Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 2003


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XVIII December 9, 10, and 11, 2003, Mitchell, Nebraska.


The use of irrigated pasture is a potential option for many livestock producers. Irrigated cool-season species, for example, can be used as complementary forage to warm season rangeland (Nichols et al. 1993) or mitigate some of the effects of drought. Irrigated pasture can result in high animal production per acre; however, achieving the high production levels requires excellent grazing management with high water and fertilizer applications (Nichols and Clanton 1985; Gray et al. 2001). There are a number of management considerations associated with irrigated pasture. This includes practical details such as field selection, species and variety selection, seeding methods, and fence and livestock water development. There is also the need to become familiar with the irrigation, fertilizer, and grazing management requirements needed to sustain highly productive irrigated pasture. Additionally, livestock operations should carefully evaluate their production goals, current resources, forage needs, and economic returns when considering and planning to establish irrigated pasture.