Grazing Cattle on Fescuegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We got our first 4 crossbreed, beef cows last Monday. Yeah! They are pregnant and due in July. I put them in a 1.5-acre paddock to get them adjusted. The grass is look’en mowed and they have worn a path to the water. They have been grazing for 5 days.
By looking at the grass how do you know when it is time to move them into a new pasture so they do not over graze? And when is it ok for them to come back? I have (2) 1.5 acre paddocks and (2) 17 acre fields. The grass is 90% fescue. We live in a non-brittle criminate, SW Missouri. I am going to spread some seed around the pasture after I move them.
-- Storybook Farm (email@example.com), April 13, 2001
I have no idea about cattle but,fescue is attributed to foal deaths because of some fungus thing that grows rampantly on fescue,The foals are born full term but the sacs are so thick(due to the fescue) that they do not break.We are waiting for a foal to be born momentarily,whos mom has been on limited fescue.We will be watching carefully.My friend lost 6 out of 22 foals last year before the University figured it out.
-- teri (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 13, 2001.
Fescue grass can be infested with a microscopic fungus (an endophyte) that produces toxins which can cause several problems in pregnant mares: prolonged pregnancy, difficulty foaling, thickened placenta, stillbirth or weakened foals, low milk supply, and retained placenta (real emergency retained placenta can cause major problems including laminitis)
I didn't realize that the endophyte can survive in hay. There are now endophyte free fescues but unless you're sure that it's free it's best to pull a pregnant mare off fescue for 60-90 days before they are due to foal.
There's a medication that a Vet can give to help with foaling but I can't remember the name.
For beef cows on found this site on Google: http://grasslands.clemson.edu/Forage%20Species/Tall%20Fescue/Fescue% 20Endophyte%20Story.htm
Stacy Rohan in Windsor, NY
-- Stacy Rohan (KincoraFarm@aol.com), April 13, 2001.
I hate to tell ya, but cattle suffer from a condition known as "summer slump" which is caused by the fescue endophyte. The signs of "summer slump" in cattle include elevated temperature, unthriftiness, sloughing off of the hoof along with the tail and tips of the ears, and a tendency for cattle to stay in the shade or stand in water. Research shows that horses on fescue do not have elevated temperatures, possibly because horses are more efficient sweaters than cattle and can dissipate the heat better.
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), April 13, 2001.
yes it is harful to cattle too but usualy pastures are not pure stands some clovers and weeeds help dilute the toxinstry to realy hard pasture one of the fields then over seed with other grasses or clovers turnips will work too in the fall .the endrophite free fescues tend to be week and die out annual rye grass would be a good over seedthe seed is cheeep and its cow candy might try disking and planting an annual like sudan grass or millet or soybeans ,i graze cornoff in the summer everything else is brown at the time of the summer slump
-- george darby (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 13, 2001.
Not sure about Sudan and cattle, but Sudan grass and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids contain compounds which can cause muscle weakness, urinary problems and death in severe cases. Do not feed these grasses to horses!
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), April 14, 2001.
The endophyte fungus comes about when the fescue is stressed. Like drought. It causes stunted growth in cattle and other livestock. Late babies tend to be affected much more than early babies.
I would move the cows before the fescue gets short, as to not stress it. You can re-seed by just keeping the fescue mowed and not letting it go to seed. This will allow the other seed to get a hold. It might take a while. Be sure to feed all the necessary minerals to your cattle. I'll try to find the article on selinium.
With your babies due in July, during the hot time, you might have a problem with them if you don't get lots of rainfall.
-- Cindy in Ky (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 2001.
I leased some mares on foal-share to a lady in Virginia, who was apparantly doing "everything" right re: fescue pasture and hay and still had a lot of problems with mares and foaling. I've been fortunate with my mares here in Kentucky, some minor problems but nothing serious and no foals lost.
The medication for milk production in mares is Domperidone. It is given to mares that are due to foal but look like they will not have much milk.
My vet also believes that fescue may be responsible for some of the difficulties in getting mares and cows bred back ... causes a lower fertility rate.
In mares that are very susceptible to the endophyte, it takes very little fescue to cause problems ... hay is just as bad as grass if it contains fescue ... and mares should be taken off fescue pasture/hay at least 60 days prior to foaling.
-- SFM in KY (email@example.com), April 15, 2001.
You shouldn't have a problem unless your pasture or hay is dominately fescue. Get your county agent to come out to do a pasture walk-over for you. When I had one plasture overseeded I used an equal amount of fescue and orchardgrass and about twice the recommended amount of Ladino clover.
It would be nice if you could subdivided the two 17 acre pastures into halves, so you would have a total of five paddocks. Subject to water availability, you could then rotate through them. Your county ag agent should have a publication on rotational grazing. It's largely a matter of experience gained. An excellent book on rotational grazing is Intensive Grazing Management: Forage, Animals, Men, Profits by Smith, Leung and Love. Your library may be able to get a loaner copy.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 15, 2001.