Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue Seed Availability This Fall

Fear not, novel endophyte tall fescue seed will be available soon. Almost all novel endophyte seed will be from the new crop to make sure it is fresh and that the endophyte is viable.  Most of this seed is grown in Oregon and harvested during July.  The seed is then cleaned and sampled for quality control analysis under the guidelines and standards of the state of Oregon and the Alliance for Grassland Renewal.  Once quality is verified, which can take up to a month, the seed is packaged and shipped to dealers. 

So, if you plan to plant Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue and have heard seed is not yet available, fear not, the seed is in the pipeline and quality and supply look good.   Most varieties are now ready to ship to distributors and dealers, so call your seed dealer and ask them to order your seed today.  Options this year include Jesup MaxQII, Texoma MaxQII, and Lacefield MaxQII from Pennington Seed; Estancia with Arkshield from Mountain View Seeds; Martin2 Protek and Tower Protek from DLFPickseed; and BarOptima E34 from Barenbrug Seeds.    There looks to be an ample supply, but some specific varieties might be a little tight.  If you expect to plant, talk to your advisors and make your variety selection, and then get your seed ordered soon to make sure you can get what you want. 

Learn more about the Alliance for Grassland Renewal here. To stay up to date on all things regarding novel endophyte tall fescue, sign up for the Alliance for Grassland Renewal’s monthly e-newsletter, Novel Notes, here. ~ Matt Poore, Alliance for Grassland Renewal.

Forage Timely Tips: September

  • If not already done, soil sample and apply fertilizer as needed.
  • Plant perennial grasses and legumes. Consider using a novel endophyte tall fescue. 
  • Harvest hay as needed.  Do NOT harvest alfalfa after mid-September..
  • Scout pastures, identify perennial weeds and woody brush.  Consult an agricultural professional to determine the control strategy.
  • Closely monitor livestock and do NOT overgraze. Pasture plants accumulate energy reserves in the fall that help them overwinter and regrow in the spring. 
  • Feed hay to allow pastures to stockpile for winter grazing. 
  • Rest native warm-season grass fields until after frost for better winter survival. 

Cool-Season Annuals Drive Profits

Average weaning weights for cattle in the Southeast have lagged behind those in the Midwest for many years. But that trend has reversed in recent years. The reason, according to University of Arkansas researcher Paul Beck, is because cattle in the Southeast can graze nearly year-round, but to do so, cool-season annuals such as cereal grains and ryegrass have to be a part of the system.

Cereal grains, before jointing, contain 25 to 30 percent crude protein. Sixty percent of the total nitrogen is soluble nitrogen, which means it’s available in the rumen almost as soon as the animal consumes it.

The total digestible nutrients (TDN) in young, vegetative cereal forages during late fall and early spring can range from 75 to 80 percent. “These forages are providing nutrition that is equal to or greater than a feedlot finisher ration in terms of net energy of maintenance and gain,” Beck said. “So, when we put cattle on these wheat pastures at this time of year, it’s a high-energy diet.”

Quality is highest in the fall and spring, but at no time up to the reproductive phase are the energy and protein concentrations going to limit performance for grazing cattle. Cereal forage users should expect cattle to gain 2.5 to 2.75 pounds per day if the pasture is fully utilized.

For determining an initial fall stocking rate that will maximize average daily gain, Beck’s rule of thumb is 5 pounds of forage dry matter per pound of animal body weight. This will change through winter and spring. For the entire fall-winter grazing season, he said it’s actually about 3.5 pounds of forage dry matter per pound of animal body weight. ~ Mike Rankin, excerpt from Hay and Forage Grower, Dec. 2019. Read the full article here.

What is a Dung Beetle?

Dung beetles are biologically classified as members of the order Coleoptera which includes all true beetles. They have rounded features and hardened forewings that usually have pronounced, parallel ridges. Their front legs are often modified for digging. Most dung beetles have a shiny appearance and may be black, brown, or green in color. These creatures tend to be on the smaller side, rarely larger than 1.5 inches, however some dung beetles can grow to be over three inches long! ~ Read the full article by PSS graduate student Jordyn Bush here!

Dung beetle photo taken in Taiwan, Allomyrina dichotoma. Credit: Frantisek Bacovsky

Quote of Month: Technology is On the Rise

It is amazing how many forage-livestock mangers have a smartphone and use it. We are living now in a technological age of google searches, Facebook communications, amazon orders and smartphones. There is instant communication through hone, text and email as well as apps that provide real-time weather predictions and radar, varieties with value-added precision farming, step-in electric fences with solar panels supplying the power, drones, etc. The list is seemingly endless. The question is which ones to use and how can they make any operation more profitable and productive. Order your copy of Forage-Livestock Quote and Concepts, vol. 2, today at https://forages.ca.uky.edu/content/forage-books.

Fall Overgrazing Can Be Double Trouble

Essentially, overgrazing is function of both time on the pasture and time away from the pasture. What is known for sure is that overgrazing is detrimental to pasture productivity and, ultimately, livestock performance. Here’s why:

1) Removing too much of the photosynthetic factory (leaves) severely limits the plant’s ability to recover and regrow. Overgrazed plants regrow slowly; if rotations do not allow enough time to reach a grazeable height, these stressed plants are doubly damaged by the next grazing cycle.

2) The plant’s ability to grow new tillers is compromised when plants are routinely grazed too short. Some species keep their carbohydrate reserves in structures below ground, others keep them in the lower one-third of the canopy. Removing these storage structures limits the plant’s capacity to generate new tillers and persist long term.

3) Weeds proliferate when overgrazing occurs. Slowed plant growth and more exposed soil usually result in higher populations of undesirable weed species.

4) Plant root growth is severely impacted. Research studies show that overgrazed pastures result in plants that have shallower root systems with less mass. The lower root volume limits the plant’s ability to take up both water and nutrients, especially during periods of dry weather. Not leaving enough forage residual can cause drought-like conditions even where adequate amounts of rainfall are received.

5) Overgrazing exposes more of the soil surface allowing for a higher degree of runoff, less water infiltration, more soil erosion, and elevated levels of evaporation. Adequate forage cover intercepts raindrops, which slows impact at the soil interface and enhances water infiltration.

6) Animal performance suffers as forage intake declines when pastures are overgrazed. Milk production or gain can be impacted both short and long term if pastures are not given an adequate recovery period after being overgrazed.

~ Mike Rankin, excerpt from Hay and Forage Grower, August 2020. Read the full article here.

Dr. Joseph Bouton to Represent Grasslanz Technology in the US.

Grasslanz Technology is pleased to announce that Dr Joseph Bouton of Bouton Consulting Group, LLC has agreed to provide consultancy services to Grasslanz on research projects in the United States. These projects will further Grasslanz’s interests to develop technologies and products that will exploit the benefits of emerging technologies such as microbials and condensed tannins in a range of forages and row crops. In his prior positions as Professor and Forage Breeder (now Emeritus Professor) at the University of Georgia and then Senior Vice President and Director of the Forage Improvement Division at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation (now Noble Research Institute), Joe led successful collaborations with Grasslanz and AgResearch to develop and commercialise new forage cultivars and the MaxQ fungal endophyte technology.

Western Kentucky Summer Forage Tour Focuses on Forages for Grass Finishing

Note: Social distancing and the use of masks will be required.  Registration is limited.

Join us for the 2020 Western Kentucky Summer Forage Tour on August 6 at Palmer Farms Beef, located in Almo, KY. The Palmer’s grass finish and retail approximately 40 head of beef cattle per year. Their forage system is based on both cool- and warm-season annual and perennial forages including annual ryegrass and crabgrass, grown in rotation. Palmer Farms is owned and operated by Michael and Stacie Palmer and their three children. Tour stops and topics will include Crabgrass as forage; Annual ryegrass for grazing and silage; Producing and marketing high quality grass finished beef; Increasing productivity with summer annuals; Managing perennial pastures; Endophyte management and Fencing for controlled grazing. 

The tour will finish with a meal of GRASS finished hamburgers and hotdogs and a local bluegrass band providing entertainment. The meals will be limited to the maximum number allowed by state mandate.  To enhance social distancing, participants will walk the tour route.  Limited transportation will be provided for those unable to walk.  More details on the tour can be found here or register here.

Quote of Month “You May Delay, But Time Will Not” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Another trait essential for success is timely decision making and timely action. Once a decision has been make, timely implementation often makes a huge difference. One of the countless possible examples is that thistles sprayed with an appropriate herbicide when in the rosette state are less expensive to kill than when the plants are flowering. In fact, delayed action on decisions greatly reduce or eliminate the benefits of improvements or corrective actions. Order your copy of Forage-Livestock Quote and Concepts, vol. 2, today at https://forages.ca.uky.edu/content/forage-books.