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Top Ten Forage-Related Items to Consider for 2003

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Posted Apr. 1, 2003

  1. Consider fertilizing your introduced summer grasses from April 15 to June 1 depending on your needs and goals. Remember, ryegrass is still actively growing during this time so be careful it doesnt get all the fertilizer. You can expect to grow 1 ton of forage for every 50 pounds of nitrogen applied to warm-season grasses, while it takes 60 lbs. of nitrogen to produce 1 ton of cool-season grass.
  2. Consider carrying over the lighter end of your stockers from grazeout winter pasture to warm-season grass. Warm-season grasses should be good quality and produce adequate gain (1.5 to 2.0 pounds average daily gain) from May through mid-July. However, forage quality will begin to substantially decrease sometime after mid-June depending on rainfall, fertilization and plant maturity. Therefore, supplementation may be necessary near the end of the season for optimum gains.
  3. The optimum time of establishment for seeding introduced warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, plains bluestem, weeping lovegrass) is from April 15 to May 15. You can seed later than this if soil moisture is available and we are experiencing above-average rainfall.
  4. Estimate your hay needs today and either plan to grow and bale it by July 1 or purchase it during times of economic advantage. Dont wait until the last minute to realize you have come up short!
  5. Test all hay prior to feeding so proper supplementation recommendations can be made.
  6. On average, 75 percent of our warm-season forage is produced by July 15. If we havent received near average rainfall by May 15, expect forage to be in short supply this summer and make plans to offset the deficit ahead of time.
  7. Maintain a minimum of a 6-inch stubble height on all grasses through mid-July and all year for native grasses.
  8. Measure residual forage July 15 and estimate your carrying capacity for the remainder of the year. Plan Monitor Replan.
  9. Consider fall fertilizing your bermudagrass in mid-August if additional forage is needed for your cows or if you plan to background fall-weaned calves on grass.
  10. If you want early winter pasture for fall stockers, then have your pasture planted and fertilized by Sept. 15. However, if you do not need early forage, then delay planting until after Oct. 15.