Stockpiling fescue is an excellent forage management practice that beef producers should strongly consider in the next few weeks. We are getting ample late summer moisture, and this sets up a good potential to make stockpiling fescue work.
Fescue is a perfect grass to stockpile due to its ability to stay green and retain its quality well into our winter season. If soil fertility and moisture are adequate, producers can expect stockpiling fescue to add approximately 60 more days of grazing thus reducing the potential for having to feed hay for 60 days, a win-win situation.
For best results, producers should clip back their fescue pasture or cut for hay during the month of August or early September. If we continue to get rain and the soil moisture is adequate, then apply 45-60 pounds of nitrogen in early September and remove the cattle. Soil moisture is a must for this practice to work and it is highly recommended to wait on moisture and not apply the nitrogen if it is dry and then hope for a rain. The price of fertilizer is too high and the fescue plant will not respond to higher fertility during periods of drought.
Keep the cows out of the stockpiled fescue until after a frost or until the field is needed for grazing. Rotational grazing is another tool that can be used to further extend the grazing season and this practice works well with stockpiled fescue too.
Stockpiling tall fescue is probably one of the most underutilized forage management practices that can reduce feed cost in Tennessee. It has the potential to reduce the amount of hay fed during the winter by one-half. Stockpiled fescue also has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of purchased feed needed to get most cow herds through the winter in acceptable condition.
Upcoming Important Dates
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Certification Class will be offered at the Wayne Co. Extension Office on September 5 at 6 pm or on September 12 at 6 pm. Please call Anita at 722-3229 to register for the night that best suits your schedule.
Remember you must have a current BQA number in order to apply for the TN Ag Enhancement Program. The TAEP application period is coming up fast (Oct. 1-15). We have the new TAEP applications available in our office for you to pick up.