We first shared this article and video in August of 2013, just a few months after we started On Pasture. So chances are good that most of you haven’t seen it. You really should though. Yes, it is a little longer than most that I give you. But this 16:47 minutes is like taking a pasture walk to learn all about stockpiling – from the benefits of doing it to some good how-to’s for getting started
Here are the quick take home messages you’ll find:
Stockpiling forages and then grazing through the winter saves a lot of money!
Put all the costs of making hay all summer behind you, including equipment, fuel to run it, and your own labor. Brad Storie, who introduces himself as a “Beef Cattle/Hay producer” who said, “Haying is getting more and more expensive. I had to look for other options because of the economic factor.”
Cattle do better on stockpiled forages.
These producers found that winter grazing cattle were healthier. Beef producer Johnny Rogers says, “One of the reasons we like stockpiling is because from a nutritional standpoint it’s just simply better than hay. If you do a side by side nutritional analysis…the stockpile is going to have an advantage over dry hay.” Tests show Total Digestible Nutrients at 70% in stockpile to 59% in hay and crude protein in stockpile at 15% compared to 11 % or less in hay.
Stockpiling means better nutrient distribution.
Keeping cattle on pasture through the winter means you keep their manure and urine there too, doing their job of recycling nitrogen and phosphorous. In fact, just 25 cows can excrete the fertilizer equivalent of 1200-300-1000 lbs over 4 months.
Brad Storie sums up how each of the producers in this video feel about the switch to stockpiling: “The hay that I have made, I’m not going to make again because I’ve seen this system work.” He highly recommends the system to other farmers and ranchers saying, “The biggest thing is it’s going to be a big improvement for your pastures and your cattle.”
There are lots of different ways to go about stockpiling and we’re trying to share as many different examples as we can. One option for finding out what works best in your area is to contact your local Natural Resouces Conservation Service or Conservation District office. And remember, even if you can’t start to make changes this year, any planning and learning you do today can get you down the road to beginning next grazing season.
Thanks to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for making this article possible. Click on over to see the great work they do for all of us. Thank them for supporting On Pasture by liking their facebook page.