Orchard Grass and whether to mow it now.....

Asked July 25, 2017, 6:40 PM EDT

I have 3 acres fenced with 3 cows grazing the orchard grass. This year the grass crop was outstanding and the cows are not able to keep the grass in check. Approximately 50% of the grass has matured and produced seed and is brown with green grass below it. The field is irrigated daily. The cows are eating the green and shorter grass. Do you recommend that I mow the 3 acres so the cows would get better nutrients. Will keep the cows in the area for another 8 weeks.

Deschutes County Oregon

1 Response

Good afternoon!

Yes, go ahead and mow it. Mowing will remove the seed stalks and cause the grass under them to start growing again. This will reduce the tendency of the cows to preferentially graze the more tender/actively growing grass.

If possible, you might also subdivide the pastures into smaller units with electric temporary fence. Giving the animals a smaller area to graze results in reduced grazing selection and more of the plants will be utilized. The benefit of this is that the pastures actually get a longer time to rest and the grass production will remain high and the health of the grass stand will be better.

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