Last month we attended Pasture School, hosted by UF Extension Agents from Levy County. There were a number of attendees to the class. Among them were existing and new land owners, such as ourselves, who are interested in establishing successful pasture growth and management practices for livestock.
It was a 2-day event, held January 18th and 19th, were presentations and field trips formed a comprehensive approach to managing sustainable forage. Everything from North Florida’s climate, grazing management, dealing with weeds and pests, equipment, and specific types of forage were discussed at great length.
Prior to the course, we were thinking – What’s the Secret? Right now, in the cold winter months, many cow producers are feeding hay supplemented by grain which can be expensive depending on the size of your budget. We knew that our property currently grows Bahiagrass (Paspalum Notatum), which is the most used forage for beef cattle (so how lucky are we?) but, right now it looks lifeless and dry due to the frosts we have been experiencing these past cooler months.
After sitting through some of the slides, we soon came to understand the difference between Summer and Winter forage for our climate in High Springs, Florida. The possibility of maintaining a well grazed pasture ‘year round’ now seems attainable with the right management practices.
We were sent home with plenty of materials to reference, if ever in doubt. Of course, it is recommended to always reach out to your local extension office with questions or concerns. They will even help you test the soil, so you can determine what type of fertilizer will help you achieve that sought after thing called TDN – Total Digestible Nutrition in every acre of forage.
We certainly look forward to keeping an eye on future UF Extension events via our local Alachua County site: http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/alachua/
As a result of the workshop we now look forward to informatively managing our Bahiagrass crop for this year, and are starting to carefully plan where our future pastures will be located on the property.