Grazing Alfalfa

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torogmc81

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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
 

Banjo

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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.
 
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torogmc81

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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.
 

Dave

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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.
 

TexasBred

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torogmc81 said:
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.
 

Richnm

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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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torogmc81

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TexasBred said:
torogmc81 said:
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.
 

Redgully

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torogmc81 said:
TexasBred said:
torogmc81 said:
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.
 

TexasBred

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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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