Forage Focus: Tips for Spring Grazing

In this episode of Forage Focus, Host- Christine Gelley- Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County and OSU Extension’s Beef Cattle Field Specialist- Garth Ruff met in the pasture at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station to offer tips for spring grazing.

In March and April, pasture green-up is an exciting sight, but it does present some challenges for managing both the animals and the forages. Garth and Christine discuss how to know when to turn animals out on fresh grass, the risks of grass tetany, the benefits of high-mg mineral, fly control, renovating winter feeding sites, soil fertility, timely fertilization (or not) and more!

Spring control of winter weeds in hay and pasture

– OSU Extension Agronomy Crops Team CORN newsletter

Cressleaf groundsel has been a problem in recent years in both forage and row crop fields throughout Ohio.

Now is the time to scout hay and pasture fields for the presence of winter annual and biennial weeds, especially those that are poisonous to livestock such as cressleaf groundsel.  These weeds are resuming growth that started last fall and they are most effectively controlled with herbicides while still small.  In addition to cressleaf groundsel, weeds of concern that should be treated soon include the following:  poison hemlock, birdsrape mustard (aka wild turnip), wild carrot.  Herbicides are most effective on these weeds in the fall, but they can be controlled in spring, preferably when still in the rosette stage.  Control becomes more difficult once stem elongation (bolting) starts.

Options for control in pure legume stands . . .

Continue reading Spring control of winter weeds in hay and pasture

2021 Brings Chance to Improve Hay Quality!!!

– Chris Teutsch, UK Research and Education Center at Princeton

Recently I presented a summary of ten years of hay testing results from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s forage testing program. This sample set included more than 14,000 hay samples. The full presentation can be viewed on the KY Forages YouTube Channel.

Figure 1. Proportion of hay samples tested at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture over a ten-year period (2007-17) that would meet the energy (total digestible nutrients) requirement of various classes of beef cattle. Only 12% of these samples would meet the energy requirements of a lactating brood cow!

The results of this analysis showed that only 12% of the samples tested would meet the energy requirements of a lactating brood cow (Figure 1). This is an important finding for a cow-calf state like Kentucky since reproductive efficiency is so closely associated with body condition.

Practical Considerations for Improving Hay Quality

Grazing is the most economical way to harvest forage and we should strive to extend our grazing season. Our ag economists tell us that about 300 days of grazing is the sweet spot in terms of profitability for most cow-calf operations in the state. This leaves us with 2 to 3 months that we need to feed hay. To optimize reproductive efficiency, it is essential that hay fed will Continue reading

Selecting Forages for Your New Seeding

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

The spring seeding window for the most popular forages in our region is quickly approaching. Producers looking for guidance on how to choose the best forage for their system should always start with a soil test rather than a seed catalog. Whether you have farmed your site for decades or days, soil testing is essential for success.

Once you know the characteristics of your soil, you can formulate a timeline to adjust fertility if needed, sow your selected seed, and set realistic expectations for production. Soil testing should be conducted when site history is unknown, when converting from a different cropping system (row crops, woodlands, turfgrass, etc.), or on a three-year schedule for maintenance.

Additional factors worthy of consideration prior to purchasing seed include site drainage, sunlight exposure, weed competition, forage harvest method, and feed value for the end user. Choosing a forage that is adapted to the conditions of the site may be more effective than adapting the site to fit an Continue reading

Forage Planting – How to Do It Well

Mark Sulc and Jason Hartschuh, CCA

The window of opportunity for spring forage seedings has been very tight the past three years. Are you ready to roll?

Early spring provides one of the two preferred times to seed perennial cool-season forages, the other being late summer. The weather outlook for this spring is for probabilities of above average precipitation in April and May. Planting opportunities will likely be few and short. The following 10 steps to follow on the day you plant will help improve chances for successful forage establishment.

Continue reading . . .

Baled Hay Storage; Losses, Costs, and Storage Alternatives to Prevent Those Losses

The third session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on February 1st. During that third session the focus shifted to preventing storage losses in harvested forages, analyzing harvested forage quality, and meeting the nutritional needs of the cattle being fed. In this the second segment from that evening, embedded below in it’s entirety, Garth Ruff reviews the potential for storage quality losses in harvested forages, the various alternative storage methods available to prevent those losses, and the costs associated with each.

Find recordings from all the 2021 Ohio Beef School sessions linked here.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Making High Quality Baleage

The second session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on January 25th. During that second session, one focus of the evening was effectively utilizing plastic wrap for fermenting baled forages and making baleage. In the excerpt of that evening’s presentation that follows, Jason Hartschuh answers the question, “How much plastic wrap do I put on each bale for baleage?

In the entirety of the presentation, Hartschuh discussed harvest options, correct harvest moisture, and properly baling and wrapping wet forages. You can find that entire presentation, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Making High Quality Baleage” embedded below.

Find details of the 2021 Ohio Beef School sessions that continue each Monday evening through February 22nd linked here.

Hay Quality; What a difference a year makes, or does it?

Ted Wiseman, OSU Extension, Perry County (originally published in Farm and Dairy)

We can certainly say this past year has had its challenges. However, quality of forages made in 2020 was much better for most compared to the previous two years.  Weather conditions were more favorable especially for first cutting. The late frost in May set our forages back and for many first cutting forage yields were extremely low. Second, third and four cuttings were better, but overall hay supplies are tight again for some.

Again in 2020 Extension Educators in 10 counties have collected forage samples from across the state. Chart 1 is data collected in 2019. I know we would like to forget the condition of forages in 2019, but I have included it for comparison to forage quality in chart 2 for 2020. To clarify most of these samples are not from the same producer or the same fields. This demonstration is to make a simple comparison of the overall quality of Continue reading

Analyzing Forage Quality to Meet the Nutritional Needs of the Beef Cow

The third session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on February 1st. During that third session the focus shifted to preventing storage losses in harvested forages, analyzing harvested forage quality, and meeting the nutritional needs of the cattle being fed. To begin the first segment from that evening, OSU Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff introduced Extension Educator Ted Wiseman and his presentation found below in its entirety on forage quality analysis and meeting the nutritional needs of the cow.

Find recordings from all the 2021 Ohio Beef School sessions linked here.

Utilizing Annual Forages for Cattle Feed

The second session of the 2021 Ohio Beef Cattle Management School was hosted via ZOOM by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team on January 25th. During that second session the focus was on supplementing our perennial forage production with annual forages – many of which are considered cover crops – grown at strategic times throughout the growing season. In the presentation that follows, Al Gahler discusses what he and his colleagues have learned about growing a number of different annual forages for feed. To begin, Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff, introduces Al and his presentation on utilizing annual forages.

Find details of the 2021 Ohio Beef School sessions that continue each Monday evening through February 22nd linked here.