Learn how prescribed burns during the growing season can help restart nature’s clock by improving forage quality and wildlife habitat while managing brush encroachment at the same time.
Prescribed burns play a critical role in producing a robust, resilient grass resource.
As the transition from fall to winter occurs, many livestock producers begin providing a protein supplement to their herd. It is estimated that 60-70% of a cow’s annual maintenance cost is due to feed cost, especially during the winter. The added cost of a winter supplement is an expense that is deducted from those producers’ profits. Input costs are things that producers can control in their operations. For producers with access to native rangeland, this supplement cost may be reduced by providing high quality supplemental native forage in the fall and winter months. This high quality native forage can be produced by conducting timely growing-season (summertime) prescribed burns.
Comparing current plant structure and diversity to what is desired for the property should always be the guiding factor in determining when to apply fire.
When planning a prescribed burn, consider the impact you want to achieve for your land management goals. Learning fire behavior will help burn managers predict potential impacts of a burn before it is conducted.
If I could have only four tools to conduct prescribed burns or fight wildfires, they would be matches, a drip torch, an accurate weather forecast and a power sprayer with a water tank transported by a vehicle.
Many landowners will be implementing prescribed burns this winter and spring. Prescribed burning is a land management tool that should only be used when needed and after considerable planning, taking into account numerous factors including fireguards, equipment, labor, special concerns, smoke management and fuel characteristics (loading and moisture).