Utilizing Corn Stalks and Extending the Grazing Season

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Corn stalks can be an option to allow more time for more forage growth.

The older I get, the more I tend to philosophize about things. I’ve been asked a few times why I am such an advocate for sound grazing practices. Best management grazing practices, just like conservation practices for reducing or preventing soil erosion on cropland, help preserve and or regenerate resources not only for present generation, but also for future generations. Keeping a field in forages will save more soil and conserve more water than almost all other erosion control practices. As the world population continues to increase and the acres of viable land that we can grow food on continues to decrease, we have to be more efficient and more productive with what remains while also maintaining and improving water quality. Food quality and nutrient density need to also improve.

I’ll refrain from getting too deep and prevent you from possibly thinking you need to put on Continue reading

Get After the Weeds Yet This Fall

Mark Landefeld, Extension Educator, Monroe County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

Left: no herbicide, Right: dicamba. Label requires livestock be removed from treated fields at least 30 days before slaughter. No waiting period between application and grazing for non-lactating animals. Don’t graze lactating dairy animals for 7 to 60 days after application, depending upon rate applied. Always read herbicide labels for restrictions.

You may not want to put the sprayer away for winter just yet. Weeds can be a problem that reduce quality, quantity and stand life of our forages. We generally think of battling weeds in the spring or early summer, as crops begin to grow, because we naturally want to reduce competition for our forage crops. However, the best time to control many winter annuals, biennials and cool season perennial weeds is mid/late-September through early November.

Highly productive pastures and hay fields do not happen just by accident. Good grazing management, weed and pest control, nutrient management and properly timed harvests all have an important role. Weeds often reduce the palatability of forages and certain weed species are potentially poisonous to grazing livestock making plant identification even more important.

The Ohio State University Extension Weed Control Guide (Bulletin 789) suggests the best way to control weeds in established stands Continue reading

Pasture and Forage Weed Control; Mow or Spray?

Clif Little, OSU Extension Educator (Discussion of herbicides in this publication is strictly for educational purposes)

It is important to remember that each herbicide varies in terms of target weed response. In other words, herbicides vary in ability to kill specific weeds and always refer to product labels prior to use. Always wear the personal protective equipment recommended on the product label. Be aware of product restrictions and recommendations relating to the environment, sensitive crops, and bees. To properly apply herbicides it is important to calibrate the sprayer and utilize the correct nozzle. When a label permits, utilizing surfactants may improve the effectiveness of herbicide application. Be aware of water quality issues that may affect herbicide performance and spray product soon after mixing since solution pH may change reducing formulation effectiveness.

Other useful tools are University pasture and hay weed response tables that rate overall product response to various weeds. In addition, weed response can vary based on stage of plant growth and timing of herbicide application. Prior to selecting a herbicide be sure to Continue reading

Forage Focus: Is it a Weed, or Wildflower?

This month on the Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, talks about Weeds versus Wildflowers. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and many have differing opinions on what is actually a “weed” and what is a “wildflower.” Christine shares examples pointing out differences between being weeds and wildflowers.

Soil Compaction When Grazing in a Wet Summer

– Sjoerd Willem Duiker, Ph.D., CCA, Associate Professor of Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics, Penn State

Calves grazing in warm season annuals as part of the USDA-NRCS Management Intensive Grazing demonstration at Ag Progress Days (S. Duiker)

Two weeks ago at Ag Progress Days I participated in a Management Intensive Grazing demonstration with USDA-NRCS Grazing and Soil Conservation Specialists. It rained much of Tuesday, after which it became sunny on Wednesday and was dry on Thursday. The soil of our grazing demo was an Andover poorly drained channery silt loam soil on an 8-15% slope. This soil has a shallow fragipan which is almost impervious to water, so it has a seasonally high water table. In fact, water was still standing in some pockets of the field while cattle were grazing. Half of our field was in a tall fescue/ orchardgrass sod that had been in place for many decades, while others were sod that had been terminated last year and planted in summer annuals for our demonstration. We managed this half as no-till. In early July of last year we planted a highly diverse mixture of summer annuals in this field (Iron and Clay Cowpeas, AS 6501 Sorghum Sudangrass, Daikon Radish, Wonderleaf Hybrid Pearl Millet, AS6401 Sorghum Sudangrass, Peredovik Sunflower and T-Raptor Hybrid Brassica), which was followed by a spring triticale/spring pea mix this spring that was terminated with glyphosate, after which we planted different summer grazing mixes in this field.

Here are some of the take home lessons for managing Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Don’t Forget to Rest Your Roots!

Ted Wiseman, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Perry County (Previously published in Farm and Dairy)

Overgrazing in the fall reduces the plant’s rate of carbohydrate production, potentially reducing root regeneration before winter.

Fall pasture management is a critical period for pastures. For many of us we have had adequate rainfall up until recently and pastures have done well to this point. As we transition into late summer and early fall it is critical to pay close attention to your forages. Some pastures may be stockpiled, but those intended to be grazed this fall still need time to rest. It’s very tempting to use those forages that green up late in the fall. Management decisions made this fall will greatly impact forage growth next year.

During the fall, forages are doing a couple of things, such as root regeneration and forming new shoots or growing points. We only see the growing leaves of the plants; one must consider the other half of the plant which is below ground. During the growing season, the leaves are feeding the entire plant. If we remove too much of the leaves we are reducing the Continue reading

Posted in Pasture

Is That Tree or Shrub Poisonous? What You Don’t Want Your Cattle to Eat (Part II)

– Michelle Arnold, DVM (Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, UKVDL) and a special thanks to JD Green, PhD (Extension Professor (Weed Scientist), UK Plant and Soil Sciences Department)

Poisonous trees and shrubs are responsible for considerable losses in livestock although producers are often somewhat familiar with their potential for harm. Wilted wild cherry tree leaves, hedge trimmings from Japanese Yew (Taxus species), acorns and buckeyes are common causes of illness and death in Kentucky cattle every year. The potential for poisoning depends on the availability, type and quantity of the toxin within the leaves, seeds and sometimes the bark of the tree or shrub. A majority of the time, cattle will not consume them unless pasture is limited due to drought or overgrazing or they are baled up in hay. However, if cattle have access to hedge trimmings carelessly thrown over a fence or a cherry tree loses a limb during a thunderstorm, cattle may quickly eat enough to result in death despite having plenty of pasture available. Usually large quantities are required to cause problems (as is the case with buckeyes) but some plants, such as Japanese Yew, are deadly with just a few mouthfuls. Plant (tree, shrub or weed) poisoning should be considered a possibility in cattle on pasture with a sudden onset of unexplained symptoms such as diarrhea, salivation or slobbering, muscle weakness, trembling, incoordination, staggering, collapse, severe difficulty breathing or Continue reading

What’s a Grazier to Do in August?

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Should I hay it, or graze it?

August often seems to arrive too early and speeds by way too fast. Mentally to me, August 1st starts the countdown to the first frosty morning. That time frame, depending on where you are in Indiana, is generally 60-75 days. There is a lot to do in that time frame.

My first consideration is staging forages. I hope that you are constantly thinking ahead, planning the next move and knowing where, what, and how much forage is available. It’s time to also start thinking about stockpiling forages for fall and winter use.

What fields are going to be Continue reading

Beef and Forage Field Night

This year, in addition to researchers from The Ohio State University (OSU) showcasing their research, field night attendees will have the option to receive certification for Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) at the Beef and Forage Field Night at the Jackson Agricultural Research Station on August 23 from 5 – 8:30 p.m. Field night participants will be able to view the research plots and attend sessions that qualify for BQA certification. The research station is located at 019 Standpipe Rd., Jackson, OH 45640.

Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. with BQA subject areas. Dr. Steve Boyles, Department of Animal Sciences, OSU, will Continue reading

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