March 2022 CVCA Newsletter
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Catawba Valley Cattlemen’s Association
(Talk & learn on the 2nd Tuesday of each month)
This month’s meeting is on Tuesday, 6:25 p.m., March 8, 2022.
Meet at Propst Crossroads Fire Dept. 3169 Plateau Rd. Newton, NC
Meeting Agenda Do a Prescribed Burn at 6:25 p.m., Weather permitting (Sunsets at 6:27)
5:30 p.m. -6:20 Eat a hamburger and chips.
6:25 p.m. Mr. Jeff Icard – Set up and burn a 1 acre Big Bluestem plot behind the Propst Fire Dept.
7:00 p.m. – Educational Program: Prescribed Burn of Warm-Season Native Grasses.
Speakers: Mr. Jeff Icard Burn setup; Mr. Jason Smith, Advantages of Fire, Chief Mike Weaver, Safety Plans
7:40 p.m. – Business Meeting: Brandon Bowman, President and Dr. Amanda Whitener, Treasurer
8:00 p.m. — Meeting adjourned. (Short Board Meeting Afterwards)
Drive Thru ONLY- SPRING BBQ
Saturday March 19, 2022 Serving 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds- Newton, NC
BBQ Beef Pinto Beans, Slaw and Bread
PREPAID— $15 per plate AT THE DOOR—$15 per plate
6 and under- No charge – must be in the vehicle. NON- PROFIT
Ø NEEDED: Cakes and help serving on Saturday. Help for setup on Friday evening.
Ø Please send Money for BBQ tickets/ Bring Money to the March meeting for BBQ tickets.
Ø Just would like to encourage everyone to SELL those TICKETS!
Ø We are placing a mineral order this month. Like everything else the price is up. Our group price is $21.38. Bring a check to pay for your desired order. The order will be placed on Friday, March 11.
Ø Board Meeting after the regular meeting.
Ø If weather completely wipes this meeting out, plan to meet at the Extension office. Fescue toxicity Zoom is backup plan.
Using Prescribed Fire for Managing Native Grass Forages Patrick Keyser, UTK, and Glenn Detweiler
Prescribed burning is widely used to manage native grass pastures. Burning native grasses has a number of benefits but is not necessary for managing native grasses. Productive, vigorous native grass stands can persist for years without any fire at all. One benefit of burning native grasses is that it can help suppress weeds. However, the amount of suppression depends on the weed species and the timing of burning. Earlier burns (March through early April) can be very effective at reducing encroaching cool-season weeds. That is because they are often actively growing at this time and the fire either kills them outright, in the case of annuals or seedlings of perennials, or suppresses them in the case of established perennials.
In the same way, later burns (mid-April into May) may set back the native grasses because they are actively growing at that time. However, these later fires, as well as those that occur toward the end of the growing season, can suppress woody species such as sweetgum seedlings or briars. If these woody stems are still small, they may be killed outright by these growing-season fires.
Burning too early in the spring (before March) can lead to encroachment of cool-season perennials such as tall fescue. This is because the fire releases whatever species are ready to grow once the field has been burned. By burning even in early March, for instance, tall fescue will be ready to start growing but the natives are still weeks away from breaking dormancy.
On the other hand, any burn that occurs shortly before the natives break dormancy in late March to early April will give them a competitive advantage. Burning also can help native grasses grow more quickly in the spring. This is because the blackened soil absorbs more solar radiation and is able to warm-up more quickly.
Another advantage of burning native grasses is that a large amount of nitrogen and phosphorous is released into the soil. The burning mineralizes the elements bound-up in the litter and duff from previous years’ growth. The effect is short-lived though. Nevertheless, grasses that emerge following burning provide higher quality forage, at least for several weeks during the beginning of the growing season. In fact, studies have shown that cattle (and bison) selectively graze portions of pastures that have been burned within the same growing season.
If you do decide to burn native grasses, it is important to take care to select the correct firing technique. Normally, back-burning (into the wind) is preferred because it is safer and easier to control. Weather conditions must be acceptable with moderate winds and relative humidity. Both these factors exert strong influence over fire behavior. Be careful to have fire lines in place on every side of the field to be burned prior to your burn. If you are not experienced with burning, find someone to help you who is. There is no need to burn native grasses more often than once every two or three years.
Despite the benefits of prescribed fire for managing native grass forages, safety must come first. There are a few key issues that must be addressed to ensure a safe and effective burn. 1)Develop a burn plan with the county forester.
2) Be sure you have adequate firebreaks in place. 3)Pay close attention to weather conditions. Fire behavior is controlled to a great extent by wind and relative humidity. 4) Be sure you have adequate equipment and help before burning. 5)Notify your neighbors and call the local fire department or local dispatch center so that fire authorities know you are burning. 6)Prescribed fire is implemented using one or more techniques that include back, head, strip-head and flank fires. Our county forester will help make these decisions.
A common – and safe – approach to burning any native grass field is to first light a back fire (downwind side of the field). Once a substantial area has been blackened by the back fire, flank fires can be lit on either side of the field. These fires will burn into the field (perpendicular to the wind) and create an additional blackened area on each side of the field . Only after both the flank and back fires have created substantial black areas should a head fire be considered. It is not necessary to use a head fire to do a quality burn. Catawba County Forester, Jeff Icard, will be in charge of the burn at our Propst Crossroads Fire Dept. Big Blue Stem Plot. Jason Smith our area Wildlife Specialist will also assist.