Which blend is best for your region?
Each region of the United States has its own climate and therefore what is a good
pasture blend in one area isn’t always the best in another. Since a majority of small time farmers and
ranchers reside in the Midwest, we’ll start there first. Many Midwest ranchers would agree on the fact that
one of the best pastures for their cattle comes in the form of an alfalfa-brome-timothy mixture.
There are many places on the Internet that advertise this mixture for sale. Some ranchers harvest the mixture
and resale it to the market. The alfalfa-brome-timothy mixture is the best suitable mixture for the
Midwestern region. This blend will provide your cattle with nutritious grazing. The timothy in this
mixture helps control erosion when mixed with other legumes or grasses. This mixture will take root quickly
and easily and it’s the most economical for small ranchers.
In the southern states, mixtures that include bluegrass, rye
and Sudan Grass are excellent pasture for your cattle. Alfalfa and timothy combinations can also be used, but
will not establish as well as the bluegrass and rye. And in the northern region of ranch land, good pasturage
results when alfalfa blends are used. Another type of blend that works well is one that has Ladino
included. When Ladino is mixed with tall fescue it has been reported that each head will gain approximately
1.8lbs per day! When mixed with Orchard grass the gain per head of cattle is around 1.27 or 1.28lbs/day.
But one thing you must keep in mind that it is easy to overestimate the growth of your
pasture in the springtime. Some have evaluated their pasture in the springtime and felt as though they would
have enough for the coming hot summer months. To their surprise and dismay, they learned that they not only
overestimate its growth, but they also put their cattle in danger. They had not taken into consideration the
fact that pasture grasses grow slower in the summer months. Now they had a dire situation on their
hands. They had too many cattle and not enough grass! What a nightmare this will be for some, but it
doesn’t have to be if you do some advance planning.
This is where basic mathematics comes in. You take to total amount of acreage
that you currently have available for feeding and you divide that by the amount of each cattle head that you
have. Example: 20 acres ÷ 20 head of cattle = 1 acre per head. In order for you to be sure that
you do not run out of grass in those summer months, plan it so that you have enough grass to give 2 acres per
head. This can be done! And it can be accomplished by a process called renovating.
Renovating is defined as renewing or revitalizing something. In this case,
renovating would be used to show you how to make your pasture produce more for the coming months. This
process includes, but is not limited to: insect and weed control, lime and fertilizer additions and finally,
planting and establishing legumes in your pasture.
That sure sounds like a lot to do, but it is very beneficial and cost effective to take
these steps while the season is favorable. Before long your pasture will be sprouting for new growths and
your cows will enjoy what they are eating. This renewed pasture makes way for healthier, meatier cows, and in
turn, better profits for you. Take these steps before the hotter months and you will certainly retain your
profits that you lose in the grain feeding process.