HERE’S A HAY ALTERNATIVE FOR LIVESTOCK FEED

cloverBy Jennifer Bearden, UF/IFAS Extension Agent

Using cool-season forage is an economical option for livestock feed in the winter and early spring. These forages are usually higher in crude protein and total digestible nutrients.

Our area’s cool-season forages include ryegrass, clovers, Austrian winter peas, vetch and cereal grains such as rye, oats, wheat and triticale.

A clean-tilled seedbed is desirable to establish cool-season forages. Over-seeding can be effective if done properly.

First, remove excess warm-season forages, such as bahiagrass and bermudagrass, as hay or by grazing. Disc bahiagrass pastures to 30 percent disturbance. Bermudagrass pastures require a pasture drill or no-till drill to plant cool-season forages.

Clovers tend to prefer a heavier clay soil, but white clover mixed with ryegrass can be established on flatwood sandy soils. Legumes such as clovers require correct inoculants on the seed.

Cool-season grasses include small grains and ryegrass. These are higher in nutrients than our warm-season grasses. They provide green forage during most months that our warm-season grasses are dormant.

Learn more about triticale, a cool-season forage, during the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Cool Season Forages Field Day, April 16 at the Okaloosa Extension office in Crestview.

Want to go?

  • What:          Cool Season Forages Field Day
  • When:         3-7 p.m. April 16
  • Where:       University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences 
                           Extension Office, 3098 Airport Road, Crestview
  • Cost:            $10; meal included
  • Contact:      http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/ag/, 689-5850 or email bearden@ufl.edu
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