Rest pastures and stockpile grass for next spring

Rest pastures and stockpile forage now for a strong and early start next spring. Allowing livestock to continuously graze pastures while full feeding hay, provides little added nutrition, while damaging plants for future growth.

Many livestock producers have been forced to cease grazing and feed supplemental feeds. Frequently producers leave livestock with full access to pastures while feeding hay or other feeds. Farmers should remove livestock from pastures or at least limit them to sacrificial paddocks while feeding other feeds. This allows pastures to rest and regrow.

Particularly during September and October, until a killing frost sends forage plants into dormancy, pastures should not be grazed. Resting plants allows them to build a healthy root reserve of carbohydrates for a strong start next growing season. Continuous grazing throughout this time period allows livestock to graze off any regrowth and prevents plant preparation for winter dormancy.

Any forage growth that is grazed off during this time is detrimental to plant health and adds little nutritional value to the animal diet. Forage that is grazed at this time could be stockpiled and saved for future use. Once plants are dormant, grazing the subsequent forage growth is no longer detrimental to the plant.

If grazing is continuous through the autumn months and spring growth is likely to be delayed, next spring becomes an excellent time to frost seed forages. Well managed pastures can be one reason that frost seedings can fail. Weakened plants allow frost seeded seedlings to better compete and become established in existing pasture.

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