Many cattle producers can take advantage of late summer and early fall growing conditions to obtain high quality pasture for late fall and early winter grazing. This practice is called stockpiling.
The best grasses for stockpiling are cool-season grasses because they will retain good quality and palatability into winter. Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue are two good grasses most suitable for stockpiling under our growing conditions.
August is the best time to begin stockpiling for fall and winter use. The basic steps include removing cattle from the pasture, applying the necessary fertilizer and allowing grass to accumulate growth until November or December. Make sure to remove summer growth to 3 to 4 inches by grazing or clipping so stockpile production comes from new grass growth. You should get a soil test to determine if you need to add phosphorous, potassium or lime. Growers also need to top-dress at a rate of 40 to 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre on bluegrass and 40 to 100 pounds on tall fescue before Aug. 15. Research results have shown following these guidelines can increase dry matter production by 20 and 25 pounds per acre for each pound of nitrogen applied to bluegrass and tall fescue, respectively.