Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
631 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
If I fence in a hay field now to use in the winter to delay feeding hay, how will it affect the hay growth and quality next summer?

Its a foot tall now, with a month of growth left, maybe. First cut was harvested, and I shredded it later to stop weeds from going to seed.

If I graze it, are there guidelines about when to take the animals off? A certain height, or time of year?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,005 Posts
A friend of ours did it one year and the next spring his hayfield was really really rough! The cows chewed it up quite a bit with their feet.

Something my husband has done was use a green chopper and chop the hay directly into a feeder wagon, both of these were his dads from the 1960's. He chops enough for one day at a time, and pulls it directly out to the cow pasture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
I know it's not exactly what you are asking, but my winter paddocks are by far my most lush.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
631 Posts
around here the hay fields are used as pastures in the fall/winter. We need to take the animals off once it starts warming up and the grass starts to grow. You will need to harrow the field to break up the poop when you take the cows off in the spring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
If I fence in a hay field now to use in the winter to delay feeding hay, how will it affect the hay growth and quality next summer?

Its a foot tall now, with a month of growth left, maybe. First cut was harvested, and I shredded it later to stop weeds from going to seed.

If I graze it, are there guidelines about when to take the animals off? A certain height, or time of year?
That is a common practice in my area. I cannot tell you exactly how tall the field needs to be to pull them, but I can tell you that following 4th cutting the fields are roughly 4 to 6" tall, so it would make sense to pull your animals at that height. If your hay fields contain alfalfa, make sure you have bloat blocks out to prevent bloat.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,860 Posts
The answer is dependent on a couple of factors. The two biggest ones in my mind are 1) How wet will the fields be and 2) can you manage the grazing to not jeopardize the health of the hay field.

Grazing the fields when it is wet can cause two major issues. First it makes ruts and compacts the soil. Second, the hooves can cause damage to the crowns of the plants which can lead to death or lost productivity and stand life.

Jim
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
292 Posts
If I fence in a hay field now to use in the winter to delay feeding hay, how will it affect the hay growth and quality next summer?

Its a foot tall now, with a month of growth left, maybe. First cut was harvested, and I shredded it later to stop weeds from going to seed.

If I graze it, are there guidelines about when to take the animals off? A certain height, or time of year?
I would have thought that you are too far north to winter graze. Too much snowfall. I could be wrong but thats one reason I never did it. You look at my pastures in january, and more than likely all your gonna see is a foot thick coat of white and rock solid, frozen ground with the grass matted down flat underneath.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,441 Posts
If the field is alfalfa wait till you have a killing frost to put cows on it. We always fall pastured our hay and grain fields. You don't have to worry too much about compaction just make sure their off in the spring before the ground thaws out. Freezing and thawing in the spring takes care of any compaction. Plus you have the added benefit of the manure.

Bob
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top