Grazing Alfalfa

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torogmc81
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Grazing Alfalfa

Post by torogmc81 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:22 am

Neighbor has a 7 acre alfalfa field that he would rather my cows take care of than him deal with the weather and someone cutting and baling. The field is 40-50% alfalfa, rest of it is orchard/mix. He got the first cut off 3 weeks ago.

When is the best time to graze his field? It's looking like ill have access year round, so I can add it to my rotations. I've got a group of fall heifer calves (5) that I could put on it or cows obviously too. No bulls at this time being developed. I'm in three groups right now, main cow herd, yearling heifers, fall heifer calves. Should graze lightly off and on and stockpile for early winter?


Other note, there is little to no shade in this field



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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by torogmc81 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:25 pm

ping.

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Banjo » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:07 pm

i have never grazed alfalfa, but always wanted to.... this is just my 2 cents but i think at 40 to 50 % and the rest OG you should be fine. Turn them in after it had dried off in the afternoon would probably be best starting out.
With most legumes...the more mature they are the less chance for bloat.
Maybe some others will chime in here too.

That's my opinion.....feel free to make it yours.

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Redgully » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:45 pm

I'd be nervous. I would strip graze it so they couldn't get too much at once.

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Silver » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:18 am

I wouldn’t worry about it, put them in full, keep a dry hay bale available if you like, carry on....

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Ebenezer » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:09 am

Scroll down to the last section. UGA has a great program on forages.
https://extension.uga.edu/publications/ ... %20Georgia

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by torogmc81 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:00 am

Only experience I have is an old 2 acre field we had back in IL. I had thrown a pasture mix down to seed where I had moved some dirt and done some grading. When I would clip that small field I would notice the alfalfa was passed up for the other forages. It was nowhere near 40-50%, more like 5%, but very obvious they went for clover, etc. first.

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Dave » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:39 am

In addition to turning them in when the cows are full, in the afternoon, with the alfalfa being mature, I would give them a bloat block ahead of time and/or mix bicarbonate soda in with the minerals. But after taking those precautions I would certainly utilize the pasture.

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by TexasBred » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:39 am

torogmc81 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:22 am
Neighbor has a 7 acre alfalfa field that he would rather my cows take care of than him deal with the weather and someone cutting and baling. The field is 40-50% alfalfa, rest of it is orchard/mix. He got the first cut off 3 weeks ago.

When is the best time to graze his field? It's looking like ill have access year round, so I can add it to my rotations. I've got a group of fall heifer calves (5) that I could put on it or cows obviously too. No bulls at this time being developed. I'm in three groups right now, main cow herd, yearling heifers, fall heifer calves. Should graze lightly off and on and stockpile for early winter?


Other note, there is little to no shade in this field
Does it join your property so that you could graze them for an hour or so then move them out every day. Sure gonna be consuming a lot of protein if left to graze all day.
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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Richnm » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:36 pm

I have a few heifers in a pen by my house , they escaped the other day grazed first cut pre bloom alfalfa for about 6 hours. I penned them back up and added dish soap to the water. The next day they were still alive. Very risky. Even if it’s mixed 50/50 they might eat only 100% alfalfa. https://postimg.cc/YjsBZqDM
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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by torogmc81 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:36 pm

TexasBred wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:39 am
torogmc81 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:22 am
Neighbor has a 7 acre alfalfa field that he would rather my cows take care of than him deal with the weather and someone cutting and baling. The field is 40-50% alfalfa, rest of it is orchard/mix. He got the first cut off 3 weeks ago.

When is the best time to graze his field? It's looking like ill have access year round, so I can add it to my rotations. I've got a group of fall heifer calves (5) that I could put on it or cows obviously too. No bulls at this time being developed. I'm in three groups right now, main cow herd, yearling heifers, fall heifer calves. Should graze lightly off and on and stockpile for early winter?


Other note, there is little to no shade in this field
Does it join your property so that you could graze them for an hour or so then move them out every day. Sure gonna be consuming a lot of protein if left to graze all day.
Yes it joins my property. Do you think it'd be hard to pull them off after an hour? The main pasture is in good shape, but i've seen it before, ya let em on something good and they get stubborn.

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Redgully » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:45 pm

torogmc81 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:36 pm
TexasBred wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:39 am
torogmc81 wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:22 am
Neighbor has a 7 acre alfalfa field that he would rather my cows take care of than him deal with the weather and someone cutting and baling. The field is 40-50% alfalfa, rest of it is orchard/mix. He got the first cut off 3 weeks ago.

When is the best time to graze his field? It's looking like ill have access year round, so I can add it to my rotations. I've got a group of fall heifer calves (5) that I could put on it or cows obviously too. No bulls at this time being developed. I'm in three groups right now, main cow herd, yearling heifers, fall heifer calves. Should graze lightly off and on and stockpile for early winter?


Other note, there is little to no shade in this field
Does it join your property so that you could graze them for an hour or so then move them out every day. Sure gonna be consuming a lot of protein if left to graze all day.
Yes it joins my property. Do you think it'd be hard to pull them off after an hour? The main pasture is in good shape, but i've seen it before, ya let em on something good and they get stubborn.
That's why I'd strip graze it, little buggers will run far an wide should you try to move them off if they decide they like it there.

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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by TexasBred » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:10 am

I honestly don't know how they would react being moved from alfalfa but when moving them from something like rye or wheat they move easily with a bit of encouragement.
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Re: Grazing Alfalfa

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:45 am

Generally, cattle with a full bellie will move anywhere.
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