Fall Forage Tips for Livestock

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August and September are good timed to accomplish fall pasture maintenance. With fall arriving, now is the time to apply Lime and fertilizer to pastures and hayfields planted to cool season grasses. Cool season grasses make their peak growth in the cooler weather of spring and fall, and any fertilizer applied in spring is long gone. Additional nitrogen now will increase growth for fall grazing.

If you have fields planted to summer annuals like Sudex or Pearl Millet, they can be over seeded with winter annuals as well to provide winter grazing. For cattle, and small ruminants, you can utilize oats, wheat, rye or ryegrass. Rye is the highest yielding choice.

For horses, the best choices are oats and ryegrass. Oats will produce heavy spring yields and horses love them. Ryegrass is a good choice for both spring and fall grazing, as it will produce more fall forage and a heavier spring yield than any other winter annual suitable for horses. If managed properly, it will provide grazing throughout the winter, cutting down on the grain requirement.

The most expensive forage for livestock is hay. By investing in fertilizer and seed now, you can reduce hay needs for this winter.

Written By

Photo of Damon PollardDamon PollardExtension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock and Field Crops, Forestry (828) 439-4460 damon_pollard@ncsu.eduBurke County, North Carolina
Posted on Sep 13, 2017
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