What is the Nutritional Value of Your Stockpiled Forage?

From December of 2016, here's a look at what you might expect if you haven't taken the steps to have your forage tested. Grazing your herd through the winter on standing forages in pasture is one way to reduce costs and improve your bottom line. It avoids the expense of baling, moving feed and then feeding. But is the feed giving your livestock what they need to survive and thrive? Here's some data from a variety of locations to help you with the answer. Standing Pasture In his series of articles walking readers with him through his 2014-2015 grazing season, our resident Grass Whisperer, Troy Bishopp, went the extra mile to give his fellow graziers information that would help them to make the transition to winter grazing. He even tested his standing forage so that they would have an idea of what to expect. Here's what he learned: "The Paddock 10 forage sample came back.  This may not represent the quality of the green forage that they're eating because I took a sample with green, brown and seedheads mixed together. I chose this sample because the cows will eventually go back and clean-up after they’ve grazed off the best stuff in the first 8 hours.  But as Kathy Voth points out, its possible that my green forage is quite high in protein and they are balancing their diet by adding the older, browner forage to balance the high protein. "

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