I caught myself saying this phrase the other day, “Remember there is a benefit, it just might not be the benefit you’re looking for at that moment”. I was talking with a dairy farmer about how wet his pastures were and the fact that the pasture quality is getting low and the quantity is getting high but it is too wet to clip without sinking out of sight. My statement references the natural nutrient cycle that is created in a compost pile or when a cover crop is sprayed or rolled. Because of the mature nature of the grass at this point, Mid-June, the dairy herd is probably going to leave a large amount of grass out in the pasture. What to do with the rest… This particular farmer was using his heifers to try and eat what the lactating herd left. This is a good idea and allows you to let the lactating herd to eat the “best” and leave the rest. Another benefit is the refusal itself. With pastures getting overgrown this year, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that manure or fertilizer may not have made it to the pasture either because of the wet conditions. The trampled grasses, forbs, and legumes left after grazing can add nutrients back to your pasture as they decompose and feed the microbes that release nutrients to the living portions of the plant that are beginning to tiller and regrow. The mat of grass also helps keep your cows from sinking through and pugging up the pasture and reducing compaction. So I will end with how I started, Remember there is a benefit, it just might not be the benefit you’re looking for at that moment. Happy Grazing!
P.S. for further reading check out this article form OnPasture.com:
By Ben Hepler: