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 one way to extend the grazing season and minimize winter hay feeding. Tall Fescue is renowned for stockpiling because of its inherent ability to maintain high levels of nutrients during the winter months. Stockpiling fescue in the fall is fairly simple. First, the designated area is mowed or grazed down to three to four inches in late July to early August. If the stand is relatively uniform, some choose to apply 40 to 100 lbs of nitrogen to improve forage growth. Then, grazing is deferred to allow the forage to accumulate until late fall/early winter when other available forage becomes limiting. It is strip grazed until the target residual is achieved when forage is 2 to 3 inches tall. It is not grazed again until new growth occurs next spring. Properly fertilized stockpiled tall fescue will usually maintain 10 to 14% crude protein and 55 to 65% TDN, with quality declining from November through February. As fescue leaves turn from green to brown, nutrition from the plant decreases thus grazing earlier in the winter is recommended.
Brassicas (including turnips, rape, kale, and swedes) are highly productive, digestible forbs that contain relatively high levels of crude protein. Animals will readily consume the tops and will also grub the root bulbs out of the ground. Dry matter yield depends upon soil type, fertility, time of seeding, and precipitation.
If hay is stored and fed properly, hay loss can be minimized. Total losses from hay storage and feeding are estimated to exceed three billion dollars annually nationwide. This does not include additional economic losses associated with labor used to store and feed hay. While it is normal to expect some hay loss during feeding, minimizing hay feeding losses should be a primary producer goal.
January 12-14, 2014
2014 Kentucky Small Ruminant Grazing Conference
February 1, 2014
Fayette County Extension Office
2014 Kentucky Grazing School [program]
May 21-22, 2014
C. Oran Little Research Center
Woodford County Extension Office
34th Kentucky Alfalfa Conference
February 20, 2014
WKU Expo Center
Bowling Green, KY