Early Warning of Rangeland Forage Productivity
There are a few grass species that are responsible for the bulk of foragable production on the plains. The cool season species, western wheatgrass (in the northern and southern plains) and galleta grass (southern plains) require March and early April moisture in the south and mid to late April moisture in the north. These species also experience a bi-modal growth curve which means if they have moisture by late summer, there will be a second fall green up.
Our dominant warm season grasses (blue grama, sides-oats grama, and buffalo grow throughout the plains) and require late spring moisture (late May) and warmer weather (70-95 F) and with monsoonal rains in late July/early August, the total growing season is longer.