Where can I find information about grasses and forbs to extend the grazing season in the western high-plains?
I.C. Wyoming Answer: Listed below are some materials from Montana’s Extension Web site to help you evaluate various forages for use on your ranch. As you can see, there is a column on winter hardiness for the list of grasses and of legumes. Your local Extension or National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel can provide advice on the suitability of specific forages for your livestock and site. You can usually find Extension and NRCS offices listed in the phone book under the name of your county. Ask your Extension or NRCS agent about how to stockpile grasses and which species are most appropriate for this management strategy. If you can take a paddock out of your rotation in the fall, fertilize it, and let it grow for a month or so, you can strip graze the standing forage well into the winter. Fescue is particularly well-adapted for this use. In addition to the listed forage grasses, consider using cereal grains as winter forage. They have the disadvantage of being annuals that would have to be planted each year, but they provide high quality feed. They might also serve to provide earlier spring grazing than perennial grasses. Consult local experts for management information specific for your area. You may also want to get a copy of the NRCS publication, Winter Grazing Successes in Montana that features 16 ranchers who share their techniques. To order this free publication, call Anita at 406-994-3414. ResourcesSmoliak, S. et al. Nd. Grasses: Comparative Characteristics of Forage Species in Montana. 2 p. http://animalrangeextension.montana.edu/Articles/Forage/Comparative/Comparative-char.htmSmoliak, S. et al. N.d. Legumes: Comparative Characteristics of Forage Species in Montana. 1 p. http://animalrangeextension.montana.edu/Articles/Forage/Comparative/Comparative-char.htm