Choosing Pastures for Winter Forage Stockpiling
Stockpiling forage for the winter months can be a valuable tool for farms to reduce dependence on hay, while providing cattle with a palatable and grain free substitute. As part of her work on John Fant’s farm, Katelyn recently began the process of evaluating the twelve paddocks in grazing zone one for the potential for fall stockpiling. During this process she evaluated potential based on several key factors including soil fertility (recent soil tests) and the percentage of the field containing tall fescue. Other factors that she considered in the process include, the aspect or direction of slope, weediness of the paddocks, rockiness of the paddocks, access to the alley way and hot wire, and paddock size. When choosing a field to use for stockpiling you would ideally like it to consist of at least fifty percent tall fescue, have a south facing slope on well-drained soil, have good fertility and pH of 6.0 or higher, be relatively rock and weed free, be large enough to be divided for strip grazing, and have direct access to the alley way and hot wire for convenience. Based on her observations, Katelyn was able to pick four paddocks that she thinks would have good potential for stockpiling and plans to propose these to John and Danny Boyer for action in early September.