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Hay and Pasture Tips Heading Into Spring

The extension support person with Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, is offering a few pasture and hay storage tips heading in to spring.

John McGregor says pastures across Manitoba took a real beating last year thanks to a combination of dry conditions and feed shortages, and he recommends farmers wait until the growth hits six to eight inches tall this spring before putting cattle out.

"By giving the pasture a chance to get to that height it does give the roots a chance to replenish, and once they're grazed cattle can go back after they've grazed it a bit and they can set up a very good rotational system," explained McGregor. He noted however, this may not be practical if you're starting to run out of feed, adding feed supplies varied throughout the province this winter.

"I guess on the positive side from what I have been hearing is, due to the fact that this winter was a little milder than typical winters the cattle weren't eating as much feed and therefore those feed supplies were stretched a bit further than we would expect," added McGregor.

Meantime, as winter continues to melt away and lead into spring runoff, McGregor says any bales remaining out on the field should be removed before they end up sitting in water. He notes soaked bales can later lead to heating.

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