Forage Focus: Woody Perennials and Invasive Weeds

In this edition of the Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, visits with Guernsey County ANR Educator Clif Little about pasture weed management. Below they discuss ways of controlling woody perennials such as Autumn Olive, Tree of Heave, Barberries Calie Pear, Crest Leaf and others.

Too much pasture? Clip it, hay it, or stockpile it for summer!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Do you stockpile for summer, clip or hay?

I cannot believe the weather. I have never seen a spring quite like this. After a long discussion recently with an old friend who is 79, he said he hadn’t either and we both agreed that we would rather not see another, but only because the weather didn’t repeat itself. We have gone from soggy wet pastures with forages that were hesitating to grow to runaway forage on wet or saturated soils.

I’m still an advocate for utilizing grazing first as the main means of forage management. The normal recommendation is to continue moving animals through the system until the first pasture or allotment is ready to be grazed again. Then go back to that first field and start over. The fields that are skipped can be used as Continue reading

Wet Pastures and Foot Rot

– Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Spring rains have filled the ponds and saturated the ground in many pastures. As the temperatures heat up, cattle will start to congregate around or in the ponds or other standing water. One of the challenges that cattle producers may face this summer is the occasional lame cow or yearling. “Foot rot” is a common cause of lameness in beef cattle on pastures. Foot rot is an infection that starts between the toes of the infected animal and usually is a result of the introduction of a bacteria through broken skin. The infection causes pain and the resulting lameness. The lameness can cause decreases in weight gain of young cattle, milk production decline of adult cows and lame bulls will be reluctant to breed.

Treatment of foot rot can be successful when the treatment is started early in the disease process. Most cases require the use of Continue reading

Forage Focus: Invasive Weeds in a Pasture

In this edition of the Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, visits with Guernsey County ANR Educator Clif Little about pasture weed management. Below they discuss ways of controlling invasive weeds such as Japanese Stilt Grass, Spotted Knapweed, Canadian Thistle and many more.

Forage Options for “Prevented Planting” Corn and Soybean Acres

Stan Smith, PA, Fairfield County OSU Extension

Today, as we sit here on May 15, we know three things for certain:

  • Ohio has the lowest inventory of hay since the 2012 drought and the 4th lowest in 70 years.
  • Ohio’s row crops will not get planted in a timely fashion this year.
  • Grain markets have fallen to the point that in many cases – or, perhaps most cases – for those with coverage, Prevented Planting Crop Insurance payments will yield more income than growing a late planted corn or soybean crop this year.

Grazing oats planted on Prevented Planting acres in very late fall is an excellent alternative for harvesting this cover crop.

Prevented planting provisions in the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) crop insurance policies can provide valuable coverage when extreme weather conditions prevent expected plantings. On their website, RMA also says “producers should make planting decisions based on agronomically sound and well documented crop management practices.”

Today, insured corn and soybean growers throughout Ohio find themselves at the crossroads of a decision that pits the overwhelming desire to want to plant and grow a crop against the reality that financially and agronomically it might be a more sound alternative to accept a Prevented Planting insurance payment. Adding further support to the notion that today Continue reading

Control Pasture Weeds Now

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

Cressleaf groundsel is flourishing throughout Ohio this year in pasture, hay and crops fields!

With the combination of sunny warm days and more than adequate rainfall received so far in May, grasses and legumes in our hayfields are beginning to flower. Which means, according to our knowledge of grass maturity and forage quality, it’s already time to make hay. If the weather will cooperate, that is.

It’s also prime time to control pasture weeds. Thistles, docks, ironweed, asters, poison hemlock, and cockleburs are up and actively growing. Control on these species is most effective when they are small (less than six inches tall). Many are already past this point. The longer we wait, the greater impact they will have on overall production and the more difficult they will be to treat in both hayfields and grazed pastures.

The decision of how and when to wage war on damaging weeds is one based on many factors. Extension always recommends utilizing an integrated pest management program to control pests and weeds. The most effective programs are Continue reading

How Much Rest Does Your Pasture Need?

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

More residual left and more rest; more roots, more production and animal performance.

I took the time to walk through most of my pastures a few days ago. I recommend doing this fairly often to keep a mental forage inventory. It is best to record the findings. Some use fancy electronic data sheets, some track on paper charts, some just have notes in their pocket datebook or smart phone. I use a combination. I like the paper charts for long term planning, but for a quick assessment, I like a white board.

I have a white board, you know, one of those new-fangled chalk boards that you use erasable markers on. I took 1/8-inch black tape and used it to outline the boundaries of all the fields. If I get present yield estimates taken, I put those numbers on the board with the date collected. But I use the board more for tracking grazing patterns and, more importantly, rest.

Animal groups are color coordinated and enter and exit dates are marked on the board. If animals are strip grazed across the field, then Continue reading

Healing the Mess: Early Season Pasture Management

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Morgan County (originally published in the Ohio Cattleman, Expo issue)

This exhibits what seemed to be the rule rather than the exception last winter. Photo: Landefeld

For those with pastured livestock, this past winter is one we would like to forget, but damage done is preventing that from occurring. Many farmers talked about the loss of livestock due to the wet weather and mud. To make matters worse, more hay had to be fed to deal with the additional stress on animals from the muddy conditions. The result was animals in a lower body condition and fields in a mess from livestock, feeding hay in the fields, and equipment trying to get hay to livestock.

Damage to fields was worse than most can remember. What can we do to fix the problem? We can start off with these two options: doing nothing or working the ground and re-seeding. Doing nothing may not seem to be the best option but if the area was not damaged too bad, it may heal itself. I noticed in late March some areas where I had bale rings, grass was starting to grow where the bale was located. Where the cattle stood, it was bare and not rutted too much. In a situation like that, you may be able to take a Continue reading

Forage Focus – Pasture Fertility, Soil Testing and Grazing Management

In this month’s Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, talks with Washington County ANR Educator Marcus McCartney about pasture fertility. They also discuss ways to use management intensive grazing and soil testing to improve pasture productivity.

Dealing with Winter Injured Forage Stands

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Reports from around the state suggest we have many injured forage stands.

I’ve been hearing more reports from around the state of winter injured forage stands, especially in alfalfa. The saturated soil during much of the winter took its toll, with winter heaving being quite severe in many areas of the state. So, what should be done in these injured stands?

The first step is to assess how extensive and serious is the damage. Review the CORN issue of the week of Continue reading