Stockpiling forage can help in drought

A regional agronomy specialist with the University of Missouri Extension says stockpiling forage can help sustain cattle through the fall and winter when there are hay shortages.

Rusty Lee tells Brownfield in the next 30 days, farmers could apply nitrogen fertilizer to pasture ground and with the help of rain, there will be grass for cattle to graze heading into the winter.

“Producers really need to be thinking about exchanging nitrogen fertilizer for tons of forage. We can do that by making an in-August application of nitrogen on pastures and hay fields.”

Lee says there are other fertilizer options.

“If a producer can access ammonium nitrate, that’s a safer bet and it will wait for a rain. The coated urea has some stabilizers to them with a coating, but at some point, we need a rain.”

Lee says it’s also not too late to plant an annual warm season grass for grazing.

“We’re coming up on the point of no return and it will be time to switch thinking from an annual warm season grass back to a cereal grain like wheat or triticale. Today, there is still time.”

He says planning ahead is important as the drought persists.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor says more than 3% of Missouri is in exceptional drought and all of Missouri is experiencing some dryness.

Read more about forage action items from the University of Missouri Extension.

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