MDC invites livestock owners to July 9 grazing workshop near Lockwood

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LOCKWOOD, Mo. – Pastures that are dominated by native grasses can provide high-quality forage for livestock and can also furnish good habitat for wildlife.

Cattle producers can learn more about how the use of native warm-season grasses can benefit livestock and native wildlife at a Native Warm-Season Grass Grazing Workshop on July 9 at a privately owned farm in Dade County near Lockwood. To get to this farm – the Bartlett Farm – go four miles west of Lockwood on Highway 160, turn north on D Highway and go four miles, then turn east on VV Highway and drive one-half mile. The gathering site for this workshop will be at the barn on the north side of the road.

Attendees of this workshop will learn how to establish, graze, and hay native warm-season grasses. The workshop will include a walk through newly planted and established pastures so participants should dress for the weather and wear clothing that is comfortable for walking.

This workshop is a collaborative effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, MFA, and USDA. The workshop will be from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Participants need to register for this workshop and can do so by calling the Dade County SWCD Office at 417-637-5993, ext. 3. They can also register or find more information about the workshop at:

To get more information about this workshop, people can email MDC District Supervisor Rick Rath at

When Missouri was settled in the 1800s, native warm-season grasses could be found in many areas of the state. In addition to serving as habitat for a variety of wildlife species, these native grasses soon acquired an additional importance as livestock forage. Early livestock owners quickly realized these prairie grasses were good for haying or grazing. However, over time these warm-season grasses were gradually nudged out by fescue and other non-native cool-season grasses. This transition eliminated plants that were needed by local wildlife and also got rid of a good summer grazing source for livestock.

These days, an increasing number of cattle producers are rediscovering the benefits of native warm-season grasses. Adding warm-season grass areas to a grazing system that already features cool-season grass creates a forage system that allows livestock owners to keep their herds feeding on high quality forage for a longer period of time.

The reason is that this merger combines grasses that have two different growing periods. Warm- and cool-season grasses are most nutritious while they are vigorously growing. Cool-season grasses are thus named because they grow most during the spring and fall. Meanwhile, native grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, and switchgrass are known as “warm season” grasses because their peak growth periods are in late spring and summer. By utilizing both types of grasses during their periods of prime quality, livestock owners can keep their herds feeding on high-nutrition forage for the entire grazing season.

There are benefits for wildlife, too. Warm-season grasses begin growth later in the year and are not ready to be grazed or hayed until late summer. By then, most of the ground-nesting wildlife that need these plants for habitats have hatched their broods.

More information about using warm-season grasses in a livestock grazing operation can be found at