Welcome to the Master Grazer Educational Program

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


Grazing News Articles

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

2017 First Quarter Report
2015-2016 Bi-Annual Report
2013-2014 Bi-annual Report
2012 Annual Accomplishments
2011 Annual Accomplishments




Zach Workman

Master Grazer Coordinator
821B W.P. Garrigus Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY
(859) 257-7512
E-mail: zewo222@uky.edu

Faculty Coordinators:

Dr. Ray Smith

Extension Forage Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-3358
Fax: (859) 323-1952  
Email: raysmith1@uky.edu

Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips

Extension Dairy Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-7542
Fax: (859) 257-7537  
Email: damaral@uky.edu

Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler

Extension Beef Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-2853
Fax: (859) 257-3412  
Email: jeff.lehmkuhler@uky.edu

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Articles by Categories


Weed Control | Fertility | Seedling/Establishment/Renovation | Extending the Grazing Season | Species/Varieties


Forage Related Disorders | Diseases | Grazing Considerations | Animal Management

Grazing Systems

Grazing Systems | Program Highlights | Farm Highlights | Grazing Schools | Seasonal Reminders | Environment | Cost Share Programs



Weed Control


Controlling Tall Ironweed and Horsenettle: Mike Setters

Weeds can cause the amount of forage available in a pasture to decrease if left unattended. Dr. Green worked with a Lewis County producer to control Tall Ironweed and Horsenettle in his pastures. The producer was very pleased with the outcome, and the results shown just how much weeds can impact the amount of forage in a pasture.


Weed of the Month- Nodding thistle

Nodding thistle are a problem in many Kentucky pastures. This article describes their growing season and what a plant looks like. You can control nodding thistle by using mechanical means, cultural practices, or chemical control methods. Dr. Green discusses how each method can be performed effectively in controlling nodding thistle.


Tips to Controlling Weeds in Grass Pastures

Using good pasture management practices can help eliminate weeds and unwanted plants in grass pastures and hayfields. To get the most quantity and quality from pastures, use management practices that encourage growth of a vigorous, dense stand of forage grasses and limit germination and growth of unwanted plants.


Buttercups in Grazed Pastures

One of the signs that spring has arrived is when the yellow flowers of buttercup begin to appear, but it’s during the winter months that the vegetative growth of buttercup takes place. As a cool season weed, this plant often flourishes in over grazed pasture fields with poor stands of desirable forages.


Tall Ironweed Control in Grazed Pastures

Tall ironweed (Vernonia altissma Nutt.) is one of the more commonly found weeds in grazed pasture fields and other non-cropland areas.




Timing Fertilizer and Pasture Yields

Many producers have already started planning pasture and hayfield fertilization. Pastures require nutrients to reach peak productivity.


Prepare Now for Optimum Pastures and Hayfields in 2017

Fall forage management practices set the stage for forage production next year. Soil testing, application of the appropriate type and amount of fertilizer, and reseeding when necessary can impact forage yields this next grazing.


Efficient Pasture Utilization

Increasing nitrogen in the soil has been shown to greatly increase pasture production. Nitrogen can be increased in pastures by incorporating nitrogen-fixing legumes into grass stands or by applying nitrogen fertilizer.


Soil Test to Determine Fertilizer Applications

Fertilizer is one of the main expenses in a productive grazing system. It is important to apply fertilizer and lime in accurate amounts for best forage production and financial and environmental reasons. Performing a soil test on pastures and utilizing the results to evaluate pasture fertility is strongly advised. Analysis of a soil sample will determine nutrient content of the soil including phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, manganese, copper, and zinc. Soil pH, organic matter, and exchangeable acidity will also be included in the results. These results are used to decide what to apply and how much to apply.


Fall Fertilizer Applications

Nitrogen application in late October to November can thicken forage stands, initiate spring growth earlier, and forages will remain greener into the fall and early winter.


Promote Early Grass Growth this Year

Applying nitrogen in mid-February to mid-April can promote early grass growth which can increase overall forage production and may reduce the use of stored feed.


Soil Test to Determine Fertilizer Applications

Fertilizer and lime should be applied in accurate amounts for best forage production and for financial and environmental reasons. Performing a soil test on pastures and utilizing the results to evaluate pasture fertility is strongly advised.





Dung beetles: underground allies

Dr. Lee Townsend has conducted research on these fascinating insects and has provided this article to show the benefits that they can provide to the livestock industry. Learn about the various types of dung beetles and the process they use to decompose manure.


Managing Spring Grass

Spring is here once again! Grass growth is starting to explode and amount of forage is starting to get ahead of your cattle’s needs. Attention to key practices can help you adapt.


Frost Seeding Clover: Just Do It!

Everyone is familiar with Nike’s ad campaign that encourages people to “JUST DO IT”. I am officially adopting this slogan for my 2017 Frost Seeding Campaign. Legumes are an essential part of a strong and healthy nitrogen cycle in grasslands.


The Value of Coated Seed- Ray Smith, UK Forage Specialist

UK Forage Specialist Dr. Ray Smith discusses the use of coatings on different forage seeds. He discusses the use and success of seed coatings along with results of recent research comparing coated and uncoated seeds. The use of seed coatings has gained in popularity in recent years with a variety of coatings for purposes such as seed flowability, early plant growth promotion, fungicides and many more.


Seeding Cool-Season Perennial Grasses

Good establishment and management practices should be practiced for success when renovating cool-season pastures. This article covers several tips to review before renovating these pastures.


Aerating Pastures, Is It Worth It?

For many years, claims have been made that aerating pastures improves pasture soil conditions, and increases forage yield. Research at the University of Tennessee compared two different aerating methods to a control, non-aerated area. Their results showed aerating the soil was not beneficial to justify the money spent on fuel, equipment, and labor.


Interseeding Clover

Greg Brann has a grazing operation in Southern Kentucky, and unlike many producers he has a diversified herd. He uses cattle and sheep to manage his land. He continues to improve the efficiency of this method and learn new management practices that work for him. Learn more about his operation and what he does that may work in your operation.


Renovating High Traffic Areas

High traffic areas, such as feeding areas, sacrifice lots, alleyways, gateways and waterers, are often bare and muddy this time of year. To slow and reduce serious problems, these areas need to be renovated promptly. Using perennial and annual ryegrass are good options when needing


Soil Testing

Knowing the fertility and pH of a pasture in the fall gives one time to get fertilizer applied well before grasses start to grow in the spring. To determine fertilizer and lime needs of pasture land, soils should be sampled properly every 3 to 4 years and fertilizer and/or lime applied based on recommendations.


Overseeding Pastures in Kentucky

Overseeding pastures is an excellent management tool that can be used to improve pastures. Learn what you need to do to properly reseed a pasture and how different seeds require different rates and seeding depths.


Importance of Regrowth

Learn some key points regarding grass regrowth, and look at a simulation showing the impact that rotational grazing and continuous grazing have on grass regrowth.


Renovating High Traffic Areas

Ways to renovate high traffic areas such as alleyways gated, waterers, etc. The different options you can use to promote growth and the management practices for these particular areas. Describes the different ways a producer can benefit from this practice.


Forage Tip of the Month – Common vs. Certified Seed

Once you have selected a forage species and variety, it is recommended to buy a quality seed that is high in germination rate and free of weed seed. Buying certified seed guarantees that the requirements for both of these parameters has been met and should be the first purchasing option.


Frost Seeding

The frost seeding method allows seeds to be inter-seeded into undisturbed soils by scattering seed on top of the ground. The freezing and thawing action of the soil works the seeds into the soil where they can germinate. In Kentucky, the ideal time to frost seed is between February 10 and March 1, with mid-February preferred.


When to reseed pastures

Multiple reasons exists for needing to reseed pasture, such as old stands that are dying out or stands that need to be improved due to poor management, disease, to fill in bare spots, or to reduce weed problems.


Partridge Pea or Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene

Partridge pea is a warm-season legume commonly used in wildlife seed mixes. Conservation Reserve Program lands are often seeded with these wildlife mixes.


Successful Seeding

Seed is the basic building block to a forage or crop stand. Whether establishing a new stand or improving an old stand, actions can be taken to ensure that newly planted seed produces a healthy stand.


Growth of Grasses and Legumes

Good grazing management will result in improved pasture yields. Understanding how plants grow allows for better management decisions as to when to move livestock under different growing conditions.

Purchasing Quality Seed

Seed is one of the cheapest inputs and is the basic building block to a good forage stand and grazing operation. Purchasing seed of high quality can increase pasture quality and yield.


Inoculating Legume Seed

In order for legumes to fix nitrogen, the rhizobium bacteria which form a symbiotic relationship with the plant must be present. Inoculating seeds with these bacteria prior to seeding will ensure that this beneficial process is occurring.


Establishing Warm-Season Annuals

Adding warm-season annuals to a grazing system can provide high quality forage throughout the hot summer months.


Renovating Pastures

Many reasons exist that cause pastures to struggle and need to be reseeded. Discover the correct management practices for reseeding a pasture, the different forage varieties, and which varieties require certain management practices.


Renovating a Farm: Jim and Janette Spaulding

The Spauldings are working hard to renovate a recently purchased farm. With time and effort they know this goal is achievable, but the steps to get there can be challenging. They face many challenges but are determined to improve the productivity of their land. Learn more about their steps and plans to renovate this farm.



Extending the Grazing Season


Using Cover Crops for Grazing Cattle

The use of cover crops prevents soil erosion, increases soil organic matter and microbial activity, improves soil water retention, recycles nutrients and decreases soil compaction. Cover crops also provide an excellent way to extend the grazing season into the early spring.


Fall Pasture Management Affects Spring Growth

Good fall grazing management involves leaving enough forage to allow for optimum forage growth the next spring. Residue height depends on the forage being grazed.


Grazing Alfalfa In The Fall and Winter

Traditionally, cutting alfalfa for hay has been the preferred method of harvest, but by a following simple management practices it is an excellent forage for grazing.


Cattle Management Practices When Grazing Alfalfa - Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips, UK Dairy Specialist

Alfalfa is a versatile crop that can be planted in pure or mixed stands. Often noted for its value as a hay crop, alfalfa can be utilized in a grazing system as well. Dr. Amaral-Phillips weighs the benefits to incorporating alfalfa into a grazing system, along with precautions that must be considered for success.


Winter Feeding to Protect Pasture

The winter feeding season can be hard on pastures when animals are concentrated in smaller areas for extended periods of time. Management decisions relative to site selection, feed delivery method and the development of a rock or concrete feeding pad can help protect pastures during this harsh time of year.


Stockpiling Fescue: Dr. Maynard Stetton

This past winter the Master Grazer Educational program conducted several stockpiling demonstrations across KY for producers to see the benefit towards extending the grazing season with this practice. One of these demonstrations was implemented in Oldham County by producer Dr. Maynard Stetton. After seeing the results he was shocked to see the increase that a late summer application of nitrogen made in forage yield.


Late Summer Nitrogen Applications to Pastures- Will They Pay in 2015?

Should you apply nitrogen to the fields you are going to stockpile fescue for grazing in November or December? In 2015, economic evaluations suggest targeting pastures with the highest fescue content and low legume content for nitrogen application versus fescue-clover stands.


Tips for Stockpiling Fescue

Stockpiled fescue is an option to provide quality grazing during the early winter period when forages are not actively growing. To take advantage of this practice, a field needs to be selected in August and not grazed again until November or December.


Results of Stockpiled Fescue Demonstrations Completed in 2014-2015

Cooperators in five KY counties participated in a stockpiled fescue demonstration. Forage yields with nitrogen fertilization averaged 1.7 tons dry matter per acre or enough forage to support 79 animal units (1000 lbs of body weight) grazing for a day. Applying 46 units of actual nitrogen (100 lbs of urea/acre) resulted in 0.6 tons more forage dry matter per acre or 29 more grazing days per acre for an animal unit compared to the area where nitrogen was not applied.


Managing Warm Season Annuals

Warm-season annuals can be a valuable forage for summer grazing because they grow when other cool season grasses are not growing. These forages can be very high in quality and yield if managed properly. However, these grasses require different management practices than tall fescue.


Grazing Green Corn

Are the cows out or have you planned to graze green corn as a summer or early fall crop? Corn can be used effectively in a grazing rotation and harvested by cattle. Grazing corn can help extend the grazing season while providing a high quality forage to cattle.


Warm Season annuals

Warm season annuals can provide a high quality forage during the summer months when cool-season grasses are experiencing “summer slump”. Using warm-season annuals may reduce or end the need for feeding stored feeds and overgrazing cool-season pastures throughout the summer slump season. Warm-season annuals are also commonly used when renovating pastures, and can be used to decrease weed and erosion issues before perennials are seeded.


Starting the Grazing Season off Right

As spring approaches and grasses begin to green up, turning cattle out on pastures early can be tempting. Properly managing spring grass growth will have positive impacts the entire year. Each farming operation is different, but there are multiple ways a producer can manage the spring grass growth to fit his/her operation.


Producing Quality Hay

Hay is the most commonly used stored feed on most farms. Many factors that go into producing high quality hay, and ensuring animal performance does not decline. This article discusses the practices needed to produce high quality hay and how to preserve hay so that minimal nutrient loss occurs.


Identify Fields for Stockpiling

With the rising cost and limited availability of hay over the past few years, Kentucky cattle farmers have been looking for ways to extend the grazing season and reduce the need to feed hay during the fall/winter months. Stockpiling forage is one way to meet both of these objectives. The definition of stockpiling is to “grow pasture for a later use.” The species of forage that respond best to stockpiling will vary between different regions of the US. In Kentucky, cool-season grasses respond favorably to nitrogen applications in the fall. Tall Fescue is especially renowned for stockpiling because of its inherent ability to maintain high levels of nutrients during the winter months than other cool-season species.


What to Graze During Heat Stress

As the environmental temperature increases, cool-season forages begin to go dormant and production decreases. Warm-season grasses and legumes should be incorporated into grazing systems in order to reduce overgrazing paddocks and supply amply amounts of high quality grazing.


Grazing Stockpiled Forages

The use of stockpiled forages can extend the grazing season and reduce the amount of stored feed needed to feed livestock through the fall and winter months. Stockpiling forages, or allowing forage growth to accumulate for use at a later time, can help extend the grazing season.


Grazing Corn

Many options exist to provide quality grazing during seasons when many common forages have gone dormant. Some non-traditional forages can provide high quality grazing throughout the early fall, late winter, early spring, or hot summer months.


Fall and Winter Grazing

Many options exist to provide livestock with high quality forages for grazing throughout the fall and early winter months.  In Kentucky, these options include utilizing perennial cool-season pasture as well as a variety of small grains and brassicas. 


Uniform Grazing

Non-uniform grazing can reduce utilization of available forages and increase undesirable plants and weeds in pastures. Taking steps to graze paddocks more uniformly will benefit overall livestock production and forage quality.


Harvesting Drought-stressed Soybean Crops for Hay

With much of the country affected by the drought conditions this summer, many grain producers are facing the problem of low grain yields while many livestock producers are experiencing hay shortages and may be seeking alternatives for winter feed.


Dragging and Clipping Pastures

Feeding costs are the greatest expense for livestock producers. Grazing is the cheapest source of feed. Dragging and mowing pastures are two methods that are often used to attempt to increase forage production and soil fertility. Although these practices are useful agronomically, they may not be practical economically.


Stockpiling Tall Fescue

Using stockpiled tall fescue is a great way to extend the grazing season and reduce the use of stored feed.


Grazing Corn Residues

Grazing remaining residue following corn harvest is one way to extend the grazing season and lower feed costs. Winter feed costs are the largest expense and grazing corn residues offers a way to significantly reduce those costs.


Grazing Small Grains

Small cereal grains, such as wheat, rye, oats, and barley, are multipurpose crops that can be used for grazing, silage, or hay production. Grazing pure stands of small grains is an effective way to extend the grazing season into the late fall and early winter, and then again in February/March for early spring grazing.


Grazing Cover Crops

Extending the grazing season allows producers to minimize the need for hay or stored feed. Cover crops can be a great source of forage for cattle to graze during the late fall to early spring. These forages can be an inexpensive option for some and provide high quality forage.





Annual Lespedeza for Forage and Grazing

Annual lespedeza is a summer legume that can be very beneficial to areas with poor soils. This plant has been used in place of alfalfa as it provides nearly as much nutrient quality but at a much smaller cost to the producer. This brief article discusses these traits in greater detail as well as other benefits, varieties, etc.


Managing Rye and Annual Ryegrass

Cereal rye and annual ryegrass can provide valuable grazing opportunities in the fall, early winter, and again next spring. Learn about establishing and managing these grasses in this article.


Forage of the Month: Spring Oats

When needing additional pasture in the late fall, a producer can plant spring oats as a quick growing source of forage. Spring oats can be grazed about 60 days after emergence, but usually does not survive the winter. Spring oats are high quality and can be used for grazing, hay, or silage.



Adding a high quality forage to a grazing system can be an extremely valuable asset during the hot, dry summer months when cool-season grasses struggle. Millets can provide a high quality pasture forage during the hot, dry summer months, but also can be used for hay and silage.


How to Use Variety Trial Publications

When renovating or establishing pastures, an important consideration is the selection of forage species and varieties. Forage species, as well as varieties within a species, vary significantly in yield, quality, and stand persistence, which combine to greatly impact performance and economic return to the operation. In addition to choosing an appropriate variety, proper seeding rates and seedbed preparation are necessary for the successful establishment of the selected variety.


Warm Season Perennials

Warm season perennials can be used in a rotational grazing system during the hot summer months when cool-season grasses growth rates have slowed. Learn which warm season perennial varieties could benefit your operation, and the advantages/disadvantages of each.


Warm-Season Annuals

Warm-season annuals such as sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum X sudangrass hybrids, and millets are useful forages for summer grazing.


Assessing Pastures: Forage Identification

When planning a grazing management plan for your pastures, it’s important to realize that pasture is the most economical and efficient way to feed your animals. When managing pasture, both the animal nutrient needs and pasture requirements should be considered.


Is Using a BMR Sudangrass Right for Your Grazing System?

Brown Midrib, or BMR, varieties have reduced lignin content which increases digestion, fiber availability, and energy available for grazing livestock.


Forage of the Month- Corn (Zea mays L.)  

Corn is one of our most productive forages with the potential to produce more than seven tons of dry matter per acre. Few annual crops can compare to corn in terms of yield (dry matter per acre) and cost (per pound of gain). Grazing fully matured, standing corn during the winter months has proven to be a successful tool to extend the grazing season.


Grazing Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a high quality forage which can be used in a rotational grazing system during the hot summer months when cool-season grasses growth rates have slowed, and it can also help reduce cost. Learn what other advantages alfalfa has that could benefit your operation.





Forage related disorders

Atypical Interstitial Pneumonia in Cattle Grazing Perilla Mint

A severe type of pneumonia, often resulting in death, can result from the ingestion of the leaves and seeds of perilla mint. The time of year when perilla mint reaches the seed stage often corresponds to periods when pasture is scarce, enticing cattle to consume plants they normally avoid. The flowering or seed parts of perilla mint contain the highest concentration of perilla ketone, considered the most toxic agent involved.

Timely Tip: Frost and Freezes Increase Cyanide Poisoning Risk

Cyanide poisoning can have a very abrupt and deadly effect on livestock grazing forages and requires careful management as frosts and freezes begin in the area. Plants, such as sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, Johnsongrass, wild cherry, and others, contain compounds that produce free cyanide when these plants are damaged by frost or drought conditions.


Timely Tip: Grazing Alfalfa After A Freeze

Although frost-damaged alfalfa is not toxic, one should be cautious when grazing alfalfa after a hard freeze (less than 25˚F) as the threat of bloat increases for a few days after the freeze. Special management decisions need to be made depending on if producer plant to graze or hay alfalfa after a killing freeze. Also, producers need to be cautious in utilizing Alfalfa after light frosts as well.


Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue

Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue is a variety of tall fescue that has the desirable traits of the wild-type endophyte infected fescue, only without the harmful animal side effects.


Preventing Grass Tetany

Prevention methods to keep cattle from getting a forage related disease called grass tetany. Includes some different options a producer can practice to prevent this disease. Cattle that get this disease often die quickly, but this disease has a variety of symptoms to look for. Includes recommendations for the various prevention methods and tips when to start/stop feeding high “mag” minerals and how much each cow should be getting daily. The season for grass tetany will be developing as temperatures rise and grasses begin to grow.


Forage of the Month-Brassicas: Be Aware of the Animal Health Risks  

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.


Prussic Acid Poisoning This Summer

Grazing forages during the summer months is a great way to reduce stored feed costs. However, there are some risks that come with grazing certain forages and weeds. It is important to be cautious this summer to reduce the risk for prussic acid poisoning, as prussic acid poisoning tends to be worse during times of drought.


Managing Legumes in Spring Pastures for Bloat

Pastures were slow to green-up with the cool weather this spring.


Freezing Effects on Forages

As temperatures continue to decrease, it is important to know and understand how various species of forages react to frosts and freezes in order to best utilize these forages and to avoid possible health problems. Freezing changes the metabolism and composition of plants. Depending on plant species, this can create possible forage-related animal disorders or the need to alter grazing management practices.


Possibility of Nitrate Toxicity in Corn

Drought conditions and high levels of nitrogen in the soil can increase the risk of nitrate toxicity in livestock grazing these forages.




When Will There be an Answer for Pinkeye?

Pinkeye or IBK (infectious Bovine Keratoconjunctivitis) is a costly disease for cattle producers.


Animal Management Tip of the Month– Warning for Prussic Acid or Cyanide Poisoning

Prussic acid poisoning occurs when livestock graze certain plants that contain cyanide-producing compounds. Such species include, but are not limited to, sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, Johnsongrass, and wild cherry. Cyanide can interfere with oxygen utilization in livestock, especially if consumed in large amounts.


Grazing Considerations


Fighting Heat Stress with Shade!

Kentucky's high temperatures and humidity cause heat stress and result in lower reproductive performance. Shade can help reduce these effects.


Supplementation with Soybean Hulls can Cost Effectively Boost Weight of Stockers on Toxic Fescue Pasture

Almost all cattle pastures in Kentucky have traditional KY 31 fescue that contains a fungal endophyte that can cause fescue toxicosis. While this may not cause animals to die, weight gain is reduced, especially in stockers. Supplementing with coproducts like soybeans hulls can help increase average daily gain when stockers are grazing.


Creep Grazing

Creep grazing is an effective, inexpensive and easy to use method to increase weaning weights of beef calves. Substantially, creep grazing can be more profitable for producers rather than creep feeding.


Rotational vs. Continuous Grazing

Rotational Grazing requires dividing large pastures into smaller paddocks, where cattle will graze for a short time before having to be moved to another pasture. Rotational grazing can help improve forage productivity, weight gain per acre, and overall net return to the farm.


Heat Stress

Heat stress in cattle can result in decreased weight gain, milk production, and reproductive performance. Heat stress can be increased when grazing endophyte-infected fescue and being worked during the hottest part of the day. Learn how to protect your cattle from heat stress.


Animal Tip of the Month– Strip Grazing Stockpiled Forage

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.


Grazing Systems

Various rotational grazing systems are used to increase forage production. These can include leader-follower, strip grazing, or ultra-high density grazing.


Feeding Co-Product Feeds to Cattle on Fescue Pastures

Tall fescue covers 5 million acres of hay meadows and pastures in Kentucky and has been the predominant forage in the state for over 50 years.


Transition From Stored Feed To Pasture

Pastures have greened up and are once again producing lush, high quality forages for grazing. Although it may be tempting to put livestock back on these pastures right away, certain precautions should be taken to protect the livestock and the new forage growth.


The Importance of Shade and Water

Supplying adequate shade and water for grazing livestock is essential for good herd health and performance.


Importance of Water

Water is essential for the overall well-being of your animals. As temperatures increase, the amount of water needed increases. Learn more about the importance of easy access to water and the amount of water needed for various livestock species.



Animal Management

Providing Water for Beef Cattle in Rotational Grazing Systems With Tire Waterers

Location of a watering source in a grazing system is critical. Watering sources can influence grazing, compaction, and manure/nutrient deposition patterns. Tire waterers located in a central location can be used to provide water to many paddocks in a grazing system.

Winter Watering of Livestock

As the weather changes and temperatures begin dropping, producers need to evaluate how water is provided to their animals during winter months. Livestock water requirements change in the winter, but are still critical to performance and cattle rely on a clean, reliable water source. For each water delivery method comes a different management approach to meet animals’ needs.


Planning Checklist for Pasture Fly Control-2015

As temperatures get warmer and fly season approaches, planning the type of fly control to use on your operation is crucial. Determining the key pest and the impact it has on your herd is the first step in deciding which pest control products to use. Each year is different and several different methods exist to controlling fly problems.


Weaning Calves on Pasture

WKeeping calves in the environment they are used to can reduce stress during weaning. Stress causes calves to not gain weight, which costs the producer a loss of income. Weaning calves on pasture has several advantages over weaning in a feedlot or pen. Find out why weaning on pasture can help decrease the stress on calves.


The Face Fly

Horn flies and face flies are the key pasture flies that Kentucky cattle producers face each year. Both provide unique control challenges but the face fly is the more difficult one to manage. There are two main reasons: the small amount of time spent on animals and hard-to-treat feeding sites


Fly Control in Pastures

Flies are one of the most difficult pests to manage and although they cannot be totally controlled, it is possible to reduce populations and irritation to livestock.


Trace Minerals in Beef Cattle

Cattle need the appropriate amount of minerals and vitamins for good growth, reproduction and immunity, among many other functions. This article covers why it is important to consistently provide mineral mixes to beef cattle.


Limited Water Access

Water quality can impact the performance of a cattle herd. Cattle perform better when they have clean water rather than muddy and stagnant water often found in ponds on many Kentucky farms. Simple systems exist to provide cattle better quality water from ponds without spending much money.



Grazing Systems:

Summer Grazing Tips

This article provides tips and strategies for how to manage all number of forages throughout the hot summer months. The subjects at hand include: Cool season pastures, stockpiling fescue, grazing green corn, grazing alfalfa, and warm season perennials/annuals.


Rotational Grazing Practices Improves Soils

Are you trying to improve your livestock grazing system? Rotational grazing practices not only improves forage productivity, but as importantly, soils.


Why Use a Solar Powered Livestock Watering System

Three reasons to use solar powered watering systems include: (1)Environmental and conservation benefits; (2)financial and labor savings; and, (3) convenience.


Winter Preparation for Solar Powered Livestock Watering Systems

Solar panels can be used to pump water into cattle waterers. In winter time, special precautions need to be taken to prevent freezing.


Picking Apples off the Grazing Tree: How far can we extend the grazing season profitably? - Dr. Greg Halich, UK Ag Economist

UK Extension Agricultural Economist, Dr. Greg Halich, discusses extending the grazing season, and the actual value of grazing over feeding hay. Through different methods like adjusting stocking rates, and incorporating the use of annual and stockpiled forages the profitability of an operation can be affected. Dr. Halich evaluates if one more day of grazing is truly more valuable than feeding hay.


Planning Your Grazing System

Implementing a grazing system can be intimidating for some producers. However, with careful planning and considering the operation’s resources a well developed grazing system can pay dividends. An operation’s forage base, water availability, fencing system, animal needs as well as the time/labor required to manage a system are all key components in a well designed grazing system.


Grazing Methods- Which One is For You?

Flexibility makes grazing appealing in a variety of situations. Operations of every shape and size can benefit from evaluating their farm and implementing one of many different grazing methods. Before a method is put into place, it is best to determine the best fit of each one and how much infrastructure, time and labor is required for implementation and management.


The Use of Temporary Fence

Many different types of temporary fencing materials are marketed which can make the practice of rotational grazing easier for you. Learn about these type products so you can make the best decision for your operation


Minimizing Hay Waste while Feeding

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.


Forage Testing

Testing your forages can be a useful tool to minimize feeding costs while maximizing animal production. Forage testing provides the nutritional value of pasture, hay, or silage.


Assess Past Grazing Season and Plan Ahead

As the grazing season comes to an end, take time to reflect on and assess the past grazing season. It is important to continually make an effort to improve and advance a managed grazing system. When planning for the upcoming grazing season, decide on a purposed budget and time limitation. If you have little or no budget to make improvements to your grazing system, simple changes to management practices can make significant improvements.


Multi-Species Grazing

Grazing two or more animal species in a pasture-based system can increase forage utilization and efficiency.


The Importance of a Rest Period Between Grazing

One of the most important components of a successful rotational grazing system is allowing the forages an adequate rest period for plant recovery and regrowth. Allowing plants a sufficient rest period is vital to maximize forage quality, yield, and stand persistence. 


Harvesting Excess Spring Growth

Cool season grasses are growing rapidly and producing large amounts of forages at this time of year.


Suggested Grazing Heights

Grazing at too low of a height causes overgrazing and decreases stand productivity and longevity.


What is Holistic Grazing Management?

Holistic grazing management is a method of managing the land in a way that mirrors nature. With less artificial inputs and actions, advocates believe that by managing holistically, the land, animals, water, and world will be healthier.


Program Highlights:


Introduction to new Master Grazer Coordinator

Zach Workman joined the program in May of this year. He has a background in grass and small grain breeding and is looking forward to working with producers as well as extension throughout the state.


Welcoming Our New Forage Specialist

Dr. Chris Teutsch is UK’s new Forage Extension Specialist stationed in Princeton, Kentucky. Dr. Teutsch earned his B.S. and M.S. in Crop Science from The Ohio State University. He then completed a PhD in Agronomy from the University of Kentucky.


2016 Heart of America Grazing Conference coming to Lexington

The University of Kentucky and Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council are jointly hosting the 2016 Annual Heart of America Grazing Conference on January 25 and 26 in Lexington. Topics of discussion at the conference include: Grazing Alfalfa, Native Warm Season Grasses, Grazing Corn, Supplementing with Soyhulls, along with keynote speakers Dr. Ray Smith and Dr. Gary Lacefield.


Master Grazer Website

Information from this and past Grazing News newsletters can be found on this website. University of Kentucky publications, information about upcoming events like the Kentucky Grazing School, as well as several other resources can all be accessed from this site.


New Master Grazer Coordinator-Austin Sexten

Austin Sexten recently joined the Master Grazer program as the new Coordinator. He comes with a diverse background in the beef industry and is excited to work with the producers of Kentucky.


Plan to Attend the KFGC Annual Field Day- September 17, 2015

The Kentucky Forage and Grasslands Council’s annual field day will be held this year at Woodland Place farm at 2743 Fidelio Road, Pembroke, KY 42266. A wagon tour of Woodland Place Farm along with presentations on the topics of: Weed Control in Alfalfa, Rotational Grazing and Using Cover Crops for Compaction Issues, and Beef Reproduction highlight the agenda for the day.


National Cooperative Soil Survey

The National Cooperative Soil Survey is a website that allows a producer to answer the question of “how many animals can I have” and identify soil types for areas within fields of a farm. This website can help identify fields which may be higher yielding and give an estimated average forage yield based on soil type.


New Master Grazer Coordinator

Introduction of the new Master Grazer Coordinator and his background that helped him get to this position.


New Program Available: Grazing for Cash

The Grazing for Cash program’s focus is on improving grazing and forage management. To help producers implement change, steps to incorporate and prioritize the identified focus areas are defined. This program will be rolled out within the next few months.


Highlights from Monroe County Grazing Program

The first session of Tweaking Your Grazing System program was held in Monroe County on May 10th. Participants learned more about how to improve their grazing programs. The discussion centered on how to use portable water systems and temporary fencing and how to determine the proper paddock size for their rotational grazing system.



Farm Highlights:


Farm Highlights: Turpin Farms

The Turpin farm, owned and operated by Billy Glenn Turpin and his son, Scott, consists of spring and fall calving Angus/Simmental cattle grazed on their 155-acres. They have increased their stocking rates and forage productivity with the use of rotational grazing.


Master Grazer Profile: Bob Hall

Scott County native, Bob Hall, has been grazing livestock most of his life. He runs a successful stocker cattle operation on the farm he was born and raised on. Through the application of rotational grazing and several other management practices Hall’s cattle perform and are profitable.


Farm Highlight: Stockpiling by John Thomas

John Thomas, a beef producer in Madison County, hosted a Grazing for Cash stockpiling fescue demonstration for the Master Grazer Program. Mr. Thomas had not stockpiled fescue in the past and was impressed with the results, and how this practice reduced the amount of hay he had to feed during winter. After computing the expenses with ANR Agent Brandon Sears, Mr. Thomas found that he had saved money by stockpiling fescue.


Rotational Grazing: David Burge

David Burge teamed up with the Master Grazer program and his local extension agent Tommy Yankey, in Anderson County to conduct a trial on rotational grazing vs. continuous grazing. He found thatrotational grazing had many benefits in comparison to conventional grazing, and is planning to do more with rotational grazing in the future.


Farm Highlight: Russell Hackley

Known as a leader in agriculture, Russell C. Hackley has not only integrated a profitable beef operation, but also highly enjoys his work and involvement in the industry. He recognizes the value of high quality forage and is willing to try new things to better utilize forage. He also has hosted many field days through the University of Kentucky’s Cooperative Extension Service and has worked with University researchers in using his operation for many research trials, including novel endophyte tall fescue variety trials.


Farm Highlight: Buddy Smith

Buddy Smith owns and manages a beef cattle and hay operation on over 400 acres in Anderson County and does an exemplary job of managing his unique grazing program.


Flagg Springs Ranch- Randy Haas

Randy Haas, owner and operator of Flagg Springs Ranch, runs a stocker operation on over 500 acres in Campbell County.


Big Spring Farm: Greg Brann

Greg Brann, owner and operator of Big Spring Farm, emphasizes overall diversity on his farm which is located on the Kentucky/Tennessee boarder.


Farm Highlight: Shady Meadows- Gene and Marcy Dobbs

When Gene and Marcy Dobbs purchased Shady Meadows in 1971, the 65 acre farm located in Campbell County consisted of 2 large paddocks with many briars, bushes, and rocks.


Farm Highlight: Landis Farm

The Landis farm, owned and operated by Jim and Baker Landis, is a 120 acre farm which raises beef cattle with a pasture based system.


Knob Lick Farms Grazing System

Knob Lick Farm relies on keeping things simple, reducing the use of machinery, and letting the livestock do the work. A unique no-freeze, portable watering system has allowed for dairy heifers to be rotationally grazed year round.


Pasture Walk: Big Spring Farm

Greg Brann has a grazing operation in Southern Kentucky, and unlike many producers he has a diversified herd. He uses cattle and sheep to manage his land. He continues to improve the efficiency of this method and learn new management practices that work for him. Learn more about his operation and what he does that may work in your operation.



Grazing Schools


The Kentucky Grazing School

Two grazing schools will be hosted this year: spring school in Princeton, KY and a fall school in Woodford County. These two-day grazing schools introduce key grazing concepts and provide hands-on grazing skills. Both novice and experienced grazers can gain valuable insights from this cornerstone Master Grazer program.


Advanced KY Grazing School Highlights Alfalfa Utilization

The Master Grazer program recently held the annual Advanced Kentucky Grazing School at the UK C. Oran Little Research Farm in Versailles. There were 42 producers in attendance from across the State to learn more about integrating alfalfa and winter annuals into their grazing systems.


2016 Kentucky Grazing School Planned for May

The Annual Kentucky Grazing School will be held on May 17 and 18 in Versailles. This two day event is a combination of intense education both inside the classroom and out in the field with hands on exercises. Lead by UK Specialists and industry professionals, attendees can expect to come away from the school with a broader understanding of implementing a grazing system on their operation.


Reminder: Advanced KY Grazing School to Be Held April 12 in Versailles

A reminder that the Advanced KY Grazing School will be held on April 12, 2016 at 5:00 PM at the C. Oran Little Research Unit in Versailles. The focus of this year’s school is utilizing alfalfa in a grazing system.


Advanced Kentucky Grazing School Set for April

The Master Grazer Program will once again be hosting the annual Advanced Kentucky Grazing School on April 12, 2016 at 5:00 PM at the C. Oran Little Research Unit in Versailles, KY. The focus for this year’s school is integrating alfalfa into the grazing system. Topics to be covered include: Establishing new alfalfa stands, using alfalfa in a grazing system, keys to successful baleage, and spring grazing of winter annuals. The school is designed to provide hands on learning opportunities for participants and allow them to see different grazing practices in action.


Advanced Grazing School

The 2015 Advanced KY Grazing School will be held at the Spindletop farm in Lexington, KY on August 17, 2015. Registration fee is $20.00 and the event will begin at 7:30am EDT. Topics will include renovating and establishment of pastures with demonstrations on calibrating equipment, summer grazing options lead by invited speakers from the Southeast, and fall grazing options. The morning program will held in the field at the Agronomy plots.


Spring Grazing School

The University of Kentucky spring grazing school will be held on May 20-21, 2015 in Woodford County. This two-day program will include hands-on exercises, demonstrations, and classroom sessions that include a variety of topics. Emphasis will be on spring and summer grazing options for beef and dairy cattle, sheep and goats. This program is designed to help producers explore opportunities that can increase the productivity of their land and profitability of their operation.


Advanced KY Grazing School at Eden Shale

The Advanced Grazing School is going to be held at the Eden Shale farm in Owenton County on September 11th. This program is used to go more in depth on important forage and animal topics for those who have attended a grazing program in the past.


Tweaking Your Grazing System Educational Program Round 2: Monroe County

A fall grazing school will be held in Monroe County on September 16th, and will begin at 4:00pm.


Morgan Co Grazing School

The first session of this, two-day, UK program will be held on June 21, 2014 in Morgan County. This program is designed to introduce producers to managing grazing systems and the best management practices for utilizing fescue-based forage systems.


Tweaking your Grazing System-Introduction to Managed Grazing

This new UK program will be held on May 10, 2014 in Monroe County. This one-day program is designed to introduce producers to managing grazing systems and the best management practices for utilizing fescue-based forage systems.


Tweaking Your Grazing System Educational Program Round 2

The first round of Tweaking Your Grazing System program is over and now round two is coming. Starting with Morgan County on August 23rd an educational program will be held with topics covering fall pasture management.



Seasonal Reminders


Four Things to Think About Before the Grazing Season

Late winter is the time to get the ball rolling in the right direction for a successful, upcoming grazing season. Producers need to act now to take the proper step to prepare their operation to maximize grazing this year. Four areas to consider action include: Evaluating and amending pasture soil fertility, Proper control and elimination of buttercups in pastures, Improving pasture quality by frost seeding legumes, and limiting grass tetany risk by starting livestock on a Hi-Mag mineral supplement.


Spring Reminders for 2015

As temperatures warm up and grasses begin to grow the needs of animals change. Make sure that you don’t forget to practice these key management practices.


Fall Reminders for 2014

As summer comes to an end and weather conditions change, so does pasture management. This article covers several tips for managing pastures and cattle as the growing season comes to a close.


Important Reminders for August


Important Reminders for March


Late Winter and Early Spring Reminders

A list of important considerations for late winter and early spring.


Summer Reminders

With the hot summer weather now in full swing, remember to review your grazing program to reduce heat stress and provide adequate forage for your cattle.


Winter Reminders

Plan and prepare for changes to your grazing system and pasture renovations that will be implemented next spring.


Winter Reminders

These tips can help manage your cattle through winter months and prepare for grazing this spring.





How to Limit Damage to High Traffic Areas

High traffic area pads reduce wheel traffic damage and soil compaction caused by tractors when winter feeding. They improve hay feeding efficiency by reducing trampling losses and lowering the risk for soil erosion.


Minimize and Reduce Soil Compaction

Soil compaction is a common problem that many producers face but that is often overlooked. Significant soil compaction can also reduce forage yields and slow forage establishment which, in the long run, costs money. Management practices can be used to reduce and correct this problem while improving soil conditions.


Dealing with Wet Pasture Conditions

In order to keep damage to pastures to a minimum, it is important to take the proper actions to protect them during wet periods when they are prone to damage.


Environmental Concerns with Grazing

With the many challenges of managing an agriculture operation, environmental concerns often fall low on the priority list. However, incorporating a few key practices can help ensure animal health, improve soil resources, and protect water quality. In addition, these practices can be included in a KY Agriculture Water Quality Plan and help farmers comply with environmental regulations.



Cost Share Programs


NRCS-Based Cost Share Programs

Several cost share programs are available for assistance in developing your grazing system. These programs include those which can provide financial help in developing the water, fencing, and forage base for grazing livestock.


County Agricultural Investment Programs (CAIP)

All but two of Kentucky’s 120 counties, receive county allotments each year from the KY Ag Development Fund to improve agriculture’s diversification effects. Each county board determines the areas eligible for cost share. Areas covered related to grazing could include interior and perimeter fencing, water development, forage establishment and management, and cattle handling and hay storage facilities.