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Pasture & Forage - Crops & Soils

Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
'Matua' Prairie Grass - Bromus wildenowii May 1, 2009 424-700
2009-2010 Performance of Sorghum Hybrids in the Virginia‐Carolina Region Jan 25, 2011 3101-1531
2012 Performance of Sorghum Hybrids in Virginia Nov 26, 2012 AREC-30NP
Agronomy Handbook, 2000 May 1, 2009 424-100
Calibrating Forage Seeding Equipment

Successful forage establishment requires that seed be planted at the recommended density. Planting lower than the required rate will result in thin stands with increased weed problems and lower yields. On the other hand, planting at a higher than recommended seed rate will significantly increase seeding costs. Calibration becomes more important as the cost of the seed increases.

Calibration charts can be found on most seeding equipment and they provide a good starting point. However, variations in seed size, weight, purity, and coatings, and performance of seeding equipment can cause large discrepancies between chart settings and actual seeding rates. Therefore, it is critical to know how much seed is actually being metered out for any given combination of variety, seeder, and field condition.

Dec 10, 2009 418-121
Control of Common Pasture and Hayfield Weeds in Virginia and West Virginia

Annual and perennial weed control in pastures and hayfields is an important aspect of successful forage management. This publication will discuss control measures for many of the common weeds found in Virginia and West Virginia permanent fescue and mixed fescue / bluegrass / orchardgrass pastures and hayfields.

May 1, 2009 427-002
Controlled Grazing of Virginia's Pastures

One of the keys to profitable livestock production is to minimize the costs of producing a marketable animal or animal product. Feed costs are commonly 70-80 percent of the cost of growing or maintaining an animal. Pastures provide feed at a cost of .01-.02 cents/lb of TDN while hay costs .04-.06 cents/lb TDN. Improved pasture management offers the single greatest opportunity to lower production costs, assuming that animal genetics, health, marketing procedures, and other areas of management have been addressed. A primary goal of livestock producers should be to utilize grazed forage for as many months of the year as possible while minimizing the need for stored feed.

May 1, 2009 418-012
Determining Forage Moisture Concentration

Fires that damage or destroy hay and barns cost farmers thousands of dollars in building and feed replacement costs and in lost revenues. Many of these fires are caused by the spontaneous combustion of hay that usually occurs within six weeks after baling. This publication discusses the cause and prevention of hay fires and provides guidelines to follow when a hay fire is detected.

May 1, 2009 442-106
Determining Harvesting Time for Corn Silage May 5, 2016 DASC-82NP
Establishing and Managing Caucasian Bluestem

Profit and size of beef cow herds may be largely determined by the pasture available during the hot summer months. With low forage production from natural pastures and undependable growing conditions, the number of animals that can be grazed on a particular area must be limited in order to minimize risks of having a pasture shortage which would mean selling animals or purchasing additional forage. In Virginia we have primarily cool-season grasses in our natural pastures. 

May 1, 2009 418-014
Fertilizing Cool-Season Forages with Poultry Litter versus Commercial Fertilizer

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and some other regions produce more manure nutrients than local crops need. This manure has traditionally been applied to row crops and overapplication has led to soil-test phosphorus (P) being well above agronomic optimum in many cases. In 2008, it was estimated that nutrient-management regulations now require that approximately 85 percent of poultry litter be applied off poultry farms, as they do not have sufficient land to beneficially recycle their manure nutrients. There is a substantial area of nutrient-deficient forage production in the Shenandoah Valley that could benefit from this poultry litter. This publication summarizes two years of field research on fertilizing nutrient-deficient forages with poultry or commercial fertilizer. It also evaluates split versus single annual applications of nutrients and addresses a common misconception that poultry litter contains weed seeds.

Sep 16, 2009 418-142
Forage Establishment: Getting Off to a Good Start

Profitable ruminant livestock production depends on the production of high-quality forages. High yields can only be obtained from a dense, vigorous stand of an adapted forage species. The first step in obtaining such a stand is establishment. The establishment phase of forage production is critical because all other management practices depend upon a healthy sod. Forage establishment begins long before the actual seeding. Successful forage establishment requires careful planning and attention to detail.

May 1, 2009 418-120
Growing Small Grains for Forage in Virginia

Cereal crops are used throughout the world for livestock feed. When they are managed properly they provide excellent grazing and high-quality silage or hay.

May 1, 2009 424-006
Herbage Quality, Biomass, and Animal Performance of Cattle Grazing. Part I: Forage Biomass, Botanical Composition, and Nutritive Values Nov 19, 2009 418-151
Herbage Quality, Biomass, and Animal Performance of Cattle Grazing. Part II: Animal Performance Nov 19, 2009 418-152
Large Round Bale Safety

This Extension publication covers the safety aspects of equipment used in large round bale packages such as: balers, front-end loaders, bale handling and transport devices. The key to safe and efficient systems for handling large round bales is an operator who knows the hazards involved and who follows safety practices that can prevent accidents. Operators must be constantly alert for situations that may cause injuries to themselves or others. Besides pain and suffering, accidents contribute to higher costs in terms of unnecessary downtime or costly machine repairs. Alertness and safety consciousness can result in more efficient and profitable baling and handling.

Oct 13, 2014 442-455 (BSE-172P)
Making the Most of Tall Fescue in Virginia May 1, 2009 418-050
Management Tips for Round Bale Hay Harvesting, Moving, and Storage

Hay production and feeding is one of the most expensive components of forage-livestock systems. Specific management practices are necessary to maintain hay quality and minimize hay loss during harvest, transportation and storage of large round bales.

Large round bale packaging systems allow one person to harvest, store and feed large quantities of hay for small as well as large acreages. Proper management is required to maximize effectiveness because losses during baling, transport and storage of large round bales can far exceed the losses with rectangular bale systems.

Oct 9, 2014 442-454 (BSE-173P)
Managing Virginia's Steep Pastures

Virginia has about 1.5 million acres of steep pastures. Simply turning livestock onto these pastures to graze requires little management. However, managing these pastures so that they provide year-round grazing in the quantity and of the quality needed requires sound planning, excellent judgment, and an understanding of how to handle the plant-animal relationship so both will benefit.

May 1, 2009 418-005
Manure Injection in No-Till and Pasture Systems Feb 27, 2013 CSES-22P
No-Till Seeding of Forage Grasses and Legumes

No-till seeding of forage grasses and legumes can be successful and has become an accepted practice for a number of reasons. One of the primary concerns in establishing new forage stands in a well-tilled seedbed is the threat of soil erosion during the establishment period. Not only is valuable topsoil lost, but resulting ruts and gullies damage equipment and are dangerous to equipment operators. In addition to reducing soil erosion, no-till seedings conserve moisture already present in the seedbed. Moisture conservation, along with a dramatic reduction in water run-off, improves the water supply for the new seedlings. No-till seeding methods also require less time and fuel than traditional methods because rocks remain below the soil surface.

May 1, 2009 418-007
Pesticide Applicator Manuals Nov 17, 2011 VTTP-2
Planning Fencing Systems For Controlled Grazing

Controlled grazing can be an economical way to provide forage to grazing animals. Utilizing pasture as a major portion of the forage plan can significantly reduce feed costs during the grazing season. Virginia's soils and climate are especially favorable for the growth of a wide range of productive, high-quality grasses and legumes suitable for grazing. However, optimizing a controlled grazing system requires careful planning and good management of a fencing system.

May 1, 2009 442-130
Planting and Managing Switchgrass for Forage, Wildlife, and Conservation

Switchgrass is a tall-growing, warm-season, perennial grass that is native to much of the United States including Virginia. Switchgrass (SG) was widespread in open areas before settlers populated an area and remained in one place year after year. Their livestock were free roaming and would graze the new switchgrass growth in the spring before the new plants were tall enough to withstand defoliation. This mismanagement weakened the stands and eventually led to their demise. They were replaced by cool-season grasses introduced from other countries such as bluegrass, tall fescue, and orchardgrass. These cool-season grasses began growth much earlier in the spring so they could tolerate the early season grazing by cattle. As a result, the native warm-season grasses such as SG were destroyed and can now only be found growing wild in abandoned sites such as old cemeteries or roadways.

May 1, 2009 418-013
Powell River Project - Revegetation Species and Practices Jul 28, 2010 460-122
Putting the Punch Back in Your Pastures: Pasture Renovation

Pasture renovation can be defined as a series of practices that will result in long-term improvement in the health, productivity, and botanical composition of pastures. These practices may include interseeding legumes and grasses, fertilizing, liming, controlling weeds, and improving grazing management. Successful renovation requires planning, time lines, and attention to detail. It is important to determine why the previous stand did not persist before reseeding pastures. It is essential that these problems be addressed in a long-term pasture management plan.

May 1, 2009 418-134
Soil Test Note #1 - Explanation of Soil Tests May 1, 2009 452-701
Soil Test Note #2 - Field Crops

Most Virginia soils are acidic and require lime applications at three- to five-year intervals. Maintaining the correct soil pH has several benefits, such as encouraging healthy root development and making sure nutrients in the soil are available to the plant. For example, low pH can cause aluminum toxicity and can decrease phosphorus availability. 

Sep 25, 2014 452-702 (CSES-100P)
Soil Test Note #4 - Trace Elements May 1, 2009 452-704
Soil Test Note 5: Fertilizing With Manures Aug 19, 2009 452-705
Soil Test Note No.3 - Liming and Fertilization of Cool-Season Forage Crops Aug 28, 2012 452-703 (CSES-16P)
Soybean Reproductive Development Stages Nov 25, 2013 AREC-59NP
The Nutritive Value of Common Pasture Weeds and Their Relation to Livestock Nutrient Requirements

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. 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 thorns or spines that can injure the grazing animal’s mouth and/or irritate its eyes, which may lead to pinkeye.9 Other weeds can cause the milk and meat of livestock to have a negative taste or odor. Weeds also compete with cultivated crops and forages for moisture, light, and nutrients, but many weeds are nutrient-rich and digestible.9 The objective of this review paper is to recognize the nutritional values of weeds commonly found in pastures.2

Aug 6, 2009 418-150
The Virginia Alfalfa Variety Report: A Five-year Summary (1999 - 2003) May 1, 2009 418-018
The Virginia Perennial Cool-Season Grass Forage Variety Report: A 3-Year Summary (2002-2004)

Perennial cool-season forage grasses are the foundation of ruminant livestock production systems in Virginia. Sound management of these grasses begins with proper species and variety selection. This report is a summary of forage variety trials performed with perennial cool-season grasses at Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Centers (ARECs) from 2002 through 2004. It includes trials seeded at the Southern Piedmont AREC (SPAREC) at Blackstone and at the Tidewater AREC, Suffolk, September 2001 and harvested for three years (2002 through 2004) 

May 1, 2009 418-200
Warm-Season Annual Grasses for Summer Forage

In Virginia, cool-season grasses produce ample forage in the spring and fall, but high temperatures and short-term drought stress often limit growth during the summer months. Therefore, there is a need for additional grazing, hay or green-chop during July and August. Warm-season annual grasses can fill this gap with relatively high quality forage when properly managed. Advantages to using summer-annual grasses include fast germination and emergence, rapid growth, high productivity, and flexibility of utilization. Warm-season grasses can be grazed as needed and excess growth can be harvested as hay or silage. Major disadvantages include the high cost of annual establishment and the increased risk of stand failure due to variable rainfall in late spring and early summer.

May 1, 2009 418-004
Winter Seeding Methods to Establish Clover in Permanent Pasture Jun 10, 2010 418-022