In this episode Matt speaks with Scott Jenson, an extension educator, about managing your pastures for forage land for the coming Fall and Winter. You’ll hear about how to maximizing grazing for your livestock during the Fall which is a critical time in pasture management, and what to do to ensure you have great Spring forage.

Fall Pasture Management - Cow Grazing in a Field

How should we be managing our grazing areas to prepare for the winter to maximize the forage in the spring?

Fall is a critical time in pasture management. A severe graze in the fall can be greatly detrimental to the early production in the spring. It will make your pasture grow slower and not as much in the spring if their are less growing points in the fall because grass energy reserves are stored in the lower stem so if they are grazed deeply in the fall it will cause the poorer production in the spring.

Are there advantages to feeding on a pasture during the winter?

Yes there are. The extra nutrients from remains of what the cattle don’t eat help the pasture grow in the spring. Additionally, the manure helps fertilize the pasture as well. However, Scott Jenson recommends that you do not do the same pasture over the winter year after year because after the cow is done eating the hay they will continue to graze the grass to a level that isn’t conducive to growing well in the spring. Additionally, be mindful about the quality of hay you are using. A lower quality of hay may lead to weeds that you don’t want.

What’s the difference between a sacrifice area and a corral?

Moving animals to an area of pasture during the winter that doesn’t normally produce forage as well can be a good idea to limit the effect of compaction. A sacrifice area will still have grass on it after winter but a corral typically will not. The difference will be based upon the cattle density.

Should you fertilize in the fall?

Scott Jenson says that fertilizing in the fall causes the grass to not prepare for dormant season. Scott prefers a late spring fertilizing.

When is the best time to reseed a pasture?

It will depend on your situation and on the availability of water. You will need plenty of water to reseed a pasture. New seeding in the fall will need enough growth to grow enough to survive the winter. The first or middle of October may not be enough time for the seeds to develop far enough to survive the winter.

Check out all this information and more in the podcast below.

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