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Managing Forage Shortages on the Goat Farm. Jeff Fisher Extension Educator Pike County . Situation 2007. Late Freeze in April Dry in May Hay Crop of 50-60 % Hot, dry summer Reduced pasture yield Little or no additional hay cuttings High priced hay High priced grain.

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Managing forage shortages on the goat farm l.jpg

Managing Forage Shortages on the Goat Farm

Jeff Fisher

Extension Educator

Pike County


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Situation 2007

  • Late Freeze in April

  • Dry in May

  • Hay Crop of 50-60 %

  • Hot, dry summer

  • Reduced pasture yield

  • Little or no additional hay cuttings

  • High priced hay

  • High priced grain


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Feeding Management - Corn

  • Even at today’s corn price it is still a cheaper alternative than purchasing hay.

  • One pound of corn replaces about 2 pounds of hay nutritionally.

  • It's easier and less expensive per ton to haul.

  • A mature ruminant animal can be fed approximately one fourth of its diet in corn without effecting digestibility of the forage component.


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Feeding Management - Corn

  • As an example, a mature goat weighing 150 lbs. will eat 2.5 to 3 % of its body weight per day or approximately 3.75 to 4.5 lbs.

  • Feeding approximately one pound of whole corn per head per day will reduce the hay requirement and add body condition from the extra energy.


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Feeding Management - Corn

  • Feed it in bunks or on the dry ground under an electric fence wire and the goats won't waste any.


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Grazing Management

  • Allow at least 2-3 inches of top growth to remain in the field.

  • Extend rest periods now to 35 or more days for most forage species.

  • If your forage growth has stopped, pull the goats off pasture and feed hay or silage.


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Grazing Management

  • Apply ammonium nitrate to resting grass pastures; especially fescue. With sufficient rain,

    fifty pounds of

    nitrogen per acre

    can provide over a

    ton of stockpiled

    forage.


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Summer Annuals

  • Wheat harvest and dried-up pastures will provide vacant fields that you might want to consider planting to summer annuals.

  • Options include turnips, oats, sorghum, sudan, and millets.

  • For more information, refer to the Ohio Agronomy Guide at http://ohioline.osu.edu/b472/index.html.


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Early Weaning

  • Early weaning can reduce the total forage and water needs by 25% when the doe and kid are fed separately.

  • If feeds need to be purchased, the young kids are more efficient at converting them to

    gain and subsequent

    value.


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Culling

  • Cull soon. Moving culls now will save feed.

  • If culls are thin feed them some grain until marketing time to add value.

  • Cull prices are pretty good in the period just prior to the Islamic holidays as demand increases.


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Fall Growth

  • When a little pasture top growth does return, don't be impatient about grazing it.

  • If you must graze on it,

    only top graze it lightly

    and move the grazing

    goats on.


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Poisonous Plants

  • Be aware that when forage availability is low, poisonous plants can be a bigger issue.

  • http://ohioline.osu.edu/b762/b762_24.html


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