Private landowners, conservation groups, and state and federal agencies gathered rescently at Ducks Unlimited's Coteau Ranch and The Nature Conservancy's Davis Ranch in Sheridan County, ND. to discuss and learn more about grazing management tools. The management tools include controlled burning, rotational grazing techniques, spraying and mowing.
Managing invasive plants on your grazing land will help increase productivity, not only for your livestock but also for the wildlife that use your land. By utilizing these four management tools, you can keep at bay increasingly common invasive plants, such as Kentucky Blue Grass, Leafy Spurge and Canada Thistle.
Controlling aggressive cool season invasive vegetation, like Kentucky Blue Grass, will allow native plants and forbs to flourish. Resulting increases in plant species diversity will provide a diverse prairie structure preferred by wildlife, particularly grassland nesting songbirds.
Maintaining plant species diversity on grazing land is also an important component of sustainable cattle operations; cattle will have forage even during the warmest and driest summers. In times of drought, a diverse stand of grass can be the difference in the amount of forage produced for any given year. Native grasses recommended included Little Blue Stem, Big Blue Stem, Western Wheat Grass, Switch Grass and Indian Grass. The native forbs are the Blazing Star, Prairie Clover and Cone Flower.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also explained how high intensity/low duration grazing can help eliminate these invasive plants, while private landowners shared what techniques work best for them within their ranching operations. The event was coordinated through the Range Forum which is a collaborative effort that provides a neutral place to discuss range management and exchange information with peers.