Date of this Version



© 1994, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


The grazing management and cultural practices discussed in this NebGuide can make switchgrass and big bluestem high quality summer forage. Switchgrass and big bluestem are native warm-season grasses that can provide abundant, high-quality forage during summer. Switchgrass and big bluestem produce 70 to 80 percent of their growth after June 1 in Nebraska, while more than 75 percent of cool-season grass growth, such as bromegrass and bluegrass, occurs before June 1. Therefore, switchgrass and big bluestem can provide forage to graze after cool-season pastures have been utilized. However, switchgrass and big bluestem must be managed differently than cool-season grasses. Poor management will cause productivity and stand persistence to decline, and forage quality will be poor. Proper grazing management and cultural practices will optimize production, maintain a healthy plant community, and provide adequate forage quality.