Dickinson Research Extension Center to host pasture management workshop

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Farm Forum

When you are checking your native pasture and find urine spots where the grass is a beautiful, dark green and the leaves are much taller than the other grass, do you wonder how great things would be if the entire pasture looked like those spots? Do you want to know how to make that happen?

A hands-on pasture management workshop will be held at the North Dakota State University Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) ranch southwest of Manning at 1:30 p.m. MST on June 8.

“Those lush spots you see in the pasture are caused by urine,” says Llewellyn Manske, DREC range scientist. “Most of the nitrogen in urine is available to grass plants, but those urine spots are telling you that the pasture’s nitrogen cycle is working at deficiency rates.”

“However, your pasture’s soil is not deficient in organic nitrogen,” he adds. “The problem is that you do not have enough soil microbes to transform adequate quantities of organic nitrogen into mineral nitrogen.”

The pasture management workshop will show how to manage grazing to manipulate the grasses to feed surplus carbohydrates to the soil microbes, which will result in greater quantities of available mineral nitrogen to feed the grasses.

“All of the great things that you suspected will then happen,” Manske says. “The cows get forage that has greater nutrient content, they produce milk closer to their genetic potential for the entire growing season, and the calves put on more weight each day.”

For workshop information, call Manske at 701-456-1118, email llewellyn.manske@ndsu.edu or visit https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/DickinsonREC.