Forage Seeding; Do you always have time to do it over?

– Dr. Jimmy Henning, Extension Professor, Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky

You always find time to do it over.

My father used to tell me, “You never have time to do it right, but you always find time to do it over”. You can imagine the context. In defense, it is human nature (at least my nature) to be in a hurry, to skip steps in a process that seems to be less than absolutely necessary. Few processes on the farm provide as much temptation for this ‘skip a step’ thinking as forage establishment.

The following is a typical exchange Continue reading

Minimize Forage Ash Content

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Forage ash content comes from both internal and external sources. Internal sources include minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium found in the leaves and stems of forage plants. External sources include things like soil, bedding, and sand that are deposited on the surface of the forage. An average internal ash content for alfalfa is around 8 percent and for grass forages around 6 percent. Values above that represent Continue reading

Grazing Bites for August

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

It’s August, and I know it’s August without looking at a calendar. The days are getting shorter and it’s state fair time. August is always a busy month for me and I am usually left wondering what happened to it all. I start thinking about assessing pastures, how much forage is present, and how much more forage can be grown between now and dormancy. It’s sad, but winter is already on my mind. Not that I’m looking forward to it, I’m not, but it’s time now to start preparing.

I want to be able to graze as long as possible, so like the games of chess or checkers, you’re better off planning your next move far ahead. I like as much stockpiled forage as possible which means I better be Continue reading

It’s time to stockpile forages, should you?

Chris Penrose,OSU Extension Educator, Morgan County (Originally published on-line July 5, 2017 in Progressive Forage)

For those who raise livestock, making hay is a way of life. However, after going through another frustrating hay season dealing with weather and equipment, there has to be a better way … and there is.

Stockpiling forages, especially cool-season grasses for fall and winter grazing, is an excellent option – and now’s the time to consider it. All you need to do is make a final grazing of the field or final mowing and let it grow until later in the fall or winter. Typically, adding nitrogen when stockpiling is initiated will Continue reading

August Establishment of Perennial Forages

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County and Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Our wet weather conditions throughout much of 2017 prevented spring establishment of perennial forages for many producers. Additionally, the wet weather has caused stand loss in alfalfa fields due to compaction and crown damage from harvest on wet soils, and from root rot in poorly drained field areas. As a result, replacement of some of those acres is necessary. August provides growers with another window of opportunity to establish a perennial forage stand. Typically, the main risk with a late summer August planting is having sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant growth but this year that risk may be low.

There are some advantages to late summer forage planting as compared to a spring planting. Late summer planting means forage seedlings are not competing with the flush of annual spring and summer weed emergence/growth. The soil borne root rot and damping off disease organisms that thrive in cool, wet soils are not an issue. However, growers need to be aware of Continue reading

Options to Extend the Grazing Season

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator, Morgan County

There have been numerous articles over the years in the Ohio Beef Cattle Letter about how to extend the grazing season and now is the time to consider those options. Today, I thought I would approach it from the amount of time and effort that will be required to extend the grazing season. I think one of the easiest ways to extend grazing, if you have the option, is to Continue reading

Wean Early and Save 25 Percent of Pasture Forage

– Kris Ringwall, Beef Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Did you know you can save more than 25 percent of available forage by weaning calves early?

The current dryness affecting the land has caused all livestock producers to review options. For some in a drought situation, the only real solution is rain. But producers need to take charge, whether the season is dry or wet.

The Dickinson Research Extension Center has and will continue to manage during dry times. The center is in a semiarid climate and dryness is not a stranger.

Managing grazing time and stocking rate is critical. As a result, the center has measured available biomass on the range when cows have their calves removed in mid-August versus early November.

The thought is that removing calves would lessen the impact on the production unit during times when rain is scarce. First, no drought plan works if there is no grazing plan to start with.

To begin, a Continue reading

Hay and Straw Barn Fires a Real Danger

Jason Hartschuh, Mark Sulc, Sarah Noggle and David Dugan, Ohio State University Extension

We’ve heard of one barn fire here in Ohio this morning and a lot of hay was put up last Thursday ahead of the rain. Much of the hay was wetter than it should have been for safe dry hay storage. Watch those moist bales very carefully for the next two to three weeks! Use a hay temperature probe and monitor the internal temperature of the hay during these first three weeks after baling.

Usually, we think of water and moisture as a way to put a fire out, but the opposite is true with hay and straw, which when too wet can heat and spontaneously combust. This is more common with hay than straw because there is more plant cell respiration in hay. When baled at moistures over 20% mesophilic bacteria release heat causing temperatures to rise between Continue reading

What is the effect of rain damage on hay?

– Brian Pugh, Oklahoma State Extension Area Agronomy Specialist

Hay that has been cut and then rained on can lose quality in four ways. These include: 1) leaching of soluble carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, 2) increased and prolonged plant respiration, 3) leaf shattering, and 4) microbial breakdown of plant tissue.

Leaching of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals is usually at its highest when the hay has dried somewhat and we then have a prolonged rain. Rainfall right after cutting usually results in less leaching of nutrients and a quick splash-and-dash shower normally doesn’t result in large losses of these nutrients on freshly cut hay.

Increased or prolonged respiration occurs when hay is not Continue reading

The Forage Doctor

Dr. Jimmy Henning, Extension Professor, Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky

They said I had iron toxicity.

One of the constants in the forage world seems to be the love-hate relationship that practicing agriculturalists have with haymaking. We spend a lot of time talking about cutting management, hay testing, curing and baling tweaks and so on. Baler makers have developed lines of balers that will net wrap (old news) but also semi-chop moist hay to encourage the ensiling process.

It is the ‘other hand’ point of view that leads to Continue reading