New grass for old

TitleNew grass for old
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1948
AuthorsCanfield R.H.
JournalAmerican Cattle Producer
Date PublishedAugust 1948
Keywordsdifference in rate of new growth, earlier forage growth, old grass, renewed
AbstractIs there a stockman who has not longed for an early spring and plenty of green forage? This natural sentiment is easily accounted for. When the new grass starts to grow early in the season, the cattleman has a glorious feeling that he is "over the hump" and headed for a good year. It means a greater flow of milk for the young, bigger calves and more of them and greater gains in weight and tone for the older animals. How to obtain earlier forage growth and more of it in the critical spring months has occupied the mind of many range operators. Too often the answer arrived at has been "more rain." Rainfall and warm sunshine, however, is only a part of the answer. The unimpaired capacities of the plants and soil for rapid growth are things that also must be considered. A rancher correspondent of the Hereford Journal put his finger squarely on the key to the rest of the solution when he wrote the following: "The hills are all green and where there was some old feed there is new grass for the cattle to eat." Why this difference in the rate of new growth? The answer is that the soil and vegetation that grows thereon must not be overused. Each must be allowed to restore the elements of fertility and to maintain a balance between their outgo and their replacement; otherwise production and efficiency go down. The soil and the vegetation are renewed, conditioned, and feed upon the residue of dead vegetation, namely, the "old grass" which -grew in previous years. As always, nature demands her share. When these demands are fairly met the operator has in effect exchanged old grass for new.