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Need Advise on What to Plant

kerley

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Need advise on what grasses make the best feed. In my area of Alabama the top three to plant this time of year is as follows.
Dallasgrass, Johnsongrass, and Bahia.
Which makes the best feed for cattle and can I mix these varieties.
I am only planting about one half acre to see if my cows like it.
Tom.
 

1982vett

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kerley":13jpcmey said:
Need advise on what grasses make the best feed. In my area of Alabama the top three to plant this time of year is as follows.
Dallasgrass, Johnsongrass, and Bahia.
Which makes the best feed for cattle and can I mix these varieties.
I am only planting about one half acre to see if my cows like it.
Tom.
Feed as in hay or feed as and grazing?

Dallasgrass can have problems with ergot and Johnsongrass can have problems with prussic acid. Bahaia doesn't do well enough here to grow as a grass so I don't have and usefull opinion on it.
 

kerley

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I did a little more research and decided to vacate my first choices and go with Tifton 9 Bahia.
Thanks 1982 vette.
Tom.
 

edrsimms

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kerley":kedv69zz said:
Need advise on what grasses make the best feed. In my area of Alabama the top three to plant this time of year is as follows.
Dallasgrass, Johnsongrass, and Bahia.
Which makes the best feed for cattle and can I mix these varieties.
I am only planting about one half acre to see if my cows like it.
Tom.

Just remember that when you have that Tift 9 all over the farm and you are not happy with the CP and TDN that Cimmaron will do a fine job of killing it graveyard dead. hate that stuff.

Dont mean to pick on ya, but really----------

Tift 9 CP on average 8.3 % TDN is 50% at 4 weeks and 42% at 8 weeks+ which has a feed value of .083 x .5 = 0.04
Then during summer it changes to a one stem seed head with very little leaf where feed values decrease to 0.03 and under.
a 1200 lb cow grazing bahia grass nursing a 200 - 300 lb calf in June needs 2.6 lbs Total Protein: 1200 x 0.03 x 0.04= 1.44 (you're a little bit Short even in a best case scenario)

Tifton 9 Bahia grass
Will Tift 9 support 4.8 AUM's? **** NO
Does it need continual fertiliation... YES
Does it need lots of rainfall.... YES
Average crude Protein = 8.3
Average TDN 50%
one acre = 0.5 AUM's

Tiff Leaf 3 Millet 0.21 x .70 = 0.14
Will Tiff Leaf millet support 4.8+ AUM's..... YES
Does it need continual fertilization?.... NO
Does it need lots of rainfall...... NO
Average crude protein 17 %
Average TDN 71 %
a 1200 lb cow grazing TL3 millet nursing a 200 - 300 lb calf in June needs 2.6 lbs Total Protein: 2.6/ 0.14 = 4 hours of grazing Millet and low quality unfertilized pasture daily. All for much less than planting and messing with Bahia.
This year, we planted Millet on April 23rd and put down 50 units of N/acre. On May 23rd, we put 6 cow calf pairs per acre on Millet limit grazing for 3-4 hours per day and we will continue to do this all summer long.

By May 23rd the Millet was 18 inches high, Nitrates measured < 900 ppm and just like every year since 1982 Millet will need an average of 1 inch per month of rainfall to grow well. Last year even with a stocking rate of 6 cow calf pairs per acre I had to mow it down 4 times (only put down 50 units of N/acre). Millet grazed to the dirt will bounce back to 12 inches tall in less than 3 weeks.

bahia grass to Tiff Leaf millet ratio (Bahia:Millet) equals 9.6 acres of bahia grass to 1 acre of tiff leaf 3 millet. Pictures coming soon!

Applying 50 units of N on bahia grass 2 times per year is a minimum and will cost you ~ $100/acre x 9.6 = $1000.00 1.2 acres per cow calf unit, but (dont forget about the supplementary feed you will be feeding so your cows will actually get their daily requirements. Lets say 4 lbs of whole cotton seed per day ($195 per ton last I checked) or 10 cents per lb x 4 lbs = 40 cents per cow per day plus a needless hassle, but your time is free, right?----- all summer. 40 cents per cow (say you have 50) 20 dollars a day x 90 days = 1800 more dollars + minerals.
50 cows grazing 60 acres of Bahia all summer = 6000 for fertilizer + 1800 for supplementary feed is $7800 not counting your time.

Applying 50 units of N on Millet 1 time per year is a minimum and will cost you ~ $50/acre x 1 acre = $50 for 6 cow calf pairs.
Say you have 50 cows and you plant 10 acres of millet ---- seed + fertilizer = $80 plus planting etc lets just say $100 per acre. $1000 dollars + minerals vs your 8000 dollar bahia grass venture....

Hmmmm, I think planting Tiff Leaf 3 Millet is a little better, but with limit grazing I have to drive out there 2 times per day to put them in and get them out, which takes under a minute to put them in and my Australian shepherd gets them out in about 3 minutes, but I don’t have all the free time you do.
Just a thought
 

Jogeephus

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edrsimms":2fiv1ref said:
Just remember that when you have that Tift 9 all over the farm and you are not happy with the CP and TDN that Cimmaron will do a fine job of killing it graveyard dead. hate that stuff

Good post and not arguing but on the other hand if you have Tiftleaf 3 all over the farm then you'll miss out on around 4 months of grazing. To me, its all about balance. Each has its strong points and each has its weak points. Everyone in my area whose forage system is based solely on TL3 in my area is calling wanting to buy hay. I haven't feed hay in months. Thanks to Tift 9. Just another thought.
 

edrsimms

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Jogeephus":2lpl7kqa said:
edrsimms":2lpl7kqa said:
Just remember that when you have that Tift 9 all over the farm and you are not happy with the CP and TDN that Cimmaron will do a fine job of killing it graveyard dead. hate that stuff

Good post and not arguing but on the other hand if you have Tiftleaf 3 all over the farm then you'll miss out on around 4 months of grazing. To me, its all about balance. Each has its strong points and each has its weak points. Everyone in my area whose forage system is based solely on TL3 in my area is calling wanting to buy hay. I haven't feed hay in months. Thanks to Tift 9. Just another thought.

I am not arguing either, but you wont be able to meet nutritional requirements for cow/calf pairs on the Bahia grass #1, #2 it costs alot more to grow bahia.

1. we limit graze rye from Nov 15th to March 15th (calves are born in OCT-NOV)
2. We pull cows off rye grazing and put them on clover in March which beats both bahia and rye to pieces.
3. We plant Tiff leaf 3 in April and begin Grazing it in May until Mid August (calves are weaned in Mid April)
4. Cows go on clover-grass mix pasture and continue on grass pasture all summer (as their nutritional requirements are the lowest all year post-weaning)
5. Calves post weaning go on Tiff leaf 3 millet at 4.8 AUM's limit grazed from May until August. (ADG 2.5+) Steers are sent to Feed yard at 800 lbs in July/ heifers remain on millet
6. Remaining calves are pulled off TL3 in mid august and are grazed on Perennial Peanut until frost.
7. rye grazing begins again in NOV.
Basically we dont use high cost permanent grazing except for bred cows post-weaning and that is unfertilized pasture, where we estimate a benefit of 60 units of N put into the soil from Clover ---- for use by warm season grasses
Balance is a gradual increase of forage availability for the production year and a warm season permanent pasture gives you a rollercoaster ride on nutrtion. We do feed a low quality hay we bale at the airport for free after first frost until rye is available.

bahia grass will give you a few months of inadequate nutrition at best
 

Jogeephus

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Well I don't know your location but based on your numbers my cows are doing terrific on this foul grass and as for meeting the nutritional requirements, my live calving rate is in the upper 90's and has been for several years. As for being expensive to manage, I can only speak for my area and I haven't fertilized bahia in several years.(unless I cut it for hay) I guess its a regional thing. Here it does wonderful and offers some of the cheapest management free grazing you can have. It does have its weak points but until they can make T85 or TL3 winter hardy, I'll stick with my system.
 

J. T.

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I don't know where in the State you are located, but in good clay type bottomland Dallisgras/Ladino clover is an excellent choice. Also, with perennials such as Dallisgrass or Bahia, you don't have to replant every year.
 

BoJack Cattle

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Jogeephus":1gtjuxei said:
Well I don't know your location but based on your numbers my cows are doing terrific on this foul grass and as for meeting the nutritional requirements, my live calving rate is in the upper 90's and has been for several years. As for being expensive to manage, I can only speak for my area and I haven't fertilized bahia in several years.(unless I cut it for hay) I guess its a regional thing. Here it does wonderful and offers some of the cheapest management free grazing you can have. It does have its weak points but until they can make T85 or TL3 winter hardy, I'll stick with my system.

I grew up in South Alabama (which is no different than South Georgia) and we ran cattle on Bahia pastures. They performed just fine. I was at the Beef Cattle Short course last summer at Texas A&M and there were ripping bahia a new one. To each his own, but it worked just fine for us.
 

J. T.

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Another thing to consider is the type of forage already present, if any. If you aready have forage on the place, you might want to stick with it.
 

Jogeephus

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BoJack Cattle":1v6uhl0i said:
I grew up in South Alabama (which is no different than South Georgia) and we ran cattle on Bahia pastures. They performed just fine. I was at the Beef Cattle Short course last summer at Texas A&M and there were ripping bahia a new one. To each his own, but it worked just fine for us.

I don't think there is a cure all forage. I can find a lot wrong with bahia as I can with any other forage. I've heard them tear up fescue but I think I'd trade a finger for the ability to grow it here. The good thing about bahia is the growing season and its drought tolerance. It provides steady growth for a longer period of time than any other forage I that I can grow here. Its not a flash in the pan like some of your bermudas or millet. Probably the best thing for people to do is to chart the growth and yield of the forages in ones area by month and find what fits their area.
 

Jogeephus

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Here is a pic of a cow pie from a cow that has been grazing bahia. Ironically, a neighbor of mine was still feeding hay and feed waiting for his millet to get to size. I think this pic shows that bahia can be quite digestible at certain times of the year and it sure beats feeding hay. BTW - the field this was taken on has not been fertilized in 3 years.

 

grannysoo

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Jogeephus":oqj0d59t said:
Well I don't know your location but based on your numbers my cows are doing terrific on this foul grass and as for meeting the nutritional requirements, my live calving rate is in the upper 90's and has been for several years. As for being expensive to manage, I can only speak for my area and I haven't fertilized bahia in several years.(unless I cut it for hay) I guess its a regional thing. Here it does wonderful and offers some of the cheapest management free grazing you can have. It does have its weak points but until they can make T85 or TL3 winter hardy, I'll stick with my system.

One of my fields has a great stand of bahia grass in it. The cows love it, and it conditions well. The bahia is probably the most "bullet-proof" grass that we have in our area. It will grow in wet weather or a drought. It will grow when everything else dies. I don't think you could kill the bahia if you tried...
 

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