Temperature Swings Offer Seeding Opportunity

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension, Morgan Co. and Gary Wilson, retired Hancock Co. Ag Educator

If you don’t like the weather you’re experiencing this minute, give it an hour or two and it will likely be different. Particularly in recent weeks it seems Ohio temperatures have either been above normal, or way below normal. While that may not be comfortable to man or beast, it creates an environment where certain forage species can be added to thin pastures relatively easy.

This is the time of year when farmers will want to think about re-seeding their pasture and hay fields. This method of seeding is called “frost seeding” which is where you apply seed to the ground and the freezing and thawing of the soil in February and early march will provide Continue reading

Five Pasture Improvements to Begin in January

Dean Kreager, OSU Extension AgNR Educator, Licking County (this article originally published in Farm & Dairy)

New Year’s Day has come and gone, as have some of our New Year’s resolutions: eat less junk food, go to the gym more often, lose weight, and the list goes on.

I hope our pasture management goals for the year last longer. As I contemplate the projects I have completed and those that are still on the list for another year, I think about how I can get more production from my pasture or how I can feed more animals on the same amount of land.

Today, I will stick with the “5 Things” theme in this issue and will touch on five areas of pasture management you can work on in January to improve utilization of your pastures through the Continue reading

Even with forages, the end of the year is the time to plan!

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Morgan County (originally published in the Winter issue of The Ohio Cattleman)

The month of December is a great time to plan. We still have the opportunity to make changes to the 2017 year and plan for 2018. When I think of 2017, especially as it relates to forages, two things come to mind for me. First, what worked and what went wrong? Next, is there anything that can be done to improve the operation for this and next year?

What worked and what went wrong?

For many of us, the growing season for the most part was Continue reading

Dodder (Cuscuta spp.) in Western Ohio Red Clover Stands

Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Specialist

Photo: uwyo.edu

We have had reports of dodder in some red clover fields. Dodder is a parasitic plant without any leaves or chlorophyll to produce its own energy. It lives by attaching to a host with small appendages (called ‘haustoria”), and extracting the host plant’s carbohydrates. The stems are yellow-orange, stringlike, twining, smooth and branching to form dense masses in infested fields. Although neither toxic nor unpalatable to some livestock, dodder can weaken host plants enough to reduce yield, quality, and stand. If infestations are severe enough, dodder may kill host plants.

Dodders are annuals that spread by Continue reading

How to get More out of your Pastures and Improve Water Quality

Bob Hendershot, Retired State Grassland Conservationist, NRCS

Improving your pasture management skills will grow more forage that will have higher quality that will better feed your livestock and make you more money. A better pasture should just keep getting better year after year including; improving the environment; improving the soil, water, air, plants, and animals as well as reducing your energy requirements. Healthy soils can grow healthy plants that can allow animals to grow quicker, stronger and healthier, which will reduce the cost of production. We will discuss ways to improve the water quality in the runoff from your grazing system; improve the soil fertility in your pasture; that will improve the pasture plant composition; and will Continue reading

There’s Still Time to Manage Pastures

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

What percent of this pasture is clover?

It seems that we try and crowd way too much into some months, especially December, when we probably should be slowing down and enjoying family and friends and the reason for the season. I have a hard time accomplishing that.

I just spent a week on the Tennessee-Kentucky line with a national work team revising the NRCS pasture condition scoresheet. Pasture regions across the nation were represented, including Alaska. Our charge was basically to Continue reading

Using Goats to Improve Cattle Pastures

Marcus McCartney, OSU Extension AgNR Educator, Washington County (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

Do you have leftover fair goats, or inherited some that did not make weight at the fair?

Perhaps your kids or grandkids have been bugging you for the small ruminant animal for some time. Or by chance, did you come into a small herd recently?

If so, then don’t perceive goat ownership as a chore or inconvenience but rather embrace it, think positive, and start letting the goats work for you.

There are several ways goats can be a useful management tool in Continue reading

Managing Forage Risk: Specie Diversification and PRF Insurance

– Andrew P. Griffith, University Of Tennessee

First question, who remembers the drought periods of summer and fall 2016, summer 2015, summer 2012, winter 2011, fall 2010, summer and fall 2008, and pretty much all of 2007? It is pretty easy to make the point that cattle producers have faced several challenging times as it relates to precipitation and forage production. Next question, knowing that drought periods have been fairly frequent and intense, what management decisions have been made to reduce the negative impacts of such events?

Managing forage risk is probably not at the top of most producers’ minds as hay feeding will soon dominate cattle diets. However, now is a prime time to Continue reading

Grazing Bites: Estimating Feed Resource Inventory vs The Needs

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

I really don’t know what happened to the fall. It seems like it should still be September, not November, but the weather is now starting to confirm the date and the realization that winter will soon be upon us.

I often talk about taking inventory of winter feedstuff. I’m primarily measuring dry matter, e.g. hay, pasture, stockpile, crop residue, and grazable annuals still left. October rains certainly helped to green things up and provide some new growth, but that won’t last much longer and real growth is about done and dormancy of perennials is not far off. Three or four nights in a row in the 20’s is usually enough to stop and/or kill top growth and force dormancy. If the weather stays cold or at least cool, plants will remain Continue reading

When the ideal grazing scenario does not work

Chris Penrose, OSU Extension, Morgan County (previously published in Farm & Dairy)

Over the years, I have been asked “What is the ideal number of paddocks to have?” There are many factors involved and everyone’s situation is different, but if I had to give that answer, I would say eleven paddocks. That way we can move every three days and grazing forages from eight to three inches would be the ideal scenario. Those eleven paddocks and moving every three days gives each paddock thirty days to recover. The three day limit in a paddock generally means Continue reading