Timing of Harvest

Mountain meadows play a major role in livestock production providing the key to your winter feeding program. Harvesting your forage at the optimum time is very critical to your yearly feed costs. By harvesting each field to fit the maturity of grass species you can reduce protein or energy supplements next winter. The following chart highlights the optimum time to harvest for yield.

By comparing it to the second chart you can see that optimum yield is not optimum protein. Assuming a cow needs over 8% protein next winter you will need to harvest a Brome stand prior to August 1st or prepare to supplement with protein.

Total Seasonal Forage Yield as a Function of Date of First Cutting for Three Species, 1972
Date of first cutting
Species June 20 July 5 July 18 August 1 August 15
------------------------------------------(Tons per acre)------------------------------------------
Garrison Foxtail 3.1 3.3 3.5 2.7 2.9
Lincoln Brome 2.6 3.2 3.2 3.1 3.5
Oahe (intermediate)
Wheatgrass 2.4 2.6 3.1 3.3 4.1


Total Seasonal Yield of Protein in Forage as a Function of Date of First Harvest
Species June 20 June 26 July 5 July 18 Aug 1
-----------------------------(Pounds of nitrogen per acre)-----------------------------
Garrison Foxtail 12.4 0 10.6 9.8 9.5 6.8
Lincoln Brome 12.4 0 10.0 9.2 8.0 6.2
Oahe Wheatgrass 12.2 0 9.9 8.4 7.6 5.6
Timothy 9.0 8.1 7.8 6.5 6.0 5.0