Pick a winter feed area with care

Outdoor winter feeding areas are likely to take a beating. Heavy hoof traffic and manure accumulation can cause soil compaction, erosion, and excess nutrient buildup. Allotting unfit acres for winter feeding can also negatively affect animal health and performance. So, how can these problems be prevented? The answer comes down to proper planning. Steve BoylesContinue reading “Pick a winter feed area with care”

Triple Creek Journal:  To fertilize or not to fertilize.

I have been interested in soils and their management for a long time.  Everything we grow comes from the soil, and soil health is often the limiting factor for forage production and system resilience.  On my own farm we have areas that have been under good management for a long time, and these are alsoContinue reading “Triple Creek Journal:  To fertilize or not to fertilize.”

Navigating High Fertilizer Prices in Ruminant Livestock Operations

In the last year, the cost of fertilizer had increased more than 55%, 60%, and 65%, for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively (Figure 1). The price of nitrogen could continue to increase due to the idling of N manufacturing capacity caused by weather issues and increased natural gas and shipping costs. Nitrogen prices could conceivablyContinue reading “Navigating High Fertilizer Prices in Ruminant Livestock Operations”

Economics of Tall Fescue Pasture Renovation

One of the most common questions I get regarding novel endophyte tall fescue is how much it will cost to establish it and whether or not it will pay off.  This is a complex question because there are very many factors that will impact the financial outcome.  To address the question, an agricultural economist atContinue reading “Economics of Tall Fescue Pasture Renovation”

Creep-grazing brassica and small grain forages for fall-born calves

The Virginia Tech Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SVAREC) switched from a spring-calving herd to fall-calving six years ago. At that time, a growing body of research indicating increased profitability realized by fall- vs. spring-calving herds when reliant on tall fescue forage. The AREC herd made the switch to stay relevant to VirginiaContinue reading “Creep-grazing brassica and small grain forages for fall-born calves”

Five Steps to Better Forage

There are many factors that influence successful forage production and many changes we can make in our own forage programs towards improvement.  Below are five key steps that, if we as producers keep as the focus of our forage programs, will get us on the right path to improved forage systems. Step 1: TEST! AsContinue reading “Five Steps to Better Forage”

Comparison of Novel Endophtye Tall Fescue Varieties is Now Available

Tall Fescue planting season is upon us and we have had questions about which is the best Novel Endophtye Tall Fescue to plant.  We have posted an article on the Alliance for Grassland Renewal that compares the commercially available varieties of Novel Endophyte Tall Fescues, along with KY-31 and a popular Endophyte-Free variety.  The originContinue reading “Comparison of Novel Endophtye Tall Fescue Varieties is Now Available”

Triple Creek Journal: My Water Buddy.

I have worked around livestock all my life.  When I was a kid, my chores were all at the barn and included keeping our milk goats, horses, mules, and donkeys fed and watered.  There was some complaining from all my sisters over my assignment being all outdoors while theirs all involved housework.  As we gotContinue reading “Triple Creek Journal: My Water Buddy.”

The Case for Hay Testing

One of my favorite activities as an Extension specialist is helping beef cattle producers put together nutritionally sound, cost-effective winter-feeding programs for cows and backgrounding calves.  Here in central Missouri, that almost always includes some level of hay feeding for part of the year. Yet one of my biggest frustrations comes when asking a producerContinue reading “The Case for Hay Testing”

Time to stockpile forages for late autumn and winter grazing

It is time to start stockpiling late summer and early autumn growth of forages for grazing in the late autumn and winter.  The practice of allowing forage to accumulate rather than grazing it or making it into hay has great potential to extend the grazing season and reduce winter feeding costs.  Once other pastures areContinue reading “Time to stockpile forages for late autumn and winter grazing”