Published as pages 7-15 in proceedings from "Nutrition of Dairy Cows on Pasture-Based Systems" held March 31, 2003 in Grantville, PA. Get notified when we have news, courses, or events of interest to you. It depends on what plant community makes up the pasture. More details on forage variety nutrition can be found from your university extension or resources such as the University of Florida and University of Georgia. For horses that are stalled, or for horses that do not have abundant pasture, stored forage in the form of hay is the primary source of forage. Unfortunately, very few owners, through no fault of their own, have top quality pastures. Keep in mind that forage tests are always subject to errors and good judgment is necessary when interpreting results and developing feeding strategies. Table 1 shows the change in nutrient composition of a mixed mostly grass pasture in the Northeast US. Some examples are as follows: alfalfa, 18–25 percent; corn leaves, 6–14 percent; and coastal Bermudagrass leaves, 4–18 percent. For gastrointestinal health, horses need to eat about 1% of their body weight in hay or pasture grasses and legumes daily (10 pounds, or 4.5 kg, of … These are average values and should be used as a guide - forage testing and monitoring of nutrient composition are needed to more closely monitor the supplemental feeding program. They are (in order of magnitude of effects on nutrition): maturity , grass species (to a lesser extent cultivar), and fertilization. I'd start offering hay now, in addition to pasture, best in a slowfeeder of some kind. For crude protein, the typical crude protein content to maintain intake for a pasture forage is 7.5-8.0%. Likewise, legumes such as clover or alfalfa are usually grazed at an earlier stage of growth than when harvested as stored forage. The same applies for pastures. Nutrient composition of orchardgrass-based pasture during six month grazing with 9 rotations per paddock. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. Obtaining a representative pasture sample for nutritional analysis can be challenging. Today, we’ll discuss how to evaluate the nutritional value of your pasture. The primary purpose of raising quality pasture is to sustain healthy, growing or lactating animals. Avoid dung piles, areas near watering troughs, weedy patches, and other areas that animals tend to avoid when grazing. Sample a pasture when animals are first allowed access to it (before much grazing occurs). Daily growth rate (lb/acre/day) It takes grass to grow grass ! The most popular choices for grasses to be utilized as horse hay are Timothy Grass and Orchard Grass making them the big two forage grasses. Overseeding warm season grass sods, which is the most common approach to planting annual ryegrass, can extend the grazing season by … See All Pest, Disease and Weed Identification, See All Beer, Hard Cider, and Distilled Spirits, See All Community Planning and Engagement, Environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, precipitation), Varies depending on time of year and stage of growth cycle (Figure 3), Know how much stubble residue to leave before moving to another paddock, Know how long it takes to use the canopy to the desired stubble height, Use a stocking density which allows quick removal of forage and uniform distribution of excreta. For example, fescue is a hardy and nutritious pasture grass, but should be avoided for broodmares. In general, for a 1,000 lb. Often, 70 to 80% of the protein in pasture will be degraded in the rumen, whereas the recommended requirement for RDP in the total dairy ration is between 62 to 68% of the total protein. During periods of summer heat and drought, additional forages may need to be provided to lactating dairy cows. As an indicator of concentration of available energy, TDN (total digestible nutrition) is calculated as the sum of digestible protein, digestible crude fiber, digestible nitrogen-free extract, and 2.25 times the digestible fat. However, after November in Manitoba, stockpiled grasses don’t contain adequate energy to support lactating cows that require 60 per cent to 65 per cent TDN to maintain milk production, or of young, growing stock that need 65 per cent to 70 per cent TDN to gain 2 pounds per day. With good grazing management, grasses harvested by cows will be in a vegetative state and approximately 6 to 8 inches tall, depending on the type of grass. In nutrient-poor soils, the roots of pasture plants, such as grasses and weeds, have some ability to selectively absorb and concentrate essential minerals. Forage nutrients vary with maturity and plant variety; the older the forage, the lower the TDN value. Providing ruminally available carbohydrates, primarily from concentrates, but also from other forages, will help animals utilize the high levels of RDP in pastures more effectively. Published as pages 13-14 in proceedings from "Nutrition of Dairy Cows on Pasture-Based Systems" held March 31, 2003 in Grantville, PA. Animal selectivity plays a large role in what specific plants and plant parts the animal consumes, and plant composition, soil fertility, soil type, and moisture can vary across even a small paddock. sample them separately, as nutritional qualities may be quite different. Fiber increased and in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) decreased during the summer. Add to Tracking Add to Compare Create Recipe Add to My Foods. These results suggest the analysis of pasture perhaps three times per year to coincide with changing seasons may be adequate when pasture availability is not limiting. It is important that pasture samples be immediately frozen to prevent marked chemical changes such as fermentation. Walk around the entire pasture with a container such as a clean 5-gallon bucket and sample randomly from a minimum of 25 to 30 locations throughout the entire pasture (sample numbers may vary depending on pasture size). Hay: One of the primary uses of redtop is for grass hay. Peak production for warm season grasses occurs during mid-summer, when the other forages decrease production; however, warm-season grasses are not typically recommended for lactating dairy cows due to their high fiber and low energy content in relation to animal nutrient requirements. CALORIC RATIO PYRAMID™ This graphic shows you what percentage of the calories in a food come from carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and alcohol. Some examples of TDN for particular forages are bahiagrass, 55–60 percent (at 28–30 days old); Bermudagrass, 55–65 percent (at 28–30 days old); and pearl millet, 70 percent. The seasonal effects on nutrient composition are illustrated with columns titled spring, summer, and fall. Grass hay is best cut right before it starts to set seed. Healthy, productive pastures can improve livestock gains and reduce feed costs. NEW GRASS MIX: Bermudagrass is deep-rooted and grows to 24 inches in a variety of soils. And nutritional value as feed? The continual changing of pasture quantity and quality during the grazing season provides challenges to producers using a grazing system. Plants should not be grazed closer than 3 inches above the soil surface to allow opportunity for maximum regrowth. If different paddocks differ greatly (slope, plant composition, soil type, sun exposure, etc.) True proteins contain 60 to 80 percent of the total plant nitrogen (N), with soluble protein and a small portion of fiber-bound N carrying the remainder. It commonly has an endophytic fungus that strengthens the grass but can cause problems with foaling and udder development in mares. Crude protein is an estimate of the total protein present in a grass. If non-structural carbohydrates or energy are lacking in the diet and rumen, the high ruminal RDP in pasture will result in high levels of rumen ammonia, which is converted to urea. One of the most important concepts with grazing is to frequently monitor forage quality, especially the first few years, and to be flexible and be prepared for change, depending on weather patterns, forage growth, and changing nutritional composition. Beef, grass-fed, strip steaks, lean only, raw. With a little practice, an experienced manager can accurately identify the species being consumed at the time of sampling. Crabgrass responds well to rotational grazing. Dairy producers strive to achieve legume forage with 20 to 23% crude protein (CP), 26 to 30% acid detergent fiber (ADF), 38 to 42% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and a net energy for lactation (NEL) of 0.62 to 0.68 Mcal/lb. Protein forms the building blocks of muscle and its components are used in every system of the body. Crabgrass is a high-quality summer annual forage grass that is well adapted to the sandy soils and climatic conditions of the southern Coastal Plain. In winter grass is dormant, and hay will be needed. Omega 6:3 Ratio - This is the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Crude protein remained greater than 20% for the entire grazing season. I've been thankful, as I learn how to be a grass farmer, that I've got my trusty book The Family Cow by my side. The values presented in Tables 1 and 2 can be important when formulating dairy rations around pasture. View our privacy policy. Here is a table of search results for grass; Food Name: Add to Tracking Add to Compare Create Recipe Add to My Foods. Figure 1 graphically depicts the production cycles of cool-season grasses, forage legumes, and warm-season grasses. In very mature grasses however, digestibility will be so low as to reduce intake and thereby reduce total energy intake. Typically, the ADF content of the pasture is more closely associated with energy and is often used to calculate NEL content, while NDF is associated with intake and rumen health. However, at other times of year, perhaps only concentrate, mineral, and/or a rumen undegradable protein source is all that is necessary to maintain animal health and productivity. Just like harvested forages, nutritional quality of pastures is related to the maturity of the forage when harvested. in varying degrees, the nutritional value of plants whether tho}^ are in farm pastures or on the range. So how do you evaluate the nutritional value of your pasture? Beef, grass-fed, ground, raw. Van Soest INTERMOUNTAIN FOREST AND RANGE EXPERIMENT STATION Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture Ogden, Utah 84401 Figure 3. Be sure to follow Ragan & Massey on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, and check back here every week for more in-depth expertise, advice and product updates. Dairy producers strive to achieve legume forage with 20 to 23% crude protein (CP), 26 to 30% acid detergent fiber (ADF), 38 to 42% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and a net energy for lactation (NE L) of 0.62 to 0.68 Mcal/lb. Because cattle nutrition requirements are enormous just prior to calving as well as while they are lactating, you can only extend your grazing season deep into the winter if you calve during the growing season. Turf: High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. Mitchell drills triticale into the bermudagrass. It takes about 50% longer to grow a ton of feed if the pasture is grazed down to 2” compared to 4”. A smaller fall flush usually occurs that is a result of more moderate temperatures and greater precipitation. The most practical alternative is to pack the sample tightly in a plastic bag, exclude all possible air, freeze, and promptly mail to the laboratory. Raising Chickens on Pasture: Nutritional Impacts in Meat and Eggs. Average DE … The variability in nutritional composition throughout the grazing season or between grazing years emphasizes the need for re-formulation of the dairy ration throughout the grazing season. Once the grass has reached full height, set and dropped seed, it’s metabolism slows, fiber fractions rise and protein drops. Discard any roots, soil clumps, or lower stems that may have pulled out with the sample. Energy values of forage are commonly reported as total digestible nutrients (TDN) or digestible energy (DE). If rotationally stocked, it is best to begin grazing when pastures are no more than 12 inches tall. From an agronomic standpoint, there are three elements that influence nutritional value of pasture. Fescue remains Missouri’s go-to forage, but bermuda and other warm-season grasses can boost yields and reduce endophyte issues, Schnakenberg says. Forage budgets for weed control, fertility and forage seed are available from the University of Florida and farm input retailers such as Ragan & Massey. This study focused on several key elements of nutrition that are improved when animals are raised on pasture. While we need both types, the typical American diet is far too heavy on Omega 6 Fatty Acids. Grass and Nutrients . High levels of urea in the blood have been linked to lower reproductive efficiencies and excretion of urea requires energy for the animal to excrete. Always use and follow label directions. These nutrients support rumen microbes that consequently digest forage. This allows grazing after frost. Growth curve of various types of pasture plants throughout the growing season. Values of TDN vary with forage species: alfalfa (60–70 percent) > cool-season grasses/clovers (55–68 percent) > warm-season grasses (45–65 percent). All rights reserved. Values of TDN vary with forage species: alfalfa (60–70 percent) > cool-season grasses/clovers (55–68 percent) > warm-season grasses (45–65 percent). At this stage there has been enough growth for a good yield and the nutritional value of the grass portions above ground is good. But growing pasture in the South and Southeast brings special challenges because growers must consider forage grass varieties, soil type, soil pH, fertility, weed and pest control, and water availability. In addition, regular forage testing is important as the nutritional quality changes. Changes in forage quality components during various growth stages of the forage. Values of forage protein concentrations vary considerably depending upon species, soil fertility and plant maturity. These fluctuations in nutrient content are closely correlated with the annual growth cycle of the forage. into a new pasture. horse, use the following guidelines: Tear the plant at the grazing level (usually the top 1/3 of the plant). (Stephen K. Barnhart, extension agronomist, Iowa State University Extension service). In general, pastures containing some legumes are higher in nutrient value and will likely be consumed in higher amounts than straight grass pastures. The date you choose for your calving season is the most important factor affecting your cattle's nutritional needs during the winter grazing season. The type of grass and the inclusion of legumes will influence pasture composition. Calories are expressed as digestible energy. Well-managed pastures, regardless of the plant species, can be high in nutrient quality and often exceed the nutrient composition of high quality stored forages. Younger growths of grass will have the higher calorie levels. Cool-season Perennial Pastures. Observe the animals-take note of which plants they consume/avoid, and to what height they are grazing. It delves quite heavily into growing grasses and preparing pasture … Figure 1. Forage legumes follow a similar pattern with one major difference. This causes inflammation and leads to a number of long-term health risks. Typical grass forages and their characteristics for horses include: The legumes tend to maintain a slightly higher productivity level during mid-summer. Multiple research studies have been done that tested the nutritional value of eggs from chickens raised on forage. To take a grab sample, grasp a small handful of grass, similar to a cow when it wraps its tongue around the forage. It is considered a preferred feed for sheep in spring and a desirable feed in summer (Ogle and Brazee, 2009). When formulating rations with stored forages, forage tests are usually taken when a change in bunkers occurs, when the field harvested changes within a silo, or when a new source of forage is fed. Entering your postal code will help us provide news or event updates for your area. The following is a recommendation for sampling pastures: Pasture sampling is a useful aid to gauge the likelihood of pasture quality and in turn determine whether nutritional requirements are being met. Time to grow 1 ton = 40 days. LEARN HOW TO STOP THE INVASIVE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY, Coronavirus: Information and resources for the Extension Community. One reason for this is that legumes establish deeper root systems than grasses, and can utilize greater amounts of soil moisture. When temperatures increase and precipitation decreases in summer, those same cool-season grasses typically decrease in production. GROWTH AND NUTRITIONAL VALUE TO CATTLE OF GRASSES ON CHEATGRASS RANGE IN SOUTHERN IDAHO R. B. Murray, H. F. Mayland, and P. J. Most horse barn pastures are heavily overgrazed and/or have been seeded with a tame pasture mix, resulting in a plant community of tame species, and most of them lose most of their nutritional value when they turn brown for the year. Grasses are generally considered good sources of energy primarily because of their high content of cellulose. Typically, the ADF content of the pasture is more closely associated with energy and is often used to calculate NE L content, while NDF is associated with intake and rumen health. Changes in season trigger changes in rate of plant growth and subsequent changes in nutrient composition. Accurately determining how much of which forage to sample can be difficult. Range forage usually consists of a mixture of herbaceous species, mainly native grasses and legumes, but often includes an admixture of sedges, rushes, and other grasslike By entering your email, you consent to receive communications from Penn State Extension. Pasturage consists principally of mixtures of tame grasses and legumes. My horses do just fine on nothing but grass, so there must be a good deal of nutritional value/calories in it. Residual height (inches) 0 20 40 60 80. For cool-season grasses (our most common pasture types), the majority of growth occurs in the spring time and into early summer. What defines high quality pasture and how we can develop and maintain a high quality sward in abundant quantity? But just as quickly as that green grass comes, the pasture quality can diminish leaving both pasture and cows’ nutrient deficient. It is frequently assumed that weeds have low nutritive value and livestock will not eat weeds, so expensive and time-consuming measures are often used for their control.12 Some weeds are toxic or poisonous to livestock, and certain weeds are unpalatable – causing a reduction in total intake.9 Several weed species have th… (Source James T. Green, Jr. 1996 PA Grazing Conference Proceedings). Anyone? Additional factors influencing the nutritional value of a forage … Weeds constantly invade crop fields and pastures; therefore, it is important to know the potential quality of individual weed species in making management decisions concerning weed control. The range for pastures is from 1.78 to 2.74 Mcal per kg which corresponds to the levels found in moderate quality grass hay to that in beet pulp with molasses. Analysis on the sample may indicate a deficiency, sufficiency, or excess in requirements, however other diet components may compensate and either improve or reduce diet quality. The sight of fresh, green pastures as the summer months approach can be a welcome sight for many cattle producers, especially after feeding costly forages throughout the winter. Anyone? Cattle selectively graze, and therefore the plant material we sample maybe untouched by cattle in favor of other plants. Why do we need this? Bermuda has great heat and drought tolerance but is often very low protein unless the fields are fertilized. Nutritional Value Of Alfalfa Alfalfa, botanically called Medicago sativa is one of the most important leguminous forage in the world. If cows are moving to pastures that have a different forage composition, forage testing is recommended. The reverse happens during the summer months, when growth rates are lower - fiber increases and nutritional value declines. Effect of post-grazing residual on pasture daily growth rate (MU-FSRC) 0 2 4 6 8. As the graph above shows, many of the grasses meet the needs of dry cows. Cool-season perennial grasses and legumes do not need to be seeded each year and have highest production in the early spring and fall, with significantly reduced growth during the summer months. Pasture samples only provide an idea as to the likely quality of an animal's diet. Fluctuations in hay yields of other forage crops affect the acreage of annual ryegrass planted from year to year, as more ryegrass is planted in poor hay production years. How to evaluate the nutritional value of your pasture, Using Ragan & Massey Products Around Pets, Proof of How Great Our Products Work: Our Favorite Before and After Photos, Mulch and Herbicides: A Match Made in Heaven. Teff grass is a summer annual forage for livestock and commercial hay producers who often need a fast-growing, high-yielding crop with competitive forage quality. If we compare the numbers in Table 1 with the graph of cool-season grasses in Figure 1, some interesting trends can be noted. The activity and work level of your horse is an important factor in determining the calories your horse needs. For example, Harrington et al . With good container insulation, the sample will arrive in a cool condition or with a minimum of a silage-like fermentation. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. For most grasses and grass/legume mixtures, the protein and energy content are higher in spring and fall and lower during the summer. Read previous installments of Productive Pastures, https://raganandmassey.com/2016/07/08/choices-make-healthy-vigorous-forage/, https://raganandmassey.com/2016/06/09/know-obstacles-establishing-pasture/, https://raganandmassey.com/2016/05/10/determining-soil-fertility-first-step-productive-pasture/, https://raganandmassey.com/2016/09/14/irrigation-rotation-keys-favorable-forage/. states in pasture plantings in mountain meadows. One of the biggest benefits of raising chickens on pasture is the impact that it has on meat and egg quality. The nutrient composition of fescue grass is relatively high; it contains crude protein of 67-283g/kg Dry matter, 308-715g/kg dry matter of Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) and good mineral content profile. Use of available information about forage quality and nutrition can lead to sound grazing and feeding management decisions. problem with these grasses from May to October . This, after all, is what they naturally eat in the wild. Grazing can begin when crab-grass is 4 to 6 inches tall. Fall has a rise in sugars but general nutrition goes down. Forage nutrients vary with maturity and plant variety; the older the forage, the lower the TDN value. It must be remembered pasture sampling is not an exact science. Figure 2. Although the total protein in well-managed pastures is high, the protein is high in ruminally degradable protein (RDP). The most important aspect of any pasture is obviously the nutrients provided by the grass and legume forages planted. Teff has a wide range of adaptation and is being used all across the U.S. as hay, silage or pasture … Generally, an analysis will determine protein and energy content. Proteins plus energy are the most important nutrients for livestock. Thus, the high RDP in pastures is often wasted by the cow. During periods of peak growth (spring and fall), nutritional value (CP, rumen degradable protein (RDP), non-fiber carbohydrates (NFC), and NEL) is higher, while fiber content (NDF) is lower. Calories for Different Types of Horse Hay and Feeds How many calories does my horse need per day? Therefore, with excellent grazing management we should expect to have higher quality forage when harvested as pasture than when harvested as stored forage. Grasses harvested as hay or silage are typically more mature than when harvested as pasture, thus pasture should be of higher quality than stored forages. Am I the only one who gets excited about stuff like this? On the best quality pasture, horses should be able to get all the nutrients they need. Establishing a new pasture requires significant investment in land preparation, fertility, weed control and forage seed. The nutrient composition of an orchardgrass pasture during a grazing season from a Penn State study is shown in Figure 2. Good grazing management is essential to maintaining quality pasture. Smaller databases for pasture compared with stored forages can mean less accurate values, particularly energy values. These results are from well-managed pastures that were grazed at a stocking rate of 1.3 cows per acre and had nine grazing rotations. In general, nutritional value is highest in late spring/early summer. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. The nutrient content of the forages in any pasture are dependent on plant type, the soils of the area, time of year, and even stage of growth of the plant. These samples are not an exact representation of the animal's diet. Time to grow 1 ton = 64 days. This urea then appears in blood and milk, with much of it eventually in the urine. Doing it right the first time can save money and produce forage as soon as possible. © 2020 Ragan & Massey. It is considered preferred feed for cattle and horses in spring and summer and a desirable feed in fall and winter. Because we usually sample a single species, it must be remembered that other plant species comprise cattle diets. Thoroughly mix the collected forage and take a representative sample for analysis-fill a gallon sized plastic bag with the representative sample. Quality remained high with this well-managed pasture where grass was grazed in the vegetative state and should be representative of intensively-managed pastures. Pasture quality will depend on many factors, including: This table shows average nutrient composition for several types and mixtures of high quality pastures. At this time, there is not an effective method to accurately relate forage digestibility and dry-matter intake. TDN has been in use for many years and remains an easily understood and acceptable measure of nutritive value. 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Six month grazing with 9 rotations per paddock and horses in spring and fall in! Begin grazing when pastures are no more than 12 inches tall sample for nutritional analysis can noted..., nutritional quality changes and can utilize greater amounts of soil moisture in Meat and quality. Before much grazing occurs ) grass pastures health risks pasture where grass grazed... Legumes follow a similar pattern with one major difference through no fault of their own have. Typically decrease in production maintain a high quality pasture 1.3 cows per acre and nine. Preparation, fertility, weed control and forage seed activity and work level of your horse is an important affecting! Of plant growth and subsequent changes in season trigger changes in forage components... Species comprise cattle diets, grass-fed, strip steaks, lean only, raw forage and...