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Virginia Graziers’ Planner

2017


January Graziers’ Checklist g Review grazing records from the past year and meet with your local Conservationist to adjust pasture plan layout and management as needed. g Finish Balance Sheet for the last production year. g Continue strip-grazing stockpiled fescue for maximum utilization. g Keep cows off very wet pastures to avoid pugging and soil compaction/damage. g Consider feeding hay in poor pastures to boost organic matter and soil fertility. Plan to attend the 2017 American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference; Turning Grass Into Cash: Opportunities in Grassland Agriculture. January 22-24, 2017 – Roanoke, VA Visit www.afgc.org/events to register online and review the full conference agenda.

Frost seeding a mixture of red and ladino clover in February on close-grazed pasture is a great way to increase legume content in your stand, as seen in this picture. January is the time to make preparations for frost seeding by preordering or purchasing seed so it will be on hand in time to complete the seeding in February. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel Cover photo: Jeff Jennings Farm, photo courtesy Cory Guilliams

As winter sets in at the start of the new year, stockpiled fescue holds its quality and provides excellent nutrition for these cows through March. Photo courtesy Keith Tuck


Sunday Monday

January 2017

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Conservation Tip How to Use The Calendar: Use this calendar to note the days you move animals in your rotation along with other information such as herd numbers; it’s an easy way to meet EQIP and CSP documentation and gives you good records to plan ahead for better grazing in future years!

Frost seeding legumes in winter, is one production practice that helps maintain 25% or more legumes in your pasture stand during the growing season. By doing so you reduce the need to purchase commercial nitrogen, and instead use the biological system (bacteria in the nodules on the roots of the clovers) to fix 100+ lbs. N per acre to feed the plants in your pasture.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 New Year’s Day Observed, (many state and federal offices are closed) Report 2017 Honey Colonies/ Locations and Maple Tree Acreage

New Year’s Day

8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Professional Crop Advisory Meeting, Weyers Cave, VA

Lee-Jackson Day (many state offices are closed)

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Report 2017 Acreage for Apples, Peaches, and Fall-Seeded Small Grains

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (many state and federal offices are closed)

VA Farm Show, Augusta Expo Land, Fishersville, VA

VA Farm Show, Augusta Expo Land, Fishersville, VA

VA Farm Show, Augusta Expo Land, Fishersville, VA

22 23 24 25 26 27 28 American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference, Turning Grass into CA$H, Roanoke, VA www.afgc.com

American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference, Turning Grass into CA$H, Roanoke, VA www.afgc.com

American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference, Turning Grass into CA$H, Roanoke, VA www.afgc.com

29 30 31 Last day to apply for 2016 LIP and LFP for Losses that occurred during the previous program year (Jan.1Dec. 31) Full Moon

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American Forage and Grassland Council Annual Conference, Turning Grass into CA$H, Roanoke, VA www.afgc.com December 2016 S

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February Graziers’ Checklist g Frost-seed clover on pastures with less than 25% legumes (optimal is 35-45%). g Inoculate and broadcast 1.5 lbs. ladino clover and 4 lbs. red clover per acre on closely grazed pasture. g On pastures with low pH and average fertility, consider frost-seeding 10 lbs. annual lespedeza per acre to boost legume composition until soils can be amended. g Keep cows off very wet pastures to avoid pugging and soil compaction. g Lime fields according to soil tests, if not already done in fall. g Meet with your nutrient management planner to update your Nutrient Management Plan.

Grazier school participants enhance their skills while networking with other graziers, Extension specialists and conservation professionals during the school. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel

Plan to attend the upcoming VFGC Grazier School in late April at the Shenandoah Valley AREC to improve your pasture management and grazing skills. Watch for the announcement on the website and register to secure your place, since space is limited to the first 30 participants. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel


Sunday Monday

February 2017

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1 2 3 4 Groundhog Day

2017 CSP General Sign-up Application Deadline

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12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Burn Law in Effect February 15 - April 30 no open air burning before 4:00 p.m. Valentine’s Day

Last Day to Purchase 2017 NAP Insurance for Hay, pasture, Coarse Grains, Vegetables and most Fruits

EQIP Application Sign-up Deadline

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Presidents’ Day (many state and federal offices are closed)

Vantage No Till Alliance Conference, Harrisonburg, VA www.virginianotill.com

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More farmers are strategically feeding hay as part of their pasture nutrient management. When feeding hay on upland pastures over the winter, unroll the hay across the pasture to minimize soil disturbance and improve manure distribution by the livestock. Feed in a different area every few days and always avoid feeding near streams, ponds, drainage swales and sinkholes to keep valuable nutrients in the pasture to benefit forage growth and reduce impacts on water quality.

Extension Animal Science Tip Calf scours is caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that are present in most herds. During a scours outbreak these pathogens build up and spread through infected fecal matter – typically on contaminated teats, or by animal-to-animal contact. Prevent scours by strip-grazing cattle: moving animals to a fresh strip of forage every three days. If hay feeding, roll out bales in a different spot each day to maintain sanitation within the calving pasture.

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January 2017

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March Graziers’ Checklist g Sign up for the VFGC Grazier School by going to www.vaforages.org g Continue feeding hay until adequate forage exists in the pasture for grazing. g Consider using temporary fencing to graze small grain cover crop on adjacent crop fields. g Provide free choice high-mag mineral to prevent grass tetany on lush spring growth. g Apply manure/nutrients to hay land according to soil test results. g If you did not frost-seed last month, drill 1.5 lbs. ladino clover and 4 lbs. red clover on closely grazed pastures. g Take soil samples in each pasture and hayfield and send them to the lab for analysis in preparation for fall fertilization. g For March and April- target to control thistles and other biennial or winter annual weeds before they begin to bolt.

March dragging and seeding of winter feeding areas with an appropriate mix can result in quick ground cover and grazing for May as shown in the above photo. The mix above includes spring oats, forage radishes, rape, and phacelia. Photo courtesy Mike Phillips

Winter is almost over and next month your herd can be grazing a winter annual mix like this one, if planted timely in the fall. Photo courtesy Mike Phillips


Sunday Monday

March 2017

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1 2 3 4 Farm Service Agency Reminder Livestock producers should remember to keep loss records for livestock deaths for participation in USDA’s Farm Service Agency Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

Series Of Grazing Workshops In the Shenandoah Valley; Contact Matt Booher, Phone: 540-245-5750, E-mail: MRBooher@VT.edu Ash Wednesday

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Highland Maple Festival (www.highlandcounty.org)

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Highland Maple Festival (www.highlandcounty.org) Daylight Saving Time Begins (spring ahead 1 hour)

St. Patrick’s Day

Highland Maple Festival (www.highlandcounty.org)

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Highland Maple Festival (www.highlandcounty.org)

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First Day of Spring

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31 Final MAL/LDP Availability Date for 2016 crop Wheat, Barley, Oats, Canola, Crambe, Flaxseed, Honey, Rapeseed and Sesame Seed

Extension Animal Science Tip Grass tetany is a metabolic disorder of cattle caused by magnesium deficiency. It is most commonly seen during warm spring periods that provide favorable conditions for leaf growth while soil temperature and root uptake of magnesium remain low. Older cows in early lactation are usually at greatest risk. As a preventative measure, high magnesium minerals should be offered to the herd 30 days in advance of spring grazing and continued through the spring flush.

April 2017

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April

Graziers’ Checklist g Graze winter annuals that were interseeded into thin pastures last fall. g For intense management and utilization, size paddocks for grazing periods to obtain optimal forage quality: o Beef – cow/calf – 2-3 days; finishing 12 hours – 1 day o Dairy – milking cows-12 hours; dry cows – 2 days o

Sheep – sheep/lambs-2-3 days; finishing sheep 12 hours – 1 day

g Creep-graze calves and lambs, allowing them to graze highest-quality pasture. g Collect and spread accumulated manure from winter feeding sites. g Prepare and re-seed any winter feeding sites where soil disturbance and sod damage occurred. g Exclude access to early-grazed pastures to begin growing the first cutting of hay.

Late April is when winter annual forage mixes are typically at peak nutritional quality. If grazing is managed properly, mixtures, like the triticale, ryegrass, and crimson clover in the above picture, will have acceptable quality through mid-May. Photo courtesy Ronnie Nuckols

Jay Etzler of Troutville, VA, checks over and counts a group of his stocker heifers on a late April morning. They are being rotationally grazed on an alfalfa-orchardgrass field that was overseeded with winter wheat the previous fall. Moving cattle regularly, in a rotational stocking system, results in the cattle getting used to you and provides a good opportunity to regularly check over your livestock. Photo courtesy Cory Guilliams


Sunday Monday

April 2017

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1 Conservation Tip Collecting and testing soil samples from your pastures and hayfields every 2 to 3 years is an often overlooked, but very important practice. Soil test results provide the information needed to accurately apply the right amount of lime and fertilizer to meet the needs of your forage crops. Follow this link to download and print your soil sample forms http://pubs.ext. vt.edu/452/452-124/452-124.html.

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9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Start of the Primary Nesting and Brood Season- All Activity Prohibited for CRP/CREP Acreage (Lasts until August 15)

Good Friday

Passover Begins at Sundown

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Easter Monday

Easter Sunday

Last Day of Passover

Earth Day

23 24 25 26 27 28 29 VFGC Grazing School at Shenandoah Valley AREC, Raphine VA www.vaforages.com

VFGC Grazing School at Shenandoah Valley AREC, Raphine VA www.vaforages.com

30 Extension Animal Science Tip End of 4 p.m. Burn Law

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Begin checking livestock for flies. Order fly control products to have them on hand. Horn flies, stable flies and face flies combined all have a very real negative impact on livestock (especially cattle) producers’ bottom lines. Effective control products include insecticide ear tags, back-rubs, pour-ons, and feed/mineral additives. Use these products according to label directions to maximize efficacy.

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May Graziers’ Checklist g Make hay or baleage early for higher quality feed. g Walk pastures often to monitor forage growth and view livestock. g Be flexible in rotating animals – don’t be locked into a paddock sequence if grass height indicates a different order. g Consider portable cross fencing to allow haying or resizing of pasture paddocks if needed. g Scout fields used for heavy feeding over the winter to identify emerging weed problems and determine necessary control in a timely manner. g Late May and early June - Plant warmseason annuals if needed for supplemental summer grazing.

Cows will eat weeds! This calf learns to eat thistle by observing its mother. Photo courtesy Cory Guilliams

Buck Holsinger of Broadway, VA, explains how he uses semi-permanent fencing to exclude cattle from the trees in his silvopasture. He established 40 acres of silvopasture at Holsinger Homeplace Farms to provide long-term shelter for his livestock in the decades to come. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel


Sunday Monday

May 2017

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Friday Saturday

Extension Animal Science Tip Evaluate fly control program. This along with other management practices, including clipping pastures to keep mature seed heads down will help reduce environmental stressors contributing to pink eye. Consult your veterinarian on pink eye vaccination and treatment options. This will be absolutely critical as extra label feed grade antibiotics are no longer permitted as mandated by veterinary feed directive requirements.

1 2 3 4 5 6 Celebrate National Beef Month

Plant native warm-season grasses

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14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Report 2017 Acreage for Cabbage (Planted 3/16-4/15), Spring Oats, Potatoes, Tomatoes (planted before 5/15)

Mother’s Day

Armed Forces Day

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Memorial Day (many state and federal offices closed)

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Final MAL/LDP Availability Date for 2016 crop Corn, Grain Sorghum, Soybeans, Upland Cotton, Sunflower/Safflower Seed, Rice, Mustard Seed, Lentils, Dry Peas

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June Graziers’ Checklist g Attend the VFGC Summer Forage Field Day in your area (Contact your local Conservation or Extension office for dates and locations of planned field meetings). g Increase paddock numbers by grazing some paddocks used for first hay cutting to allow longer regrowth and recovery times for forage. g Begin grazing native warm season grass at 18-20 inches (if available); don’t graze below 8”-10” inches. g Use portable fencing to decrease paddock size/increase stocking density to maximize utilization in short grazing periods. g Target herbicide applications on perennial weeds as they approach the early bud stage.

A high percentage of clovers in grass pastures puts more milk in the tank on grazing dairy farms. On beef cattle farms it also dilutes the negative affect of endophyteinfected fescue. Photo courtesy Bill Patterson

June is National Dairy Month! This is a good time to highlight the successful grazing dairies in VA that are producing high-quality, nutritious milk on fresh grass and clover like seen in this picture. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel


Sunday Monday

June 2017

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Friday Saturday

Conservation Tip 1 2 3 The use of warm season annuals as part of your grazing system is just one tool in the overall toolbox that helps some producers achieve their production and conservation goals. More annuals are being used on farms where livestock are finished on forage. See the table near the back of this planner for beginning options for annual seed mixtures and discuss with your local Conservationist or Extension Agent.

Clean the Bay Day (www.cbf.org)

Celebrate National Dairy Month

4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4-10 Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week

73rd Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion

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Flag Day

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 National Forage Week 18-24 Father's Day

First Day of Summer

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Extension Animal Science Tip Summer fescue toxicosis is a condition that reduces performance in animals grazing tall fescue infected with an endophyte fungus. Endophyte-infected tall fescue is well established in the majority of fescue pastures in Virginia. Within individual tall fescue plants, the endophyte is found mostly in seed, stem and crown tissue. To minimize toxicosis effects, graze or clip to keep plants leafy and vegetative. Do not overgraze, which forces animals to eat endophyte-concentrated crown tissue or use heavy nitrogen fertilizers in pastures, which increase endophyte growth. Dilute fescue in animals’ diets by establishing other grasses and legumes in the pasture species mix. Full Moon

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July Graziers’ Checklist g Begin grazing available summer annuals (millets, sorghum/sudangrass, crabgrass, etc.). g Clip pastures late June/early July to maintain vegetative growth and to reduce weed seeds. Don’t clip lower than 4.� g Further increase paddock numbers by bringing more hay ground into the grazing rotation if possible. g Use a designated sacrifice lot to feed livestock hay and supplements as needed if drought sets in and no forage is available for grazing.

Using high stock densities, the cattle eat the best and trample the rest. This provides plant cover and decomposing residue to prevent erosion and build soil organic matter. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel

Tim Tobin of Swallow Hill Farms in Woodford, VA, moves his cattle daily as they rotate through a high-quality summer annual mix of a sorghum-sudan hybrid and cowpeas. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel


Sunday Monday

July 2017

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

Friday Saturday

1 Conservation Tip Many farmers are planting summer annual forage mixes to provide a more continuous supply of fresh forage during the summer months when our cool season pastures are naturally somewhat dormant. They also provide an opportunity for livestock to graze these forages rather than fescue at time when fescue toxicity is most acute.

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Independence Day (many state and federal offices closed)

Virginia Cattlemen’s Association Annual Cattle Industry Field Day at Stuart Land & Cattle Company, Rosedale, VA

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Report 2017 Acreage for Beans (Planted 5/26-7/10), Tomatoes (planted 5/16-7/5), Corn, Soybeans, All Other Crops

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Farm Service Agency Reminder NAP participants must remember to keep production records for reporting purposes and file a “Notice of Loss” with their local FSA Service Center within 15 days of the apparent disaster/loss.

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August Graziers’ Checklist g Warm season annuals or perennials offer high-quality forage during summer months as an alternative to low-producing endophyteinfected fescue this time of year. g If drought conditions limit pasture growth, close off pastures and feed hay. g Seed winter annuals (rye, ryegrass, crimson clover, vetch, oats, brassicas) for late fall and early spring grazing. g Late August is a good time to begin fall renovation of cool-season grass pastures. g Identify paddocks now to stockpile forage for winter grazing.

Having access to water, even in portable troughs hooked to hydrants along fence lines, provides greater flexibility for more intense grazing management and higher harvest efficiency of forage by the livestock. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel

These cattle are grazing a local ecotype of crabgrass that naturally germinated and filled in after the cool season annuals were grazed clean in May. After seeing the strong presence of crabgrass in the summer annual the year before, farmer Mike Phillips of Broadway, VA, allowed it to come in naturally and it provided 3 rotations of summer grazing in 2016. Photo courtesy Mike Phillips


Sunday Monday

August 2017

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Friday Saturday

1 2 3 4 5 Shenandoah Valley AREC McCormick Farm Field Day

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13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Report 2017 Acreage for Cabbage (planted 4/16-7/10) Rockingham County FairHarrisonburg, VA August 14-19

End of the Primary Nesting and Brood Season (CRP/CREP)

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Farm Service Agency Reminder USDA’s Farm Service Agency administers the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to provide financial and technical assistance to agricultural landowners and operators suffering from natural disasters, including drought. ECP can assist livestock producers with the costs of supplying water to grazing livestock during drought periods. Assistance is available for temporary and permanent solutions to water shortages that result from drought. Livestock producers who need assistance during drought conditions should notify their local FSA Service Center and request that the County Committee consider authorizing funding for ECP. Full Moon

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September Graziers’ Checklist g Cooler temperatures and late summer/ early fall rains jump start fall growth of cool season pastures. g Scout pastures, identify perennial weeds and woody brush, then determine the appropriate suppression technique for best fall control. g Lime and fertilize pastures and hayfields based on soil test results. g Closely monitor livestock and do not overgraze. This allows plants to send reserves to lower stems and roots. g If you have spring calving cows, feed hay now if needed to allow for more stockpiling of pasture (use lower feed value hay now to provide pasture in winter). For September calving cows, September-November grazing is priority.

Many broadleaf weeds such as this dandelion, chickweed, henbit and seedling buttercup are not as obvious in the fall, but they are present and in many cases easier to kill. Meet with your Extension Agent early in September to scout your pastures, identify the weed pressure and take the appropriate action as recommended. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel

These cows are feasting on fescue mix pastures in August and September that were never grazed or harvested early in the season at the Shenandoah Valley AREC near Raphine, VA. David Fiske has used this strategy of summer stockpiling for years, to guard against the risk of summer drought and for his cattle to have something to graze when other pastures are stockpiling for winter. Photo courtesy David Fiske


Sunday Monday

September 2017

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

Friday Saturday

1 2 Weed Management Tip In general, fall is the best time of year for overall weed control with herbicides. After scouting and properly identifying weeds, the correct herbicide application can kill biennials and newly sprouted winter annuals, while also hammering many perennials as they translocate sugars (and herbicide) to the roots. Consult your local Extension agent for weed ID and herbicide recommendations.

Last Day to Purchase 2018 NAP Insurance for Aquaculture, Ginseng, Mushrooms, Sod Grass, and Christmas Trees

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Labor Day (many state and federal offices closed)

Update your farm’s conservation plan

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance

Report 2017 Acreage for Beans (planted 7/15-9/5)

17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown

First Day of Fall

24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Report 2018 Aquaculture, Ginseng, Mushrooms, Sod Grass, and Christmas Trees

Deadline to Enroll in 2017 PLC, ARCCO and ARC-IC Deadline to register for 2018 MPPDairy and Select Level of Coverage Virginia State Fair Through October 8

Extension Animal Science Tip

Evaluate winter forages and feed supplies. Forage test hay and other feed to quantify nutrient levels and determine if supplements or additional roughages are needed. Compare costs of various supplements and their compatibility with your feeding program. Treat cattle for grubs and sucking/biting lice. An early fall treatment for these parasites can provide effective control through the winter. Avoid using systemic products (avermectin, moxidectin, eprinomectin) later in the year, due to health risk to cattle posed by migrating grubs. Later grub infestations should be treated with pyrethroids.

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Last Day to Purchase 2018 NAP Insurance for Small Grains (Barley, Canola, Oats, Rye, Triticale, Wheat)

Yom Kippur Begins at Sundown August 2017 S

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October Graziers’ Checklist g Continue to closely monitor grazing and do not graze below 4.� g Carefully watch for frost on warm season sorghum species (forage sorghums, sorghum/ sudangrass X, sudangrass, and even patches of Johnsongrass), this can cause high levels of prussic acid and is dangerous to grazing livestock. g Begin strip-grazing early planted small grain and brassicas (turnips and rape) mixes by the end of this month. g Inventory hay stocks and pasture. Be prepared to adjust animal and forage balance by culling animals or purchasing hay.

Opportunities for silvopasture are often right across the fence from our existing pastures where a neighbor has planted loblolly pines in an old pasture or hay field. These 4-5 year old pines are perfect size for cattle to begin grazing the forage. Photo courtesy JB Daniel

Dr. Chris Teutsch successfully established a silvopasture demonstration at the Southern Piedmont AREC near Blackstone, VA, as part of a USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant. Different stages of tree maturity at this site make it a valuable long-term research and demonstration opportunity for decades to come. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel


Sunday Monday

October 2017

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

Friday Saturday

Extension Animal Science Tip

Prussic acid poisoning is a danger when grazing plants in the sorghum family. Anything that hinders normal plant development can cause prussic acid (HCN) to form. Lush growth contains higher amounts of HCN than older leaves or stems, so allow plants to grow to a couple feet tall before grazing drought-stricken, frosted or otherwise-damaged plants. Prevent selective grazing of new growth by managed grazing with high stocking rates. Prussic acid is volatile and escapes during the drying or ensiling processes, so hay and silage are rarely hazardous. Likewise, plants killed by frost should be allowed to thaw and dry for a week before being grazed. Likewise, use caution when grazing legumes, such as alfalfa, or clovers. General recommendations call for waiting 3 to 10 days after a killing frost to avoid risk of bloat. Provide enough roughage to limit grazing prior to animal turn in!

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8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Columbus Day – (many state and federal offices are closed)

15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Shenandoah Valley average killing frost date

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November Graziers’ Checklist g Finish grazing any fields with high percentages of orchardgrass and legumes. g Graze available crop residue on fenced fields adjacent to pasture. g Flash-graze winter annuals on adjacent crop fields (do not graze below 4�). g Closely measure standing biomass on stockpiled pasture and estimate the grazing days available to over-winter your herd. g Talk to your local Conservation Office about technical assistance available for developing a grazing plan and possible financial assistance programs to help with future improvements.

A mix of annual grasses, legumes and brassicas can provide a diversity of production and conservation benefits. Photo courtesy J.B. Daniel

These stocker steers are enjoying a late fall grazing of a fresh, nutritious winter annual mix of ryegrass, crimson clover, and forage rape that was planted shortly after corn silage harvest on the field. Photo courtesy Cory Guilliams


Sunday Monday

November 2017

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Conservation Tip 1 2 3 4 Brassica species are commonly found in winter annual grazing mixtures. Brassicas are excellent scavengers of nitrogen and when planted in August or early September, they can have tremendous growth in the fall. Brassicas are high in moisture content so should NOT be grazed alone, instead they should be a small component (2 lbs. per acre) in a forage mixture.

Last Day to Apply for 2017 ELAP for Losses that Occurred During the Previous Program Year (Oct.1-Sept. 30)

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Election Day

Daylight Savings Time Ends (fall back 1 hour)

Veterans’ Day Observed (many state and federal offices are closed)

Veterans’ Day

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Order seed and other supplies (take advantage of tax write-offs and dealer discounts)

Report 2018 Acreage for Hay, Pasture, All Perennial Forage/ PRF, Apiculture

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Last Day to Purchase 2018 NAP Insurance for Tree, Bush and Woody Vine Crop, as well as Strawberries

Thanksgiving

Day After Thanksgiving (many state offices are closed)

26 27 28 29 30 Report 2018 Acreage for Clams

Extension Animal Science Tip Ionophores - (Rumensin, Bovatec, Gainpro) - can be cost-effective tools for managing growing cattle on winter pasture or hay. They work by shifting the microbial population of the rumen to enable cattle to pull more energy out of hay and pasture. Results include lower overall feed consumption, improved gains, and hastened puberty in heifers. Most products can be fed in a supplement, mineral mix, or molasses block and are an excellent tool in increasing gains. However, make sure the use of an ionophore will not conflict with your marketing program, as some natural labels prohibit their use. Product use recommendations and labeling are specific, so be sure to consult with your nutritionist or veterinarian. Full Moon

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December Graziers’ Checklist g Begin strip-grazing stockpiled tall fescue for improved forage utilization and manure distribution. g Stock heavily and move fence regularly to allow 1-3 days feed supply to maximize utilization. g Make plans to reseed these areas after grazing by frost-seeding clover in February. g Assess stockpiled forage supply and estimate hay/feed needs for late winter.

Calving on stockpiled fescue is a much cleaner and healthier environment for newborn calves as compared to a winter feed lot or the typical muddy conditions around bale feeders and wagons. Photo courtesy Keith Tuck

Fall growth of fescue can typically stockpile 1.5+ tons of high quality forage per acre for winter grazing. By strip grazing, as shown above, the cattle harvest the forage more efficiently and it typically doubles the number of grazing days on the same acreage. Photo courtesy Mike Phillips


Sunday Monday

December 2017

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Extension Animal Science Tip 1 2 December is an excellent time to review financial information and set benchmarks for the coming year. Take time to summarize cost information and calculate breakeven prices for the coming year. Explore ways to reduce cow (ewe, doe) costs, such as extending grazing. In addition to cost information, a good measure of productivity is lbs. of calf (lamb, kid) sold per cow (ewe, doe) exposed, with 500 lbs. being acceptable for beef operations, with a range of 45-80 lbs. for sheep and goats.

Last Day to Purchase 2018 NAP Insurance for Honey and Maple Sap

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Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

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Christmas Eve

Kwanzaa Begins

Conservation Tip 31 “Strip-grazing” is a technique that involves the use of portable electric fencing to allocate just enough forage for the livestock to graze for 1 to 3 days. Strip-grazing maximizes grazing efficiency and decreases trampling waste of forage by the livestock. It has the potential to increase the number of grazing days on stockpiled forage by more than 50%. New Year’s Eve

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EXAMPLE GRAZING RECORDS Field Number

Acres

No./Type of Animals

Date Rotated In

Type and Avg. Height of Forage In

Date Rotated Out

Average Forage Height Out

Days Grazed

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10.0

25 cows/23 calves

04/04/2015

Fescue/clover 6 inches

04/08/2015

3 inches

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25 cows/23 calves

04/08/2015

Fescue/clover 8 inches

04/12/2015

4 inches

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25 cows/23 calves

04/12/2015

Fescue/clover 10 inches

04/16/2015

5 inches

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25 cows/23 calves

04/16/2015

Fescue/clover 12 inches

04/22/2015

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Grazing Notes: The weather is warm and the pastures are greening up early April. Turnout on 04/04/2015 but still providing dry hay during this transition. Forage is lush with good clover present in stand. Rotating through paddocks quickly this first rotation. Rainfall is adequate as spring begins.

Field Number

Acres

No./Type of Animals

Date Rotated In

Type and Avg. Height of Forage In

Date Rotated Out

Average Forage Height Out

Days Grazed

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10.0

25 cows

6/20/2015

Fescue/wiregrass 7 inches

6/26/2015

4 inches

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8.0

25 cows

6/26/2015

Fescue/wiregrass 8 inches

07/02/2015

3 inches

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25 cows

07/02/2015

Fescue/wiregrass 8 inches

07/08/2015

3 inches

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25 cows

07/08/2015

Fescue/wiregrass 8 inches

07/15/2015

3 inches

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Sacrifice Area

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25 cows

07/15/2015

Bermudagrass 5 inches

Grazing Notes: It hasn’t rained since 06/05/2015, fescue is going dormant ending spring forage growth. Wiregrass and crabgrass are filling the void. Weaned calves on 06/15/2015 averaged 605 lbs. Turned cows into sacrifice area on 07/15/2015 due to drought conditions and no forage regrowth. Feeding hay and supplements until it rains and forage growth is sufficient to graze again.


GRAZING RECORDS Field Number

Grazing Notes:

Acres

No./Type of Animals

Date Rotated In

Type and Avg. Height of Forage In

Date Rotated Out

Average Forage Height Out

Days Grazed


GRAZING RECORDS Field Number

Grazing Notes:

Photocopy for your use.

Acres

No./Type of Animals

Date Rotated In

Type and Avg. Height of Forage In

Date Rotated Out

Average Forage Height Out

Days Grazed


Late Summer to Fall Seeded Winter Annuals Seeding Date

Forage Crop Mixture

Seeding Rates (Drilled) Per Acre

Uses Notes on Mixture

EARLY August 5 - September 10

Spring Oats Forage Radish

48-64 lbs. 2-3 lbs.

Provides mid to late fall grazing depending on planting date. With good growing conditions, it can provide abundant forage in 7-8 weeks. Will kill after hard freeze.

Triticale Annual Ryegrass Turnips

70 lbs. 20 lbs. 2-3 lbs.

Barley Crimson Clover Forage Radishes

72 lbs. 12-15 lbs. 2 lbs.

Provides good winter cover, nitrogen fixation and spring grazing. Radishes will typically winter kill.

Barley Crimson Clover

72 lbs. 12-15 lbs.

Provides good winter cover, nitrogen fixation and spring grazing.

Triticale Annual Ryegrass

70 lbs. 30 lbs.

Provides good winter cover with late fall and spring grazing

Triticale Winter Peas Forage Rape

84 lbs. 15 lbs. 2-3 lbs.

Provides good winter cover, nitrogen fixation and spring grazing.

Spring Oats Triticale Ryegrass Hairy Vetch Forage Radish Forage Rape

32 lbs. 40 lbs. 10 lbs. 15 lbs. 1 lb. 2 lb.

This soil builder mix provides late fall grazing, good winter cover, nitrogen fixation, and soil penetration. Spring oats and radish will winter kill but the remainder will provide good spring grazing.

Triticale Hairy Vetch Austrian Winter Pea

84 lbs. 10 lbs. 8 lbs.

Provides good winter cover, nitrogen fixation and spring grazing.

Barley Hairy Vetch

72 lbs. 15 lbs.

Provides good winter cover, nitrogen fixation and spring grazing.

Triticale Austrian Winter Pea

84 lbs. 18-24 lbs.

Provides good winter cover, nitrogen fixation and spring grazing.

Triticale Hairy Vetch

84 lbs. 15 lbs.

Provides good winter cover, nitrogen fixation and spring grazing.

MODERATE September 10 - Ocotber 5

LATE October 5- October 25

Provides late fall and spring grazing. Most turnips will kill by late winter.

Late Spring to Spring Seeded Summer Annuals LATE SPRING TO MID-SUMMER Plant after frost threat is over

Sorghum-Sudan X Cowpea Forage Turnip and/or Rape

20 lbs. 25 lbs. 2-4 lbs.

Provides high forage production and good regrowth of the sorghum-sudan X and the brassica.

Pearl Millet Sorghum-Sudan X Buckwheat

15 lbs. 15 lbs. 10 lbs.

Provides good forage production with added diversity and biomass from the Buckwheat. Good regrowth potential after grazing.

Pearl Millet Sun Hemp

15 lbs. 10 lbs.

Provides good forage production, nitrogen fixation and summer grazing.

Japanese Millet Buckwheat Cowpeas

10 lbs. 10 lbs. 25 lbs.

Provides fast growing smother crop, good nitrogen fixation, and produces high biomass in a short timeframe.

Foxtail Millet Buckwheat Sun Hemp

15 lbs. 10 lbs. 10 lbs.

Target this as your latest summer planting. With adequate moisture this can produce high biomass in 6-8 weeks. Plan for one grazing only.

Over the past several years there has been a growing interest in planting annual forages in mixtures to supplement perennial pasture growth. Some farmers are planting these mixtures to provide a highly productive, fresh forage for grazing livestock during transition seasons and during low production periods of summer when our cool season perennial stands are less productive. Some graziers are using a pasture as an annual double crop field, rotating fall planted winter annuals and following it with a mixture of summer annuals planted in May or June. Other farmers are drilling annuals into an existing thin pasture sod with varying degrees of success. Planting of annuals requires a significant financial investment. The success of the planting depends on soil moisture and fertility, controlling competition and a timely planting of the right species selected to meet your specific production needs. If you have a specific reason to plant annual forage mixtures for grazing then start with the table above to begin the forage species selection process for the time of year when you need supplemental forage. Seeding dates and species selection will vary depending on your region of the state, so follow up with your local Conservationist, Extension Agent or consultant to customize your seed mix selection and the planting rate to match your specific situation.

Note: Any sorghum or sudangrass species can accumulate prussic acid. Refer to the extension animal science tip on the October calendar page for more details.


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with farmers and other landowners to protect natural resources on private lands. In Virginia, NRCS partners with soil and water conservation districts, state agencies, local communities, and nongovernmental organizations to help agricultural producers add value to their greatest resource … their land. Understanding soil/plant/livestock relationships is the first step to improving your grazing system for increased productivity and sustainability. Experienced graziers treat forage as a crop. They closely manage their livestock in the pasture system to efficiently harvest the forage. Well-distributed water sources and strategicallyplaced internal cross fencing are critical components of a highly-productive rotational grazing system. This combination is key to developing a paddock system that allows for short grazing periods (<7 days) and adequate forage rest/regrowth periods throughout the growing season. Over time, these practices can yield dramatic results, including a more dense and vigorous pasture sod, increased rainfall infiltration in the soils, and improved ability to manage legumes (>25%) in the pasture stand. Other benefits include increased yields, forages that persist longer, added grazing days and fewer feeding days, and improved herd performance and water quality. Water and fencing alone do not make the difference. Graziers must be committed to using these tools to manage grazing livestock based on forage height and adequate rest periods. Local NRCS personnel can evaluate your system, discuss and outline your goals and objectives, and formulate a grazing plan that will serve you for years to come. NRCS also provides funds through several Farm Bill programs to implement these plans. Financial assistance payments are available to reduce erosion, improve air and water quality, preserve wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat, and protect farm and grazing lands from urban development. NRCS services are offered on a free and voluntary basis. To learn more about how we can help you, visit us online at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov, stop by or call the NRCS Service Center closest to you:

Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE)

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF)

Area I Harrisonburg: Culpeper PH: (540) 825-4200 Fredericksburg PH: (540) 899-9492 Harrisonburg PH: (540) 433-2853 Lexington PH: (540) 463-7124 Strasburg PH: (540) 465-2424 Verona PH: (540) 248-6218 Warrenton PH: (540) 347-4402

Virginia Cooperative Extension works with farmers and landowners across Virginia to improve agricultural production and profitability. In beef and dairy operations, integrated management of feed, forage and water resources is critical for long term positive returns. Construction of riparian exclusion fence and alternative watering systems are farm infrastructure investments that pay dividends in the following ways:

Area II Christiansburg: Abingdon PH: (276) 628-8187 Bonsack PH: (540) 977-2698 Christiansburg PH: (540) 382-3262 Galax PH: (276) 236-7191 Gate City PH: (276) 386-9241 Jonesville PH: (276) 346-1531 Lebanon PH: (276) 889-4650 Marion PH: (276) 783-7280 Stuart PH: (276) 694-3121 Tazewell PH: (276) 988-9555 Wytheville PH: (276) 228-3513

• Better options for pasture management -- Stream bank exclusion and fencing splits a typical pasture into two or more sub-units, allowing for more efficient grazing. Financial benefits to cattle producers who use an intensive rotational grazing system are well documented, including increased production of quality forage and the extension of the grazing season which reduces the cost of purchased feed. Extending the grazing season alone can save producers over $0.50 per cow for each day grazed versus feeding hay. Added water systems in more locations allows for greater flexibility in pasture rotations.

Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay. CBF fights for effective, science-based solutions to the pollution degrading the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. Our motto, “Save the Bay,” is a regional rallying cry for pollution reduction throughout the Chesapeake’s six-state, 64,000-square-mile watershed, which is home to more than 17 million people and 3,000 species of plants and animals.

Area III Farmville: Amelia PH: (804) 561-2947 Bedford PH: (540) 586-9195 Boydton PH: (434) 738-0500 Buckingham PH: (434) 983-4757 Charlotte Court House PH: (434) 542-5442 Chatham PH: (434) 432-8146 Farmville PH: (434) 392-4127 Halifax PH: (434) 476-1931 Lawrenceville PH: (434) 848-2145 Louisa PH: (540) 967-0233 Rocky Mount PH: (540) 483-5341 Rustburg PH: (434) 332-6640

• Increased forage utilization and livestock productivity-- Limiting livestock access to streams and providing an alternative water system improves the drinking water quality for livestock. Through this improvement in water sources and pasture management farmers typically see increased weight gain of 5% on calves within the first year of changing from stream water to troughs. With calves selling for $1.20 per pound, this increase in productivity results in an additional $30 per calf. Dairy cows are particularly sensitive to drinking water quality and will drink less if water quality is poor, and therefore produce less milk. Better water quality promotes higher intake, which is needed for higher levels of milk production and butterfat.

Area IV Smithfield: Accomac PH: (757) 787-0918 Chesapeake PH: (757) 547-7172 Courtland PH: (757) 653-2532 Dinwiddie PH: (804) 469-7297 Emporia PH: (434) 634-2115 Gloucester PH: (804) 693-3562 Hanover PH: (804) 537-5225 Quinton PH: (804) 932-4376 Smithfield PH: (757) 357-7004 Tappahannock PH: (804) 443-3571 Warsaw PH: (804) 333-3525

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

• Improved herd health and a corresponding decrease in veterinary bills-- Excluding cattle from streams and ponds reduces their contact with a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including those responsible for foot rot, red nose, bovine virus diarrhea, tuberculosis, jaundice, and environmental mastitis. Eliminating stream access can reduce potential injuries and prevent drowning. Additionally, exposing nursing calves to trough watering systems in pastures reducing stress and disease on those calves during weaning or shipping. • Good public and industry relations -- Excluding livestock out of streams through fencing and other management practices drastically reduces stream bank erosion, improves stream bank wildlife habitat, allows denuded areas to heal, and is a very noticeable commitment to clean water, making it a strong “good neighbor and industry ambassador” policy.

From the day we opened our Virginia Office in the early 1980s, CBF has led efforts to Save the Bay in the Old Dominion through environmental advocacy, education, science, policy, and collaboration. Two-thirds of the state’s population lives within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with much of the state’s runoff draining into the Chesapeake Bay’s rivers. From the farm fields of the Shenandoah Valley to the pinewoods of the Eastern Shore, for most Virginians the Bay is as close as the nearest creek or stream. These Virginia waters once ran pure and clear, cleansed naturally by the forests, wetlands, natural shorelines, underwater grasses, and open spaces that dominated the Virginia landscape. Today, CBF works with landowners, farmers, and other stakeholders to help restore and protect these natural buffers. Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and its partners, the Mountains-to-Bay Grazers Alliance has been formed. The grant will expand outreach and technical assistance for farmers who graze livestock and provide opportunities for current and new grazing farmers to share information. The program will include activities such as two-day Grazing Schools and field days, this annual planning calendar for grazers, a regional conference and quarterly electronic grazing newsletter. www.cbf.org/grazing This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 693A75-16-038. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


2017 VA Graziers’ Planner Dedicated to Dr. Chris Teutsch

Glossary and Grazing Tips

Creep grazing Creep grazing is a management practice in which calves are given access to higher quality forages to graze, but the cows are prevented from obtaining access. This is usually done by having the paddock wire high enough for calves to pass under back and forth between cows and the next fresh paddock. ‘Green up’ This term is usually associated with pastures/hay fields as they begin turning green with new growth in late winter (early to mid-March). Grazing may begin when there is enough growth to maintain a 4” grass height. ‘Mower blight’ If you mow pastures shorter than 4” you may seriously damage the desirable pasture grasses, because grasses such as orchardgrass store reserves in the lower 3-4” of stems. These reserves are critical for maintaining plant vigor and for regrowth. The decline of desirable grasses is followed by increased abundance of less palatable annual grasses (crabgrass, foxtail, etc.) and weeds. Along with the decline of desirable plants, low mowing height or overgrazing results in loss of ground cover and soil shading, providing more opportunity for the “weedy annuals” fill in the gaps. These less desirable annuals often produce abundant seed and have effective dispersal mechanisms and can spread. ‘Sacrifice area’ A well-drained area where animals are placed and fed to avoid overgrazing when pastures are too wet or too dry. The feeding area may be in grass, gravel or concrete, but runoff is filtered by areas of grass. These areas need to be managed to remove manure as it accumulates. Summer annuals Warm season annual grasses that will not overwinter, but can produce high quality forage and yield well in hot weather and intermittent rain conditions. Good fertility and a high level of grazing management are critical to the success of these species. Summer annuals offer a good way to keep grazing during the summer slump of cool season grasses. ‘Strawberry moon’ June is the month for strawberries, and ‘Strawberry moon’ was the name the Algonquin tribe gave to the full moon in June. A bit of farm wisdom handed down over the years, most recently by a local dairy farmer is, “Mow thistles after the Strawberry moon.” In June thistles are flowering and thus in a more vulnerable growth stage so that mowing at this time can be an effective non-chemical means to reduce them.

‘Grazing heights’ Grazing heights have been established for different pasture species to indicate when to start or stop grazing these species for optimal animal and pasture production. Optimal heights: For highest quality forage needs (lactating dairy cows or grass finished beef or sheep) begin grazing orchardgrass, tall fescue, and reed canarygrass when at 8-10, “ perennial ryegrass at 8,” and Kentucky bluegrass at 6.” For the less intensive nutritional needs, dry dairy cows, sheep, and beef (mature animal or cow/calf), begin grazing orchardgrass, tall fescue and reed canarygrass at 10-12;” perennial ryegrass at 8” and Kentucky bluegrass at 6.” In all cases stop grazing reed canarygrass at 6;” orchardgrass and tall fescue at 4;” and Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass at 2.” Pasture heights can be determined by using a pasture stick, your hand, or your boot. Heights are set based upon the forage quality desired for the type of livestock being grazed and the product to be produced (lactating dairy cows need high energy forage). Heights at which to stop grazing are set to protect energy reserves in the stems and to maintain some leaves for immediate energy production to accelerate forage regrowth, creating far more forage than would occur with overgrazed pastures.

It is with great appreciation that the 2017 Graziers’ Planner is dedicated to Dr. Chris Teutsch, Forage Research and Extension Specialist at Virginia Tech. Dr. Teutsch has worked at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Blackstone Virginia since 2000. His main area of expertise and research has dealt with forage physiology and grazing management of forages in the state of Virginia. Dr. Teutsch has accepted a similar position with the University of Kentucky and will assume his new duties in January of 2017. Dr. Teutsch is hard working, dedicated, and truly committed as both a researcher and extension forage specialist. His technical expertise in the area of forage production coupled with his communication skills makes him a highly effective educator. His sincere interest and strong passion to help Virginia agricultural producers improve and expand the efficient utilization of forages for profitable forage-animal agricultural enterprises has enabled him to reach a level of performance few extension specialists ever achieve. Dr. Teutsch has also been a tireless worker with the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council as an educational advisor to the Board of Directors. His input and guidance has enabled the VFGC to provide very high quality cutting-edge educational programs that have been highly beneficial to livestock, dairy, beef, and equine producers across Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region. Dr. Teutsch has garnered the respect and admiration of all forage producers who have come in contact with him. His ability to teach and explain the many complex concepts of forage growth and utilization has been highly recognized and appreciated by all that have experienced his knowledge and enthusiasm first hand. He has also expanded the knowledge base of forage producers across the state with his timely and beneficial research, and the information that has been gleaned from his commitment to research that has been continually directed towards practical excellence in forage production systems. Chris has dedicated himself to his work and to the forage and livestock producers of Virginia. It is only fitting that we express our appreciation to Dr. Teutsch for his leadership and support over the past 17 years. We are proud to dedicate this year’s Graziers’ Planner to an individual who has fully demonstrated his desire to help forage producers, not only here in Virginia, but across the country. Thank you Chris for everything and we wish you continued success in your new position with the University of Kentucky!!


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) To File an Employment Complaint If you wish to file an employment complaint, you must contact your agency’s EEO Counselor (phone 301-504-2181 or fax 301-504-2175 or fax ) within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act, event, or in the case of a personnel action. Additional information can be found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/ complaint_filing_file.html.

To File a Program Complaint If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program. intake@usda.gov. Persons with Disabilities Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and you wish to file either an EEO or program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish). Persons with disabilities who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

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