Grazing pasture / Hay ground

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rjbovine

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Needing to turn cow/calves out on ground needed for hay. Pasture grass can't seem to get ahead of the cows . My question is how long can the cows graze the hay field before I would see significant loss in hay production. Pasture and hay ground were both fertilize the last part of Feb. at a rate of 46-23-90 actual per acre . Thanks for your help.
 

SRBeef

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Are you rotationally grazing your pastures? It sure does increase the carrying capacity. Or is it just early and maybe they need to be on hay for a while longer to lket the pastures recover and get going. I really would not graze pastures until the new growth is 8-10" tall or you may hurt production for the rest of the season. Jim
 

Stocker Steve

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rjbovine":3qk1atvn said:
Needing to turn cow/calves out on ground needed for hay. Pasture grass can't seem to get ahead of the cows . My question is how long can the cows graze the hay field before I would see significant loss in hay production.

Zero days.
How you handle the spring growth can make weeks of difference in production, not to mention potential damage during the wet.
 
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rjbovine

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If I were to graze the hay field for lets say 10 days to let the pasture catch up . Would the hay production suffer alot ? I'm still feeding hay but the cows are still grazing the pasture . Would it be best in the long run just to keep the cows off the pasture till it has time to catch up ? I'm tring to understand thank you.
 

agmantoo

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rjbovine,

I do year round rotational grazing and have only emergency hay good for 16 days feeding. Starting into March I was getting short on forage and had to graze paddocks that should have been idle. If you will limit the grazing to rotating to an used area each day you can possibly get by without impacting the future grass/hay provided the soil is not overly wet. Pugging the soil is an absolute problem and a waste. In this pic the starting ground cover was slightly less than what you see in the foreground. In the background from left to right is roughly 30 acres divided in to 4 long strips running vertical on the pic. I started the herd on the far right and moved the herd daily allocating approximately 7/10's acre each day. In thin areas I allocated more land. During week two I moved them to the second rectangle from the left of the pic as the ground was wet, repeating the same allocation. On week three I started them on the third rectangle from the left side of the pic with the herd grazing toward the top of the pic. This is when the pic was taken. On the far right you can see how much regrowth has taken place in roughly 14 to 17 days. In the past when I was making hay I doubt that I would have gotten this much recovery as the soil was less productive. With your grazing the hay ground move forward cautiously if the soil is dry enough to support the animals without damage. It somewhat worked for me and I did have to repair one single days worth of grazing area as the herd was on a wet paddock and it rained heavily that night. Good luck.
IMG00694-20110320-1415-1.jpg
 

novatech

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rjbovine":2pfjtm5m said:
Needing to turn cow/calves out on ground needed for hay. Pasture grass can't seem to get ahead of the cows . My question is how long can the cows graze the hay field before I would see significant loss in hay production. Pasture and hay ground were both fertilize the last part of Feb. at a rate of 46-23-90 actual per acre . Thanks for your help.
I do not know what grass you have at this time in your hay field. Being north of my area I would assume you still have winter/cool season grass in the hay field. If this is the case then grazing it should do very little harm if any. In our area we have annual rye which has naturalized in the hay fields and pastures. Annual rye scavenges nutrients unused by the hay. By grazing it the nutrients are recycled back into the soil for the hay crop to use.
agmantoo; By pugging the soil I assume you mean packing. I can see where this would be true if there was not ample cover on the ground. If there was not, it is not at the stage where it should be grazed anyway. With the proper amount of grass cover for grazing the live grass is pushed into the soil (when wet ) so doesn't this actually have the opposite effect by adding organic matter into the dirt causing the soil to improve? I have seen this done by people using intensive grazing systems with no ill effects. An extreme example of this is by observing what happens where people feed hay on a regular basis. Those mud holes become the area where the grass grows the best.
 

Stocker Steve

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Plugging is when they punch through the sod and leave holes behind. Yes, it usually regrows, but I do not think mud holes are good. The only positive I have seen is if you broadcast seed over it they mostly end up in the shady damp holes and you can get great germination.

Mob grazing is when the litter is trampled tight to the ground so it recycles quickly. No plugging holes required.
 

Stocker Steve

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Stocker Steve":3hd9ttex said:
rjbovine":3hd9ttex said:
Needing to turn cow/calves out on ground needed for hay. Pasture grass can't seem to get ahead of the cows . My question is how long can the cows graze the hay field before I would see significant loss in hay production.

Zero days.
How you handle the spring growth can make weeks of difference in production, not to mention potential damage during the wet.

It actually depends on the type of forage, and the amount of root reserves - - which is what gets the plant going in early spring.
 
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rjbovine

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Decided to go ahead and put electric fence around the hay field . It's only about 4 acres so if I loose some hay because of the grazing I'll buy more hay. It's like pay me now or pay me later. Thank for all your replies . :tiphat:
 

hillbillycwo

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The rain fall this spring will have more impact I think on your regrowth. I would not graze my hay fields now unless i was out of hay from last year. I just seeded my farm in the fall and broadcast my clover in Feb/Mar which is the recommended time in my area. If you must graze your hay fields if it isn't too late to broadcast red clover in that hay field the gains from that may make up your grazed grass. Good luck.
 
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rjbovine

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I had seeded timothy and red clover back mid feb . As of last night did not see any clover coming . But it may still come. And yes I'm out of hay .
 

Angus Cowman

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I always graze my hayfields until the 1st of April and sometimes up until the 15th
I have never noticed any ill effects from it as I routinely pull 3-4 tons per acre of hay off on the first cutting in mid June
granted mine is mostly fescue with some clover
 

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