Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/7/2004
Publication Date: 2/9/2004
Citation: Brink, G.E., Casler, M.D. 2004. The grass works pasture survey. Proc. Wisconsin Grazing Conference. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: A state-wide survey was conducted of selected GrassWorks members to determine grazing acreage, number of stock, estimated pasture yield, distribution and utilization of grasses and legumes, and the extent to which pastures were damaged by the winter of 2002 - 2003. The survey was sent to 117 producers; 45 were returned. Respondents were assigned to one of five regions based on farm zip code. Estimated pasture yield ranged from 3.22 tons/acre in the southwest to 4.25 tons/acre in the south. Average herd size in the south and southwest was 180 and 480 animal units, respectively, compared to 65 and 80 animal units in the north and northeast. Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass, and quackgrass were major components of pastures located in all regions of the state. Timothy and perennial ryegrass were found primarily in pastures in the north and northeast. Meadow fescue was reported only in the south and southwest. White clover, sown alone or in combination with red clover, was reported as a component of approximately two-thirds of the pastures. Winterkill was worst in the north (65% of respondents reporting damage) and least in the southwest (25% of respondents reporting damage) with orchardgrass and perennial ryegrass damaged most severely. To improve grass productivity following winterkill, 42% of respondents chose to do nothing, 20% applied additional fertilizer, 24% seeded perennial grasses, 12% seeded annual grasses, 1% adjusted animal rotation, and 1% performed tillage. The survey identified the need for additional information regarding the success of actions following winterkill, long term ability to modify pasture grass composition, and techniques to improve legume establishment.