Although cattle producers are sweating through the hottest summer days, mid-August is the time to plan for winter feeding by stockpiling forage.
University of Missouri Extension Forage Specialist Valerie Tate offers some tips for preparing forage for winter in this week’s edition of the Missouri Cattle Call by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association.
Winter feeding is one of the most costly lines in a cattle producer’s budget, so stockpiling can provide valuable savings. Tate says mid-August is the time to begin accumulating stockpiles. Although starting earlier would provide a higher yield the quality of the forage would be lower.
Tate recommends tall fescue as one of the best forages to stockpile because it withstands cold weather better than some of the other cool and warm season grasses. She advises producers to graze cattle on clover or warm season grasses earlier because those deteriorate more quickly as winter progresses.
After grazing or mowing pastures to a 3 or 4 inch height in mid-August, she recommends adding nitrogen fertilizer to fields to improve the yield at next cutting.