Stamm: Stockpiling for fall and winter grazing

Would you like to extend your grazing season, reduce winter hay feeding and provide a good return on forage acres?

Maybe you should look at stockpiling tall fescue for a fall and winter grazing option in your farm’s pastures.

Now is the time to plan on growing grasses for stockpile purposes.

Pick a cool-season grass field on your farm (more than likely tall fescue) and pull a soil sample to see the nutrient requirements for that field. Fertilize the field for phosphorus, potassium and lime necessary according to the soil sample results.

At the same time, nitrogen should be top dressed at 40 to 100 pounds per acre on tall fescue ground.

Research has shown tall fescue fields fertilized around Aug. 15 produced 24 pounds of dry matter forage for every pound of nitrogen applied. That is a great return.

You can expect to start grazing these fields around Nov. 1 and, if managed correctly, can continue to graze well into December.

Strip grazing is the most effective way to graze stockpiled grasses.

In this system, an electric fence is used to limit cattle grazing in the field to a certain area.

Once the forage has been utilized in that area, the fence is moved to open more grazing area in the field.

The fence in continually moved throughout the grazing season until the cattle have utilized the grasses in the whole field.

For more information on stockpiling grasses for fall and winter pastures, call the Clark County Cooperative Extension Office at 859-744-4682 or look up this extension publication online.

Clay Stamm is one of the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service Agents for Agriculture and Natural Resources.