Don’t Remove Your Plants’ Solar Panel by Grazing Too Early!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Yes, there is new green growth, but that doesn’t mean start grazing!

Yes, it appears that we are trying to having an early spring, but I refuse to count those chicks before they hatch! Abnormally warm weather in February and early March is not that uncommon here in Indiana, unfortunately neither are late March and early April snows. The accumulated growing degree days so far this year, on average across the state, are higher than normal.

Now, it is REALLY early still, but I know how some Continue reading

Early Grazing Observations

Chris Penrose, Associate Professor and Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension

March 3rd was the last day I fed my spring calving cows hay. You may have read in previous articles (2/26/ 2014, 3/7/2012, 3/1/2006) some of the advantages of stockpiling fescue and grazing it during calving season. This includes a thick sod to calve on, no mud, and no hay to feed. I do have to admit that I feed a couple pounds of whole shelled corn right on the ground to give the cows a little more energy, but every year I see a rapid improvement in body condition when they go out on stockpiled fescue. When we moved the cows to the pasture on Saturday (March 4th), I noticed that there was more new growth for early March then I have seen in over Continue reading

Options for Managing Mud in Pastures This Winter

Chris Penrose, Associate Professor and Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension, Morgan County (This is an updated article from one first published in the January, 2017 Progressive Forage magazine)

Most forage livestock producers do not mind the cold temperatures in the winter, nor do most mind some snow. One thing we do mind is the mild, wet weather we have had this winter. I think we all know the stress for us when we are trying to feed in the mud, especially if we get stuck. Whether it is our tractor or our boots, it never is a good experience. What happens when our fields are grazed to the ground and our sod can no longer support the livestock, feeders and equipment? The fields decline rapidly, round bale feeders become “mud magnets” and tire tracks rut fields.

Mud also increases stress for our livestock. For example, Continue reading

Frost Seeding Clover with a Drill

Wayne Shriver, Eastern Agricultural Research Station Manager, Ohio State University

Here at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station at Caldwell we manage our pastures in an effort to keep them sustainable by including legumes. Sometimes, producers can get too wrapped up in choosing the right legume, when the real issue is just getting something that will thrive. Here, we have some ladino clover, red clover, bird’s-foot trefoil, and a little alfalfa. I like all of them and want between Continue reading

Grazing Bites: Time to Frost Seed Clover?

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

I know that there are a lot of people who really enjoy winter. I’m not one of them. The only good things about winter is I don’t have to mow the yard and I might find more time to catch up on my reading. The best part of winter is when it’s over!

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Time to frost seed!

Winter does tend to be one of the better times for me to do some maintenance. I spend time fixing or building fences, as long as the ground isn’t frozen too much, recycling old metal, removing brush, and frost-seeding clover. Just like Continue reading

Free Fertilizer? Hay Feeding!

– Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler, Associate Extension Professor, Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky

Pasture fields seem to be overlooked with regards to applying management. Many folks will soil test hay fields and apply some level of fertility, though it may be less than the soil test recommends. This seems to be more evident when profit margins are tight. Corn experts have recommended fertility rates in relation to economic returns rather than maximal yields. In other words, the rate of fertilizer added is based on both soil test recommendations and expected improvement in yield. This concept takes into account the cost:benefit relationship that exists for inputs and outputs. Should beef producers not have this same mindset when it comes to hay production and take this Continue reading

Managing Stockpiled Forages

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Morgan County (This article appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of the Ohio Cattleman)

If you have stockpiled forages like orchardgrass and fescue, sometimes the question of when and how should we feed it to our cattle comes up? There are many variables, but let’s start with a few basic principles. The earlier you initiated stockpiling, the more yield you will have, but the lower the quality will be. Conversely, the later in the year you start to stockpile, the lower the Continue reading

Planting ‘Outside the Box’ for More Late Summer Grazing

Clifton Martin, OSU Extension Muskingum County (This article first appeared in the December issue of The Ohio Farmer)

Our agricultural endeavors usually require that we give heed to convention and tradition while sprinkling in some improvisation and creativity to achieve our goals.  Early this fall I walked a field that was a mixed planting of sorghum sudangrass, brown top millet, sunn hemp, crimson clover, and just a dash of soybean.  Before this crop, this was a poorly performing grain field and the producer had a need for space to graze livestock, he required space to spread manure, and he was Continue reading

Grazing Corn Residue

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County

A lot of acres of corn have been harvested in our area. The residue that remains after corn grain harvest includes husks, leaves, stalks, and some corn grain.  That residue represents a potential feed source for ruminant livestock that can be utilized to decrease stored feed costs and /or to stretch stockpiled forage.  Livestock in mid-gestation can do well on corn residue without additional supplementation provided they are not forced to Continue reading

Invasives, Fertility and Feeding

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Associate Professor, OSU Extension, Morgan County (this article first appeared in the 10/20/16 issue of Farm & Dairy)

As I walk around the pastures this time of the year, especially with pasture growth slowing down and leaves falling off trees, I really notice what worked this year and what thing went wrong, and I also try to think of ways we can reduce tearing up our fields when we feed hay this winter. I also notice trends that may need to be addressed for next year before they get out of control. For example, for over 25 years, I had been Continue reading