Monday, August 30, 2010

Pasture Growth by August 29

The following table shows the growth from pastures participating in the project. For information about the project see the introductory post. The information is reported in pounds of dry matter grown per acre per day. It contains the reported results as of the posting date. Some reports may be delayed for various reasons. Previous week’s information is updated when it is received. The current table will reflect the total information available.

Weekly Pasture Growth for 2010
Week StartingFields sampledMinimum Maximum Average Past 5 yr Average
(no.)(pounds of DM per day)
March 2892.76638.6na
April 4147.793.434.4na
April 11202.4188.356.4na
April 18240.2184.548.660.9
April 25
May 2603.3232.797.778.6
May 9531232.877.886.4
May 16613.825667.4100
May 23323.52518475.7
May 30326.5131.364.658.4
June 6402.7153.448.151
June 13454.1215.264.248.3
June 20306.3136.949.147.4
June 27344.1113.44849.1
July 4244.6123.338.559.8
July 11186.914445.635.5
July 1824080.133.632.3
July 25154.788.538.832.7
Aug 118794.142.756.1
Aug 8140.496.439.737.2
Aug 15158.696.527.329.5
Aug 22171.262.22941.6

Pasture Management in the Fall

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

The fall period, particularly the months of September and October, is an important time to manage pastures. Specifically, pastures must be managed to insure that the desirable grass and legume plants are able to build up and store carbohydrate reserves for the winter period. It is this ability to store carbohydrate reserves and thus keep a root system living over the winter months that distinguishes a perennial plant from an annual plant. It is during the short day, long night periods in the fall of the year that flower buds are formed/initiated on the crown of the plant. While the leaf tissue dies during the winter, the buds and roots of the plant remain as living tissues over the winter and continue to respire and burn energy. If root reserves are insufficient the plant may die over the winter. If the plant survives but root reserves are low, spring re-growth and vigor of the plant is reduced.

So, what is necessary for plants to build up these carbohydrate reserves? Simply put, there must be adequate leaf area so that the plant can maximize the photosynthetic process. Pastures must continue to be managed in the fall of the year so that they are not over grazed. We know that regrowth is slower in the fall of the year. Plant growth is more temperature sensitive than photosynthesis. This means that even if plant growth is very slow because of cool temperatures in the fall, if leaf area is present, photosynthesis is still taking place at a good rate. Therefore, the mistake of overgrazing is amplified in the fall of the year. Depending upon the severity of overgrazing, the plant may not regrow enough and develop enough leaf area to take advantage of sunshine and produce carbohydrates.

We often hear the term carbohydrate root reserves used when talking about winter storage. The root is the storage area of carbohydrates for plants with a taproot, including legumes like alfalfa and red clover. For white clover, the carbohydrate storage area is the stolen. Technically, our cool season grasses store the majority of carbohydrate reserves in stem and tiller bases, some in rhizomes and only a little in roots. However, this technicality does help us to understand some management aspects of pasture grass and fall carbohydrate storage. For example, orchardgrass stores carbohydrates in the lower 3 to 4 inches of stem bases and tillers. Tall fescue and bluegrass both maintain carbohydrate storage at the base of tillers as well as rhizomes. Tall fescue and bluegrass can both tolerate lower grazing/clipping heights than orchardgrass.

Once we reach the fall period it is critical that grass plants be managed to insure that adequate leaf area is left after a grazing pass. Photosynthesis will provide the carbohydrates needed for winter storage, provided there is adequate leaf area. Since leaf growth will be slow, this means leaving a typical grazing residual plus some extra. For orchardgrass this probably means 4 to 5 inches at a minimum. Tall fescue and bluegrass should probably be managed to leave a 3 to 4 inch residual.

Pasture management in the fall of the year that insures there is adequate leaf area to allow plants to maximize photosynthesis and build carbohydrate reserves will pay off in quicker spring green up and more vigorous spring plant growth.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pasture Walk

Darke County Pasture Walk

A pasture walk is scheduled for August 19, 2010 at the Dan Kremer "Eat Food for Life" Farm, 14360 Mangen Road, Yorkshire, Ohio. Yorkshire is in the northeast corner of Darke County. Directions are available at the Kremer website .
The Kremer's have implemented several grazing and pasture management practices through the use of the USDA EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program).

This will be an opportunity to learn more about an organic producer’s grazing operation and also what different producers are doing in our area. It will also be a good time to discuss and look at the different pasture options that can be used in your management system (such as fencing and watering systems and heavy use areas).

The pasture walk will begin at 6:00 p.m. Bob Hendershot USDA-NRCS Grassland Conservationist will be leading the discussion on pasture management.

Any producer interested in improving their pasture utilization and livestock grazing systems for beef and sheep production should plan to attend. The Kremer’s also have pleasure horses that are included in their pasture system.

Pasture Walk

Jefferson County Pasture Walk Planned

(Carrollton, OH) — A Pasture Walk is planned for Thursday, August 26, 2010 at Spring Valley Farm located near Mount Pleasant, OH on County Road 1. This pasture walk is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

Join us this month as we travel to Spring Valley Farms, where you will have a chance to learn about the Finney family’s experience with the ultra-high stock density grazing technique known as mob grazing. We will also be showcasing different temporary fencing and pressurized watering options.

Participants are encouraged to visit with the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council members, SWCD, and NRCS personnel during a social gathering following the workshop. Refreshments will be provided. Agland Co-op and Circle L Fence LTD have graciously agreed to sponsor this event.

Registration is required by August 20, 2010.

The Pasture Walk is presented by the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council in cooperation with Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Jefferson, & Mahoning Soil & Water Conservation Districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information, contact Carroll SWCD at 330-627-9852.