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Any cattle guys grazing sudangrass?


hobbyfarm
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Started grazing my 2nd cutting Sudangrass about 9 days ago.  Broke it up into strips with temporary fencing.  It hasn't gone well.

First I think I foundered the cows.  Several of them are limping and one won't put pressure on her right front foot.  They were well fed before this but Im thinking the change in diet didn't sit well.  6 limpers in total.  Can't think of what else could be going on.  Most are better today.

2nd they waste 70% of the crop if not even more by trampling it.  It was only 2ft tall when they first went in but they just knock it down and trample it. 

Put them back on some regular grass for now.  Had to treat the worst one.  Hopefully she can recover.

Definitely seems overrated to graze this stuff.  Went to a grazing day at the seed dealer and no mention of any of this.🤔

Anyone have experience or stories to share?KIMG0608.thumb.JPG.a85fe7f60105c3631970cf6ca872ba8c.JPG

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I do't have any experience grazing it how ever I do grow 20-40 acers a year for haying. I wonder if it could be high in nitrates being that short. My understanding is the plant starts off toxic then grows out of it and the toxins dilute as there is more plant tissue. I believe that the leaves are highest in toxins and that is why they recommend not grazing the regrowth until it's a few feet tall. Is it pure Sudan grass or a sorghum Sudan? As they are too very different animals when it comes to toxicity sorghum hybrids usually being more risky then pure Sudan grasses like Piper 

 

 

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We have a center pivot irrigation system and some Sudan grass showed up in our field in a perfect pie shape. I assume someone  dumped the seed into the supply ditch and ended up on our field. Still see some of it in the field 5 years later.

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we grew it when we had dairy cows i thought they wasted more then they eat when we grazed it so we would green chop it.

we did grow millet and grazed it no worry about prusic acid poisoning.

pete

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8 hours ago, Youngred2000 said:

I do't have any experience grazing it how ever I do grow 20-40 acers a year for haying. I wonder if it could be high in nitrates being that short. My understanding is the plant starts off toxic then grows out of it and the toxins dilute as there is more plant tissue. I believe that the leaves are highest in toxins and that is why they recommend not grazing the regrowth until it's a few feet tall. Is it pure Sudan grass or a sorghum Sudan? As they are too very different animals when it comes to toxicity sorghum hybrids usually being more risky then pure Sudan grasses like Piper 

 

 

This is sudangrass.  According to the tech sheet recommended cut height is 30" and recommend grazing height is 24" down to 6".  I know after frost it is toxic for so many days and also when it first gets moisture after drought.  Could be nitrate poisoning though.  This field is very fertile.

What state are you in?  I would love to be able to dry bale some.  How long did it take you to dry that down?

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39 minutes ago, DHF said:

we grew it when we had dairy cows i thought they wasted more then they eat when we grazed it so we would green chop it.

we did grow millet and grazed it no worry about prusic acid poisoning.

pete

Rumor is millet is a little slower to grow but very similar.  Did they not waste the millet?  My crop plan for next year was to continue to take out some of the burned out hay but then I need a grazing alternative.

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2 hours ago, acem said:

I have grazed it. Smaller paddocks are better, ideally daily moves. They won't eat stems. They can make a mess if it's muddy. Watch for nitrates. 

I think it's best for baleage.

Thx-Ace 

 

I'm thinking you are right.  Great baleage yielder.  This particular field they are grazing gave 8 super dense 4x4 bales per acre after 9 bales an acre of triticale.  Pretty disheartening to see the animals not well on top of a ton of bales worth of feed trampled into the ground.

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1 hour ago, hobbyfarm said:

This is sudangrass.  According to the tech sheet recommended cut height is 30" and recommend grazing height is 24" down to 6".  I know after frost it is toxic for so many days and also when it first gets moisture after drought.  Could be nitrate poisoning though.  This field is very fertile.

What state are you in?  I would love to be able to dry bale some.  How long did it take you to dry that down?

Central MN. 4-5 days usually I have the rolls on my mower pretty tight and drive slower to make sure it get time to crimp well 

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I’m figuring mine will need close to two weeks to dry, depending on the weather. It’s also a lot taller than 30” too. In our shorter growing season by the time you get it up to 30 or so inches, if you cut, wait for it to dry, then irrigate, it’s tough to grow a second crop.

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1 hour ago, DaveinSD said:

I’m figuring mine will need close to two weeks to dry, depending on the weather. It’s also a lot taller than 30” too. In our shorter growing season by the time you get it up to 30 or so inches, if you cut, wait for it to dry, then irrigate, it’s tough to grow a second crop.

I usually aim for 1 cut and hopefully have another 1-2 feet of regrowth for plow down. Two years ago it was too wet and it got away from me so I don't get to hay it and was about 8 feet tall when I plowed it under. 

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The farm I worked at grew sorghum for years and made silage from it. They liked to let it mature out and take one cutting around the end of august. Sometimes they would take two cuttings, one around the end of july then again in August but they were more interested in tonnage. I've seen some stands that were over fifteen feet tall.

In the pull type chopper days we would have to take partial swaths with the haybine and chop in first gear and you were still on the clutch. With the self propelled chopper we would merge the lighter stuff but the heavy crop we would just chop singles, way easier on everything.  Pick up teeth do not like sorghum and sometime a window can only be picked up in one direction. We direct cut with the rotary corn head a few times but the moisture wasn't right.

It's best to harvest before a freeze. After a killing frost you should wait at least three days before cutting. The problem is that the sorghum loses most of its nutritional value in those three days so it isn't worth much except for filler. 

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2 hours ago, TractormanMike.mb said:

The farm I worked at grew sorghum for years and made silage from it. They liked to let it mature out and take one cutting around the end of august. Sometimes they would take two cuttings, one around the end of july then again in August but they were more interested in tonnage. I've seen some stands that were over fifteen feet tall.

In the pull type chopper days we would have to take partial swaths with the haybine and chop in first gear and you were still on the clutch. With the self propelled chopper we would merge the lighter stuff but the heavy crop we would just chop singles, way easier on everything.  Pick up teeth do not like sorghum and sometime a window can only be picked up in one direction. We direct cut with the rotary corn head a few times but the moisture wasn't right.

It's best to harvest before a freeze. After a killing frost you should wait at least three days before cutting. The problem is that the sorghum loses most of its nutritional value in those three days so it isn't worth much except for filler. 

Interesting you say about the pickup teeth.  We left 6" of stubble when doing 1st cutting and it was hard to rake.  Used a rotary rake. Had to go much slower then in the grass or I would loose crop.  Not sure if it was because of the stubble the higher moisture content or what.

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4 hours ago, hobbyfarm said:

Interesting you say about the pickup teeth.  We left 6" of stubble when doing 1st cutting and it was hard to rake.  Used a rotary rake. Had to go much slower then in the grass or I would loose crop.  Not sure if it was because of the stubble the higher moisture content or what.

With the pull type chopper we had to go with the direct that the windrow was cut so the crop was fed stalk first. If we went the other way it would wrap on the auger and you would end up with a football pretty quick. The merger was the exactly the opposite. You had to feed it leafy side first or the belts wouldn't pick it up. That made it interesting following a haybine that made back and forth passes. If the crop was conditioned heavy that would help some.

I know none of this pertains to the original question, just sharing some memories.

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21 hours ago, hobbyfarm said:

Rumor is millet is a little slower to grow but very similar.  Did they not waste the millet?  My crop plan for next year was to continue to take out some of the burned out hay but then I need a grazing alternative.

we were able to graze millet when it was younger/finer stems because we didn't have to let it get 18 inches tall so the cows ate more wasted less.

pete

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In the mid 60's when I was just a kid, Dad planted around 10 acres of sudangrass. I'm sure in his mind it would have provided weeks of good feeding for our 35 head of cattle. It was quite tall, once the cattle entered the field they totally disappeared from sight.  That is for the first ten minutes or so. Then as a group they almost began to run through the sudangrass grabbing a mouth full as they moved like a herd of elephants through the field. After the first afternoon at least 50% of the grass was just trampled into the ground. My Dad had a habit of screaming at anyone or anything that did not meet his expectations. I can still hear him screaming at the cattle. JUST F__KING STAND STILL AND EAT. Ha, I quietly left while his attention was still focused on the cattle.    

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