Grazing cows produce milk with more favorable characteristics from a human health perspective than do cows on silage or high concentrate diets. That is the message that Dr. Anjo Elgersma shared with a group of dairy producers from the Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council and in Wisconsin in late October last year.
The most effective use of pastures does not just happen. Foresight and planning are necessary. At the end of January, I taught a session about evaluating hay quality and use of hay in beef cattle rations at a Hocking County beef school. Farmers had submitted samples of their hay, mostly first cutting, for lab quality […]
Extending the grazing season, maximizing forage utilization and reducing the need for winter hay feeding can improve farm profitability of any ruminant animal production system.
We often talk about forage quality factors such as percent protein and amount of total digestible nutrients when we look at how good a forage is for a particular group of livestock and if it meets their nutritional needs. Seldom however, are vitamins and minerals in a forage for beef cows even mentioned in the […]
For me, December has always been a time of reflection. It is the end of the year and I take time to look over my records to see what went well, what flopped and what I still need to work on. One set of records I have access to are the pasture measurements from the […]
Livestock grazing management strategies can be used to protect those good sod base paddocks.
The month of December is a great time to plan. We have the opportunity to make changes to the 2010 year and plan for 2011. When I think of 2010, two things come to mind for me. First, what worked and what went wrong? Next, is there anything that can be done to improve the […]
In our Pasture For Profit grazing schools we talk about pasture management in terms of keeping pasture plants actively growing and matching livestock nutrient needs to plant growth stage. But now its winter and the plants aren’t growing, so what does winter pasture management entail? I want graziers to think about winter pasture management in […]
Testing the nutrient value of forage is a valuable tool that can be utilized to balance livestock rations. Guessing the nutrient content of a major feed ingredient such as hay or silage can be costly to livestock producers.
With summer grazing giving way for fall and winter management over the next few weeks, it is time to take inventory of the forage available for your livestock. Along with the forage, the ability to access clean water is more important than usual this year. Available forage includes the grasses and legumes currently in your […]
As a little boy on our farm in Morgan County, I could identify orchardgrass, bromegrass, alfalfa and clover, but never heard of fescue. Then fescue moved in. I’m sure it was a combination of things. It was probably the spreading of fescue from reclamation projects and the fertility of the farm going down when it […]
What kind of grades would you get for managing your grazing system if there were report cards for graziers? Would you be satisfied with “D’s”? At a recent Athens Area grazing council meeting, host Curt Cline talked about a grazier’s report card. According to Curt, D’s are what graziers should strive for in grading their […]
Now that summer is under way, many producers are finishing first cutting hay and preparing to make second cutting. As rotational graziers, however, we should already be thinking about preparations for the fall and winter and how we will feed our livestock after forage growth has stopped. Stockpiling While it may be a little early […]
I have written in the past about dealing with forage quality when it is raining every day and when we have been short on rain for extended periods of time. It seems like this year many of us are falling in the “raining every day since hay season started” end of the spectrum. Quality vs. […]
How can farmers deal with making hay and getting it dry between rains? This is a challenge at times, but there are some proven techniques to speed drying that can help shorten the window between cutting and storing the forage.
We are at a stage now where we can affect grazing for the season. Right now, our fields are finishing up their “reproductive” stage of growth as our grasses are setting seed heads and our legumes are blooming. After they set seed, perennial plants transition from the reproductive stage to the vegetative stage. Up to […]
>I had an opportunity to travel with the Ohio State University Extension sheep team to Australia March 24 –April 9. Our group of 17 consisted of sheep farmers, extension educators, and extension specialists. Australia visit. We had the opportunity to visit a number of sheep farms, a few dairy farms, a couple of vineyards and […]
The ground has firmed tremendously in our area the last two weeks and warm temperatures have launched grass growth again in most fields so that pasture rotations may be started. As daylight lengthens, weather warms and pastures grow, farm managers should be aware of the term hypomagnesemia or “grass tetany.” Turning cows or sheep out […]
Local pastures have been repeatedly stressed over the past few years. The forage plants have struggled to survive the extremely dry weather a couple of summers ago, to extremely wet seasons, including flooding in some areas, to below normal temperatures for an extended period of time this past winter. Let us also not forget the […]
The time to plant may be now. With weather like we are having, you may think this is a crazy statement, but it is time to sow seed in our pasture and hay fields. Frost seeding There is a method called “frost seeding” where you apply seed to the ground and the freezing and thawing […]