Knowing the nutritional value of your grass and soil helps determine their value in a grazing program. Samples can also help determine what type weeds may be ready to emerge. And sampling can help gauge when forage growth may approach a situation that can stunt animal health.

Information obtained from testing gives producers further data to help reduce supplemental feeding. It can improve input management. “If we have sufficient grazing there is probably no need to feed a supplement to a cow that already has a BCS 5,” Clark says. “We’re spending more on than is needed. She doesn’t require the supplement.

 “Grass is a resource that every cattleman has, the grass those cattle are standing on. It’s important to utilize that grass as efficiently as possible.”

She reminds producers that every part of the country has a specific forage situation. Some can promote toxic material. “For example, in the Midsouth, fescue is a huge forage resource,” Clark says. “Managed properly, it can be a great forage for cattle. It has good nutritional value.

“But when the seed heads are present, we can have some toxic effects on conception and weight gain. It’s important that we rotate cattle off these pastures if there is a threat to their health.”