winter grazing for sheep in S Michigan #171439 - Ask Extension


winter grazing for sheep in S Michigan #171439

Asked March 25, 2014, 9:57 AM EDT

Hi, looking to plant seed for about a 3-5 acres, potentially more, specifically for extending as far into winter as possible for grazing. Should I divide up acres and plant a late fall pasture with fall specific seeds (divided into paddocks) as well as some acreage for a particular type of fescue for some winter grazing (if so, what fescue would you recommend)?

Hillsdale County Michigan

Expert Response

Dividing acres into paddocks would be useful, and tall fescue works best for stockpiling.  Tall fescue does carry an endophyte fungus that will produce an ergot alkaloid which can lead to reduced performance of the animals.  Looking at a novel endophyte tall fescue, or diluting tall fescue with legumes and other grasses will help compensate for this reduced performance.  The stockpile paddock would need to be set aside and fertilized with 30 #/A nitrogen at the end of August to increase growth.  Animals can be turned into these paddocks to graze after the other paddocks cease to grow.  If you have the ability to plant annual crops, winter rye or oats with turnips or winter peas will offer some late fall and winter grazing.  I would also suggest calling your local office for additional information.  Gerald Lindquist is listed as the grazing educator; 231-832-6139 or 888-678-3464.

Scott Jerrell Replied April 04, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT

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