Bread, Milk, and Forages!

Allen M. Gahler, OSU Extension Educator, AgNR, Sandusky County (originally published in Ohio Farmer on-line)

Well, winter has come and gone, and despite the many scares that mother nature provided, and the warnings well ahead of time that the local weather reports around the state gave with each storm that approached, many of us chose not to rush out to the store to get bread and milk prior to the storm. And miraculously, we survived! Hopefully, all of your livestock survived all the cold snaps and snow storms as well. And if they did, you likely have yourself to thank for proper planning and nutrition that was provided for them.

So now that we are moving into the growing season and will soon be, or maybe already are, grazing in some areas, all of those concerns about what to feed our livestock and when are over until next winter approaches, right?!

Progressive beef, dairy, goat, and sheep producers are constantly searching for the most Continue reading

Mud Control is Grazing Management

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County (originally published in Farm and Dairy)

An unseasonably warm February led to mud management issues for many pasture-based livestock operations. Spring typically leads to our April showers and the “traditional” time of managing around mud. We just arrived in mud season a little earlier.

All this mud is an undesirable condition, from an animal performance, resource management and environmental perspective.

Graziers need to have a mud control plan as part of a comprehensive grazing management system.

Within a grazing system, mud does not just happen. Wet soils combined with livestock create mud.

How quickly mud is created depends upon the Continue reading

It’s Better to Feed More Hay, than Graze Too Soon!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Nobody is short of moisture. I look forward to just having firm footing again. When you can’t walk across the yard without splashing water up on you, it’s wet.

A little bit of residual left from last year is a good thing!

The livestock are also getting tired of the wet conditions and continuous showers. I’ve had several calls from people looking for hay. This is a really bad time to be running out. The latest call was someone who had just fed their last bales and did not want to turn out on pasture yet until they had enough forage growth. That is exactly what I like to hear. If you turn out too early, the grass never gets much of a chance to get good leaf cover. Grazing too early in the spring does nothing but remove that solar panel the plants need to start building sugar and growing new roots. The forages really need to be able to canopy and get a good start before animals begin removing the top growth otherwise production will be reduced.

It is still better to find and feed poor hay and supplement it to meet nutritional needs than to Continue reading

Improving Mud Damaged Winter Pastures

As spring is upon us, pastures and paddocks that served as cattle feeding areas this winter are a sea of trampled and pugged up mud throughout Ohio. As much of the state has been experiencing even more precipitation over the past week, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes visited with Wayne County’s OSU Extension Educator Rory Lewandowski about the considerations for restoring these damaged areas to productive forage as soon as soil conditions permit. You’ll find the recording of that timely conversation below.

Options for Improving Damaged Pastures

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County and Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

As trampled and pocked up winter feeding areas begin to dry out, consider all the alternatives that will allow these beat up paddocks to recover and become productive again.

Ohio’s roads and highways aren’t the only things that have suffered from a winter that’s alternated between sub-freezing temperatures, and abundant rainfall on top of saturated surfaces. As spring quickly approaches, pastures and paddocks that have served as cattle feeding areas this winter are a sea of pocked up mud. While road crews are out repairing damaged roads by tamping cold patch into the pot holes, it’s simply not that easy to repair soils that are expected to breathe life into growing plants during the coming months.

That said, a key decision many are facing regards whether or not Continue reading

Managing Mud

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Mud . . . not good for man or beast.

It wasn’t too long ago that you were hearing that some parts of the state were actually still in drought status. I believe it is safe to say, without even looking it up, that that is no longer a problem. Instead, completely thawed and very soggy ground is prevalent.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this wet of an early spring. In fact, maybe about twenty years. We are quite often still blessed with some free “concrete” this time of year. As much as I like the warmer days right now, I probably wouldn’t turn down some frozen ground to reduce mud and the impact of very saturated ground. One guy told me that if it were just a hair warmer, he might go barefoot since he was tired of getting his boots stuck in the mud.

If you are not prepared for such wet weather, then it can be quite frustrating. Mud is certainly worse around feeding, watering, and other concentrated areas. One of the best solutions for these concentrated areas is to Continue reading

Forage, Frostbite, and Fescue Foot

Christine Gelley – OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, Ohio

In January, I had the opportunity to attend the American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference with some of our other Ohio Extension Educators. It was a wonderful experience to learn from others and share what we have learned with forage producers and professionals across the country.

An example of fescue foot in the winter, which could be the result of fescue toxicosis last summer. Photo: Dr. David Bohnert, Oregon State University

Two sessions that specifically caught my interest were “Managing Clovers in the 21st Century” and “Understanding and Mitigating Fescue Toxicosis.” Both are struggles for many producers in my region of Ohio.

The clover session included a presentation by Dow Agrosciences about a new product they are developing for treating broadleaf weeds in clover stands. It was definitely intriguing and Continue reading

Tall Fescue and its endophyte – Implications for your farm

– Dr. Jimmy Henning, Livestock Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky (From Jan 18 Farmers Pride)

The story of Kentucky 31 tall fescue reads like a soap opera. Found on a Menifee County Kentucky hill side in 1931, it quickly became a rival to Kentucky bluegrass as the most important grass in Kentucky. Its yield and persistence made it look unbeatable, but its animal performance numbers were sometimes poor or worse. The decision by the University of Kentucky to go forward with the release of Kentucky 31 was filled with about as much drama as you will ever find in an academic setting.

Figure 1: Tall fescue is the dominant grass of Kentucky, and most is infected with a toxic endophyte. Much is known about this unusual combination of pasture plant and internal fungus. Management, clover interseeding and replacement will improve livestock performance.

We now know the poor animal performance AND the persistence of that early fescue was due to Continue reading

Temperature Swings Offer Seeding Opportunity

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension, Morgan Co. and Gary Wilson, retired Hancock Co. Ag Educator

If you don’t like the weather you’re experiencing this minute, give it an hour or two and it will likely be different. Particularly in recent weeks it seems Ohio temperatures have either been above normal, or way below normal. While that may not be comfortable to man or beast, it creates an environment where certain forage species can be added to thin pastures relatively easy.

This is the time of year when farmers will want to think about re-seeding their pasture and hay fields. This method of seeding is called “frost seeding” which is where you apply seed to the ground and the freezing and thawing of the soil in February and early march will provide Continue reading

Five Pasture Improvements to Begin in January

Dean Kreager, OSU Extension AgNR Educator, Licking County (this article originally published in Farm & Dairy)

New Year’s Day has come and gone, as have some of our New Year’s resolutions: eat less junk food, go to the gym more often, lose weight, and the list goes on.

I hope our pasture management goals for the year last longer. As I contemplate the projects I have completed and those that are still on the list for another year, I think about how I can get more production from my pasture or how I can feed more animals on the same amount of land.

Today, I will stick with the “5 Things” theme in this issue and will touch on five areas of pasture management you can work on in January to improve utilization of your pastures through the Continue reading

Posted in Pasture