Grazing Residue Height Matters

– Jessica A. Williamson, Ph.D., Penn State University Extension Forage Specialist

Any grazier knows that pasture management is as much of an art as it is a science. Skilled and seasoned graziers understand how important it is to keep a close eye on pastures as livestock are grazing, and often a drive-by evaluation of a pasture is not good enough to fully see what is going on out there – it requires us to get out of the truck and get our boots on the ground, walking the field to evaluate the current status. Often over-grazed pastures can appear to have more residue – or stubble – than they actually have when driving by or viewing from a vehicle window.

In the spring when conditions are favorable for Continue reading

Managing Spring Grass Growth and Selective Grazing

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County (This article appeared previously in the Spring 2017 issue of the Ohio Cattleman)

For most beef cattle farmers who are managing their pastures in a rotational grazing system two of the biggest spring challenges are the flush of rapid growth that will occur and selective grazing. While there are no easy management answers, if we review some basic plant growth biology and grazing principles, they may suggest some management strategies. Warning: this article may disrupt some conventional thinking.

We know that as spring progresses, grass growth will speed up. Our cool season pasture grasses produce about 60% of Continue reading

The Lowly Dung Beetle Plays an Important Role on Livestock Farms

– Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Associate Professor of Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics, Penn State University

In my interactions with livestock graziers I learned about beetles that you can find in the manure patties. Recently I found some on a farm in Leola, Lancaster County and on a farm in Forest County. They just started activities on the northern farm. These lowly animals prove to be a lot more important than you’d think – and our livestock and pasture management affects how well they Continue reading

Hardin County Pasture Walk Visits Underwood Stock Farm

You’re invited as Underwood Stock Farms (Sullinger Farm) serve as the location for the Hardin County Pasture Walk on Wednesday, May 3.  This program will be from 6:00-7:30 pm in a pasture located at 18917 County Road 155 near Ridgeway, Ohio.  A pasture walk is an educational program for beef, dairy, sheep, goat, and horse producers who would like to learn how to best manage their livestock pastures and grazing techniques.  Underwood Stock Farms is a beef cattle operation, but the principles discussed and questions answered at this event will Continue reading

Now Is Not The Time To Relax

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

April is an exciting time of the year for cow-calf producers.  The 2017 calf crop is taking shape and breeding season is currently or soon will be underway.  We have begun to emerge from the doldrums of winter to the warmth and new growth of spring.  The drudgery of feeding hay to the herd is coming to an end as pastures begin their early spring flush of growth.  It is certainly a great feeling to see cow-calf pairs turned out to fresh pastures for the first grazing of the season.

Nutrition

However, this is not necessarily a Continue reading

Grazing Bites: Questioning Grazing Efficiencies

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

I’m a bit late getting this out this month and it has nothing to do with avoiding April fool’s Day; I’ve actually been under the weather. Amongst other things, that has made me stop and think a little about time, specifically the value of time. When I was young, time seemed endless and even summers seemed long. As we age, we start wondering not only what happened to the month that we are in, but what happened to the last year! There are certainly moments in time that I would give any amount of money to have back; those are high value moments. It is easy to find ourselves trapped in a set of habits or in a redundant pattern that holds us hostage and eats away our time; those are very low value. Every time I find myself doing something with no rhyme or reason. I often ask myself “Why am I doing this?” This is not true about time spent on grazing management.

There are certainly Continue reading

Managing Spring Grass: Going from 0 to 60!

– Dr. Chris D. Teutsch, Associate Extension Professor, Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky

Spring can often be one of the most challenging times of the year for graziers. Grass growth goes from nonexistent to excessive in a matter of weeks and in many cases grazing livestock have a hard time keeping up with it.  This can result in lower quality forage that is less palatable. The growth of new forage is also delayed by not removing the growing point of our cool-season grasses. The presence of the growing point suppresses tiller formation at the base of the grass plant. The following suggestions can Continue reading

Lush Spring Forages and Beef Cow Reproduction

– Ryan Sterry, UW Extension Agent- St. Croix County Agriculture Agent, and recently appeared in the Wisconsin Agriculturist

After a long winter, most of us relish the first few warm and sunny days of spring. For our beef farmers, those first spring days also signal that our pastures will be greening up soon. Making the transition from winter feeding to spring pasture often represents our most economical and labor efficient feeding of the year. While both farmers and their cows may be excited to get on the first grass of the year, recent research shows that easing the transition from stored feeds to pasture can impact the herd’s reproductive performance.

At the 2017 Driftless Beef Conference, Travis Meteer of the University of Illinois-Extension outlined three challenges with lush spring pastures for Continue reading

New OSU Extension Forage Website Launched

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Our new Ohio Forages website has been launched, and can be found at https://forages.osu.edu/.  This is the same url as our old Ohio Forage Network site.

­­We intend for this website to be the go-to place to find all things forage within the Ohio State University Extension system. We are still in the process of Continue reading

Decisions Made Now Can Impact the Entire Grazing Season

Chris Penrose, Associate Professor and Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension (this article was published previously in the Ohio Farmer magazine at ohiofarmer.com)

Considering how early our forages broke dormancy this year, we will soon reach a stage where our forage management decisions can affect grazing for the entire season. In 2012 when we also experienced a very early spring our forages were finishing up their “reproductive” stage of growth with grasses setting seed heads and legumes blooming by late April. After they set seed, perennial plants quickly transition from the Continue reading