Just as our diets change with the seasons, so do the diets of grazing cattle and other livestock. In the spring and summer, these animals munch on perennial grasses, but in the fall and winter these grasses go dormant. Livestock producers sometimes supplement pastures with plants that grow well during the cooler seasons (Blount et al. 2014). These plants are known as winter forage.
Winter forage crops may include legumes such as alfalfa or clover or grains such as oats, rye, or wheat. What producers choose the plant depends on factors such as as climate, soil, and livestock needs (Blount et al. 2014; Wright, Blount, and George 2015).
You can find out more about winter forage crops in these Extension publications:
- 2014 Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida
- 2015 Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida
- Tillage and Overseeding Pastures for Winter Forage Production in Florida
- Winter Forage Legume Guide
Blount, A. R., J. M. B. Vendramini, J. C. B. Dubeux, Md. A. Babar, K. E. Kenworthy, P. R. Muñoz, and K. H. Quesenberry. 2014. 2014 Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida. SS-AGR-84. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Accessed December 3, 2015. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa266
Wright, D. L., A. R. Blount, and S. George. 2015. Tillage and Overseeding Pastures for Winter Forage Production in North Florida. SS-AGR-43. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Accessed December 3, 2015. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag146
Photo credit: UF/IFAS
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