Forages and Grazing Management to Extend Your Grazing Season

Editors Note: Last week we introduced a chapter from the University of Minnesota's home study beef course written by Greg Cuomo, of University of Minnesota's College of Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and Kirby Hettver, a former UMN Extension Educator who now manages his family farm full time. It described the importance of managing grazing so that plant roots could have the rest they need to grow long and reach resources vital to plants. Their basic take home was that you need to move animals off pastures to rest them. Now they take a look at forages that you might add to your pastures so that you'll have some place to move your livestock as you let other pastures rest.  Hey - You're not in Minnesota? Use this information as a starting point to consider what's happening in your pastures and how these forages might work. Check in with your Extension, NRCS, and Conservation District Staffs for their advice on adjusting to best meet your needs. Alfalfa Alfalfa can make an excellent complement to cool-season grass based grazing systems. Alfalfa is a high quality legume that grows more during mid-summer than cool-season grasses. Alfalfa already exists on many farms, and can support excellent liveweight gains or milk production. Over 3 years in Minnesota, alfalfa supported 667 lb. of lamb gain/acre/yr (Jordan a

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