* Grow a second crop (for example, a mixture of oats, radishes and turnips) after the early harvest of peas or barley in areas where fall moisture can be anticipated to germinate a second crop to provide additional fall grazing.
* Consider planting a high-yielding annual forage such as oats, millet or hybrid sorghum-sudan when cash crops fail (hail, disease, poor emergence, etc.). With attention to fertility and weed control, these forage crops have the potential to yield more than 2 tons per acre of a high-quality forage. If fencing and water are available, these crops can be grazed or windrowed and left for late grazing rather than cut, cured and baled.
* Use bale feeders to reduce hay waste when feeding more than a day's feed to smaller groups of cattle. The design, durability and price affect the effectiveness and cost of using bale feeders. Consider hay-saving designs that allow for more room per bale, and have slanted bars, greater height and a means of suspending the bale off the ground.
* Bale graze larger groups with a multiple-day supply of bales in the field to reduce feeding commitments and leave the manure dispersed in the fields.
However, this option must be managed carefully to minimize waste and maintain cow condition. Include some low-quality forage as cereal straw in combination with some moderate- and higher-quality bales for no more than three to five days. A good estimation of cow weight and bale weights is helpful when bale grazing.
Dhuyvetter also recommends providing adequate protein in the ration to supply microorganisms with nitrogen, which is critical to the efficient breakdown of fiber and forage utilization. Forage analyses can help determine if and what may be needed, and how best to deliver it.