Year Round Beef Cattle Grazing Strategy to Eliminate or Reduce the Use of Stored Feeds
Data will continue to be collected from the two remaining study sites until the fall of 2005. At that time, a final report will be prepared and submitted. The results of this field study will be published in an extension publication and presented at county winter meetings. We are seeking funding to extend the duration of this study so we can better determine the impact of our year-round grazing system on animal performance and economics. We realize now, that the duration of this type of study should be 5 years.
In 2004, our objectives in this year-round grazing study where as follows:
1. Continue to establish a warm-season grass base for mid-season grazing on each of the three study site farms.
2. To renovate cool-season grass pastures for increased dry matter production and quality.
3. To continue monitoring animal performance with each shift in forage utilization (i.e. fall stockpile fescue, grazing corn, summer pasture, hay).
4. To host a fall field day to introduce the year-round grazing plan.
The 2004 growing season represented the second year of the study. Corn was planted for late winter grazing and pastures were renovated with cool-season grasses and clover to improve production and quality. Eastern gamagrass was reseeded on 1 of the 3 farms due to a poor stand in 2003. One of the three farms was eliminated from the study due to a change in ownership. Permanent and temporary fencing was built as the forage based was improved to support rotational grazing.
A fall field day was held on one of the study sites to discuss forage species and their management for extending the grazing season. The year-round grazing plans for each study site were introduced to set the stage for a before and after field in the future.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
This field study has captured the attention of many beef cattle producers in Kentucky. Local newspapers continue to follow the progress on each farm which keeps producer interest high. Until the results of this study are analyzed and summarized, it is difficult to predict what impact this work will have on the management practices of our beef cattle producers. I continue to receive calls from producers regarding the use of corn as a late season forage crop and the role of warm-season grasses in our Kentucky grazing systems.