The Master Grazer program conducted several stockpiling tall fescue research demonstrations across the state last year. The five different counties (Madison, Meade, Oldham, Pulaski, and Warren) completed stockpiling fescue research demonstrations between November 2014 and January 2015. These demonstrations were designed to measure (1) the number of days the grazing season was extended while grazing stockpiled fescue and (2) the impact of applying 100 units of urea (46 lbs. of actual N) would have on stockpiled fescue yield and number of grazing days.


The participants clipped their pastures in August and applied 100 lbs. of urea (46 lbs. of actual N) after clipping, leaving an area in each pasture unfertilized to compare the yield difference. Forage yield and quality was determined at grazing time for both the fertilized and unfertilized areas within the field.


Results:

The section of the field that was fertilized with urea averaged 3395 lbs. of forage dry matter per acre across the 5 locations. This forage yield per acre could support 79 animal units per day (An animal unit is equal to 1000 lbs of body weight.). If you had 25 beef cows which averaged 1200 lbs of body weight, an acre of stockpiled fescue would last approximately 3 days.


The section of the field where no fertilizer was applied averaged 2166 lbs. of dry matter per acre. Thus, applying nitrogen resulted in 1229 lbs. more forage dry matter per acre or put another way, 29 more grazing days per acre for an (1) animal unit.


Forage quality was determined. Forage samples averaged 13% crude protein, 100 relative feed value, 36% ADF, 56% NDF and 58% TDN on a dry matter basis. Stockpiled fescue was higher in quality than the average of 72,000 grass hay samples analyzed by DairyOne, a commercial forage testing laboratory over the last 14 years.

Cattle picturepasture
Stockpiled fescue field of cooperators on project.
Stockpiled fescue field of cooperators on project


Results from Master Grazer-Grazing for Cash 2014-2015 Stockpile Demonstrations
Forage Yield (lbs dry matter/acre)Increased number of animal units-grazing days per acre with 100 units of urea applied*
LocationWith NitrogenWithout NitrogenDifference
Madison33351990134531
Meade2324426189844
Oldham42932800149335
Pulaski3525291461114
Warren3497270179619
Average across locations3395 lbs2166 lbs1229 lbs DM/Acre29 more animal unit grazing days per acre
Number of animal unit grazing days per acre7950
*Assumes a 1000 lb animal unit consuming 3% of body weight with a 70% forage utilization with strip grazing. Increased number of animal unit-grazing days per acre = ((Increased yied/acre * forage utilization rate)/(1000 lbs BW * 3% DMI/day)).