The Grass Growth and Regrowth Project is being developed to meet an educational need for accurate and understandable information related to defoliation management.
Pasturelands and croplands used for grazing provide a key element of sustainable agricultural systems, wildlife habitat, recreation, and natural resource conservation. The western region has vast amounts of pasturelands in humid, non-irrigated pastures and semi-arid, irrigated lands used for grazing. These grazing land areas provide a renewable forage resource that is transformed by livestock and wildlife into useful food and fiber. Well managed grassland areas improve the quantity and quality of available water and provide habitat and food for wildlife.
Often, however, there is a key missing link to achieving well managed grassland areas: that of understanding forage grass regrowth mechanisms. There is a common misconception that "grass is grass." This is not true. Grasses differ in their tolerance to various environmental and management stresses including drought, flooding, pH, salts, and regrowth mechanisms.
Failure to understand how different perennial grasses recover from defoliation often leads to mismangement of rotational grazing systems, particularily those managed under intensive grazing. Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) may involve close defoliation where leaf and/or stem meristems essential for prompt regrowth are removed. Untimely destruction of the active (above-ground) meristem system allows weeds and other invasive species to flourish. Wise management ensures preservation of the above-ground regrowth mechanism until such time as food reserves are restored and a new cycle of tiller growth is in evidence. The objective of MIG is to utilize available forage in a manner which ensures prompt recovery and persistence of desired species.
Thus, there is a need for educational materials and dissemination techniques that convey the science-based principles of specific grass regrowth mechanisms. This project will address this need.