Date of this Version
Poster presentation, UNL Spring Research Fair, 2020, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
• Subirrigated meadows are a valuable forage resource to ranching operations in the Nebraska Sandhills, being used for both hay production and livestock grazing. • The water table of these meadows is within one meter of the soil surface during the growing season. • In some years, wet conditions hinder meadow utilization, resulting in a buildup of standing dead and litter plant material which can lower forage production.
• Investigate if burning and mowing are effective strategies to remove dead plant material from meadows • Determine if burning or mowing interact with grazing to influence end of season forage production
Burning or mowing effectively removes dead plant material from meadows with no later loss in forage production. Burning and mowing do not interact with grazing to influence later forage production. Spring grazing acted independently to significantly lower end of season forage production.
Conclusions • Ranchers can use burning or mowing to effectively remove dead plant material from subirrigated meadows in the Nebraska Sandhills with no later losses in forage production (Fig.1 & Fig.2). • On the other hand, spring grazing reduces end of season forage production (Fig.3). Therefore, caution should be used with spring grazing if a rancher’s goal is to maximize hay yields from meadow forage.