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Extension News for South East Georgia

How to Improve Forage Quality In Late Winter and Early Spring

By: Wes Smith, CEC, Upson, Pike and Lamar Counties

What can I do to make my pasture better for my cow herd? This is one of those questions that most of us hear at one time or another. If you didn’t get the chance to plant winter grazing, you may decide you need to gamble and plant either oats or ryegrass in early to mid-February depending on where you are in the state. Earlier in the south, later the further north you are. Just remember that you are several months past our normal plant date, but this may help to reduce hay needs and improve cattle condition. However, it will have a much reduced forage yield. Pay attention to your weed pressure. If you have weeds, it will depend on what species of weeds you have has to what and when you spray. A lot of our weed problems can be handled in February and March. Remember to spray when weeds are small and not when flowering. When you see flowers, it is too late. Mark your calendar for next year to spray 2 months before you saw flowers and plan on spraying 3 years in a row. Finally, as a producer, get your fertilizer out in a timely manner. This will improve your forage quality as well as improve pounds of production. All predictors suggest we are looking toward a wet spring; therefore, planning ahead will be necessary.