PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder… Research suggests that sugars begin accumulating in forages at a steady rate froman hour or two after sunrise and continue until one to two hours before sunset.This suggests starting cutting at mid afternoon and continuing until an hour or two aftersundown. This will provide a six to seven-hour cutting period, which is common to many operations.•
PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder… What does this mean to you? It has been demonstrated that dairy cows strongly preferred hay cut at sundowncompared to hay cut at sunup, due to the high soluble sugar content. Keeping with the old adage “More in, moreout”: cows ate more forage and produced more milk when fed late cut hay.This proved true for animals pastured as well as animals fed dry forage.•
PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder…Pastured animals must have free andeasy access to high quality clean water.
Pasture Points to Ponder…Remember that if you are pasturing animals this summer they MUST have shade.Cows are susceptible to sun burn in the same manner that humans are, in addition, high exposure to sunlight also increases the possibility of “cancer eye”.
PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder… One strategy used by many producers tolessen heat stress, is to pasture animals laterin the afternoon and over night; keep them in the barn until after lunch when the sun is at its hottest.
PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder…Remember that pasture quality drops rapidly, particular if growing conditions are good.Pasture quality adequate to support milking or young animals is often diminished by July. Fence-line or portable manger supplementation of protein &/or energy ingredients are often needed, particularly to heifer groups. Work closely with your nutritionist here.
PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder… The most neglected ingredientsin pasture situations are vitamins and minerals.Good consumption of adequate vitamins and minerals often requires a carrier such as grain and this is usually not accomplished on pasture. “Lick” products are often a good remedy to this situation and ease with labour in the busy summer months.
PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder… Remember to check on pastured animals regularly. Check body condition score and growth inyoung animals; watch for any health or injury issues. It is distressing, unnecessary and often verycostly to repair “wrecks” in the fall because of summer pasture mismanagement.
PPPP Pasture Points to Ponder…Remember to bring animals in at the end of the pasture season, and this is NOT the first snowfall!Animals out of the barn are “easy” to manage. But by mid to late summer pastured animals require so much supplementation that it is usually easier simply to bring them back into a more controlled environment. As with the above point, avoid “wrecks”, bring them back in early, not late!