Grazing North Texas

Rescuegrass is a winter annual grass that can be easily recognized after it puts up this flat seed head. (Photo and image by Tony Dean)

By Tony Dean

The North Texas rancher who grazes out all his pastures by New Year’s Day will likely have to feed hay to get his cattle through the winter months. He is counting on the green growth of grasses and forbs that begins in late winter to provide at least some grazing and rescue him from even higher feed bills. And thus we have the name of our plant in this issue of NTFR, rescuegrass.

There are numerous plants that begin growth in early spring months and many of them are winter annuals like rescuegrass. Being an annual grass, it must come up from seed each year rather than emerging from the base of last year’s plant like a perennial grass.
If moisture is adequate, rescuegrass starts growing very early in the year and grows faster and faster as the days slowly get warmer. And then, like wheat, it puts up a seed head and in a few weeks it stops growing and turns brown. During its short life, it provides at least some forage for grazing. To read more pick up a copy of the NTFR May 2016 issue.