Sit back, relax and educate yourself


It’s that time of year. We’ve made it through another growing season and can sit back and relax, well, almost.

We’ve had a few extra weeks of nice weather and are still getting a little growth on the grass. This should mean a little less hay feeding this winter.

I took advantage of the opportunity, earlier this fall, to stockpile some forages. So, I should be set through the end of the year or maybe even a little longer. I put on the to-do list this time of year is to take soil samples.


And with the nice field conditions, there should be time to put on any needed lime. And since I am already out in the field, I might as well put on my list to head over to the barn and take some hay samples.

It’s always good to know what I am feeding the cows. This also means that I’ll be crunching the numbers on rations in the next few weeks. After I get all of the rations figure, I may even have enough extra hay that I can sell some.

Since I took the time to do my hay samples, I should be able to charge a little higher price. With all those things needing to be done, I am still trying to find time to sit back and relax.


I do know that the sun will be going down earlier. That will give me an excuse to go into the house a little earlier. After dinner, I will probably sit down in the easy chair, reach over into the basket that holds all of the farm magazines and start looking at the seed catalogues.

There are a few holes in my forage stand that need to be fixed in the coming year. I am going to have to add a red clover to the mix. Luckily, I also work for The Ohio University and remembered to bring home my seed trial information.

You can get it at http://www.oardc.ohio- or go into your local extension office and ask for it

I know that it doesn’t have every seed variety out there, but I do know that I can trust the guys who did the research. It makes it a lot easier to make an informed decision on what to plant.

Looking at the seed catalogues reminded me of a conversation that I had with retired grazing specialist Bob Hendershot a few weeks ago.


He mentioned that they were having some problems out west with the clover crop. There might not be as much seed available as I thought. I had better add a call to my seed dealer early next year to my to-do list.

This got me to thinking about the sheer number of varieties of forages available. Gone are the days when farmers just raised tall bluegrass or some native grasses.

Nowadays, there seems to be so many choices with all of the varieties of orchardgrass, timothy, novel endophyte fescues and ryegrasses.

Then you add in your winter annuals and legumes and the choices can be overwhelming.


It is reassuring to know that as all of these varieties expand, so does the research at all of the land grant universities.

And if you can’t quite figure it all out, there is always an extension agent just a phone call away. To be honest, I had to educate myself on many of the cool season grasses over the last several years after moving north to join The Ohio State Extension team.

Educating myself always seems to be on my to-do list. After pondering all these things, I am brought back to my original thought; it’s nice, this time of year, to be able to sit back and relax. At least long enough to enjoy the family and a good Thanksgiving meal.


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Ed Brown is the OSU Extension agriculture and natural resources educator in Athens County. Send questions or comments to or write in c/o Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.



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