Stock piling grass vs hay

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coachg

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Our hay crop has been short on most of our hay fields so we cut part of the pasture that we try to stockpile for winter . I got to thinking: would it be better to cut it all for hay or leave it ? We are talking mostly fescue but it has a little of several types of grasses plus clover in it . Probably made up the difference in what we were short on our count .
 
I agree. Here i add urea by Labor day but probably could do it a couple weeks eatlier. Yours could probably be even later. But graze or cut it down to 6" before you start to stockpile.
How often does drought get you on your stockpile/urea application? We're often dry in that timeframe.
 
Not necessarily stockpiling for winter . We can turn dry in July and August and by September we are out of grass . Have had to feed hay in October a few years back . Usually don't start feeding hay till mid to late November.
 
I have played around with feeding hay some in the summer in order to not deplete my grass before winter. Then I am just moving a polybraid when it's nasty out instead of feeding hay and feeding hay when it's nice out.

But, you better manage you grazing real good or you will feed hay in the dry hot period, graze a little in the winter and be out of grass and have to feed hay anyway but now you have less of it. Lol.
 
coachg, if you will look back on Kenny's posts on stockpile fescue, he is dead on. I am farther south than you, in Montgomery, but we clip fescue the first two weeks in September, apply 50 units of N and wait 90 days. Then we graze one dry cow/A for 90 days, on daily moves. We feed no hay. You are in better fescue country than we are, but you get colder than we do. It will depend on how much fescue ground you are able to set aside to stockpile, but feeding hay in the fall instead of dead of winter is better for the cows and better for you, your pastures and your equipment.
 
coachg, if you will look back on Kenny's posts on stockpile fescue, he is dead on. I am farther south than you, in Montgomery, but we clip fescue the first two weeks in September, apply 50 units of N and wait 90 days. Then we graze one dry cow/A for 90 days, on daily moves. We feed no hay. You are in better fescue country than we are, but you get colder than we do. It will depend on how much fescue ground you are able to set aside to stockpile, but feeding hay in the fall instead of dead of winter is better for the cows and better for you, your pastures and your equipment.
I totally agree with this. I would rather feed hay in November than February
 
Not necessarily stockpiling for winter . We can turn dry in July and August and by September we are out of grass . Have had to feed hay in October a few years back . Usually don't start feeding hay till mid to late November.
That is a dicey game. For me, the summer rotations on fescue pastures are what I call flash grazing to let the cows eat the summer grasses, such as johnsongrass and other weeds/scattered warm season grasses and legumes and then off ASAP. Much grazing pressure in the summer combined with a drought of much length will weaken the fescue stand for fall stockpiling.
 
That is a dicey game. For me, the summer rotations on fescue pastures are what I call flash grazing to let the cows eat the summer grasses, such as johnsongrass and other weeds/scattered warm season grasses and legumes and then off ASAP. Much grazing pressure in the summer combined with a drought of much length will weaken the fescue stand for fall stockpiling.
Your exactly right. In good weather the warm season grasses will get ahead of them as i rotate. Moving them often helps. Fescue isnt growing much anyway.
 
@coachg , @Ebenezer is correct about stockpiling fescue, for winter anyway. Your question is valid though if you are talking summer stockpiling fescue, or leave the spring flush (after you have clipped the seedheads off the fescue) for grazing.....during the summer slump. I'm not an advocate of making hay when the livestock can graze it for several reasons. First and foremost I guess I'd want to be lazy. Why spend all my time doing something when the cows can do it for me? There is more to it than just the time factor though. There is the wear and tear on the hay equipment, there is the fuel cost, and then there is the fertilizer value/cost of replacement if the harvested hay is moved off site. There is a way to leave the bales on site and let the pasture grow up around the bales to produce/result in a 'bale grazing' opportunity which I am an advocate for. We can discuss bale grazing as well if you want which could be an opportunity for you here. Baling the forage rather than leave it standing could possibly promote some additional growth of the forage resulting in a slightly larger total production amount for the year, although this would likely be negligible. Conversely, if the forage is baled, and is cut too low and a dry spell/drought follows, having the forage removed could very well result in hotter soil surface temperatures and more sun exposure which will mean a longer period of no/stunted forage growth and a slower recovery after the drought/dry spell as the soil will require more water than it would have otherwise before forage will begin growing again.
 
we feed hay in the fall to allow the grass to grow as much as possible. only start grazing after the first killing frost. (usually sometime in october or november.) we keep back hay for really bad weather (ice). strip grazing with no back wire in winter.
 
Is Fescue the major grass that's used for stockpiling and is it done more in the midwest/southern states? We're in NY and not many people stockpile here that I know of. I'm thinking its a weather thing and the cool weather grasses we have like timothy and orchard grass. Nothing really grows after October. Any grasses we would let stand into the late fall would be ripened out and have very low nutritional value or starches.
 

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