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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Crop and Soil Environmental News, August 2004

Stockpiling Tall Fescue

By: Mr. Glenn Johnson, Forage Agronomist (NRCS) and Dr. Ray Smith, Extension Forage Specialist (VA Tech)

A good stand of tall fescue provides excellent fall and winter grazing for most classes of beef livestock

Benefits of Stockpiling Tall Fescue

Four Key Decisions

  1. Field Selection
    1. Good stand of tall fescue (few or no weeds)
    2. Good soil drainage for fall and winter grazing
    3. Available water for livestock
    4. Adequate fencing to allow control of livestock
  2. Timing
    Too early = lower quality and weed growth Too late = reduced yield potential
    1. August 1-15 West of Blue Ridge August 15-30 East of Blue Ridge
    2. Preparation
      1. Soil test and apply needed P, K and lime per soil test
      2. Graze or mow to 3-4 inches and apply 60-80 lbs N/acre
      3. Allow accumulation of tall fescue until November - December
      4. Utilize other forages during accumulation of tall fescue
        1. summer annuals and/or perennials
        2. grass-legume pastures before quality deteriorates
        3. feed hay if necessary to allow accumulation
  3. Fertility
    1. N Timing
    2. N Rate
  4. Utilization by Livestock
    1. Use a high stocking density to reduce waste
    2. Allow enough forage for no more than 2-3 days at a time
    3. Sample calculation:
*Intake rate will be higher during high lactation

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