Don’t Let “Spring Fever” Hurt Your Forages

“When should I start grazing?” Most graziers are eager to get the animals back out grazing and reduce hay feeding. I'd love to be able to tell you, "Today is the day! Open the gate and get going!" But we all know it's not that easy. You need a game plan on how you are going to graze the paddocks so you can know where and when to start. You need to “stage” the paddocks to keep them in the preferred condition with quality forage. Pasture Condition Considerations Each year is different because of prevailing weather and soil conditions that set the timing for the onset of grazing in the spring. This is also dictated by how hard the pasture was last grazed and more importantly how much residue or stubble was left behind. Pastures that were grazed down very tightly early last fall and prior to going dormant will tend to be very short in the spring and slower to start growing because the plants will also have to grow roots at the same time. Depending on how they were grazed, closely grazed pastures are often a slightly darker green because of higher concentrations of nitrogen, especially if they were grazed at high density. These pastures will benefit from a longer resting period prior to being grazed the first time. Pastures that were stockpiled and grazed after going dormant are in a little better shape and, depending on how fast regrowth comes, can

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One thought on “Don’t Let “Spring Fever” Hurt Your Forages

  1. Good one. This article and looking at last year’s record helps explain why the pasture I grazed just before dormancy are well behind (and darker green) those I stockpile grazed. Thanks!

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