Grazing Rye too early

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Well-known member
Feb 11, 2016
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We've got rye, clover, and winter peas drilled into a section of pasture. Planted later than desired, but had to wait on it to rain. Have a great stand, but it quit raining and it's only 3-4" as of mid December. We finally got a good killing frost. Then put some 28%N out two weeks ago before an 1.5" rain and are getting some more rain this week. So, it's coming on now.

Plan was for this pasture to support all of our mama cows this winter, with another section of pasture drilled with ryegrass and clover to have as backup/spring popping pasture for stocker steers.

I'm sick of feeding peanut hay and fighting scours in the youngest calves. I've got enough hay to carry them into January, but my haying area is getting pretty gross. With a 15 day rotational (limited to one section that they won't return to for 15 days) grazing system, do you think that turning them in on 4" rye is going to be too early.


Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
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N. Texas
Gotta do what you gotta do. "Experts" say wait but...... If I had to I'd rotate them. I don't know your density distribution (size of field-animal tonnage on it) but why not hit it hard for a couple of days and get them off, giving it time to recover and hit it again, cyclic. They need some dry matter in their gut anyway.
The thing I hate about grazing cows in the winter is their 2 bites-10 steps routine, or running all over everything, stomping everything down, checking the fences when you first turn them out.

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