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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies
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Pasture Tips

Posted by Travis Meteer - Grazing

Pastures are green and growing again, giving us a bit of a break from the dry dusty paddocks we have been on all summer. However, it is important to properly manage the regrowth.

The growth of cool season grasses can still occur for a few months. Grazing crop residues for the next 45-60 days will allow pastures to rest and grow. Crop residues that have high nitrate levels or Aflatoxin present should be grazed only if needed and, if so, at low stocking rates. A 30 day grazing period at low stocking rates (4-5 acres per cow) will help mitigate risk of these dangers to livestock.

If you have overgrazed pastures, grazing crop residue will allow opportunity for that grass to re-establish itself before winter. This will give you a better stand and more productivity next year. If pastures are overgrazed it would be best to not return grazing these pastures after you have come off cornstalks.

If you have pulled off pastures this summer or been able to rotate through paddocks leaving some residual, likely pastures have thrived the last two weeks. This may mean some grazing opportunities are available or this grass can be stockpiled for grazing after crop residues.

Fescue stockpiles well, but this year it sat dormant for much of the summer. Stockpiling forages this year might not be easy. Prepare for low yields from stockpiled forage. However, use what you have. If you can get 30 more days of grazing because you went out on stalks then had some stockpiled forage to come back on, you will be more profitable.

Dry lot rations for cows will be more expensive than ever before. Those producers that can best manage the forage they have, or chose to seed this fall, will be rewarded in their bottom line. Hopefully some of you read "Fall Forage Opportunities" and put in some fall forage... after Isaac thats looking pretty good.

Utilize crop residue to help rest your pasture, renovate overgrazed pastures, and leave some residual for next year to make sure you don't fall behind in the spring. Some of the most profitable cattlemen aren't cattlemen at all... they are grass farmers. Manage your forage.

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