Cool Season and Warm Season Grasses to Stabilize Erodible Soils and Increase Profitability
A significant portion of farm income in the southern United States is derived from cattle. Current grazing strategies are primarily single-resource systems in which warm season grasses, wheat, or cool season grasses are utilized exclusively. However, a feature of some southern grazing systems is the utilization of wheat as a dual purpose (grazing/grain) crop.
These producers plan to integrate wheat into southern grazing systems to increase profitability and stabilize highly erodible soils. Changes in the Conservation Reserve program (CRP) and other price support systems present opportunities to increase the area planted to permanent pastures, to retain pasture lands in established grasses and to integrate these resources with wheat to provide a year-long source of high quality forage. Maintenance of land in warm and cool season species, particularly on highly erodible soils, will preserve soil, aid water quality and promote economic stability.
Cool season and warm season grasses will be planted in the spring. Wheat will be planted as soon after September 15 as soil moisture conditions allow. Grazing by stocker steers on the wheat pasture will be initiated as soon after planting as possible. Cool season pastures will be grazed by two sets of cattle at different times on the pasture. Cattle will be grazed on warm season grasses in early summer until cool season grasses are ready for grazing in the fall.