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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #295399

Research Project: Multifunctional Farms and Landscapes to Enhance Ecosystem Services

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Pasture quality variation throughout the grazing season

item Orr, Aimee

Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2013
Publication Date: 7/30/2013
Citation: 0rr, A.N. 2013. Pasture quality variation throughout the grazing season. Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Newsletter. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: It is important for dairy producers and their nutritionists to have an idea of the nutritional quality of the pasture they are providing to their cows. This article uses data gathered from several on-going pasture research projects to demonstrate how pasture quality varies during the grazing season, in the northeast. During the warm summer months and late fall, growth rates slow and nutritional value of the forage declines. Declining forage quality during the summer is due to high environmental temperatures and low moisture, while later in the fall it is due to lower temperatures and decreasing daylight. Forage quality varies throughout the season, across the farm, and between years. Therefore, in addition to managing the amount of available forage in their pastures, producers must keep in mind that the quality of available forage is not static. It is important to monitor milk production for indicators of decreasing pasture quality and adjust supplements as necessary.