Grazing Advice

Q. Hello, we want to reclaim a former gravel pit using warm season grasses, and use it for grazing beef cattle once it is established. The area is 4.5 acres, steep sloping walls with a flat bottom. Soils are excessively drained loamy sands. Thanks!

I would suggest a blend of Switchgrass at 4 pure live seed lbs./ac, Big Bluestem at 4 pls/ac, Little Bluestem at 2 pls/ac, and Sand Lovegrass at 1.5 pls/ac. This is a warm season mix that has been used for revegetating sand and gravel mines in the Northeast. I also have some cool-season grass and legume information, if you are interested in those let me know. Thanks!

Q. We have planted Sudan grass on our 20 acres and harvested it, but we would like to turn our horses and beef cows out to graze it for the winter, it this ok?

Probably not. The biggest concern I would have is the prussic acid content. The new growth areas of Sudan grass may contain a toxic level of prussic acid. You should wait until the grass is AT LEAST 12 inches tall (18-24 inches is best) before you graze it to cattle or horses. That said, you could take a sample to your testing office and have it tested for prussic acid... make sure you take multiple samples from various parts of the 20 acres... if it tests ok, then you are ok to graze (however, it would still be be better to not... in my opinion).