Nipping grass heads spurs regrowth and improves grazing and hay quality.
If you think that plentiful grass seed heads is a good sign, you're wrong – and you’re losing grazing or feed value, suggests Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri Extension forage agronomist. It's a signal that pastures or hayfields are no longer producing grazing quality foliage.
For grass quality and quantity, grass seed-head tillers should be nipped early. Cutting seed heads before they emerge makes better feed in many ways. But once seed heads emerge, vegetative growth ends and the reproduction stage begins.
"Leaf growth stops and nutrients flow from leaves to seeds. For grass to grow again, seed heads must be mowed off," Kallenbach says. "Cattle won't eat seed heads unless forced to do so. And, the heads and seed head stems will make up a high percentage of the bales.”
After seeds are removed, grass restarts leaf growth. By cutting bad hay now, quality hay growth can restart, adds the forage specialist.
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