Our Best Winter Forage May be Stockpiled Fescue

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

As I drove around Morgan County in late June and even on my farm, there was still a lot of hay to make. Stems and seed heads on orchardgrass and fescue had turned brown and the quality was poor. We still have a great and inexpensive option for quality forages this fall and winter, and without much effort or cost: stockpiling pastures and even hayfields for grazing.

Stockpile beginning sometime during the next month can result in some of our highest quality and most affordable winter feed.

After feeding corn stalks, probably the lowest cost way to feed cattle in the fall and winter is to stockpile forages. Stockpiling means to make the last harvest by clipping or grazing of a hay field or pasture and then let it grow for grazing latter; in this situation, in the fall or winter. While most predominantly cool season grass based fields will work, fescue works the best as it maintains quality into and throughout the winter better. Many studies have demonstrated that one way to improve the quality and yield is to Continue reading

Beef AGRI NEWS Today, the July Podcast

In this month’s podcast of Beef AGRI NEWS Today, show host Duane Rigsby visits with OSU Extension Beef Coordinator John Grimes about the winding down of breeding season, pregnancy checking, culling considerations, and late summer forage and hay management options.

Adequate Vegetative Cover Vital for Efficient Moisture Utilization

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

This paddock may look messy, but what looks like a weed is actually a fantastic, highly nutritious native legume, tick foil (Desmodium).

I certainly didn’t expect the blessed amount of rain that has fallen on most of Indiana in the last month. In some areas, the amount could be considered more of a curse than blessing, especially on cropland. It certainly has made making dry hay a challenge. I am still happy to have the moisture.

My pasture was getting fairly dry before the rains started; dry enough that growth was slowing down. I had already slowed down the speed of the livestock to allow a little extra rest and now I have picked up momentium again. I’m delighted to see good regrowth of forage in paddocks not far behind where livestock had just been.

With more vegetation now and new growth still coming, it is not hard to maintain excellent cover and let the livestock take the Continue reading

Avoiding Forage Shortages

John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

Any successful beef producer understands the importance of effective management of grazed and harvested forages. Cow-calf producers, stocker operators, and feedlot managers share a common need for plentiful supplies of high quality forages for the entire year. Unfortunately, environmental factors can make the availability of consistent supplies available from year to year.

USDA NASS reported hay stocks on Ohio farms on May 1, 2018 were 280,000 tons, down 33% from this time last year. All hay stored on United States farms May 1, 2018 was down 36 percent from a year ago. As the summer months move along, producers have made one or more cuttings of hay to accumulate supplies for the winter of 2018-2019. This year’s harvest and carryover stocks from the previous winter will determine the forage management strategies that will be necessary to carry supplies through to the 2019 production season.

If producers are concerned that hay supplies will be tight to carry them through to the next growing season, they should consider a variety of strategies to supplement or preserve existing supplies. Here are a few management decisions to consider to insure Continue reading

When Rain Wrecks Your Pasture Plan!

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

A common site throughout Ohio this year, managing flood waters and muddy forage fields continues to be a challenge!

Mud, nutrient leaching, and erosion are a few of the ailments pastures across our region are experiencing in 2018. It can be a challenge to be thankful for rain in years like this. You’ve likely witnessed it wash away freshly planted seed, topsoil, and nutrients while trudging through swamps that should be access roads, watching seed heads develop on valuable hay, and cutting fallen limbs off damaged fence.

Nature has taunted many this season. In Southeast Ohio, opportunities to make hay have been few and far between due to soggy soil conditions and high humidity. The longer harvest is delayed, the poorer Continue reading

Alternatives Remain for Producing High Quality Forages This Year

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

Unlike last year when Ohio wheat came off early, this year’s late wheat harvest and wet soils may prevent growers from double cropping those acres to soybeans. All things considered – a late start to spring, abundant rainfall that has destroyed the quality in first cutting hay, and wheat and forage harvest and/or corn and soybean planting delayed by untimely rainfall – utilizing presently vacant acres for growing an annual forage yet this summer is certainly an alternative for cattlemen to consider. If you had wheat, or even acres intended for corn or soybeans you were unable to plant, and have the need for additional high quality forage for grazing or mechanical harvest in 2018 and/or early 2019, review the articles from past years linked below that Continue reading

A Comparison of Continuous vs. Management Intensive Grazing Systems

Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, OSU Sheep Team, with DeVaughn Davis, Nathaniel Kinney, Kristy Payne, Dalton Shipley, OSU Animal Science Undergraduate Students

While this grazing project was conducted with small ruminants, it also relates easily to pasture management of beef cattle.

Another school year has passed and I am happy to say that I have completed my third year of being involved in AS 4004, Small Ruminant Production at The Ohio State University. This year Dr. Liz Parker and myself co-instructed this course and worked diligently to expose our students to every aspect of the small ruminant industry, including extension outreach and producer education. As a part of the course curriculum, students were challenged to compose an Ag-note (educational poster) to highlight a specific topic that is related to sheep or goat production, management, and husbandry. As viewers, you will see these unique postings appear periodically and will be noted in the title as “Ag-note.”

For our first Ag-note (linked below), OSU students DeVaughn Davis, Nathaniel Kinney, Kristy Payne, and Dalton Shipley share an economic perspective on the comparison of Continue reading

Multiflora Rose Problems in Pastures? Control it Now!

– Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State Extension Associate, Weed Science

It’s the right time to be scouting and managing multiflora rose in your pasture. Photo credit: Penn State Extension

As spring progresses, multiflora rose aggressively grows and eventually blooms in late May/early June. Several tactics can be used to control this problem weed and these methods will be briefly discussed.

Mechanical control methods include mowing, which requires repeated mowings per season for several years, and excavating, which involves pulling individual plants from the soil with heavy equipment, can be costly, time-consuming and laborious. However, these are viable means for multiflora rose management. Also, management techniques which include Continue reading

Haying Pastures Likely Not the Cure for Depleted Forage Supplies

– Travis Meteer, University of Illinois Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture, Orr Agricultural R&D Center

Severely tight hay reserves will undoubtedly cause many farmers to aggressively put up hay this spring. When the weather is right and hay fields are mowed there will be many farmers looking over the fence at pastures as an opportunity to make more bales. While it is important to get hay reserves built back up on your farm, I would caution producers against baling pastures.

Forage harvested from pasture fields isn’t free feed!

Illinois is not home to many pasture-rich cattlemen. Thus, baling pastures will likely rob forage that could be consumed by cows during the grazing season. Cows harvesting pasture is much more efficient than a mechanical harvest. The last thing any farmer wants to do is bale grass in the spring to feed it in the summer.

Next, taking hay off of pastures is not free. For each ton of dry hay baled, approximately 40 lbs. of Nitrogen (N), 20 lbs. of Phosphorus (P2O5), and 50 lbs. of Potassium (K2O) are removed. Using current fertilizer costs, the total nutrient value of hay harvested per ton would be around Continue reading

Pastures May Need Extra Management This Year!

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Forage is maturing exponentially fast. Extra management may be needed this year to maintain quality and production . . .

I am running a bit late this month. What can I say; busy times. May was a very interesting month. Forages went from barely growing, to boot stage, to seed production in what it seemed about ten days. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen forages jump quite like this. We were shy on growing degree days up to that point, then with ample sunshine and some heat, there was “compensatory” growth.

Forages were stressed this spring. Though I have seen some really nice pastures and hay fields this year, those numerous cloudy and cool days earlier this year have Continue reading