Grazing Dynamics

Unlike feed rations for confined dairy herds, our pastures are in a constant state of change. On the Eastern Shore, our prime grass growth is in mid to late spring with a secondary peak in the fall (if we happen to get timely rains.) At Miller and Tanner Dairy, we use grazing management and both summer and winter annuals to extend the season through most of the year. Typically, we can start grazing by March and have pastures supplying all the forage through September and October, when we begin adding some hay to the ration while the cows continue to graze through early January. Animal health comes first; in a situation where the pastures cannot provide adequate nutrition we will supplement with other feeds, such as grain. The color and flavor of the milk reflects the changing seasons as we move between stored forages, cool season, and warm season pastures.

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