First published in The Journal on September 19, 2022.
Last Thursday the East Central Grazing Alliance visited Randy Depuy’s farm in Caldwell for a pasture walk and it was a wonderful event of social and educational enrichment. It was one of my first in-person events since returning from maternity leave and it was refreshing to be with a captive audience to talk about forages and grazing.
For those that were unable to attend, here are some of the key points from my presentation on fall grazing tips. They are they divided into recommendations for established forages and new seedings.
Cool-Season Forage Mixes-
If stockpiling pasture for fall/winter grazing, stop grazing by the end of July. Then fertilize with a maintenance amount of nitrogen early September. Begin grazing in the fall when sufficient growth has occurred. Leave at least 3-inch residual after grazing.
Warm-Season Forage Mixes-
Stop grazing by early-September leaving 8-inches of stubble. Apply maintenance fertilizer as needed after the last grazing event. Allow theses forages to rest and regrow until May.
Recently Seeded Forages*:
Late-Summer/Fall Seeded Perennial Forage Mixes-
These forages should not be harvested, clipped, or grazed until the following year (spring). It is usually best to do the first harvest mechanically. Do not graze these plantings until soils are firm.
Annual Small Grains-
Harvest/Graze before the early heading stage. Grazing can begin at 6 inches. Leave 3-inch stubble if expecting regrowth. Do not graze when the plants are frozen if you are expecting spring regrowth.
Begin grazing these forages about 80 days after seeding through 150-180 days after seeding or as it lasts. These forages are ideal for strip grazing. You can rotationally graze if 6-inch stubble remains. Provide adequate fiber to animals at all times to prevent digestive upset.
Annual Warm-Season Grasses-
Harvest/Graze before seed heads form. Grazing can begin at 18 inches for most types. Leave 8-inch stubble for most types. Do not graze if expecting a freeze. Wait a week after a freezing event to graze again to avoid issues with prussic acid and/or nitrate poisoning.
*This advice does not apply to horses. Do not graze horses on any of the forages listed under “recently seeded forages”. For additional recommendations on fall grazing for horses, talk one on one with Christine by calling 740-305-3173 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.