Minimizing Hay Waste While Feeding

If hay is stored and fed properly, hay loss can be minimized. Total losses from hay storage and feeding are estimated to exceed three billion dollars annually nationwide. This does not include additional economic losses associated with labor used to store and feed hay. While it is normal to expect some hay loss during feeding, minimizing hay feeding losses should be a primary producer goal.

Grazing Methods: Which one is for you?

The flexibility of a grazing enterprise is what makes it appealing to many different managerial approaches. From the part-time farmer who has a few head of stocker calves during the growing season to keep the grass short, to the full-time producer who has a large cow-calf herd maintained year-in and year-out, grazing is often the preferred way to harvest forage. For these situations and all those in between, the implementation of different grazing systems can help producers meet their operation’s objectives while maintaining an optimum stocking density.

Why use a Solar Powered Watering System

By: Adam Jones, Kentucky NRCS Grazing Specialist 
Three reasons to use solar powered watering systems include:

Forage Testing

Testing your forages can be a useful tool to minimize feeding costs while maximizing animal production. Forage testing provides the nutritional value of pasture, hay, or silage. It is important to know the quality and nutrient content of feed to calculate an efficient feed ration and mineral supplementation program. Balancing rations based on these test results are necessary to promote animal health and production while keeping feeding costs to a minimum. Knowing the nutritional value of your forage will also ensure that you are getting the right price for your hay when marketed. 

Importance of Rest Periods Between Grazing

One of the most important components of a successful rotational grazing system is allowing the forages an adequate rest period for plant recovery and regrowth. Allowing plants a sufficient rest period is vital to maximize forage quality, yield, and stand persistence. This period not only give the plants time to regrow but also to replenish stored carbohydrates and for root development. However, if plants are allowed too long of a rest period without grazing or mowing, plants will become mature and lose nutrient value and palatability.

Picking Apples off the Grazing Tree: How far can we extend the grazing season profitably?

Dr. Greg Halich, UK Ag Economist - Will grazing more and feeding less hay always increase profitability? There are many cases where cattle farmers could graze more days profitably. I would guess that more than half the cattlemen in Kentucky and the region could find ways to do so. But the statement is not universally correct and we need to evaluate the specific situation to determine if increasing grazing days will pay off.

Summer Grazing Tips

Cool-season Grass Pastures (i.e. fescue, orchardgrass, ryegrass)

Use of Temporary Fence

Temporary fenceThe practice of rotational grazing allows forages a rest period that permits them to initiate regrowth, renew carbohydrate stores, and improves yield and persistency. A rotational grazing system divides a larger pasture into smaller paddocks allowing livestock to be moved from one paddock to another easily.

Planning your Grazing System

Rotational grazing can help producers increase forage productivity, which can increase the profitability of an operation. Additional benefits to implementing a rotational grazing system include: reduced supplemental feed costs, improved animal distribution and forage utilization, improved manure distribution and nutrient use, and many more. While many producers want to achieve these benefits, many struggle with implementing a system to achieve their grazing goals.

Multi-Species Grazing

Grazing two or more animal species in a pasture-based system can increase forage utilization and efficiency. This method can also be used to renovate pastures by controlling certain forages, weeds, and brush that one livestock species may not graze. Each species of livestock are unique in the manner in which they graze and in what they prefer to graze. When deciding which species to add to a grazing system, it is best to evaluate current plant species on the farm and determine which are not being grazed.