Frost Seeding Now Can Improve Pasture and Hay Stands

Garth Ruff and Chris Penrose, OSU Extension AgNR Educators

With all of the rain we have had, hay fields, and pastures may need re-seeded in areas that have been torn up. There is a method called “frost seeding” where you apply seed to the ground and the freezing and thawing of the soil in February and early March will provide seed to soil contact allowing germination of the seed. There is a little more risk of the seed not germinating than a traditional seeding, but the cost and time is a lot less.

Pasture and hay fields that have thin stands and exposed soil, especially fields that have been damaged from the wet weather are good candidates for frost seeding. The seed that works best is clover. Medium red clover is the cheapest seed and works well. Other clovers will also work, and even some grass seeds.

Simply apply 3-10#/acre of seed and let Mother Nature take her course. Some steps to improve germination include Continue reading

Forage Varieties Matter

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Noble County, OSU Extension (originally published in Progressive Forage magazine)

At A Glance:

When you are in the market for forage seed, get prepared before you drive to the co-op to shop. Variety is an influential factor in the success or failure of your forage stand.

Species vs. Variety vs. Cultivar

If you are not familiar with binomial nomenclature (the international language for naming plants), lets clarify the differences between species, variety, and cultivar, which are all terms you will encounter during seed selection.

Species

L. H. Bailey, the author of the Manual of Cultivated Plants, defines species as “a kind of plant or animal distinctly different from other kinds in marked or essential features that has good characters of identification, and may be assumed to represent in nature a continuing succession of individuals from generation to generation.”

So essentially, the main traits of plants within the same species group will Continue reading

Ohio Forage & Grasslands Council Conference; High Quality Forages

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Conference will be held February 8, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg, OH. The program theme is “High Quality Forages.”

The keynote speaker will be Jerry Lindquist, Retired Grazing and Field Specialist at Michigan State University, who will discuss “Eight Years of Grassfed Beef Research at MSU-Lessons Learned” based on extensive research and experience in Michigan. Mr. Lindquist will also be giving a second topic entitled “Multi Species Cover Crop Mixes for Grazing and Soil benefit”. To compliment the cover crop topic, also speaking will be Kyle Smith of KC Fencing Unlimited, LLC to speak on “Fencing Geared Towards Grazing Cover Crops”. Several producer talks will also be Continue reading

Feeding Management to Minimize Hay Waste

Stephen Boyles, OSU Extension Beef Specialist

Feeding hay to cattle is expensive. Hay costs between $0.02 and $0.07 per pound of dry matter; usually more than double the cost for the same amount of nutrients from pasture. Hay is expensive because (1) it requires a large investment in equipment, (2) it requires labor to make and feed, and (3) more than 50 percent of it is wasted by either poor storage methods or improper feeding practices.  This article focuses on the last of these expenses — losses associated with feeding hay.

You wouldn’t dream of throwing away one-third of your hay.  That is what happens, though, when livestock are allowed unlimited access to hay.  Livestock trample and waste 25 to 45 percent of the hay when it is fed with Continue reading

Forage Focus: Soil Health Concerns After a Year of Waterlogged Pastures and Hay Fields

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 Jefferson/Harrison County ANR Educator Erika Lyon about soil health, especially as it relates to the damage down to Ohio’s forage fields during a year of constantly waterlogged and trampled soils.

Winter Grazing Stockpiled Forages, and Frost Seeding

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Extreme frost-heaving of the soil. (Photo: NRCS Victor Shelton)

It is 45 degrees outside today as I write this article. I normally appreciate mild winter weather, but when it rains, and temperatures remain above freezing, except for a frivolous teasing of heavy frosts, a pasture can get pretty ugly. I for one wouldn’t mind a little free concrete right now, you know, frozen ground. For many of us, 2018 was an extremely wet year. Some parts of Indiana, including where I live ended up with over 60 inches of rain. That makes me think of a Clint Eastwood quote, “If you think it’s going to rain, it will.”

Strip grazing stockpiled forage is usually a delight. Of course, it is best accomplished under dry or frozen conditions. If the pasture of stockpile is heavy (at least 3,000 pounds of dry matter per acre), then it can often be grazed even under fairly wet conditions without too much long-term damage but, you will need to have a watchful eye.

Under wet conditions make sure you are providing sufficient Continue reading

2018 Forage and Cover Crop Performance Trials Available

– Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist and John McCormick, OSU Senior Research Associate

The 2018 Ohio Forage Performance Trials Report is available online at https://u.osu.edu/perf/. The report summarizes forage yield data collected from forage variety trials in Ohio during 2018, including commercial varieties of alfalfa planted from 2015 to 2017 (3 trials), annual ryegrass planted in September 2017 (1 trial) and cover crops planted in September 2017 (1 trial).

The trials summarize yield performance of 34 alfalfa varieties and 11 annual ryegrass varieties. The cover crop trial summarizes stand establishment and ground cover development in the fall after a mid-September seeding in 2017 and winter injury, ground cover and spring biomass production in the spring 2018 of 22 cover crop varieties including rape, turnip, annual ryegrass, radish, Balansa clover, winter pea, and hairy vetch.

Posted in Forages

Hay Quality: Trash versus Treasure

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Noble County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

That saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” usually does not apply to hay, but with as difficult as haymaking was in Ohio this year, it may be true.

Is your 2018 hay crop trash or treasure? There’s really only one way to know! Photo By: Brooke Beam, AgNR, Educator, Highland Co.

The “man” mentioned could be yourself in 2017 versus yourself in 2018. Based on what is available this year, you may be inclined to lower your standards of hay quality to make it through the winter.

But, how low is too low when it comes to hay quality? The answer depends on your class of livestock, their nutritional needs, and your access to supplemental feed.

Without knowing the actual nutritive value of the hay, all recommendations are relative and subject to error. The only way to confidently adjust your feeding program in relation to hay quality is to have hay analyzed by a laboratory.

Characteristics like Continue reading

Forage Focus: Forage Considerations Around Pipelines

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 Belmont County ANR Educator Dan Lima about a variety of concerns with re-establishing forages after pipeline construction or repair.

Posted in Forages