If you have read anything to do with pasture management you have probably come across the phrase Integrate Weed Management. So what does this phrase mean and how can you utilize it in your pasture management program?
Integrated weed management is both an economically and environmentally sound approach to weed management. This approach involves scouting, prevention, and control in a coordinated plan. Key word “coordinated plan”. This coordinated plan is important due to the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds and the cost of controlling weeds. Due to these factors, pasture managers have had to incorporate alternative weed management approaches. Often times a single weed control method is not feasible due to the number of different weed species and their diverse life cycles. The three-step approach to weed management is a combination of preventive, cultural, mechanical, and chemical practices and is based on three guiding principles (see below) that can be adapted by any livestock producer:
- Limit the introduction and spread of weeds. This entails prevention, periodic scouting for weeds, and identifying the issues in order to implement management practices early. When you are scouting it is important to take note the number of weeds, the species present (proper ID), and the location of the weeds. Also, note the dominate species as the management practices utilized should focus on controlling this species first while preventing the spread of less common species. Prevention includes any activity that keeps weeds from further infesting a pasture. The goal here is to prevent the movement of weed seeds onto your property.
- Help the forage out compete the weeds. Proper soil testing, liming, and fertilizing when needed are key measures that one can take to help forages out compete the weeds. Selection of proper forages based on your soil type, grazing strategies, and management is also key.
- Use practices that do not allow the weeds to adapt. Utilization of one or more control methods. These methods include cultural, mechanical, chemical and biological control.
The health of our pastures is important as livestock producers. Pastures provide nutritious grasses and legumes to our livestock, intern helping keep supplemental feed costs low. Adopting an Integrated Weed Management strategy will not only help with maintaining healthy, productive pastures but will also offer an economical and environmentally friendly approach.
Weed Management in Pastures and Rangeland – 2022 EDIS Publication
Bahiagrass Overview and Pasture Management – 2022 EDIS Publication