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A herd of cattle gather around a stock pond on a vast, lush grassland. Courtesy: USDA [CC BY 2.0]

Weed Control: Pasture and Range

There are 24 million acres of native and tame pasture and range as well as 1.4 million acres of grass hayland in South Dakota.

grass with field bindweed, a viny green weed with white flowers

Weed Control: Noxious Weeds

Noxious Weed Recommendations: Herbicides for pasture, range, and non-crop areas, including roadside and other right-of-way that may be harvested for hay or grazed, are given a priority.

A vast, open rangeland with a few patches of weeds.

Noxious Weed Control in Pasture and Range

Noxious weed control in pastures is becoming more of a challenge. Most ground commercial spray businesses are no longer spraying pastures. If they are, there may be restrictions on the time they will spray, what products they will spray, or they may only spray if they also have all of the rest of your spraying business.

grass with field bindweed, a viny green weed with white flowers

2018 Weed Control Noxious Weeds

Noxious Weed Recommendations: Herbicides for pasture, range, and non-crop areas, including roadside and other right-of-way that may be harvested for hay or grazed, are given a priority.

A herd of cattle gather around a stock pond on a vast, lush grassland. Courtesy: USDA [CC BY 2.0]

2017 Weed Control: Pasture and Range

There are 24 million acres of native and tame pasture and range as well as 1.4 million acres of grass hayland in South Dakota.

A thick patch of yellow, flowering leafy spurge plants growing in a pasture.

Spot Treatment Options for State Noxious Plants

When controlling grassland weeds, the mindset of row crop weed control may be put into practice too often. In most cases, broadcast control of weeds in grasslands is rarely necessary. Most often, spot treatment can be used more effectively to manage the noxious and invading weeds.

A lush, native South Dakota pasture with a variety of grasses, flowers, and plants growing throughout.

Is Whole Pasture Spraying Necessary?

Broadcast spraying is a common means of controlling undesirable, or perceived weedy plants in a pasture in South Dakota. Although well-intentioned, broadcast spraying can have many negative consequences, some of which are not immediately apparent.

a sprawling green plant with flowering yellow heads

Sweet Clover Poisoning

Hay that contains sweet clover can be an excellent feed as long as the dicoumarol level is known and feeding management is used to prevent poisoning.

A herd of sheep foraging on leafy spurge in a grassland.

Multi-Species Grazing as an Alternative to Pasture Spraying

Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.

A group of mixed cattle grazing in a pasture with several Canada Thistle plants spreading throughout.

Alternative Pasture Weed Control

The term ‘weed’ can be broadly applied to any plant that is undesirable at any given time and place based on certain criteria. It is important to understand that the word ‘weed’ has become a general term with no universal definition, and many plants are considered to be weeds, depending on location.