Apply nitrogen in mid-August. Topdress at the rate of 150 to 200 pounds of Ammonia Nitrate per acre.
Yields can be very good when water is available during the stockpiling period. Tall fescue can produce two tons of dry matter up to late November. With adequate water producers can achieve 25 pounds of dry matter for each pound of nitrogen used.
After frost, let cattle graze grass-legume fields quickly before plants deteriorate. Then, put animals on the stockpiled grass fields. For the most efficient use of stockpiled fields, establish a strip grazing system by using a temporary electric fence to section off areas of the field. When animals have grazed this area, move the fence to open a new strip. Repeat this process until the entire field has been grazed.
Stockpiled grass is an excellent choice for fall-calving cows because it can be used to meet high nutritional needs after calving and during the breeding season. Grazing stockpiled grasses may offer the most benefit to spring-calving cows in thin body condition during the fall. Growing, weaned cattle can be grazed on stockpiled fescue. Using stockpiled grasses helps lower feed costs when backgrounding cattle.
Late Summer Sowing of Alfalfa
Establishing a good stand of alfalfa is expensive and time consuming, but the success rate is high if you give attention to the important factors. Follow these steps for best results in getting a dense, weed-free stand.
Step 1. Variety selection
A large number of adapted varieties are available to select from. Selection of varieties should be based on yield potential, pest resistance, and winter hardiness. Variety information is available at the U.K. Extension Office.
Step 2. Seeding rates
Alfalfa should be seeded at 15 to 20 lb of seed per acre for pure alfalfa stands. When conditions are less than optimum, use the 20-lb/acre rate.
Use 15 lb. of alfalfa seed per acre when sowing with a grass. The seeding rate for the added grass would be 6 lbs. of either orchardgrass or endophyte free or friendly fescue.
Step 3. When to sow
Late summer seedings need 6 to 8 weeks to germinate and grow before the first hard freeze. This usually means planting between August 15 and September 15. Major concerns at this time are a lack of adequate soil moisture and sclerotinia crown rot.
Sclerotinia stem and crown rot of alfalfa only infects in the late fall (October/November) and almost always only affects tender seedling plants. Planting alfalfa early in the late summer seeding period allows the plant to grow and develop more of its natural resistance to sclerotinia before the infectious period.
If the soil is dry, prepare the seedbed but do not plant alfalfa until an inch or more of rain falls. Then, finish preparation and plant the alfalfa as soon as possible.
For more information, contact the Lincoln County Extension Service, 365-2447.