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Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:01 pm
by jimboz
I've been feeding hay for about a month trying to give the pastures time to recover from no rain. Well they've come on pretty good with the rain and cooler weather... primarily fescue and a bit of white clover. Ideally i'd like to let them go till spring before grazing so they'd get a real good start in the spring. But my hay inventory has taken quite a hit so I'd like to give them another go on pasture. So my question is how much will the pastures be delayed in the spring if I graze them now pretty hard... like down to a couple inches or so?

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:05 pm
by kenny thomas
Graze them after they go dormant. Here in VA that will be December or January.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:34 pm
by 1982vett
jimboz wrote:I've been feeding hay for about a month trying to give the pastures time to recover from no rain. Well they've come on pretty good with the rain and cooler weather... primarily fescue and a bit of white clover. Ideally i'd like to let them go till spring before grazing so they'd get a real good start in the spring. But my hay inventory has taken quite a hit so I'd like to give them another go on pasture. So my question is how much will the pastures be delayed in the spring if I graze them now pretty hard... like down to a couple inches or so?

Gotta cut some loose.....

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:05 am
by dun
I would graze them to about 3 inches then let them sit over the winter.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:21 am
by callmefence
:2cents:
I don't know fescue. Our white clover doesn't do much till spring.
Ive been in the same situation several times and I believe your painting yourself in a corner either way. Sell a cow or three and buy enough hay to see you through.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:27 pm
by jimboz
My question is more about pasture management... do I significantly delay the spring pasture by grazing down to 2-3 inches now, they're presently at about 8"?

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:37 pm
by bball
jimboz wrote:My question is more about pasture management... do I significantly delay the spring pasture by grazing down to 2-3 inches now, they're presently at about 8"?


My experience is yes, you will delay how well it produces in spring.. I had done this very thing a few falls and was disappointed the following springs. This past fall, I got them off when there was still 6-8" standing and had the best first cutting I have had in a few years. Thick, vibrant production..just my 2 cents.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:39 pm
by dun
A lot depends on the type of grass. With adequate rainfall in the late winter early spring we've never had an issue with not having enough grass when the growing season starts. We graze it to about 3 inches, I'm talking fescue/clover. Have no idea about any other grass.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:42 pm
by Banjo
jimboz wrote:I've been feeding hay for about a month trying to give the pastures time to recover from no rain. Well they've come on pretty good with the rain and cooler weather... primarily fescue and a bit of white clover. Ideally i'd like to let them go till spring before grazing so they'd get a real good start in the spring. But my hay inventory has taken quite a hit so I'd like to give them another go on pasture. So my question is how much will the pastures be delayed in the spring if I graze them now pretty hard... like down to a couple inches or so?


I don't know your location....but any grass (fescue) that doesn't get eatin by spring will be turned yellow or discolored from the freezing temps. So its not going to be growing anymore in the spring....what grows in the spring will be all new growth, so what you have now needs to be cleaned up between now and then.

The thing that hinders spring growth is overgrazing when it starts to grow in the spring.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:52 pm
by jimboz
Banjo wrote:
jimboz wrote:I've been feeding hay for about a month trying to give the pastures time to recover from no rain. Well they've come on pretty good with the rain and cooler weather... primarily fescue and a bit of white clover. Ideally i'd like to let them go till spring before grazing so they'd get a real good start in the spring. But my hay inventory has taken quite a hit so I'd like to give them another go on pasture. So my question is how much will the pastures be delayed in the spring if I graze them now pretty hard... like down to a couple inches or so?


I don't know your location....but any grass (fescue) that doesn't get eatin by spring will be turned yellow or discolored from the freezing temps. So its not going to be growing anymore in the spring....what grows in the spring will be all new growth, so what you have now needs to be cleaned up between now and then.

The thing that hinders spring growth is overgrazing when it starts to grow in the spring.


So taking that to it's logical conclusion... are you saying you could graze it to the nub now without affecting spring growth?

BTW, I'm in Paducah... where you at?

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:34 pm
by Banjo
jimboz wrote:
Banjo wrote:
jimboz wrote:I've been feeding hay for about a month trying to give the pastures time to recover from no rain. Well they've come on pretty good with the rain and cooler weather... primarily fescue and a bit of white clover. Ideally i'd like to let them go till spring before grazing so they'd get a real good start in the spring. But my hay inventory has taken quite a hit so I'd like to give them another go on pasture. So my question is how much will the pastures be delayed in the spring if I graze them now pretty hard... like down to a couple inches or so?


I don't know your location....but any grass (fescue) that doesn't get eatin by spring will be turned yellow or discolored from the freezing temps. So its not going to be growing anymore in the spring....what grows in the spring will be all new growth, so what you have now needs to be cleaned up between now and then.

The thing that hinders spring growth is overgrazing when it starts to grow in the spring.


So taking that to it's logical conclusion... are you saying you could graze it to the nub now without affecting spring growth?

BTW, I'm in Paducah... where you at?


Somerset area.
I wouldn't graze it to the nub now, if I could help it..... Because it is going to keep growing back as long as it stays above 40 degrees most of the time. The shorter you graze it the slower it will take it to recover. If we have a mild winter it will keep growing to some degree. On up in Jan. and Feb. when we "usually" have some really cold weather you can graze it down short....you'll be able to tell by looking at it.
I try to flash graze as much as possible during the growing season and were still in the growing season. By flash graze I mean I don't leave them in a paddock till there's nothing left and then move them. I leave as much as possible and so I always have something to come back to later.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:44 pm
by Highpoint
I was curious to the answers too. Last year the front three acres was used as a holding pen for many cows at different times and almost seemed could ruin the area but this year the Bermuda took over and almost covered it in some places very thick and six bulls for three weeks could not eat it down low. I did spray with soil admendmen in April and August however. We did finally have some good rains too. Nothing is on it now but I wish I had planted some cool season plants.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:51 am
by jimboz
Banjo wrote:
I don't know your location....but any grass (fescue) that doesn't get eatin by spring will be turned yellow or discolored from the freezing temps. So its not going to be growing anymore in the spring....what grows in the spring will be all new growth, so what you have now needs to be cleaned up between now and then.

The thing that hinders spring growth is overgrazing when it starts to grow in the spring.




Getting back to this... is this really the case? I was under the impression the fescue would start growing in the spring by adding length to the existing leaves (this is really the crux of my question) as well as new shoots. My fescue stays green through the winter and I'm almost certain those leaves start growing again in spring.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:57 am
by dun
jimboz wrote:
Banjo wrote:
I don't know your location....but any grass (fescue) that doesn't get eatin by spring will be turned yellow or discolored from the freezing temps. So its not going to be growing anymore in the spring....what grows in the spring will be all new growth, so what you have now needs to be cleaned up between now and then.

The thing that hinders spring growth is overgrazing when it starts to grow in the spring.




Getting back to this... is this really the case? I was under the impression the fescue would start growing in the spring by adding length to the existing leaves (this is really the crux of my question) as well as new shoots. My fescue stays green through the winter and I'm almost certain those leaves start growing again in spring.

Needing the leaf to get started again is why I graze it to about 3 inches. That seems to leave plenty of leaf for spring regrowth. This could very well be one of those cases of "your mileage may vary". The 3 inches has worked for us, soil and weather may have an effect on what works and what doesn;t.

Re: Graze now or wait till spring?

Posted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:14 am
by bball
We get darn cold up here for a good 4 months..i felt like when I grazed it shorter in the fall, i hurt the roots and their reserve to make it through winter and have a good start for the spring. Its all about what happens below the soil when dormant. When i left it longer, i had better spring results. But as dun said, mileage may vary, depending on grass variety, climate and temps I suppose.
If nothing else, experiment with it some and see what works best for you.