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Stockpiling Forages for Fall and Winter Pasture

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RADIO TRANSCRIPT

Date: August 11, 2020
Agent: Damon Pollard

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension-Burke County Center.

Today’s topic is Stockpiling Forages for Fall and Winter Pasture. Livestock producers can take advantage of late summer and early fall growing conditions to obtain
high-quality pasture for late fall and early winter grazing. This practice is called stockpiling.

The best grasses for stockpiling are cool-season grasses, as they will retain good quality and palatability into winter. August is the best time to begin stockpiling for fall and winter use. Remove livestock from the pasture, apply 60 to 80 lbs. of nitrogen per acre and allow grass to accumulate growth until November or December. Remove summer growth down to 3 to 4 inches by grazing or
clipping so stockpile production comes from new grass growth. Growers can top-dress at a rate of 40 to 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre on tall fescue before August 15. Research has shown following these guidelines can increase dry matter production by 25 pounds per acre for each pound of nitrogen applied to tall fescue.

To maximize stockpiled forage use, be sure to graze the fescue-clover fields quickly after the first frost. Pure fescue stands will maintain palatability and quality much longer into the winter so graze these last. Also, you need to maintain a high stocking rate to prevent waste as a result of trampling. Strip grazing can help to reduce trampling losses. In this time of high costs, stockpiling cool-season
grasses extends the grazing season, reduces winter hay feeding, provides a good return of high quality forage for each pound of nitrogen applied providing your livestock an ideal place for wintering and birthing young.

For more information about stockpiling, contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Burke County at 764-9480.