously after spring green-up. If you do graze heavy this fall, do it on pastures that will be used last next spring. This will give them extra time to recover.
Stockpile that extra grass now for grazing this winter or to start grazing extra early next spring. This could save on winter hay needs or give you an area to get animals away from mud next spring.