MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas State University researchers have concluded that the decades-long practice of Kansas ranchers burning grassland in late April could take place virtually any time with no ill effects.
E. Gene Towne and Joseph Craine based their research on 20 years of data collected from burning at the Konza Prairie Biological Station south of Manhattan. They say grass composition and production were not negatively affected by burning in the fall or winter.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports that's contrary to research from more than 40 years ago that suggested grass had to be burned in late spring.
Towne and Craine found that grasses burned in the winter or fall had more time to respond to precipitation, and that schedule also resulted in more grass diversity, which is good for cattle.