Grasses for spring calving

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Grasses for spring calving

May 3, 2018 | 22:57 1 I would like to seed hay/pasture/?? to have cows calve on late April and May. Would then leave until following year to repeat cycle. Any suggestions for grasses best suited for this sort of program.
Thanks in advance...... Reply With Quote
May 4, 2018 | 06:24 2
Quote Originally Posted by perfecho View Post
I would like to seed hay/pasture/?? to have cows calve on late April and May. Would then leave until following year to repeat cycle. Any suggestions for grasses best suited for this sort of program.
Thanks in advance......
If you plan on leaving it un-grazed right through to the next year kentucky bluegrass and creeping red fescue would be the best bets. Might want to add some cicer milkvetch as legume - it does well with the long rest period, reseeds itself and retains more of it's leaves over winter than the other legumes but it's main task would be to fix N. Reply With Quote
May 4, 2018 | 09:40 3 Thank you...one option was to seed fall rye and after grazing, use as swath grazing in fall and keep rotating the pieces...although once established, pasture would be easier. Reply With Quote
May 4, 2018 | 10:53 4 I don’t think fall rye as swath grazing would work very well as when the heads come out the animals will go on strike before eating them. We used fall rye to move pairs on to in mid April or early may and it worked very well. Then just rotate them through the summer to keep it from setting heads and it just keeps growing. Not the cheapest option but but worked well with no till and a way to renovate tired pasture and still put cows on it. Reply With Quote
KKS
May 4, 2018 | 11:30 5 I have a good ol crested wheat pasture I use for this purpose. I’ve found it turns green and starts growing 7-10 days before any other grass I have pastures I have. Reply With Quote
May 4, 2018 | 11:47 6
Quote Originally Posted by KKS View Post
I have a good ol crested wheat pasture I use for this purpose. I’ve found it turns green and starts growing 7-10 days before any other grass I have pastures I have.
How much production do you get from that and how dry an area are you in KKS ? I don't think there is much grown where perfecho is. Reply With Quote
May 5, 2018 | 23:25 7 Thank you for all the info...some things to consider.... Reply With Quote
May 6, 2018 | 20:19 8 FWIW - I love crested wheat and stockpiled meadow brome.
Crested Wheat is supposed to not be in fashion, but if you graze it in rotation it doesn't get wolfy and it greens up early. Reply With Quote
May 6, 2018 | 21:47 9
Quote Originally Posted by smcgrath76 View Post
FWIW - I love crested wheat and stockpiled meadow brome.
Crested Wheat is supposed to not be in fashion, but if you graze it in rotation it doesn't get wolfy and it greens up early.
Funny, the fleet meadow brome we had was great all season but over wintered as stockpile it turned to wire the cows wouldn't eat. Maybe different areas, different varieties?
The one species I didn't mention was quack grass perfecho, it was a large and successful component of our banked grass in AB. Grows very early but if you really want to graze only once a year it would likely get out of hand with you. Seed is cheap though lol. Reply With Quote
May 7, 2018 | 06:23 10 Well...it certainly spreads quickly too......may rethink....maybe hay mid summer and then leave regrowth for calving...use the bales to keep in that piece for a bit longer to have pastures establish... Reply With Quote
May 7, 2018 | 06:43 11
Quote Originally Posted by perfecho View Post
Well...it certainly spreads quickly too......may rethink....maybe hay mid summer and then leave regrowth for calving...use the bales to keep in that piece for a bit longer to have pastures establish...
I always like to graze fields in the first week of July if i'm banking them for the following spring, any later and you risk not getting a crop in a drier year. Reply With Quote
May 7, 2018 | 22:38 12
Quote Originally Posted by grassfarmer View Post
If you plan on leaving it un-grazed right through to the next year kentucky bluegrass and creeping red fescue would be the best bets. Might want to add some cicer milkvetch as legume - it does well with the long rest period, reseeds itself and retains more of it's leaves over winter than the other legumes but it's main task would be to fix N.
I've got a field like this I use in the spring.

Mostly as described. Residual Creeping Red Fescue can add a surprising amount of condition if you have enough to last 2+ weeks of grazing or stretch longer with some nice supplemental hay.

The Cicer Milkvetch is truly a multiplier under long rest rotation. It will pull the fence down on the edge of the field if weather conditions are favorable.

Here is a pic of what it can look like; https://myfloweryprose.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/img_7656.jpg

When allowed to flourish under long rest it will smother Fescue out and leave bare ground in the spring due to it's slow start. Thistles and other weeds move in on the areas where the Cicer flourishes in my experience. The Fescue/Cicer have no synergy in my situation.

I like the Fescue but have become disappointed in the vetch in this use. Reply With Quote
May 8, 2018 | 21:05 13 That's a very interesting picture of cicer. I've had places where the stand was that solid with it, but I never had a whole field as thick as that. What's surprising about your picture is that the last years seed pods are still on and they are upright - was that not grazed at all the previous spring? Ours always laid down, usually late in the fall, but if not then definitely under the snow and with the animal impact in the spring so ours was always covering the ground and we didn't get bare ground or see bare ground invaders come in. Our cows ate the seed pods and the plants repopulated with seed that had gone through the cow. Reply With Quote
WSS
May 30, 2018 | 14:20 14 We have a couple of paddocks with Meadow Foxtail that work well for early spring grazing. It grows aggressively in the spring and can take a beating. It can actually be hard to keep up to in May/June but slows down a lot by July even if kept vegetative. Once it heads the cattle don't like to eat it, but actually eat it well in hay even when headed. Also eat it well in the late fall or next spring if it is left under the snow. I wouldn't want all my pasture as MF because it isn't a great later growing season grass, but wouldn't mind more of it for calving on in the spring. Reply With Quote
Jun 8, 2018 | 23:52 15
Quote Originally Posted by WSS View Post
We have a couple of paddocks with Meadow Foxtail that work well for early spring grazing. It grows aggressively in the spring and can take a beating. It can actually be hard to keep up to in May/June but slows down a lot by July even if kept vegetative. Once it heads the cattle don't like to eat it, but actually eat it well in hay even when headed. Also eat it well in the late fall or next spring if it is left under the snow. I wouldn't want all my pasture as MF because it isn't a great later growing season grass, but wouldn't mind more of it for calving on in the spring.
I second the meadow foxtail, at least in our climate. We seeded it in a few places 20+ years ago, and it has reseeded itself into almost every pasture on the farm since then, in all soil types. Grows very early, very palatable before heading, which can happen in May. Makes fairly effective sod to tolerate hoof traffic in wet spring conditions.

That said, with the mud we endure in April and often May, purposefully seeding a pasture for use in April would be futile, since it will look like a plowed field by the time April is over. If possible I like to sacrifice old hay fields that will be put into crop later in the spring.

And like Grass farmer said, Quack grass is hard to beat, especially on heavily manured pasture land. Probably the fastest grass for healing up the damage done on a wet spring. I'm never sure whether to curse or be grateful to whoever thought it was a good idea to bring it over from the old country... Reply With Quote