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Cattle are leaving lots of tall grass in pastures

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bigrich954rr

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Ok quick little info I have a 10year angus cow that's pregnant. And has a 500lb calf. I also have 2 beefalo that weigh about 700lbs

I have about 12 acres cut up into 5 parts. I just got these and just getting into cattle.

So they ate the first pasture for about 2weeks but only ate half of it cause they left half tall and rest over grazed so I moved them to the next one to keep the grass from getting all pulled out.

Do I brush hog the tall grass to knock it down or let it grow out ?

The other pastures are about 3-4feet tall and are seeding out as stuff is growing fast with all the rain this spring.

Should I cut ? I know I'll have to much grass now but bet I won't have enough late summer. Need some help on how to get my small farm running .
 

Bright Raven

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What you describe is rotational grazing. I would knock the tall stems down in the sections that are grazed. If any of the other sections become "rank", you might want to knock them down by mowing with your cutter set high. It depends on how long before you are going to be moving into them.
 

Son of Butch

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2.5 head (3,200 lbs) grazing on 12 acres of 2.4 acre paddocks each leaves 9.6 acres of 4 paddocks 3.5' tall
cut the 1st one and see how it goes by moving them twice a week through the remaining 4 rather than every 12 days
to keep the grass from getting so unpalatable
 

Bright Raven

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Son of Butch":3a1wchjt said:
2.5 head (3,200 lbs) grazing on 12 acres of 2.4 acre paddocks each leaves 9.6 acres of 4 paddocks 3.5' tall
cut the 1st one and see how it goes by moving them twice a week through the remaining 4 rather than every 12 days
to keep the grass from getting so unpalatable

He said it better than I did.
 
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bigrich954rr

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Ok thank you i will cut the first one. Then try moving them more.i really cant explain how much i appreciate your help. city boy moved out into the country and slowly starting small farm

I was taking it slow jumping into getting cows. got the 2 angus first for about 2 weeks saw how they didnt like the weeds and some of the other grasses and were also going to take forever to mow the pasture. So i added the beefalo those things will slowly eat anything bark off some of the ponderosa pine trees, half of most weeds. and love the apple trees leafs the last one is annoying

Am i losing alot of weight gain per day by letting the cattle eat the older grass ?
 

Banjo

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Where on this planet are you located? If you have fescue, then I would recommend clipping it, not too short but fairly high....as was mentioned already. When a plant goes to seed, its internal clock tells it to stop growing because it has achieved its goal of reproduction. Clipping it keeps it growing more leaves as well as more roots.

If you allow the grass to stand there seeded out till it turns brown, not only does it stop growing, but it will begin to atrophy......the same as a muscle you don't use anymore, like someone who is bedridden.

I let some stand all last year till late fall....big mistake IMO. It would have been much better this spring and last fall if it had been clipped 2 or 3 times during the year.
 

Bright Raven

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Banjo":3gfc7h31 said:
Where on this planet are you located? If you have fescue, then I would recommend clipping it, not too short but fairly high....as was mentioned already. When a plant goes to seed, its internal clock tells it to stop growing because it has achieved its goal of reproduction. Clipping it keeps it growing more leaves as well as more roots.

If you allow the grass to stand there seeded out till it turns brown, not only does it stop growing, but it will begin to atrophy......the same as a muscle you don't use anymore, like someone who is bedridden.

I let some stand all last year till late fall....big mistake IMO. It would have been much better this spring and last fall if it had been clipped 2 or 3 times during the year.

I clip my pastures about 3 times a year. It does have a cost associated with that practice but it keeps the plants producing leaves and roots.

Agronomist do suggest letting it go to seed every third year.
 

Banjo

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Bright Raven":3bee2afr said:
Banjo":3bee2afr said:
Where on this planet are you located? If you have fescue, then I would recommend clipping it, not too short but fairly high....as was mentioned already. When a plant goes to seed, its internal clock tells it to stop growing because it has achieved its goal of reproduction. Clipping it keeps it growing more leaves as well as more roots.

If you allow the grass to stand there seeded out till it turns brown, not only does it stop growing, but it will begin to atrophy......the same as a muscle you don't use anymore, like someone who is bedridden.

I let some stand all last year till late fall....big mistake IMO. It would have been much better this spring and last fall if it had been clipped 2 or 3 times during the year.

I clip my pastures about 3 times a year. It does have a cost associated with that practice but it keeps the plants producing leaves and roots.

Agronomist do suggest letting it go to seed every third year.



I'm not so sure that is necessary if you are doing rotational grazing.....sort of like reseeding your yard every three years..... who does that? I don't, don't need to. Other grasses like orchardgrass it may be necessary.

I think that clipping at the right time will cause the grass to thicken up and produce much more ......far outweighing the cost associated with it IMO. Plus you are putting a whole lot of plant food right back on the ground.
Haying will take the organic matter off and cattle will walk it off unless you keep them confined in very tight areas moving them multiple times daily(mob grazing).....which is very time consuming.
If you think about plant food being put back down, think about how much is being put down in a normal yard mowing in a year or mowing season..... say 3 inches being cut every 2 weeks.... being very conservative here, probably more than that, that is 6 inches a month..... April thru October is 7 months is 42 inches.....that's a lot of OM going back down. If we just apply that same logic to our pastures.
 

Bright Raven

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Banjo":2d0423fe said:
Bright Raven":2d0423fe said:
Banjo":2d0423fe said:
Where on this planet are you located? If you have fescue, then I would recommend clipping it, not too short but fairly high....as was mentioned already. When a plant goes to seed, its internal clock tells it to stop growing because it has achieved its goal of reproduction. Clipping it keeps it growing more leaves as well as more roots.

If you allow the grass to stand there seeded out till it turns brown, not only does it stop growing, but it will begin to atrophy......the same as a muscle you don't use anymore, like someone who is bedridden.

I let some stand all last year till late fall....big mistake IMO. It would have been much better this spring and last fall if it had been clipped 2 or 3 times during the year.

I clip my pastures about 3 times a year. It does have a cost associated with that practice but it keeps the plants producing leaves and roots.

Agronomist do suggest letting it go to seed every third year.



I'm not so sure that is necessary if you are doing rotational grazing.....sort of like reseeding your yard every three years..... who does that? I don't, don't need to. Other grasses like orchardgrass it may be necessary.

I think that clipping at the right time will cause the grass to thicken up and produce much more ......far outweighing the cost associated with it IMO. Plus you are putting a whole lot of plant food right back on the ground.
Haying will take the organic matter off and cattle will walk it off unless you keep them confined in very tight areas moving them multiple times daily(mob grazing).....which is very time consuming.
If you think about plant food being put back down, think about how much is being put down in a normal yard mowing in a year or mowing season..... say 3 inches being cut every 2 weeks.... being very conservative here, probably more than that, that is 6 inches a month..... April thru October is 7 months is 42 inches.....that's a lot of OM going back down. If we just apply that same logic to our pastures.

Yes. Fescue here seems to stay without reseeding but orchardgrass can disappear in about 3 years. Ladino clover , dutch white clover and red clover don't disappear but the fescue seems to outdo them.
 

cowboy43

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With all the droughts we have been through it would be a sin to cut grass, been without a decent rain for 3 months, excess grass being eaten down.
 

greybeard

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Most grasses, once they get tall and stemmy are tough--unpalatable. The cattle will choose the younger, leafy, tender, more green stuff every time, even here in bahia country. I would have to mow my bahia lawn every 3-4 day to prevent it from going to seed, and generally try to let it go to brown seed stage once per growing season. Have done the same with my pastures in past years but find myself a little overstocked presently and may not be able to this year unless I cull harder and sell some off.
I'm a neophyte regarding Fescue, but I would think it is similar to bahia in that it is important to establish a good seedbank as well as a good root system for existing plants. Am I wrong in this assumption? ( With bahia, and to a lesser extent - bermuda, the cattle tend to pull a lot of it up by the roots as they graze it. )
 

Banjo

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Greybeard--Up here the NRCS will tell you not to plant fescue KY 31. Because it will come in on its own....its pretty invasive.
Its like a lot of things, if you don't want it you will have lots of it and if you do, you won't have enough.
I don't know how much is in the seedbank or how often it needs refreshed, but it seems to come from somewhere.
Probably birds eating it in the fencerows scatters a lot. And it won't pull up by the roots when grazed once its established.
 

Texasmark

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Selective grazing is the norm. They prefer succulent, young, tender shoots and will seek them when available. Some selective grazing includes things like butter cups and other such things. I have a little volunteer, wiry ground cover plant that makes small white and purple flowers, growing in the fall that they just love.

My experience has proven that when they over graze the above and leave the "flax" standing, cut the flax and let the pasture start over. One thing the flax does for you after clipping is to improve the soil both immediately by providing shade for regrowth, conserving moisture by blocking the sun's rays, and in time improving top soil.

In your pasture rotation cycle, and I do believe in it, clipping is part of the process. Plenty of university ag extension information out there about how a plant grows and how important it is to have leaves present to interact with the atmosphere to encourage that regrowth.....fresh, growing, leaves, not stems or mature leaves waiting to die.
 

HDRider

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greybeard":oyiixue4 said:
Most grasses, once they get tall and stemmy are tough--unpalatable. The cattle will choose the younger, leafy, tender, more green stuff every time, even here in bahia country. I would have to mow my bahia lawn every 3-4 day to prevent it from going to seed, and generally try to let it go to brown seed stage once per growing season. Have done the same with my pastures in past years but find myself a little overstocked presently and may not be able to this year unless I cull harder and sell some off.
I'm a neophyte regarding Fescue, but I would think it is similar to bahia in that it is important to establish a good seedbank as well as a good root system for existing plants. Am I wrong in this assumption? ( With bahia, and to a lesser extent - bermuda, the cattle tend to pull a lot of it up by the roots as they graze it. )
The difference might be Fescue's negative attributes, endophyte heating up the cattle, and the seed heads irritating their eyes.
 
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bigrich954rr

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HDRider":1kccgvcs said:
greybeard":1kccgvcs said:
Most grasses, once they get tall and stemmy are tough--unpalatable. The cattle will choose the younger, leafy, tender, more green stuff every time, even here in bahia country. I would have to mow my bahia lawn every 3-4 day to prevent it from going to seed, and generally try to let it go to brown seed stage once per growing season. Have done the same with my pastures in past years but find myself a little overstocked presently and may not be able to this year unless I cull harder and sell some off.
I'm a neophyte regarding Fescue, but I would think it is similar to bahia in that it is important to establish a good seedbank as well as a good root system for existing plants. Am I wrong in this assumption? ( With bahia, and to a lesser extent - bermuda, the cattle tend to pull a lot of it up by the roots as they graze it. )
The difference might be Fescue's negative attributes, endophyte heating up the cattle, and the seed heads irritating their eyes.

thank you guys i have cut two of the fields. can i get a little more info on the endophtye and heating up of cattle and a seed heads irritating their eyes ?
 

HDRider

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bigrich954rr":2ehwqec9 said:
HDRider":2ehwqec9 said:
greybeard":2ehwqec9 said:
Most grasses, once they get tall and stemmy are tough--unpalatable. The cattle will choose the younger, leafy, tender, more green stuff every time, even here in bahia country. I would have to mow my bahia lawn every 3-4 day to prevent it from going to seed, and generally try to let it go to brown seed stage once per growing season. Have done the same with my pastures in past years but find myself a little overstocked presently and may not be able to this year unless I cull harder and sell some off.
I'm a neophyte regarding Fescue, but I would think it is similar to bahia in that it is important to establish a good seedbank as well as a good root system for existing plants. Am I wrong in this assumption? ( With bahia, and to a lesser extent - bermuda, the cattle tend to pull a lot of it up by the roots as they graze it. )
The difference might be Fescue's negative attributes, endophyte heating up the cattle, and the seed heads irritating their eyes.

thank you guys i have cut two of the fields. can i get a little more info on the endophtye and heating up of cattle and a seed heads irritating their eyes ?
Google "managing fescue toxicosis" & "fescue and pink eye"

http://www.progressivecattle.com/topics ... und-fescue

https://caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu/Infectiou ... eefCattle/
 

Texasmark

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My 2c is when you rotate them OUT of a pasture, clip what's left giving all the grass (and weeds) a new start. Cows prefer the tender shoots if they can plus like certain plants. Let them select what they want out of the new patch then cut it when you rotate out. The flax and other undesirable plants are left standing.....like what you see when you turn them into a sorghum-sudan patch...what's left is a forest of stems, no leaves.....unless they are left in there too long and they have not choice.
 

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