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Current Recommendations

The current prescription for grass forage for dry cows is as follows:

  • Select fields that have soils with low K supplying power, if you have a choice.
  • Use soil testing to identify fields with low K soil test for dry cow forage.
  • Use timothy, reed canarygrass, or smooth bromegrass, and avoid orchardgrass or perennial ryegrass (although if soil K is limiting, all species may have relatively low forage K).
  • Avoid all forms of K fertilization (No Manure).
  • Use moderate to heavy N fertilization (75-100 lbs/acre/harvest).
  • Harvest 2x/year, approximately mid-June and mid-September.
  • Use grass regrowth for cows close to calving, as it should be lowest in K content.
  • If K content of spring grass forage is below 1.7%, consider modest K fertilizer or manure additions after spring harvest (50-100 lbs potash or equivalent).
  • If soil K is too high, consider a spring application of chloride fertilizer up to 100 lbs Cl/acre to lower forage dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD).