Farm Talk

November 26, 2013

Old World Bluestem control meeting slated

Frank J. Buchman

Parsons, Kansas — Native grasslands are being invaded by yet another menace.

Surprising many beef producers, Old World Bluestem is reducing stocking capacity in pasturelands.

“Caucasian Bluestem is a non-native species that is drought tolerant and very aggressive, but lower in quality than native grasses. Thus, cattle generally will not graze it in the pastures, causing sharp reduction in cattle gains, and markedly lowering grassland stocking capacity,” according to Robin Reid at the River Valley Extension District in Washington.

“Once established, it is very hard to control and can take over an entire pasture,” Reid warned.

An Old World Bluestem Control program is planned for Thursday, Dec. 5, at the City Hall in Miltonvale.

Walt Fick, a rangeland specialist from Kansas State University, and Dwayne Rise also a rangeland expert for the Natural Resource and Conservation Service, will present information on identification and control.

It’ll be a supper meeting from 5 to 8 p.m., sponsored by the First National Bank of Hope, with preregistration requested by Reid at 785-325-2121, or e-mail:

One rancher who has severe problems with Old World Bluestem invading his Cloud County pastures is Gordon Morrison.

“Cattle will not eat Old World Bluestem, or Silver Bluestem which is also becoming a problem for us. I estimate that we need 50 percent more acreage for a cow and calf to make up for the reduction in pastures feed value caused by these intruders,” he  explained.

“In some pastures, Old World Bluestem and Silver Bluestem are by far the most prevalent grasses. The good plants such as big and little bluestems and gramma grasses are being over grazed and grubbed into the ground, while the intruding grasses flourish, because they are not being grazed,” Morrison warned. £