Multi-species grazing is the practice of using two or more livestock species together or separately on the same pasture-land in a specific growing season. With an understanding of the different grazing behaviors of each species, various combinations of animals can be used to more efficiently utilize the forages in a pasture. Different species of livestock prefer different forages and graze them to different heights. Cattle tend to be intermediate grazers. They graze grasses and legumes and bite with their mouth and tongue. Sheep and horses graze closer to the ground than cattle.
In this edition of Forage Focus, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County is joined by Clifton Martin, OSU Extension- ANR Educator for Muskingum County, for a segment on “Getting to Know Your Weeds.” Clifton and Christine will identify weeds commonly found in Ohio pastures and hay fields, and address the principles of managing them.
With the combination of sunny warm days and more than adequate rainfall received so far in May, grasses and legumes in our hayfields are beginning to flower. Which means, according to our knowledge of grass maturity and forage quality, it’s already time to make hay. If the weather will cooperate, that is.
Dr. Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist, The Ohio State University
Dr. Bill Weiss, Dairy Nutrionist, The Ohio State University
Many forage stands were damaged this past winter, and the wet spring has further deteriorated stands that appeared they might recover. It is now too risky to try to establish perennial forages, with the warmer summer weather at our doorstep. We should wait until August to establish perennial stands. Meanwhile, what options can we consider for growing forage this year?
– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist (Sourced from the OSU BEEF Team Newsletter)
took the time to walk through most of my pastures a few days ago. I recommend doing this fairly often to keep a mental forage inventory. It is best to record the findings. Some use fancy electronic data sheets, some track on paper charts, some just have notes in their pocket datebook or smart phone. I use a combination. I like the paper charts for long term planning, but for a quick assessment, I like a white board.
More residual left and more rest; more roots, more production and animal performance
– Chris Penrose, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Morgan County (originally published in the Ohio Cattleman, Expo issue)
For those with pastured livestock, this past winter is one we would like to forget, but damage done is preventing that from occurring. Many farmers talked about the loss of livestock due to the wet weather and mud. To make matters worse, more hay had to be fed to deal with the additional stress on animals from the muddy conditions. The result was animals in a lower body condition and fields in a mess from livestock, feeding hay in the fields, and equipment trying to get hay to livestock.
– Chris Penrose, Extension Educator, Ag and Natural Resources, Morgan County
Originally posted on the BEEF Newsletter
One goal I have had with livestock grazing over the years is to start as soon as I can. I put spring calving cows on stockpiled grass in early March to calve with the hope of not having to feed any more hay. Many years this works but not this year, grass is just starting to grow. The stockpile is about gone and I have started feeding them some more hay but hope to move the group with the fall calving cows this weekend. I then plan on starting a fast rotation around many of the paddocks and hay fields which is actually later than many years.
– Dwight Lingenfelter, Extension Associate, Weed Science, Penn State and William S. Curran,Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Weed Science, Penn State
Fall is an excellent time to manage biennial and perennial weeds. In particular, biennials such as common burdock, wild carrot, and bull, musk, and plumeless thistles are much easier to kill while they are in the rosette stage of growth, prior to surviving a winter. Once biennials start growth in the spring they rapidly develop with the goal of reproducing and it becomes more difficult to control them.
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.