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Volume 6, Number 2 - February 2000

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1999 Thompson Farm Fall Grazing Summary

Fall grazing demonstrations utilizing stockpiled tall fescue-based pastures continued during 1999 at the University of Missouri's Thompson Farm near Spickard. Two twelve-acre pastures were grazed as part of a larger rotational grazing system through July, and then rested until grazing resumed in October. No nitrogen fertilizer was applied during August due to the summer drought. Pregnant, three-year old cows were weaned of their calves on September 29 and returned to pasture. Twenty-five of these cows were selected on October 21 for use in this demonstration. Cows were weighed and body condition scores were taken. The animals were then taken to the first of the 12-acre pastures. The pastures were divided with temporary fencing material to provide forage for approximately one week of grazing, then the ribbon was moved ahead. No back fence was maintained. The animals received no other supplement with the exception of approximately 2500 pounds of hay which was fed following a 12-inch snowfall that occurred during early December. Cow weights and body condition scores were taken at the start of the demonstration, when animals were moved to the second pasture on November 18, and at the end of the demonstration on December 20. Beginning and ending forage samples were collected from pasture one. Beginning forage samples were collected from pasture two in mid-November. Ending samples were not able to be collected in December due to snow cover.

Animal Performance Summary
Animal performance, weight gain and body condition score change, is summarized in Table 1. Cow weight gain in previous years has been approximately 125 pounds for a similar grazing period. However, during previous year's demonstrations, cows were started on stockpile demonstrations within two weeks after weaning. During 1999, cows were not started on demonstrations until approximately one month after weaning. This was due to changes in the timing of some management practices in response to drought conditions at the farm. Average weight gain during the 60-day demonstration during 1999 was 80 pounds or 1.33 pounds per day. Animal performance was noticeably lower during the last 32 days of the demonstration. This is probably due to a combination of weather and a decline in forage quality in the second pasture. However, this sharp decline in animal performance from late November through December has also been noted in previous years. Body condition score changes are similar to previous year's demonstrations.

Table 1. 1999 Cow Performance on Stockpiled Tall Fescue Pastures
Date Weight, lbs. Body Condition Score
10-21-99 1037 4.2
11-18-99 1107 4.7
12-20-99 1117 4.8

Pasture Quality
In pasture one, forage samples were collected at the beginning and end of grazing in the pasture (October 21 and November 18). Forage samples were collected in Pasture Two on November 19. Due to snow cover, no December samples were able to be collected in Pasture Two. Ten, one-square-foot clipped samples were collected at random. Individual sample weights were recorded for use in estimating forage availability. Samples were then composted and a sub-sample was taken and sent to a commercial laboratory for NIR analysis. The results are shown in Table 2. All data are shown on a dry matter basis.

Table 2. 1999 Stockpiled Tall Fescue Forage Quality
Item Start, N. Pasture10-21-99 End, N. Pasture11-18-99 Start S. Pasture11-19-99
Yield, lbs, D.M./acre 2523 830 2245
DM, % 41.33 58.47 52.98
ADF, % 33.42 37.78 35.95
NDF, % 50.74 54.99 54.30
CP, % 11.05 9.58 9.82
TDN, % 65.12 60.26 62.30
NEm, Mcal/lb. .67 .62 .63
Neg, Mcal/lb. .40 .41 .37
CA, % .40 .41 .43
P. % .28 .23 .25
K, % 1.62 1.42 1.50
Mg, % .22 .23 .22

(Authors: Gene Schmitz, David McAtte, Jon Schreffler, & Jerry Nelson)

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Forage Tips






Author: This material was adapted from material developed by Greg Bossaer and Keith Johnson, Purdue University.

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Spring Grazing Schools

Cole County
April 4 & 5
Contact Cole County NRCS Office @ 573-634-7979

Pettis County
April 11 & 12
Contact Pettis County NRCS @ 660-826-3354

Callaway County
April 13, 14, & 15
Contact Callaway County NRCS @ 573-592-1400

Saline County
August 1 & 2
Contact Saline County NRCS @ 660-886-5773

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Useful Web Sites

Agricultural Update: A Weekly Update on current ag. issues written by Joe Parcell, Extension Economist, University Outreach and Extension.

Crop Performance Trials

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We welcome Wayne Crook to our region as agronomist in Chariton County. Wayne brings a good agronomy background to the job and we welcome him to our region.

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Publishing Information

Ag Connection is published monthly for Central Missouri Region producers and is supported by University of Missouri Extension, the Commercial Agriculture program, the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Managing Editor: Kent Shannon.