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HomeMeat8 Tricks to plan for winter grazing

8 Tricks to plan for winter grazing

It’s arduous to consider winter feeding on sizzling summer season days, however now’s the time to start that planning course of. Excessive feed prices coupled with excessive gas prices makes prolonged grazing choices necessary to think about. Many cattlemen in northern Iowa inform me winter grazing isn’t an choice, however with a little bit planning now extending grazing a month or extra will be finished wherever. Listed below are a couple of choices to think about.

  1. Stockpiling pastures is one choice, supplied you’ve gotten enough pasture acres to put aside from August first and graze after a killing freeze. Fescue is one of the best stockpile choice for cool seasons because it tends to face upright after a freeze. Different cool season grasses must be grazed quickly after a freeze since they don’t preserve their upright stance properly. Most producers don’t have additional pasture, however hay fields will be an choice too. With the excessive value of gas, contemplate letting the final slicing of hay develop and graze it within the fall. Alfalfa hay must be grazed with 7-10 days after a killing frost to make sure that the chance of bloat potential subsides however leaf loss doesn’t influence high quality.

  2. Summer time annuals like sudangrass, sorghumXsudangrass, or millets stockpile properly and preserve their upright stance following a killing freeze. Once more, enable it to develop from about August 1 till freeze for enough forage. Sudangrass and sorghumXsudan do have the potential for prussic acid poisoning so keep off it from the primary frost till a couple of week after a full killing freeze (under 28’ for 3+ hours). For greatest utilization of the forage, strip graze with electrical fence and transfer the fence each couple of days. Iowa analysis exhibits we are able to develop 3-5+ tons of dry matter per acre from summer season annuals which ought to present about 80-130 cow grazing days per acre at 50% utilization charge.

  3. Swath grazing is a typical methodology utilized in Canada, and an ISU examine on swath grazing sorghumXsudangrass exhibits it really works in Iowa as properly. The second slicing of sorghumXsudangrass was stockpiled, mowed and windrowed a couple of week previous to late December grazing, and supplied about 115 cow grazing days per acre. Cows stayed on the swaths by way of mid-February with no unfavorable penalties from snow or ice. Strip grazing the swaths resulted in 70% utilization of the forage accessible so little or no residue was left within the area for the subsequent crop yr and no further tillage was wanted to take away the residue.

  4. Seed winter annuals (aka cowl crops) for winter and early spring grazing. For optimum forage progress, drill winter annuals following corn silage or early soybean harvest. Oats, triticale and brassicas end in probably the most fall grazing progress whereas winter cereal rye and triticale present probably the most progress and earliest accessible spring grazing.

  5. Grazing standing corn is an choice, though tougher to justify with excessive grain costs. Some grain must be harvested to arrange the strip fencing and cut back the overall grain left within the area to get a greater ratio of grain to forage. This MUST be strip grazed to scale back acidosis danger.

  6. Bale grazing is a technique of winter grazing the place bales are distributed all through a area and momentary fencing is used to allocate enough forage for a day or two. Cows unfold manure throughout the sector as an alternative of in a single location, and the necessity to begin a tractor each day is lowered.

  7. Cornstalk grazing has been a serious feed supply throughout Iowa for early winter feed, however we solely make the most of lower than 1 / 4 of the stalks accessible within the state. The diet in stalks is highest within the ears, leaves and husks, and as soon as they’re consumed or deteriorated by climate, the feed worth drops quickly. In steady grazed corn fields cows will choose the ears, leaves and husks shortly, so any kind of strip or rotational grazing will increase the grazing days from corn fields. For bigger herds, contemplate placing all cattle in a single group, begin grazing within the first fields harvested or the farthest from house, and transfer cows to a brand new area when the leaves and husks are consumed. For smaller herds, contemplate strip grazing with electrical fences and sizing your strips so cows transfer each week or two to a brand new space.

  8. Cornstalk swath grazing isn’t for the faint of coronary heart, however for these prepared to strive one thing ‘exterior the field’ this is likely to be an choice for a couple of acres near the winter feeding space. Shut off the chaff spreader in your mix to create a swath of leaves and husks following grain harvest, then strip graze these in January the place you possibly can complement with further feed if wanted. Simply ensure your grazing density on the strips is intense sufficient to make the most of all of the forage within the windrow and never go away an excessive amount of behind for spring planting season.

These are only a few choices to increase the grazing season and cut back saved feed prices. Bear in mind for each week we preserve cows grazing offsets $13 per cow in feed at $100/ton hay plus the value of diesel used to ship that hay. For a lot of operations, that’s a couple of 2% discount in complete cow prices for each week grazing is prolonged. When you want further assist in calculating winter grazing wants, contact your regional beef specialist.

Supply: Iowa State Collegewho’s solely accountable for the data supplied and is wholly owned by the supply. Informa Enterprise Media and all its subsidiaries aren’t accountable for any of the content material contained on this data asset. 



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