Let me paint you a winter pasture management picture. Here sits our grazier, indoors next to a cozy wood stove fire while the farm’s livestock graze contentedly on stockpiled forages and… what? Oh yeah, that’s right, once again we had a dry fall period and instead of being able to stockpile forage growth, we actually […]
Winter is here, are you ready? The single largest expense of keeping livestock is winter feeding costs. Winter feed costs will be expensive this year considering forage and grain prices. Livestock owners can reduce and minimize the cost with a little planning. Reduce costs It sounds strange but feeding low quality hay now might be […]
The lack of adequate rainfall in our area this summer and fall left many producers with less forage than they would like, but that doesn’t mean they are all feeding hay yet. If you do not have forage left for livestock to graze at this time of year you may want to reconsider some of […]
As the lazy, hazy days of summer have been replaced by Jack Frost and thoughts of sugar plums dancing in our heads, our farm chores are also changing. Pasture growth has slowed down and may be stopped for all practical purposes, however our livestock still have daily needs to be met. Our efforts in managing […]
Fall is in the air and Jack Frost will certainly arrive soon. Each year after the first hard frost, I usually answer phone calls from forage producers who are very concerned about the dangers of feeding frosted forages. A very few, but certainly not all, of our forages can be extremely toxic soon after a […]
October signals the coming end to our pasture-growing season. In some cases the growing season equals the grazing season. When pasture growth ends, so does the grazing. However, for those graziers who have managed their pastures and watched over pasture health, the grazing season extends beyond the growing season.
How has fertilizer prices impacted forage production on your farm? How do you think fertilizer prices will influence your production in the future? Can you afford to spread fertilizer on hay and pasture fields these days? Are you sure you can afford not to spread fertilizer on your fields? How are farmers going to be […]
If you don’t make the management decisions for your farm, who will?
Late summer can be an excellent time to establish new forage stands. It is also a good time to seed in bare or thin spots in stands established this spring. While we can’t control the weather, there are several things we can control that will improve the chances for successful forage stand establishment. First, apply […]
Summer grazing management is generally about slowing paddock rotations and providing the grass plant with an adequate recovery period before another grazing pass is made. As if that were not enough of a management challenge, the pasture-based sheep and goat producer faces another twist on top of that. They must also manage summer grazing schedules […]
The high cost of fuel and animal feed make it more important than ever to get all you can out of your pasture. How do you start to improve your pasture? Take a pasture assessment — what species of grass and legumes are growing? What we currently have growing in our pastures matches our soil […]
Salt is an item commonly used in livestock feed rations and because it’s used so regularly, it is easy to forget the importance of it in the diet. Salt is the best source of both sodium and chloride, which all farm animals need. Important nutrients Sodium constitutes a very high percentage of the basic mineral […]
Everyone seems to like to talk about the weather and farmers probably lead the pack in a lot of those discussions. It is either too dry like last summer, or too wet like this winter, or too cold to get the plants growing, or too hot to have the livestock out in the fields. In […]
Many producers are looking for ways to improve their pasture yields. The good news is that there are several things that can be done. You can improve pasture fertility. You could plant improved forage varieties. You can manage the grazing of a pasture by removing the livestock before the grazed plants regrow. When you remove […]
It was a rough winter for many hay fields in northern Ohio. Considering the stressful conditions last year, followed by a cold and wet winter, it is not surprising that many forage stands took a beating this winter. Alfalfa fields seem to be the hardest hit. The 2007 Easter freeze followed by very dry conditions […]
The high cost of fertilizers has led some graziers to conclude that they can no longer afford to fertilize their pastures. Forage has now become an expensive feed. With hay prices expected to remain high in the foreseeable future, forage produced in a pasture situation becomes more valuable, as well. The question might well be: […]
Fertilizer prices are extremely high at this time. How do we economically stimulate pasture growth throughout the growing season? In general, nitrogen has the greatest potential to influence pasture production, or dry matter production. The economics of nitrogen application can be influenced by many factors, such as legume content, temperature, soil moisture content, grass species, […]
If you’re like me, it doesn’t take you long to count the number of hay bales you have remaining for this year’s winter feed.
Spring is just around the corner and the time to get serious about pasture and hayland planting or reseeding is here. With memories of last summer’s drought and the consequences that resulted from less available forage than normal fresh on our minds, the time to take action to increase this year’s forage production is now. […]
If you have not yet adopted management intensive grazing, you should now. At the end of 2007, I figured I would be spending my winter talking about how to evaluate and renovate pastures after the drought. Boy, was I wrong.