Farm Life

Cold Snap/Grazing Conference

The past week has forced us indoors. The mornings has been quite chilly with temps starting out in the low teens. Mark has been catching up on building maintenance and I have been making homemade soap.

Last Saturday I had a great opportunity to learn and meet some new people. I went to the Kansas Graziers Association winter meeting. It was very informative. I learned some new ways of extending our grazing season. I also learned about new species of forages that I was not familiar with. Here's a quick over view of some of the things I learned that I would like to try out here on the farm. For filling in the August slump I learned that Hybrid Pearl Millet is a good choice. It's a fast grower and thrives in high heat. For extending spring grazing, mixing Wheat and Triticale or Wheat and Rye is a good choice. Last fall we planted 30 acres to straight Triticale. This is a new forage for us to try so we are nervously awaiting how that will work for us. I learned that if we would of mixed in some Winter Wheat it would of extended the grazing window by 3 weeks. 2/3 Winter Wheat with 1/3 Triticale is the right mix for this. For filling in the August slump and extending fall grazing a mix of Corn and Turnips or Milo and Turnips works well. I really want to try this here in Kansas. In Wisconsin we have had good results by using turnips. I learned a strategy for getting 9 1/2 months of grazing off of one field. This is accomplished with a Crabgrass/Winter Cereal Combination. Wheat, Rye or Triticale can be used along with the Crabgrass. This can be done by planting a feild to Crabgrass (Red River variety is preferred) in late April to early May. When Crabgrass is 6" tall you can start grazing it. When September rolls around it is time to no-till drill in your Winter Cereal seed. When the cereal is establish you can put the cows out there to graze again. Continue to graze throughout the winter and have it grazed out by the end of April. To start this cycle all over again, around May 1st disk or field cultivate the Crabgrass 2-3 inches deep. Harrow, roll, or cultipeak field to give good seed, soil contact. If you don't do this last step the Crabgrass will grow in very irregular and it will take longer to get a complete stand. Another option for winter grazing it Brown Midrib Sorghum. This needs to be planted in mid May. For winter grazing protein will have to be supplemented. This can be done with Winter Wheat. Every third day of grazing let the herd in the Winter Wheat to meet their protein needs. As you can see lots of new things to try!