Slashing Grass?

There is a lot of debate over whether or not slashing benefits pastures. Slashing is not a common practice on larger properties but it is often done on smaller properties, in many cases for reasons other than for improving the pasture.

Before slashing ask:

• Why are we doing it?

• Will it provide better grazing for stock?

• How much will it cost?

Some reasons for slashing are:

• Increasing mulch on the soil.  The slashed grass needs to be in direct contact with the soil to add organic matter. Often the slashed material sits on top of the grass and acts as a mulch, slowing pasture recovery and not contributing to the soil organic matter. Is this better than burning? It depends on the pasture but a good fire can stimulate native pastures while a very hot fire can destroy pastures. The choice between slashing and burning will depend on the situation.

• Reducing the bulk of pasture. A large bulk of pasture can be a fire hazard but it can also be a valuable source of standover feed for the coming winter when it can be fed with a protein supplement. The value of the pasture as potential feed will have to be balanced against the potential fire hazard, taking into consideration the seasonal conditions.

• Promoting new pasture growth. If pastures are not grazed they can become rank and unpalatable. Slashing can promote new and more palatable pasture growth, but it is often better to vary stocking rates to reduce rank growth if possible. Studies researching the impact of slashing on productivity have had conflicting results, and vary with pasture species. Generally though, the cost of slashing outweighs the gains achieved in new pasture growth. Better grazing management is often the easier alternative.

 Managing annual weeds. Slashing can be a great tool in controlling weeds, such as thistles, that can establish on bare ground during variable weather conditions and compete with pastures. These weeds need to be slashed before they go to seed, otherwise the slasher will spread the weed seeds further afield and compound the problem.

• Managing woody weeds. Plants such as wild rosemary (Cassinia laevis) and some wattles can be controlled by slashing when they are small, reducing the likelihood of having to undertake a major weed control program after the weeds become established. Several follow-up treatments will often be necessary to control the plants that re-sprout after the initial slashing.

• Establishing new pastures. New pastures can become dominated by annual weeds that take advantage of the disturbed soil. Slashing before these weeds flower will reduce moisture stress and competition for the new pasture. The new pasture may have to be spelled longer, however, to let it go to seed.

• Evening out variations in grazing. A paddock with a set-stocking rate will generally have grazed and ungrazed patches. Slashing will help to even up the pasture but a better option is to use a rotational grazing system to even out the grazing pressure on the pasture. In rotational grazing, stock are moved as a group through two or more paddocks on a regular basis. This improves the management of the grazing pressure and gives pastures in the ungrazed paddocks an opportunity to recover.

• Making it look tidy. Many landowners who slash are really cutting the grass just to make it look tidy. They justify slashing by saying it puts mulch back into the soil. However, if the grass was left standing it would provide more habitat and protection for a variety of fauna that ultimately carry out the mulching as a natural process. A short pasture may look tidy, but it makes the soil more susceptible to evaporation and runoff than under natural pasture.

• Controlling blady grass. This grass is unpalatable so it is often slashed to allow other, more palatable, grasses to grow. For effective management of blady grass in pasture, the patches need to be slashed for a number of years as well as being fertilised and seeded with legumes.

Other tips for slashing and pasture management:

• Slashing by itself will not change long-term pasture composition. Burning native pastures, if managed carefully at the correct time of the year, will be more effective in favouring the germination and establishment of desirable pasture species. Grazing management can also change pasture composition.

• A bulky, low quality pasture can be slashed and baled, with the bales being used to rehabilitate bare or eroded areas on the property.

• Regularly sharpening the slasher blades will dramatically reduce the fuel used and time taken to cut an area. This is particularly apparent when slashing weedy grasses such as African lovegrass or giant rats tail grass.

• After slashing, always use a broom or compressed air to clean off the slasher deck so that weed seeds are not carried into clean areas. Preferably slash before weeds go to seed.

Slashing can be a valuable tool in pasture management in some situations, but use it for a good reason. In most situations, using stock to do the job will be far cheaper and less time consuming than slashing. Smaller paddocks marked out by electric fences provide better pasture management options than slashing.
 
Acknowledgement: This article is courtesy of the Beeftalk Magazine.

News Category

New Forum Topics

Topic Replies Last post Forum
6108 Buy Actavis Promethazine Cough Syrup Online
byBellastopdelivery on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 08:19
0
by Bellastopdelivery
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 08:19
6107 Buy Crystal Meth , ketamine , demerol , nembutal , Crack cocaine , JWH-018 , Online
byBellastopdelivery on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 08:17
0
by Bellastopdelivery
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 08:17
6106 Buy roxicodone , xanax, percocet , adderall , oxycodone, oxycontin , nembutal , coke , Heroin Online
byBellastopdelivery on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 08:15
0
by Bellastopdelivery
Wed, 06/03/2020 - 08:15
6104 Sheep per acre
bysena on Sun, 05/31/2020 - 04:05
2
by sena
Tue, 06/02/2020 - 20:53
Sheep
5673 Goat Worming
byBrettgarland on Sat, 05/11/2019 - 17:06
10
by hairy goat
Sun, 05/31/2020 - 09:14
Farming Help
6103 Machine to automatically collect and compost manure
byHStuart18 on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 10:52
0
by HStuart18
Wed, 05/27/2020 - 10:52
General Forum
5363 Olive trees
bylazzaman on Sat, 12/22/2018 - 19:39
13
by meriam
Tue, 05/26/2020 - 20:39
General Forum
6073 Typical seasonal variability coastal NSW
byme001 on Wed, 05/13/2020 - 13:40
2
by me001
Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:00
Farming Help
3275 Agistment Rates
bymrmrsmrb on Thu, 11/09/2017 - 17:14
6
by rchalmerssayes
Sun, 05/17/2020 - 15:17
General Forum
1498 Information: solar powered drip irrigation system
byfrisbie on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 21:55
10
by shahabuddin
Thu, 05/14/2020 - 04:08
General Forum
6071 Tractors
byDJF on Sat, 05/09/2020 - 11:06
1
by admin
Wed, 05/13/2020 - 09:14
932 Tractors
bygaz on Fri, 07/13/2012 - 13:53
10
by DJF
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 18:51
General Forum
2918 Starting a farm on the sunshine coast QLD
bygreenpasturesnoosa on Fri, 05/20/2016 - 15:11
5
by admin
Fri, 05/08/2020 - 11:20
New Members
6032 Seeding practices
byWil on Mon, 05/04/2020 - 20:49
1
by craka
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 23:16
Farming Help
6043 Making Tractor attachments
byCal and Nanny on Wed, 05/06/2020 - 15:15
1
by craka
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 22:58
Farm equipment
6028 Guidelines for sheep condition and nutritional signs
byshaz on Sun, 05/03/2020 - 11:57
1
by admin
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 17:17
6031 Quadbike ROPS
byPhilO on Mon, 05/04/2020 - 18:18
3
by admin
Tue, 05/05/2020 - 17:09
6029 Goat Farming Course
byphil123 on Sun, 05/03/2020 - 12:47
2
by phil123
Sun, 05/03/2020 - 23:05
5991 Pasture grass identification
bySammymorgan24 on Sun, 03/29/2020 - 19:31
3
by shaz
Sun, 05/03/2020 - 12:19
Pastures
6019 New farm owner licenses
byaitkenr on Tue, 04/21/2020 - 21:36
1
by ned
Sat, 05/02/2020 - 13:34
Farm planning

Our Sponsors

Our Partners