Looking Forward to Winter Pasture Management

Ashley Warren, Ruminant Production Specialist


With 2020 presenting some tough and surprising weather challenges, it’s wonderful to see harvest and fall calving underway! Of course, this brings a lot of things to mind when considering how to stretch our nutritional plans into the fall and winter.

Maintaining the stand and nutritional value of our pastures and fields through winter months of snow, rain, ice and cold temps is a challenge within itself.

Two things to keep in mind as you graze cows this fall:

Easy is Not Always Best:

It’s pretty easy and convenient to just open the gates and let the cows have at it, allowing them to graze the entire paddock.

However, the best and most economical approach may be to limit graze  – also known as strip grazing) them through the paddock with temporary fencing to temporary fencing to more fully utilize the forage without having it trampled to the ground. This also helps with erosion on sloped ground and sets your pasture up for better spring stands of forage.

At the end of the day, you have to weigh convenience and instant gratification versus delayed gratification. What it comes down to, is what will work best for you.

Profit Per Acre NOT Profit Per Pound:

On our operations, we are consistently analyzing profitability metrics by monitoring data such as pounds-of-calf-weaned; expected progeny differences (EPDs) for some purebred producers; mature cow size; body condition score, and other traits and performance statistics

I suggest also looking at these amazing ruminants as converters of forage into pounds. The more efficiently a ruminant can digest forages, the more profitable it is for the farmer. Putting value into the soil allows us to grow valuable feedstuffs to increase our profitability and convert pounds of gain off every acre we can.

Supplementations are tools in our toolbox that bring out the best in our livestock while utilizing one of the most undervalued capitals we have – our land.

As always, Two Rivers Cooperative is here to assist with your fall and winter plans. Call Ashley for more information on our mineral and nutrient supplementation options.


Looking Forward to Winter Pasture Management
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