Workshop to focus on livestock benefits of native grasses

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MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. – Management of native grasslands doesn't only benefit the wild creatures that utilize the habitat – it often helps domestic ones, too.

Livestock owners and farm operators can learn more about how native plants have both grazing and habitat benefits at a landowner field day from 4-7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Missouri State University's Journagan Ranch near Mountain Grove in Douglas County. This free event is a cooperative effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and Missouri State University (MSU).

This field day will consist of a tour of a portion of the 3,300-acre Journagan Ranch; a working ranch owned by MSU that has buildings, equipment and – most importantly – cattle. Highlights of the tour will include stops that showcase native grassland areas that have forage and wildlife benefits, alternative watering systems, edge feathering for wildlife, glade and woodland restoration areas, fencing demonstrations and explanations of available cost-share assistance.

Using native warm-season grasses as part of a rotational grazing system provides forage that is higher in nutrition during summer than cool-season grasses such as fescue. If cut and baled at the proper time, natural grasses can also provide high-quality hay without doing much damage to the habitat needs of the wildlife that utilize these plants in their annual life cycles.

An RSVP for the Oct. 29 field day event is requested because meals will be provided. People can RSVP or get directions to the Journagan Ranch by calling MSU's State Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove, 417-547-7500.