Mowing Encourages Yearly Return of Grasses and Wildflowers in Texas’ Roadways

The reason that Texas’ roadways are brush free, have excellent grass cover and lots of wildflowers is because at just the right time of their growth – once or twice per year – they are completely mowed. The next time you drive down the highway, compare the condition of the grass in the medians and on the shoulders with the pastures across the fence. The medians and shoulders usually have better grass, less brush and more flowers. This is achieved without costly fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides or fire.

The old bison herds used to do this on open ranges. Today something similar is accomplished using large herds of cattle. The process by which cattle are managed for this purpose is called holistic planned grazing. The principle is the same as on Texas’ highways: At just the right time, intensive grazing (‘mowing’) – followed by long recovery periods – reduces brush and maintains healthy grasses and desirable forbs like wildflowers.

Posted by Chris Gill

Ranching, wildlife management, finance, oil & gas, real estate development and management.

  1. A good friend sent this:

    Chris,
    When I was at San Pedro we rotated up to 2500 steers in one herd. The results were amazing.
    I kept transect lines in the pastures to monitor the changes. Best results occurred when our
    Stock Density was one animal to the acre or MORE in a given pasture graze period. One trap had 280 acres. Graze period… one day! It was our highest performing pasture per the transacts. Smaller pastures with 4-5 animals to the acre exploded after rainfall.
    Dung beetles followed the rotation and completed incorporated the fresh manure in a matter of a few days.
    Those were some great times.
    Mike

    Reply

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