Native Warm Season Grasses Taking Root
Gene Schmitz, MU Extension Livestock Specialist, stands in a test plot of switchgrass and explains its potential use as a grazing crop during the summer. Switchgrass was one of six native warm season grasses planted in May 2020 into a field on the State Fair Community College campus in Sedalia, to test their viability in Missouri pastures as well as a haycrop.

Efforts by University of Missouri Extension, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and other agencies to see more livestock operations add native warm season grasses to their grazing practices are beginning to take root.  Livestock specialist Gene Schmitz led a team that planted a test plot of six types of warm grasses on the State Fair Community College campus in Sedalia.

The six grasses, which include big bluestem, eastern gamagrass, and Indiangrass, thrive in the summer months when they overtake cooler season grasses in production.

MU Extension specialist Gene Schmitz notes that the test plot was established in May 2020 and sprayed to control broadleaf weeds.  He says the field is usually ready for cattle 12 months after planting.  However, cattle need to be moved to cool season grasses in September to allow warm season grasses to recover and store nutrients for the winter months.