Barnhart says fall is the best time to apply potash and phosphate on pastures and forage, which will help with crops that are stressed by the drought. P & K will help the crop get through the winter and improve regrowth in the spring with better root systems. And he says crops that are heavily drought stressed will benefit from more time in the spring to recover. Barnhart suggests that 25-40 pounds of nitrogen per acre will help grass pasture during the last few weeks of growth to stimulate tillering and more vigorous spring recovery. And he says give hay crops more time to recover in the spring if possible.
If the pasture or forage crop did not have the chance to recover before dormancy, it will still suffer some stress in the spring, and should be allowed extra time to recover before being cut or grazed. For alfalfa, he says delay the first cut until it reaches early to mid-bloom, and for pasture wait until the grass has 3-4 inches of growth.
Barnhart suggests interseeding or frost-seeding pastures late in the winter or early in the spring. He says frost-seeding works best with legumes in the thinnest, least competitive sod. Grasses are more effectively established with interseeding. If the 2012 forage is very short, that will allow the least competition and aid the new seedling. Thoughtful rotational grazing and cutting will aid the crop for the spring and summer months.
Many forage crops and pastures sustained serious damage from the drought and are in need of careful management this fall and next spring in an effort to allow them to prepare for winter and get established before 2013 grazing and hay cutting. Allowing fall growth, fertilization, and rehabilitative seeding in the early spring will help the crops recover.
Source: FarmGate blog