Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: January 31, 2011
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Citation: Goslee, S.C. 2011. Seasonal changes in northeastern pastures. NEPC Extension Fact Sheets. p. 1. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Understanding how pasture plant species abundance changes with seasons and sites can provide the background information needed to manage pasture composition to best match the site type and to extend the grazing season. We sampled pastures on five grazing farms (four dairy, one beef): two in New York, two in Pennsylvania, and one in Maryland. Pasture plant composition was measured on five to seven pastures in the spring (April-May), summer (July) and autumn (September-October) for three years. We found 224 plant species in all, with 108-148 species on a single farm. The fewest species were found in the spring (140), and the most in the summer (199). In the autumn we found 180 species. Nine species were found only in the spring, 29 only in the summer, and 12 only in the autumn, while 121 were found throughout the growing season. Major forage species were all found throughout the year, though abundance varied with season. Differences in species abundance were attributable to climate, site type, and management.