University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Welcome to the Master Grazer Educational Program

-an educational program to improve grazing practices in beef, dairy, goat and sheep herds


Grazing News Articles

Articles on forages, animals, and grazing systems

Additional Resources


Extension Publications


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Master Grazer Educational Program reports to KY Ag Development Fund Board:

2015 Second Quarter Report
2015 First Quarter Report
2013-2014 Bi-annual Report
2012 Annual Accomplishments
2011 Annual Accomplishments




Austin Sexten

Master Grazer Coordinator
804 W.P. Garrigus Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY
(859) 257-7512

Faculty Coordinators:

Dr. Ray Smith

Extension Forage Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-3358
Fax: (859) 323-1952  

Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips

Extension Dairy Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-7542
Fax: (859) 257-7537  

Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler

Extension Beef Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-2853
Fax: (859) 257-3412  


Pulling Livestock off Alfalfa


Alfalfa is arguably the most important forage legume in the US, with Kentucky having about 350,000 acres of alfalfa. Alfalfa is high in protein and has the highest yield potential and feeding value of all perennial forage legumes. These qualities lend to its versatility and allow it to be used for grazing, or preserved as hay, silage, or green-chop.


Managing alfalfa is important to increase the odds for a successful stand and regrowth each season. With fall approaching, established alfalfa needs to be given a rest period to ensure survival through the winter. The goal is for alfalfa to enter winter dormancy with plenty of root reserves.


To accomplish this goal, livestock should be moved off alfalfa pastures by September 15th and not returned for grazing again until after a killing frost (below 24o F). If grazing occurs after a light frost, root reserves mobilized to support new growth may not have time to be replenished. This will reduce the rate of regrowth and yield the following spring. The same concept applies when harvesting alfalfa for hay rather than grazing. Make the last summer cutting before September 15th and do not harvest again until after a killing frost.


It’s important to have alternative forages available to feed while alfalfa pastures rest in the fall. Feasible options during this time include cool-season pasture grasses or other forage crops such as turnips and small grains. Plan ahead for future plantings to ensure forage is available for grazing.


In addition to the fall rest period, consider the following recommendations for fall management of alfalfa: For more information on managing alfalfa, the following publications may be useful: Alfalfa: The Queen of Forage Crops, located at and Grazing Alfalfa,