AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

June 8, 2018

Farmers are Asking: What Happened to the Fescue?

GALENA, Mo. — The big news this year has been a shorter than normal supply of fescue pasture and hay according to Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"Coming out of a dry fall and winter followed by a cold April and ending with the hottest May on Missouri record, we had the perfect storm for a compromised fescue crop," said Schnakenberg.

As a result, pasture and hay supplies are tight. Hay carryover is much lower than normal.

"We need all the forage we can get this year," said Schnakenberg.

Many area producers have been planting warm season forages. However, we are quickly getting to the end of that window of opportunity.

"I have worked with producers this year who have been planting stands of crabgrass, bermudagrass, big bluestem, Indiangrass, pearl millet and sorghum sudangrass to try to address summer grazing and hay needs," said Schnakenberg.

Those that already have summer perennial forages established on their farms will do best this year due to an extended amount of forage availability. Those that are rationing their forages using a planned grazing system will also be ahead of the curve.

"We will all need to carefully conserve forages and manage them well so that we can extend them well into the growing season," said Schnakenberg.

He recommends moving cattle when the grass is grazed down to four inches and then closing the gates behind them. Proper fertility and pest management can be a part of this effort.

For more information, contact any of these MU Extension agronomy specialists in southwest Missouri: Tim Schnakenberg in Stone County, (417) 357-6812; Jill Scheidt in Barton County, (417) 682-3579 and Sarah Kenyon in Howell County, (417) 256-2391.

Source: Tim Schnakenberg, (417) 357-6812

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