THE FORAGE MIX
It's obvious. Forage is the basis for what we do. We often think you can either have powerful short grass or washy tall grass. We have found a great balance. We use cereal crops as our base forage and are building mixes that really can improve our soils (see our page on Cover Crops) and also provide rich feed for your cattle.
Fall Rye is our choice for our base forage. We have a long spring and fall season and Fall Rye can take advantage of that. It's also a terrific feed, averaging over 20% CP and 66% TDN - both as good or better than alfalfa without the bloat problem.
Fall Rye forms a dense sod with long roots and fills in gaps over time. It also mines nutrients very efficiently and kills weeds.
It's also helpful that as long as we don't let it mature it just grows and grows. And, while it does slow some in the heat of summer it just keeps growing! In fact, in every trial we've seen from all over the country and in Canada Fall Rye outgrows every other cereal in terms of tons produced over multiple harvests (clippings)
We use a selection of plants to build a forage that will put pounds on cattle. Because our pastures are irrigated we have the advantage of shorter rest periods and more frequent grazing. That allows us to use the principles of Mob Grazing (see our page on Mob Grazing).
The sample shown is from 2015 and is fairly typical of all our forages. The Crude Protein is at 28% - a little higher than most which are about 22 - 24%. The TDN is slightly above 65% which is typical.
The plants in that mix included Fall Rye, Oats, Barley, Triticale, and Balansa Clover (about 2 lbs. per acre).