Short-season forages planted in late summer can be sources of highly digestible fiber in ruminant livestock rations. There are several excellent forage options that can be considered for no-till or conventional tillage plantings in the late summer or early fall planting window. These forages can be a planned component of the overall forage production plan. They can be utilized on land that would otherwise sit idle until next spring, such as following wheat or an early corn silage harvest.
Oat or Spring Triticale silage
These cereal forages can be planted for silage beginning the last week of July and into early September. Dry matter yields of 1.5 to 3 tons per acre (about 5 to 5.5 tons at 30 to 35% DM) of chopped silage are possible if planted in late July to early August. Harvesting between late boot, or early heading, will optimize quality. Yields will be lower for plantings made in early September, in which case late autumn grazing would be a more viable option.
Potential feed value of oat silage can be similar to mid-bloom alfalfa. As a grass, maximum inclusion rates in diets for animals with high nutritional demand (e.g. lactating cows) are less than those for alfalfa, but it is a very acceptable feed. Continue reading →
2019 was certainly a challenging year in Ohio in terms of both row crop and forage production. However, many of the acres left vacant due to prevented planting of corn and soybeans were available to be planted to annual forages that are often more commonly called ‘cover crops.’ This allowed OSU Extension Educators Al Gahler, Jason Hartschuh and Garth Ruff to take a close look at the productivity and feed quality of several different late planted annual forages throughout 2019.
They presented their findings at both the 2020 Ohio Beef Cow/Calf Workshop and again at the Ag Madness presentations during the COVID-19 quarantine earlier this spring. This video exhibits what they found while exploring those late planted annual forages.
By: Dr. David Barker, Professor – Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University
Dry weather in recent weeks throughout Ohio has raised several questions about how pastures should be managed during drought. Although the experts don’t all agree if this period of dry weather meets the definition of a drought (yet), there is no doubt that pasture growth will slow to zero. How should we be grazing our pastures in mid-summer?
Unfortunately, without rain or irrigation pastures will not grow, and close grazing will exaggerate this effect. Leaf removal by grazing (or mowing) results in a roughly similar proportion of root death. During moist conditions, roots can recover quite quickly, however, grazing during drought will reduce water uptake due to root loss. As a general rule of thumb, grazing below 2 or 3 inches will accelerate drought effects on pastures, and also, slow recovery once rain does come. Of course, optimum grazing height and management varies with pasture species. As summer progresses into fall we will increase pasture grazing heights and leave more residual, while increasing resting periods. More leaf means less water runoff.
Watch for endophyte poisoning on tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. Drought can result in a triple whammy in respect to endophyte i) ergovaline (the toxic alkaloid) levels are elevated compared to spring, ii) livestock graze nearer the base of plants where endophyte and alkaloids are the most concentrated, and iii) seed-heads typically have higher alkaloid levels than leaves. It would be best to utilize other forages during this period of growth, such as annual warm-season grasses or legumes where possible. You might also consider feeding hay or grain. Continue reading →
First and second cutting hay yields are being reported as lower than usual in many areas of Ohio this year. Forages took a hit from the late freezes and cold weather this spring, followed by dry weather after first cutting. Fortunately, hay quality is much better than usual.
If forage inventories are going to be short, emergency forages that can still be planted this summer include the warm-season annual grasses planted by mid-July as well as oat, spring triticale, and Italian ryegrass planted during the last week of July into early August. All those forages will be best harvested as silage/haylage or grazed. Brassica crops (turnip, turnip hybrids, rape) can be planted in early August for grazing in late autumn.
Soil moisture is the big concern for any forage planting now. Much of the state is already seeing dry soils and temperatures are high, so the general outlook for seed germination of any kind is not promising right now. The decision to plant or not will have to be made for each individual field, considering soil moisture and the rain forecast. Rainfall/soil moisture in the few weeks immediately after seeding is the primary factor affecting successful establishment of any crop. Continue reading →
Source: Farm Journal Content Services. Previously published by Drovers online.
It’s hard to believe that silage harvest is just a few months away. Starting the planning process now can make the entire process go much smoother when it arrives. Following are planning tips from Luiz Ferraretto, assistant professor and ruminant nutrition extension specialist at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Start with supplies that will be needed throughout the process. Consider how much you’ll need, which brands to purchase and where to purchase them.
Plastic covering. Your silage can be enclosed with a plastic covering for up to nine months, depending on inventory, so buy a good product even though it may not the cheapest. If you’ve found a certain brand is prone to punctures, it’s time to go shopping. Producers may also want to include an oxygen-limiting barrier that is laid down before the plastic layer. The barrier can reduce respiration loss and ultimately fermentation loss.
Inoculant. Now is a good time to buy your microbial inoculant. Don’t forget that the microbes in an inoculant are living and temperature sensitive. To maintain the microbes’ viability, avoid leaving the inoculant in your truck. Take it right back to the farm and store it in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use your inoculant, don’t leave it out in the sun and mix it with cold water. If you have downtime in the field, try to find a shady area to limit the opportunity for the mixture to heat up.
Fungicide applications significantly reduced the presence of rust.
Oats is traditionally planted as the first crop in early April as a grain crop or an early season forage. One of the beauties of oats is its versatility in planting date. Oats can also be planted in the summer as an early fall forage for harvest or grazing.
Summer oats has a wide planting window but performs much better with an application of nitrogen and may benefit from a fungicide application to improve quality. During the summer of 2019 we conducted a study to examine the planting of oats from July 15th through early September to examine tonnage and forage quality. Through this trial we examined planting date, yield, forage quality and an application of foliar fungicide to control oats crown rust.
Usually the best scenario for growing oats for forage is to plant them into wheat stubble, which is normally available by mid-July at the latest. However, the typical recommendation is to plant oats between August 1st and 10th to maximize tonnage and quality, since the shorter day length triggers oats to grow more leaf instead of producing seed, but if planted too late in the year, there is not enough time for growth. The oats in this study were harvested between 60 and Continue reading →
Cressleaf Groundsel is in full flower currently in forage and unplanted fields across the state. While this is not a new weed prevalence has been increasing, causing concern for many livestock producers.
Cressleaf Groundsel is toxic to both cattle and horses. Cattle are 30-40 times more susceptible to poisoning than sheep or goats. Calves and younger cattle are more susceptible than older cattle, but it can be fatal at high enough doses to all age groups. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are the principle toxin in these plants. It is known to cause liver disease in cattle, producing symptoms such as listlessness, decreased appetite, depression, anorexia, diarrhea, and photosensitization in extreme cases. It also appears that this species has been responsible for abortions in cattle, making control of butterweed a necessity. Cattle that consumed 4 to 8% of their body weight in the green plant over a few days developed acute liver necrosis and died within 1 to 2 days. Cattle that ingested 0.15% of their body weight (fresh weight) of a species in the same genus as butterweed for a minimum of 20 days resulted in 100% mortality. Continue reading →
By: Jason Hartschuh and Allen Gahler, OSU Extension. Originally published by the Ohio Farmer Online
Oats is traditionally planted as the first crop in early April as a grain crop or an early-season forage. One of the beauties of oats is its versatility in planting date. Oats can also be planted in the summer as an early-fall forage for harvest or grazing.
Summer oats has a wide planting window but performs much better with an application of nitrogen, and it may benefit from a fungicide application to improve quality. During the summer of 2019, we conducted a study to examine the planting of oats from July 15 through early September to examine tonnage and forage quality. Through this trial, planting date, yield, forage quality and an application of foliar fungicide to control oats crown rust was examined. Continue reading →
By: Erica Lyon, OSU Extension Harrison & Jefferson Counties. Originally published by the Ohio Farmer online.
Now that we are getting into the summer months, moldy feed might not be on your mind right now, especially if your livestock are grazing. But now is a great time to be cognizant of the conditions that lead to moldy feed in the winter months. The conditions that forages are grown and harvested in can determine the risk of mold developing later in storage.
First, let’s talk about what mold is. When we say something appears “moldy,” it usually has a dusty or fuzzy appearance or seems off-color. Maybe it produces a certain moldy odor. While many microbes might be referenced when we say mold, it is usually one group of microbes that is causing the problem: fungi. Continue reading →
By: Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator, Wayne County
I have received several phone calls recently where the caller describes their hay; date baled, whether or not it got rained on before baling, general appearance, and sometimes smell. The question is how to best use this hay, is it suitable for horses or cows or sheep to eat? Physical evaluation of hay is useful to sort hay into general categories such as high, medium or low quality. To move beyond general categories and predict animal performance requires a forage chemical analysis. Continue reading →