Fall Forage Management Tips

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Allowing an appropriate fall rest period is important for the long term health of a forage stand, particularly legumes.

Fall is a great time to take care of some very important aspects for managing forage hay fields and pastures. Below is a list of things that when done in the fall can help avoid big headaches this winter and next spring or even next summer. . .

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It pays to maintain cover!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

What four inches of good residual should look like.

I’ve not been on the road as much lately and it’s been nice to watch minute, daily changes in things as the days shorten and the nights become cooler. A few spiny pigweeds in the barn lot were one of the first things to catch my eye. They first quit growing, then with each additional cool night you could see a darkening of the leaves and more maroon showing. They don’t like the cooler weather; I don’t like the lack of sufficient moisture.

It is late September as I write this, and so far this month I’ve had a total of two-fifths of an inch of rain up until today. Some oats and turnips I planted over three weeks ago have barely broke ground. They won’t provide much grazing at this rate. Sadly, there are areas of Indiana that are in even worse shape moisture wise, especially parts of the northeast. That area has suffered from lack of sufficient rainfall most of the summer and those areas with Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Precautions for Feeding Frosted and Drought-Stressed Forages

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are a potential concern this time of year with many grasses including sorghum sudangrass.

Livestock owners feeding forage need to keep in mind the potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop this fall. High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are the main potential concerns. These are primarily an issue with annual forages and several weed species, but nitrates can be an issue even in drought stressed perennial forages. There is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate Toxicity

Drought stressed forages can accumulate toxic nitrate levels. This can occur in many different forage species, including both annuals and perennials. Several areas in Ohio have been dry of late. Corn, oat and other small grains, sudangrass, and sorghum sudangrass, and many weed species including johnsongrass can accumulate toxic levels of . . .

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Farm Science Review goes Virtual, 15 talks on forages, grazing included

Want to learn more about improving your land and livestock through grazing and forages? Mark your calendar for the following talks at this year’s virtual Farm Science ReviewSept. 22–24, all of them organized by the Gwynne Conservation Area.

Visit the Farm Science Review site at fsr.osu.edu to see the complete FSR virtual schedule

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Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May

Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Specialist

If you saw this yellow weed in your fields last spring, the time to control it and other winter annuals for next year is here yet this fall!

Some hay producers have been unpleasantly surprised in the past when cressleaf groundsel infestations became evident in their hay fields in May prior to first cutting. Cressleaf groundsel in hay or silage is toxic to animals, and infested areas of the field should not be harvested and fed. Groundsel is a winter annual, emerging in late summer into fall, when it develops into a rosette that overwinters. Growth restarts in spring, with stem elongation and an eventual height of up to several feet tall. The weed becomes evident in hay fields when in becomes taller than the alfalfa/grass and develops bright yellow flowers in May. The problem with passively waiting until this point to discover that the hay is infested with groundsel is that: 1) it’s too late to control it with herbicides; and 2) hay from infested areas has to be discarded instead of sold or fed, and large plant skeletons are still toxic even if herbicides were effective on them. Groundsel plants finish their life cycle in late spring, once they flower and go to seed, so it should not be problem in subsequent cuttings.

The solution to this is scouting of hay fields in fall and early spring to determine the presence of cressleaf groundsel, when it is small and still susceptible to the few herbicides that can be used. We expect groundsel to be more of a problem in new August seedings, since it would be emerging with the new stand of alfalfa/grass. A well-managed established and . . .

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Grazing Management Minute: Warm Season Annuals

In this Grazing Management Minute, the conversation revolves around the benefits of planting warm season annual grasses and working them into a comprehensive forage management plan for Ohio livestock producers.

When the Art and Science of Grazing May Not Match

Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Morgan County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

I remember the first forage presentation I did in Perry County back in 1989 and I have spent my life professionally and personally working with forages. When we started teaching grazing schools in the early 90’s, one of the foundational topics taught was the basics of Management Intensive Grazing and those principles include no seed heads, rest periods, and short duration grazing.

That is the science, how about the art?

I remember Lorin Sanford, our OSU Extension Beef Specialist saying to me almost 40 years ago that “It is the eye of the master that fattens the cow.” That is the art. In our environment with so many things that go on, sometimes the art is more important than the science and sometimes the science even supports the art.

For example, we talk about rotating from one paddock to the next, but not all are created equal. I have several that are drought prone which I may skip in dry weather and I have one paddock that is Continue reading

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It’s time to prepare for fall and winter feeding

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

It’s been a good year for red clover, almost too good.

The summer has flown by and, like it or not, I have to start thinking about fall activities that need to be accomplished long before winter decides to show up. It has not been an easy summer. It seems a lot of time was spent trying to catch up on things and either dealing with dry periods or trying to get something done in between rains. I was reminded recently that one of my uncles would say that he prefers a rain every Saturday evening. That way, activities could resume as scheduled Monday morning and moisture would still be enough. Weather will never be that predictable, but it would be nice.

It is the time of year to be thinking about any stockpiled forage that you might want or need. I’ve said it before, but if tall fescue has an attribute, it is as winter stockpile. It does need to be thought out some, and you will have to Continue reading

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Forage Focus: A Virtual Pasture Walk in Noble County

Christine Gelley, Noble County OSU Extension Educator

The East Central Grazing Alliance is a grazing interest group in Ohio with the mission of promoting best management practices of natural resources in grazing systems. We bring together people in Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe, and Noble Counties to offer practical peer focused learning experiences. Our pasture walks were canceled for the summer of 2020, but we are able to offer a virtual version of our Noble County Pasture Walk with Mr. Brian Welch, a beef farmer and forage grower in Lower Salem, Ohio. Enjoy that virtual walk embedded below.