Pasture burning or controlled burning is quite controversial. It is however,essential to pasture grazing for livestock. In the Midwest, pasture burning or controlled burning is common. Livestock producers burn off their pastures as soon as the new grass starts peaking through the old dead growth. Once a good stand of grass has been established in the spring and the wind is minimal, livestock producers begin to burn their pastures.
There are many benefits to pasture burning: weed management, wildfire prevention, fertilization and allowing more re-growth of grass.
Pasture Burning For Weed Management
Pasture burning is used for weed management. After the grass is established, then the weeds start growing up. The weeds grow faster and over shadow the grass, allowing the weeds to keep growing faster and seed out faster than the grass.
Burning the pasture in spring destroys a good percentage of the weed seeds and young weeds before they come up in the grass. Weeds can choke out pasture grass rendering the pasture useless as a food source for livestock.Left: Shows weeds and new re-growth being over shadowed and choked by
Pasture Burning For Wildfire Prevention
Pasture burning or controlled burning is effective in wildfire prevention. The fire will burn all the old, dead overgrowth. Overgrowth could include weeds,vines, old grass, leaves and etc. This overgrowth is a fire hazard during summer months and droughts.
Controlled burning or pasture burning gets rid of all the overgrowth, protecting livestock, rural areas, residential areas, industrial areas and wildlife. If an area does catch on fire later in the season where a controlled burn has been conducted, it has much less fuel, is likely to be put out faster and moves slower. All of these things allow more reaction time for the fire crews and evacuation if necessary.
Pasture Burning For Fertilization
Burning the old overgrowth will provide nitrogen and fertilize the new incoming growth. Just as a farmer will burn wheat stubble and then work the ground. It puts nutrients back into the soil. This fertilization allows the new re-growth of grass to come in faster, get more sunlight, more moisture and more fertilizer.