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Stockpiling pastures still an option for emergency grazing

August 16, 2012


Stockpiling pastures still an option for emergency grazing

John Jennings – Professor Forages

With scattered rainfall occurring across the state, stockpiling pastures to produce grazing in fall and winter is still an option. Hay supplies are scarce, but the potential for growing more forage is still there. Many producers cut hay in October and begin feeding in November. Stockpiling is similar to managing for a last cutting of hay, but is managed for livestock grazing to reduce harvest cost. Using the stockpiling program, cattle graze the forage through fall and winter. Bermudagrass has greened up after scattered showers in many areas making stockpiled bermudagrass a viable option for fall grazing. Fertilizer should be applied by mid-August in north Arkansas and by late August in south Arkansas for the best growth potential. Fertilizer can be applied even during summer heat of August and produce good forage return. The potential for growing stockpiled fescue is still unknown due to severe drought stress. Fields should be observed closely in late August or early September. If the grass is greening-up by that time then fertilizing in early September should be considered. Stockpiled fescue makes excellent winter pasture. The growth potential of stockpiled forage is usually 2000-3000 lbs of dry matter per acre so the recommended fertilizer rate is 50-60 lbs per acre of nitrogen to match that yield potential. Add phosphorus and potash fertilizer according to soil test. Stockpiling forages has been one on the most consistent of all forage management practices in the Arkansas 300 Day Grazing Program. It has been a key practice for achieving over 300 days of grazing for the past four years at the Livestock and Forestry Research Station at Batesville. For more information on stockpiling forages for fall and winter grazing ask for FSA 3133 “Grazing Stockpiled Forages to Reduce Hay Feeding in Fall and Winter” at your county Extension office.

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