Use sacrifice pastures now to spare the best cattle grazing pastures for later


STOCKTON, Mo. – “Cattle producers welcome the rain, but it leads to muddy pastures and with limited forage resources following the drought, proper management is needed for optimum grazing the rest of the year,” says Patrick Davis MU Extension Livestock Field Specialist.  Davis feels sacrifice pastures may be needed to help in promoting forage production the rest of the grazing season.

“The drought has led to thin pasture stands so cattle producers need to evaluate their pastures, find those thin stands that need renovation and consider using those pastures as sacrifice pastures,” says Davis.  Davis urges consultation with your local MU Extension agronomy field specialist to grade pastures and to help make decisions on the pastures that need to be renovated.

“Move cattle to sacrifice pastures for hay feeding until cool season grass pastures are at proper grazing height which is approximately 4-6 inches,” says Davis.  This management strategy helps supply fertility in the form of manure and hay in these areas, which helps in the renovation process.  Also, this strategy reduces the destruction of good pastures which could affect their productivity throughout the grazing season.

“Proper seeding and management of sacrifice pastures is important to promote grass growth so those pastures can be brought back into the grazing system,” says Davis.  Davis urges cattle producers to consult MU Extension agronomy field specialists as well as MU Extension guide sheets G4650 and G4652 when making plans to reseed sacrifice pastures.


“Forage management is key to profitably of your cattle operation,” says Davis.  For more information on pasture management and how to get the most out your pastures in the upcoming grazing season, contact your local MU Extension agronomy or livestock field specialist.