Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Discuss grasses and how to grow and harvest them.
Stocker Steve
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Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:08 am

I always see suggestions to stockpile grass because it is cheaper feed than hay. I get that.

What is missing is where do you get the extra (can not graze late summer/early fall when pairs are feeding heavy) pasture? The only cow/calf approach I can see is taking a single cutting off contiguous hay ground and then coming back to graze a stockpile in late fall. Or, you could sell off stockers in mid summer and then stockpile the stocker pasture.

What other opportunities am I missing?
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby ddd75 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:15 am

i usually take 2 cuttings then stockpile the 3rd. Didn't have to feed hay until dec. 25 at the earliest. after that point, you'll really have to understock to go longer.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby dun » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:03 pm

Unless you are doing MIG you can;t really stockpile enough to make it worth while
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:33 pm

ddd75 wrote:i usually take 2 cuttings then stockpile the 3rd. Didn't have to feed hay until dec. 25 at the earliest. after that point, you'll really have to understock to go longer.


I am in the land of the artic vortex - - so flash grazing in May, taking one cutting in early July, and then stockpiling may work.
I am grazing stockpile now and moving cows every two days.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Douglas » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:55 pm

Plant a summer annual to keep cattle off fescue in the Aug-Oct. period here. Add nitrogen of course.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby kenny thomas » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:07 pm

I'm not an expert but here is how I do it. I have aprox 20 acres stockpiled right now. In my normal rotation I had extra grass all summer but in August I grazed these areas for the month trying to get the grass fairly short. During this time the other pastures got a longer rest than usual and grew a lot. Once I got the 20 acres grazed down somewhat I removed the cows and spread 52 units of Urea per acre. with good rain it should graze 35 cows for 45 days I think.
I still have a month or so of grazing on the rested pastures and if I will feed some hay in December while the ground is still firm. Much easier on me and the cows to feed hay in December than February. The neighbor next door has several acres of corn to pick and I will try to talk him into letting me graze the stalks also. If I get that I will feed very little unless it snows.
Some say I am under stocked with 25 cows on 45 acres but in trade for not having to put up and feed a lot of hay I think my profit is near the same. I have 10 cows on a neighbors farm that I will bring home in January and winter also. Keeping those cows at the neighbors for 9 months cost me taking a bull with them to breed my cows and 10 of his. Pretty good deal.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Banjo » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:55 pm

Most farmers have more grass in the spring and summer(spring flush) than they can utilize so therefore they make hay out of the pastures/hayfields not needed for grazing.
I started doing something just this year that looks very promising so far. That extra pasture that I don't need....which is about a 1/4 to 1/3 of the farm..... I just clip it. I clipped it about 4 or 5 times since about May. Roughly about once a month....that is putting down a tremendous amount of organic matter....fescue seems to love organic matter. Right now this area has a very good stand of fescue on it. I started grazing it about a week ago and it looks like I'll be able to graze it again around the first of the year along with the rest of the farm that has been recovering and will recover for the next 40 days or so.
Next year I"ll do different part of the farm.....set aside and clip.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:32 pm

Banjo wrote:Next year I"ll do different part of the farm.....set aside and clip.


Sounds good.
Have you tried cross fencing nd letting the cows trample the grass?
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby dun » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:12 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Banjo wrote:Next year I"ll do different part of the farm.....set aside and clip.


Sounds good.
Have you tried cross fencing nd letting the cows trample the grass?

I've done that and the problem I ended up with was matted grass that was hard to cut or decent hay the following year.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Banjo » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:28 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Banjo wrote:Next year I"ll do different part of the farm.....set aside and clip.


Sounds good.
Have you tried cross fencing nd letting the cows trample the grass?


Yes..in essence...Mob grazing. I know there are people who write books about it, but it just doesn't seem to work well for me.
You have to do very long rotations and move them several times a day in order to get the cattle concentrated enough to trample everything....if the cattle aren't concentrated enough on a particular area, they will just make trails thru it instead of trampling everything. And i'm not sure, how critical all the 100's of 1000's of lbs. of hoof action to the acre it really is to the soil.
Then you will eventually get into overmature grass. It may work for some people but just not for me.
I find that rotating them around in that 30 to 45 day window works the best and the cattle do the best.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:20 am

dun wrote:
Stocker Steve wrote:Sounds good.
Have you tried cross fencing nd letting the cows trample the grass?

I've done that and the problem I ended up with was matted grass that was hard to cut or decent hay the following year.


I think age and type of stand is very important for flattening forage. They skip this detail in most write ups:
Legumes trample really well, and clovers reseed well, so I trample them.
Thistle not so much. I usually swath grass thistle patches, which works really well if you cut pre or early bud.
Grass is in between, and needs some age to trample easily.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby dun » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:45 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
dun wrote:
Stocker Steve wrote:Sounds good.
Have you tried cross fencing nd letting the cows trample the grass?

I've done that and the problem I ended up with was matted grass that was hard to cut or decent hay the following year.


I think age and type of stand is very important for flattening forage. They skip this detail in most write ups:
Legumes trample really well, and clovers reseed well, so I trample them.
Thistle not so much. I usually swath grass thistle patches, which works really well if you cut pre or early bud.
Grass is in between, and needs some age to trample easily.

Fescue doesn;t trample well, gets too tough and stemmy after 8-10 inches. Clover I don;t worry about, seems to take care of itself. That would be red clover. The only white clover that persists around here is the wild dutch. Hop clover and red are the most common around here. Something I found interesting about "our" fescue. This farm was cleared and planted to fescue 100 plus years ago. It seems that some fescue is naturally less toxic then others. We've also selected for animals that perform on fescue. Seems the stuff on this farm doesn;t make that near as important. Every year the vet brings a dozen or so cows over during their early 3rd stage. Before coming here all they are on is fescue at his place and warm season grass hay. Within a week or 2 they all start showing a significant gain in body condition. Thought it was just a coincidence until lately. The folks we sold the fram to brought a bunch of their cows over and are grazing them on pastures that we aren;t using for ours. I commented on how crappy their condition was when the got here. Different bunches have been here from 2 months to about 3 weeks. Every one of those cows, including a couple of 17 year old gerts have all started to really gain condition. As long as we've been on this farm, 18 years, we've never bought any fescue seed. If anything needs reseeding wether from trails to water or just an area we have reclaimed I only spread seed that has been gotten off this farm. The seed is either from brush hogging and collecting it that way or haying when we have had to cut way late. The farm we just bought up the road will be reseeded as needed from seed that I have stored from this farm.
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby bussellfarms » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:02 am

dun how are you collecting the seeds?
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby dun » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:16 pm

bussellfarms wrote:dun how are you collecting the seeds?

One year we combined but I didn;t care for that. Now I just sweep off whatever accumilates on the mower or the brushhog. You just need to pay attention and collect periodically
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Re: Grass Stockpile Experts ?

Postby Till-Hill » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:37 pm

I'm no expert but in a pasture situation here at home what I've been doing is I got an open 10+ acre chunk with 10+ acres of crop residue next to it.

I used to continually graze all summer. Hold 3-4 cows all year. Once I got more cows and rented pasture I calve everyone in yard 20-40 cows depending on year and kick them out on this pasture/crop residue as soon as hydrant down in pasture has water. They stay there from March to end of May. Provide good hay and some silage last few years. Cows go back to yard and get AI'd and hauled to pasture. I may kick a few dairy heifers out mid summer that are pregnant. Sent 8 head out there this year for 60 days.

2 weeks ago I brought 6 cows home off a rented pasture that burnt up. Next week another 24 cows will come home. I don't suspect I will have to feed them anything till either snow is deep or mid December. I don't know I'm gaining any cow days doing it this way trimming that pasture down to a desert and leaving it sit idle for 4-6 months, but I've noticed I get alot more grazing out of it the next spring and it's got a "mat" underneath it. When everyone else is fighting mud it seems I got a base to work off of. Works great for me, neighbors shake their head all summer at me.
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