Early weeds in warm-season grass pastures, especially common this year, should be controlled, and grazing is the best method, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist.

“These weeds will remove moisture that could be used for grass growth later on and they remove valuable nutrients from the soil,” says Anderson. “Early weeds also can develop so much growth that they shade, smother and reduce early growth of your summer pasture grasses.”

Herbicides and prescribed burning can control many of them, but Anderson prefers heavy preseason grazing. Besides providing some quality feed, it might get your cattle out of mud and save you from feeding expensive hay.

“Preseason grazing will not harm your summer grass — provided you stop grazing before new grass shoots get more than a couple inches tall. Early, preseason grazing of warm-season grass also removes some old growth from last year, which starts recycling nutrients trapped in dead plant tissue.”

The only bad news is you have to get fences and water ready earlier, you need to move animals to the pasture and you won't completely kill out the weeds in one year, says Anderson.