Weed problems may explode this year thanks to the drought of 2018 and residual problems associated with overgrazing in parched pastures, said University of Missouri (MU) Extension agronomist Valerie Tate.

Last year’s extreme weather conditions created a forage shortage. As a result, many pastures were overgrazed.

When pastures are overgrazed, there is little green leaf material left to make sugars for plant growth, Tate said. When more than half of the aboveground plant material is removed, root growth slows or even stops. Weakened root systems reduce the ability to take up water and nutrients.

“Overgrazed pastures provide an opportunity for weeds to fill in the open spaces left when the forage is grazed short and plant roots are stunted,” Tate said.

A cooperative program between Natural Resources Conservation Services and MU Extension provides forage and livestock producers an opportunity to get technical help to design grazing plans that give pastures periods of rest. These rest periods make pastures stronger and healthier.

Well-rested pastures let more water into the soil and allow plants to have more vigorous root system.

Source: University of Missouri Extension.