Articles on forages, animals, and grazing systems
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Extension Forage Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-3358
Fax: (859) 323-1952
Stockpiling forage is the practice of removing animals from a pasture in August to allow plant regrowth, and then later graze these areas in the late fall and early winter. This will extend the grazing season later into the fall and early winter reducing the amount of hay or other stored forages fed. Additional forage growth can be achieved with application of nitrogen fertilizer. However, it must first be determined whether the value of additional grazing days exceeds the cost of fertilizing. Dr. Greg Halich, Farm Management Specialist, discusses the economic considerations in a recent publication Profitability of Nitrogen Applications for Stockpiling Tall Fescue Pastures 2013 Guide. In this article, economic analyses of stockpiling tall fescue are performed to help producers identify situations in which applying nitrogen to late summer pastures will be profitable. This article can be found at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/cmspubsclass/files/ProfitabilityStockpilingTallFescuePastures2013.pdf.
A brief summary of this publication follows.
Assuming a medium nitrogen response rate, nitrogen applications based on $0.65/unit of nitrogen and $80/ton of hay resulted in savings of $25 and $40 per acre in pure-fescue stands with applications of 40 or 80 units of nitrogen, respectively. Alternatively, if one assumes a high response rate, nitrogen applications resulted in savings of $45 and $75 per acre per units of 40 and 80, respectively. When the price of hay was lowered to $60/ton, savings with a medium response rate fell to $15/acre for both the 40 and 80 unit applications. For the high response rate, savings fell to $30 for the 40 unit application and $45 for the 80 unit application. Refer to Table 1 to determine your appropriate response rate. Mixed fescue-clover stands showed low savings. Applying nitrogen in mixed stands is generally not recommended due to potential low response.
More information on stockpiling tall fescue can be viewed at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/grazer/August_2013_Identify_Fields_for_Stockpiling.php
Table 1 – Recommended N Response Rating
Soil Moisture Conditions
Note: N should be applied by mid-August for maximum effectiveness. Use appropriately lower N response rating for later applications.
Based on consultations with faculty at the University of Kentucky, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.
Areas which receive adequate rainfall will have the best response (growth) to nitrogen applications. This table is to help producers decide which nitrogen response rate is most appropriate for their soil type and moisture.