Big Bluestem native grass is a part of our grazing plan here in southeastern Minnesota. We established a planting of bluestem in the spring of 2000 using source identified local genotype seed and a Truax no-till drill. Seed to soil contact was good on the old bean & corn fields from the previous season so we had great success with germination and a few nice hard rains to follow up got the grass off to a great start.
In the years since planting the grass we have burned it a couple of times, hayed it some and in the last few years have incorporated it into our grazing rotation. We have come to rely on it for a good long graze in the July heat when our cool season pastures have all been grazed and are putting up their regrowth. Aside from this mid summer take of forage we also graze the bluestem fields in the spring having the cows spend a week or two cleaning out all of the cool season grasses and forbs just before the bluestem breaks out of it's winter dormancy.
Spring 2014 with the help of a Farmer/Rancher grant through SARE, we finished up a 3 year study on the effects of that spring grazing treatment on the Big Bluestem and the report can be found through the following link:
We are happy to report that the Big Bluestem responded favorably to the grazing. The data can be found at SARE.org website final report Number FNC842-10 Title search the database for "Big Bluestem Management using high density short duration Grazing"