We welcome Wayne Crook to our region as agronomist in Chariton
County. Wayne brings a good agronomy background to the job and we welcome him to our
- 1999 Thompson Farm Fall Grazing Summary
Spring Grazing Schools
Useful Web Sites
[This Month in Ag
Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online]
1999 Thompson Farm Fall Grazing Summary
Fall grazing demonstrations utilizing
stockpiled tall fescue-based pastures continued during 1999 at the University of
Missouri's Thompson Farm near Spickard. Two twelve-acre pastures were grazed as part of a
larger rotational grazing system through July, and then rested until grazing resumed in
October. No nitrogen fertilizer was applied during August due to the summer drought.
Pregnant, three-year old cows were weaned of their calves on September 29 and returned to
pasture. Twenty-five of these cows were selected on October 21 for use in this
demonstration. Cows were weighed and body condition scores were taken. The animals were
then taken to the first of the 12-acre pastures. The pastures were divided with temporary
fencing material to provide forage for approximately one week of grazing, then the ribbon
was moved ahead. No back fence was maintained. The animals received no other supplement
with the exception of approximately 2500 pounds of hay which was fed following a 12-inch
snowfall that occurred during early December. Cow weights and body condition scores were
taken at the start of the demonstration, when animals were moved to the second pasture on
November 18, and at the end of the demonstration on December 20. Beginning and ending
forage samples were collected from pasture one. Beginning forage samples were collected
from pasture two in mid-November. Ending samples were not able to be collected in December
due to snow cover.
Animal Performance Summary
Animal performance, weight gain and body condition score change, is summarized in Table 1.
Cow weight gain in previous years has been approximately 125 pounds for a similar grazing
period. However, during previous year's demonstrations, cows were started on stockpile
demonstrations within two weeks after weaning. During 1999, cows were not started on
demonstrations until approximately one month after weaning. This was due to changes in the
timing of some management practices in response to drought conditions at the farm. Average
weight gain during the 60-day demonstration during 1999 was 80 pounds or 1.33 pounds per
day. Animal performance was noticeably lower during the last 32 days
of the demonstration. This is probably due to a combination of weather and a decline in
forage quality in the second pasture. However, this sharp decline in animal performance
from late November through December has also been noted in previous years. Body condition
score changes are similar to previous year's demonstrations.
Table 1. 1999 Cow Performance on Stockpiled Tall Fescue
In pasture one, forage samples were collected at the beginning and end of grazing in the
pasture (October 21 and November 18). Forage samples were collected in Pasture Two on
November 19. Due to snow cover, no December samples were able to be collected in Pasture
Two. Ten, one-square-foot clipped samples were collected at random. Individual sample
weights were recorded for use in estimating forage availability. Samples were then
composted and a sub-sample was taken and sent to a commercial laboratory for NIR analysis.
The results are shown in Table 2. All data are shown on a dry matter basis.
Table 2. 1999 Stockpiled Tall Fescue Forage Quality
Schmitz, David McAtte, Jon Schreffler, & Jerry Nelson)
[This Month in Ag
Connection] [Ag Connection - Other Issues Online]
- Frost seed legumes in pastures that are less than 30%
- If cows werent removed from stalk fields earlier,
remove them now to avoid soil compaction.
- Frost seed legumes into small-grain fields.
- Apply herbicides for control of winter-annual grass and
broadleaf weeds in alfalfa.
MarchFinish renovation of pastures by mid-March.
Scout alfalfa fields for heaving and winter injury; if
severe damage is present, introduce another legume or grass, or make plans to rotate to
Soil test areas for late-summer seedings and apply lime now
Apply pre-plant herbicides for legume seedings or consider
use of a companion crop like spring oats.
Apply two-thirds of the annual nitrogen fertilizer to grass pastures in late March; also
apply needed phosphorous and potassium to all pastures.
Seed new pastures or hay land to recommended forages when
soil conditions permit.
In grass tetany problem areas, be sure all cows get at least
1 ounce of magnesium oxide per head daily in mineral mix or protein supplement.
AprilMove cattle to newly seeded pastures with legumes to
reduce competition from grasses.
Feed supplemental energy, like corn silage, hay, or corn, if
animals are thin or if pasture quality is low.
Begin scouting for alfalfa weevil early in the month.
Remove livestock from fall-seeded small grains prior to
Seed warm-season perennial grasses.
Apply spring fertilizer to pastures as recommended by soil
Provide poloxalene or use other bloat-reducing management
practices when bloat causing legumes are grazed.
- Rotation graze pastures newly seeded with legumes to reduce
- If more forage is available than can be fully utilized,
limit pasture size and
harvest excess forage as hay.
- Continue scouting for alfalfa weevil and begin scouting for
potato leafhopper in late May.
- For top quality, harvest first cutting of established
alfalfa in late bud, red clover in early bloom, and grasses at the boot stage (when
seedhead is just ready to emerge).
- Apply fertilizer (phosphorous, potassium), and possibly
boron to alfalfa after harvest.
- Finish seeding warm-season perennial grass pastures by June
- Seed summer-annual grasses in late May.
- Harvest winter-annual small grains for forage at the boot
stage for top quality.
- Test each harvested forage crop for nutritive value.
Remember to do this throughout the season.
- Scout pastures and hay fields for weeds. Give special
attention to newly seeded fields. If herbicide is used, follow grazing and harvest
JuneClip mature forage that was not grazed. This will
encourage new growth, reduce the incidence of eye irritation, and setback weed growth.
Drag the pasture after clipping to spread manure piles, destroy
internal parasite eggs, and reduce selective grazing.
Harvest established alfalfa approximately 30 days following
first harvest. For top quality, harvest when in the late bud stage.
Continue scouting for potato leafhopper.
Harvest spring seeded legumes approximately 70 days
Inventory pastures for poisonous weeds. See UMC Guide 4970,
Plants Poisonous to Livestock. Pick it up at your local University Outreach and Extension
Center or click
here to find it on the web.
Remove livestock from cool-season grass pasture and place on
warm-season perennial grass pasture if available.
Control grazingpasture forage yields are affected by
excessive and untimely grazing.
Harvest spring oats for forage at the boot stage for top
If pasture or hay fields have not been soil tested for
several years, test them now. Fields to be planted in August should be tested now.
Author: This material was adapted from material
developed by Greg Bossaer and Keith Johnson, Purdue University.