Using good pasture management practices will help eliminate weeds and unwanted plants in grass pastures and hayfields. Weedy type plants reduce quality, and sometimes quantity, of desirable forages available to livestock. Some plants are even potentially poisonous to grazing animals.
To get the most quantity and quality from pastures, use management practices that encourage growth of a vigorous, dense stand of forage grasses and limit germination and growth of unwanted plants. Weed seed can germinate in thin pasture stands, and unwanted plants are more prone to become established in these areas.
Recognize that all weeds aren't detrimental as livestock forage. Some weedy plants have nutritional value, especially those used in the early vegetative growth stages such as chicory and crabgrass.
Good management starts with timely mowing and good grazing practices. Mowing before weedy plants can produce seeds helps prevent production and spread of weeds. Where perennial weeds dominate, frequent mowing can curtail growth by depleting their root reserves. If you use rotational grazing, be sure to avoid over-grazing that reduces the competitive capabilities of desirable forage species.