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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

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID

January 17, 2019
8:30 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. $25 includes lunch and a manual
WARSAW, NY

Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  This 8-hour training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to appropriate care.  Register online here:  https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/MentalHealthFirstAidTraining_10508 or email lma96@cornell.edu.
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NYBPA Winter Management Meeting- "Dairy cross bred calf - opportunity for the dairy & beef industry"

January 18, 2019
9:45 a.m. Welcome - 5:00 p.m. Adjournment
East Syracuse, NY

On January 18, 2018 in Syracuse, the New York Beef Producer's Association is presenting a day-long session on the cross bred dairy calf. Speakers will include farmers and extension professionals with experience in this field. The keynote speaker will be from Wulf Genetics working with Genex to supply beef bulls of various breeds to use on Jersey and Holstein cows. To date they have raised and finished over 50,000 cross bred calves. Plan to spend the day and learn about how this enterprise may fit in your dairy operation to provide another source of cash flow. For more information, please contact Brenda Bippert, NYBPA Executive Secretary, nybeefproducers@aol.com, (716) 902-4305, or http://www.nybpa.org/abwc.htm
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Labor Road Show II - Canandaigua

January 31, 2019
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Canandaigua, NY

If you have employees, then you need to be at the New York Labor Road Show II. Experts from farms, private industry and the university will focus on critical topics that affect all farm employers including: employee housing, onboarding, sexual harassment prevention, employee engagement , safety, wage and hour laws, and worker care.
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Announcements

2019 Pesticide Training & Re-certification Series Wednesdays in Feb 2019

Anyone interested in obtaining a pesticide certification and meets the DEC requirements, OR, current applicators seeking pesticide re-certification credits should attend.  2.5 re-cert core credits will be available for each class.
Wednesdays 2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27 from 7-9 p.m., EXAM  is Wed., March 6 from 6:30- 11 pm.  CCE Ontario, 480 N Main St., Canandaigua.  Cost $175 includes manual and all classes.  Exam fee $100.  Re-certificaton is $25/class.  Register:  585-394-3977 x 427 or x 436, or email nea8cornell.edu or rw43@cornell.edu.  Website www.cceontario.org.


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


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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