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July 14, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The month of July is the perfect time to start planning ahead
for stockpiling forage that can save growers a lot of money during the winter.
“Stockpiling forage can lower costs and provide grazing for animals during late fall
and winter,” said Dirk Philipp, assistant professor for the University of Arkansas
System Division of Agriculture. Forage doesn’t grow much anymore in late fall and
“Stockpiling just means that the forage is allowed to grow without being harvested
in any form,” he said.
During late summer and middle of fall, when the temperatures are cooler and the days
are shorter, forages accumulate more leafy tissue but less fiber. This is why the
process of saving forage growth towards the end of the season is also beneficial from
a nutritional standpoint.
In Arkansas, tall fescue and bermudagrass are the most commonly stockpiled forages,
since they are present on many farms. However, there are different characteristics
that growers should pay attention to, depending on whether they want to stockpile
tall fescue or bermudagrass.
Start stockpiling bermudagrass by applying 50-60 lbs of nitrogen fertilizer per acre
on around August 1.
“As a warm season grass, with declining growth during the cooler fall months, stockpiling
needs to start earlier than fescue,” he said. In late July, cut existing bermudagrass
forage to a stubble height of 2-3 inches.
Don’t start grazing until late October. The grazing period lasts through December.
Start stockpiling tall fescue in early September to graze from late November through
February, Philipp said.
Remove existing forage to a stubble height of 3-4 inches in late August and apply
50-60 lbs of nitrogen per acre on around September 1.
Maximizing forage utilization
Strip-graze forage by running a polywire across the stockpiled area to apportion forage
for about 2-3 days. This method will minimize trampling, prevent animals from having
access to more than just 2-3 days of forage at a time, and increase forage utilization
compared to continuous or rotational stocking schemes.
To learn more about forages, visit www.uaex.uada.edu or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers its programs to all
eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age,
disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Kezia NandaFor the Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com