Avoid Forage Toxicities After Frosts

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

As cold weather approaches this week, livestock owners need to keep in mind the few forage species that can be extremely toxic soon after a frost. Several species contain compounds called cyanogenic glucosides that are converted quickly to prussic acid (i.e. hydrogen cyanide) in freeze-damaged plant tissues. A few legumes species have an increased risk of causing bloat when grazed after a frost. Each of these risks is discussed in this article along with precautions to avoid them.

Species with prussic acid poisoning potential

Forage species that can contain prussic acid are listed below in decreasing order of risk of toxicity after a frost Continue reading

Despite a Hay Making Season to Forget, Options Remain!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

I know I’ve shared this story before, but considering the weather most of Ohio experienced, it’s appropriate to tell it again. Dad was a mechanic for a local farm implement dealer. Once while out on a service call in mid-summer he asked the farmer if he’d gotten his first cutting hay made. The response – in a deep German accent – was, “Yes, it got made . . . but it rained so much I never got it baled.”

Despite that being the case in many parts again this year, we still have an abundance of feedstuffs available that will maintain beef cows efficiently when managed properly. With Ohio farmers harvesting more than 3 million acres of corn this year, a brood cow’s feed supply could easily be extended by utilizing crop residue. Corn residue is practical for feeding dry, gestating beef cows in mid gestation providing they have average or better body condition. Plus, it’s also the perfect crop to utilize during the time Continue reading

Do You Have 100 Days of Grazing Still Ahead?

Mark Landefeld, OSU Agriculture Educator, Monroe County (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

As we move into the fall season here in September, how much longer will your livestock be able to graze forage from your hay and pasture fields? Have you prepared stockpiled forages? Are you able to utilize your livestock to take that last growth of forage off your hay fields rather than using equipment?  Not using equipment to make a last cutting of hay, not having the livestock in pasture fields right now and not feeding hay for a while yet seems to be a winning combination all the way around.

Everyone’s situation is different and many producers are not able to get livestock to every hay field. Nevertheless, where you can use livestock to harvest forage from hay fields, production costs can be reduced. Producers who have not been doing this should try using their livestock, not the equipment to make later cuttings of hay and this last cutting everyone wants to get off in late September and  October. This allows pasture fields and stockpiling areas to grow the maximum amount of forage before killing frosts arrive. I believe this is one of the best opportunities livestock producers have to reduce costs and make more profit year after year. There are some limitations and guidelines producers should consider when doing this and Continue reading

It’s time to grow forage, take inventory, and use it efficiently

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Allocating out forages and strip grazing them can greatly improve the efficiency of the forage.

Fall is here and it means that our perennial forages are starting to think about taking a siesta. You will want to do three things this time of year: grow as much forage as you can prior to plants going dormant, be as efficient as you can with what you have to graze, and take inventory on how much winter feed you have on hand.

There are still plenty of good growing days left this fall and they need to be taken advantage of. One of the first things to do to make sure you obtain as much growth as possible, especially with perennial forages, is to stop grazing forages that can and will Continue reading

Beef and ‘Bobs’ – Maximize Cattle Production and Help Bobwhites on Your Land

– Nick Schell, Wildlife Biologist, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Bobwhites seek brushy habitat where crop fields intersect with woodlands, pastures, and old fields.

You’re probably familiar with the northern bobwhite and its decline. The bobwhite, or what many of us call quail, has seen its population dip by more than 80 percent across large sections of its range during the past 60 years.

Farmers can greatly help the species with a few tweaks to their cattle operations.

Why Are Bobwhites in Decline?

Bobwhites are an “edge” species, meaning they seek brushy habitat where crop fields intersect with woodlands, pastures, and old fields. But this type of habitat is Continue reading

Spotted Knapweed; a weed quickly becoming a growing concern!

This month on Forage Focus host Christine Gelley, an extension Educator with Ohio State University Extension Ag & Natural Resources in Noble County, visits with guest Clifton Martin, ANR Educator for Muskingum County, and talks about Spotted Knapweed, an invasive perennial weed that is quickly gaining ground in Southeast Ohio. It’s important for landscape preservation that residents learn how to identify Spotted Knapweed and begin taking steps to control it.

Posted in Pasture

Biennial and Perennial Weed Control is Best in the Fall

– Dwight Lingenfelter, Extension Associate, Weed Science, Penn State and William S. Curran,Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Weed Science, Penn State

Problem weeds in a pasture setting. (Source: Penn State Extension)

Fall is an excellent time to manage biennial and perennial weeds. In particular, biennials such as common burdock, wild carrot, and bull, musk, and plumeless thistles are much easier to kill while they are in the rosette stage of growth, prior to surviving a winter. Once biennials start growth in the spring they rapidly develop with the goal of reproducing and it becomes more difficult to control them.

As you have heard many times before, late summer and fall is the best time to control most perennials with a systemic herbicide they move into root systems allowing better control. In general, the application window runs from early September through October depending on your location and what weeds you are targeting. Applications to perennial species like horsenettle, smooth groundcherry, and woody species like multiflora rose should be on the Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

A Walk Through the Pasture is Time Well Spent!

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Professor, OSU Extension, Morgan Co. (originally published in the late fall issue of The Ohio Cattleman magazine)

When large round bales are placed early, spaced appropriately and fed as needed, the manure nutrients are spread more evenly and damage to the pastures surface minimized.

As I walk around the pastures this time of the year, especially with pasture growth starting to slow down and leaves turning color, I really notice what worked this year and what things went wrong. I also try to think of ways we can reduce tearing up our fields when we feed hay this winter. I try to 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 mowing under my fencerows and I had been successfully controlling weeds. However, over the past 15 years, Autumn Olive has been growing and spreading along my fencerow. Whenever I mowed those plants, more would re-sprout. It got to the point where I could not see the fence in areas. Two years ago, I felt like I was left with no choice but to use a herbicide on the fencerow. It worked very well and I am getting this issue under control.

Another trend I continue to see is the spreading of Continue reading

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Fall Plant Control of cressleaf groundsel; Prevent the sea of yellow in the spring

– Dr. Diane Gerken, DVM, ABVT Veterinary Toxicologist

ODA’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab has been involved in two separate cases with animals affected by the toxicity of this plant in the past year.

This plant is Senecio glabellus or now called Packera glabella which occurs in some uncultivated Ohio fields. This is a picture indicating possible plant density in the springtime. If you made hay/haylage with this plant in it, the recommendation is to NOT feed it to livestock or horses. Also, do not use as pasture for any grazing animal.

ODA-ADDL personnel have been involved in two separate cases (one with classic pathology and the second with a positive chemical analyses for the specific pyrrolizidine alkaloids in this plant) with animals affected in the past year. This plant contains at least one toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA), senecionine but reported to contain more. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids cause liver disease in humans and animals after Continue reading

Ag-note: The Benefits of Rotational Grazing

– Matt Blose, Marissa Friel, Courtney Hale, Maureen Hirzel, OSU Animal Science Undergraduate Students, and Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team

While in this Ag-note the benefits of rotational grazing were demonstrated with sheep, the advantages remain similar for all grazing species.

We are back at it again with our Ag-notes from the students of the 2018 Small Ruminant Production course. This week, students Matt Blose, Marissa Friel, Courtney Hale, and Maureen Hirzel provide us with a brief outline of the benefits of rotational grazing by providing insight on how to start and some important considerations you need to ask yourself prior to jumping into this type of management scheme.

In its simplest form, rotational grazing is described as moving grazing livestock from one paddock to another, allowing time for the previously grazed pasture to regrow prior to the next grazing event. There are many benefits to this strategy as rotational grazing allows producers to utilize their pastures more efficiently by decreasing feed costs, decreasing weed pressure present in a pasture setting, improving the health and performance of grazing flocks, and Continue reading

Posted in Pasture