Cheatgrass is nothing new in the West. Ranchers have fought invasive annual grasses for generations. In fact, the only new thing is there seems to be more of them with ventenata and medusahead being seen more across the region. But there is a new tool that ranchers have to combat these foes.
In June, Bayer announced its new rangeland restoration herbicide, Rejuvra. Next week on August 18th, they’re holding a free webinar to talk about how the new herbicide works and answer rancher questions.
Steve Saunders is a rangeland management specialist who works with Bayer and he told Northern Ag Network that Rejuvra is an impressive tool that can really make a difference to the health of the rangeland.
“This new herbicide changes the game,” Saunders says. “We’re able to apply 5 ounces per acre and we do that when it’s hot and dry and everything is cured out. We spray this herbicide out and then it needs a little bit of rainfall, a quarter to a half inch, to incorporate into the soil. Then it’s laying there waiting for that new seed to germinate. Once it does, the mode of action kills that emerging root radical and cheatgrass never emerges again. We get about 3 times increase in forage production as a result of reducing and eliminating that competition.”
One of the aspects that producers will really like about Rejuvra, is it offers multi-year control of cheatgrass with one application. “In Montana the oldest work we have done is 5 years and we’re still seeing control in the high 90 percent,” says Saunders. “In Colorado, there’s some older stuff, 6 and 7 years, that still shows excellent control.”
Long-term, Saunders says that could make a big difference on the impact of cheatgrass to native pasture. “As the seed life of cheatgrass lives somewhere between 4.5 to 5 years in the soil, we’re really starting to deplete that seed reserve. So, we’re getting closer to eliminating the future generations having to deal with cheatgrass.”
For ranchers though, it all comes down to dollars and cents. There has to be a measurable difference to the profitability of the operation. “For most ranchers, their rangeland is the largest financial asset that they own and it’s important that they keep that production up,” says Saunders. “We’re seeing in 4 years about a 75% return on investment. In 5 years, with another year of grass, we’re seeing 125% return on investment by treating cheatgrass or ventenata with Rejuvra. So it’s really a solid program that I think ranchers can take it to the bank and see an effect on their bottom line the next fall when they’re weaning calves.”
Steve Saunders says there are other benefits too, it can help improve wildlife habitat by allowing the recolonization of grasses, forbs and shrubs as well as reduce wildfire risk by decreasing the availability of fuel in late summer.
“We’re finding so many great attributes to this thing and it’s the best thing I’ve seen in my tenure of doing this and it’s the most economically justifiable thing too,” Saunders says.
If you’re interested in learning more, tune in to the webinar on Tuesday the 18th from 1-2 pm. Ranchers can register at www.Rejuvra.com