With the first freeze of the fall just around the corner, remember that a frost can result in potential hazards for certain forages. When a plant freezes, changes occur in its metabolism and composition that can cause toxicity issues for livestock. A few issues to be on the lookout for are discussed in this article.
The Maryland Milk Moos is a quarterly newsletter published by the University of Maryland Extension that is focused on dairy topics related to Nutrition and Production, Herd Management, and Forage Production.
Dairy farms in particular recognize the value of winter forages like triticale as a high-yielding and high-quality forage crop for livestock. The yield potential for winter forages is largely based on planting date and fall nitrogen availability; these two critical factors determine the number of fall tillers, which set the yield potential for the following spring. Winter forages like triticale can also serve as a good source of protein, potentially making them a more economical alternative to other feed ingredients such as soybean meal for meeting ration protein needs.
A fall armyworm outbreak is occurring throughout Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. This week, we received a report of armyworm damage to sod from Maryland’s Eastern Shore as well as residential lawns in Lewes, Delaware. This appears to be one of the most significant armyworm flights in many years. Scout turf, sod, pasture grasses, any late sweet corn that has not yet headed, and when the time comes, small grain and cover crops. Females lay egg masses containing between 50 and 200 eggs, meaning damage can be localized and intense and that it does not take many moths to infest a field. It is important to catch an infestation as early as possible. Larvae consume 80% of their total intake during the last three days of larval development. Often, it is during this period or just after larvae have finished that damage is noticed, occurring seemingly overnight as if an army had stripped the field. It takes about 14-19 days for larvae to mature.
It’s the time of year when our alfalfa fields are just waking from winter slumber, or at least we hope they are. We are hopeful that a combination of favorable moisture and thoughtful management will have fields greening up with a strong stand.
Unwelcome are brownfields or something close to it. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often. Yet, when it does, the decision of what’s to follow is painful but an easy one to make — time to put this field out of its misery and plant something else.
When it comes to something like mowing or clipping pastures, there are certainly two sides to the fence: those that think mowing or clipping pastures is just something that has to be done, and those that think it is a waste of time and fuel and offers little benefit. In truth, the reality is that both sides are right—the need to mow or clip is usually site and time-specific and will depend on several factors. Sometimes the decision is easy, and sometimes the decision is less clear, so what are the arguments for or against mowing or clipping?
Fortunately or unfortunately, people are creatures of habit. Over the years, we’ve developed behaviors and habits that will stick with us for a lifetime. This applies to our daily routines and the choices we make, both good and bad. Whether it’s not getting enough sleep, skimping on the sunscreen, or neglecting to floss on a daily basis, we often find ourselves guilty of making the same mistakes again and again. Unfortunately, this same phenomenon also holds true when it comes to grazing livestock. As you make plans for the upcoming growing season, here are a few of the more common grazing mistakes that we often fall prey to. Let’s do our best to break that habit and avoid these mistakes moving forward.