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Stockpiling Pastures

Nancy Glazier, Small Farms
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

July 10, 2018
Stockpiling Pastures

There has been some discussion amongst technical service providers that operate their own farms regarding stockpiling pastures. There are basic resources around, but an attempt is being made to take it to the next level. 

The theory behind stockpiling is to save some pasture for late fall/early winter grazing. Livestock are moved off the pastures that are set aside for stockpiling early to mid-August. It is recommended to apply 50-75 lb actual Nitrogen fertilizer to give the grasses a boost. With timely late August - early September rains, pastures will grow and reduce the need for feeding hay, and if livestock are normally fed in a barn, the manure is out on pastures.

Some of the recent exchanges before contemplating stockpiling are below. What is the fertility of your pastures? Ideally, soil samples are taken periodically, so you know this answer. Do they need some Phosphorus and Potassium? Apply that along with the Nitrogen. 

Poultry litter would give your pastures a jump start for stockpiling. A general analysis of litter is 3-3-2. You'll need about a ton/acre to achieve an adequate amount of N (60 lb/ac). The organic matter will be beneficial for the long term, too.

Work has been done on species selection for stockpiling. Typically tall fescue is the best due to its standability, yield, and quality. There is less tall fescue grown in NWNY compared to orchardgrass, reed canarygrass, bromegrasses, or timothy. They will stockpile but not as well as tall fescue. Alfalfa will stockpile and handle stockpiling and grazing better than late-season mechanical harvest. Clovers will not withstand stockpiled grazing well. 

It may be worthwhile to clip pastures and/or graze ‘tight' prior to stockpiling, particularly if they have gone to seed. If not, there may be more stemmy growth and less leaves.

For best utilization it is important to strip-graze the stockpiling. Use high density of livestock on small strips to graze effectively, set up in calculated amounts.  These can be subdivided with temporary fencing, and this may take some trial and error to set up the amount of pasture available. One estimate from a beef producer is pasture utilization may be up to 90% with daily moves.  

Some questions to ponder:
Do you have extra acreage available for stockpiling? What are the economics of stockpiling? Obviously, there is savings if you feed less hay, due to harvesting costs. What is the value of the land - taxes or rent? Could additional livestock be grazed during the season, such as dairy heifers, stockers, or ewes with lambs that may leave the farm prior to the end of the season? Does heavy grazing affect spring growth? Should some residual be left? What about the early season snowfall? How does that affect quality? 

I would be interested to hear from anyone who is experimenting with stockpiling and what are your experiences, both good and bad. Give me a call or drop me an email at nig3@cornell.edu. I would really like to hear!




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calendar of events

Upcoming Events

2018 Feed Dealer Seminar with guest speakers Dr. Tom Overton and Dr. Kristan Reed, Ph.D.

December 14, 2018
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. with lunch provided
Batavia, NY

The Feed Dealer Seminars are specifically targeted for nutritionists, veterinarians, crop and management consultants, extension educators, and dairy producers with specific interest in nutrition-oriented topics. They are designed to blend the latest concepts in feeding and other management aspects of dairies with field level application. They have been conducted annually as a road show with multiple sites in New York for many years with an additional Vermont location held during the past several years in collaboration with the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance.


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Corn Congress - Batavia Location

Event Offers DEC Credits

January 9, 2019
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Batavia, NY

Please join the NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crop Program's team for our annual Corn Congress.  DEC re-certification points and Certified Crop Adviser credits available, so bring your picture ID.  Lunch is included.  Hear from program-related professionals and visit with our sponsoring vendors.  Register Now!
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Corn Congress - Waterloo Location

Event Offers DEC Credits

January 10, 2019
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Please join the NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crop Program's team for our annual Corn Congress. DEC re-certification points and Certified Crop Adviser credits available, so bring your picture ID. Lunch is included. Hear from program-related professionals and visit with our sponsoring vendors. Register Now!
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Announcements

2018 NY & VT Corn Silage Hybrid Evaluation Program Report has been Released

Click here to go directly to the report released November 19, 2018.

Three Free Digester Workshops offered through CCE St. Lawrence Co.

CCE of St. Lawrence County is offering three FREE workshops showcasing the research results from our feasibility study of anaerobic digester technology on small farms. The research was conducted by our partners at Clarkson University using the anaerobic digester at the Extension Learning Farm, which is fed both manure from a dairy operation and vegetable waste from our commercial kitchen. The digester heats a small green house that starts our seedling plants. We have a small scale vegetable-only digester as well. The research and program targets small dairies under 200 head, livestock producers, horticulture producers and anyone interested in alternative energy.

Program will be held on December 5, January 7, and March 6. A catered meal is provided at each program. Participants within the North Country Region will be given a $25 stipend to help cover travel costs, those from outside the region will be given $50. To receive the stipend, participants will need to complete a pre/post-test survey.

More information and registration information can be found here: http://stlawrence.cce.cornell.edu/events/2018/12/05/exploring-digester-technology


WNY SOIL HEALTH ALLIANCE WORKSHOP & ANNUAL MEETING 12/19

Dec 19, 2018, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Quality Inn & Suites, 8250 Park Rd. Batavia, NY. Kris Nichols will be presenting information on Regenerative Farming Practices and Hands-On Tools for Assessing Soil Health. John Wallace will be presenting Penn State research on Weed Management and Soil Health practices. For more information contact: Dennis Kirby at 585-589-5959. DEC & CCA credits pending. 

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.

https://nwnyteam.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=761&crumb=dairy|1

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