Feed lots are muddy and forage supplies may be running short, which has producers itching to get cattle out on grass. However, NDSU Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist Miranda Meehan says producers should proceed with caution when turning out livestock. “Grazing too early can decrease forage production by as much as 60 percent,” says Meehan. “It also leaves pastures vulnerable to disease and weed infestation.” Based off growing degree days, pasture growth is currently behind. “The recommended time to begin grazing native range is mid to late May. This year, it could be one to two weeks behind.” Meehan explains there are strategies to minimize the impacts of early grazing, such as supplementing forages. Listen to the story.