Out here in West Texas we don't always have the luxury of lush grazing land to turn our goats out on. If our herds are to graze throughout the year, we often have to plant something for them to graze on.
My preferred choice for summer grazing is Hay Grazer. It supplies a decent protein count and is fairly drought resistant. Hay Grazer typically can be planted in mid May or whenever the soil temp reaches 75 degrees. Have your seed ready and try to plant just before the weatherman forecasts a decent chance of rain. Fertilizing your plantng once it reaches through the soil will encourage rapid growth and actually require less moisture for your crop to thrive on. Again, wait for a promised spring shower before application of fertilizer. It has been my observation that many goat producers allow their Hay Grazer to reach two to three feet in height (and allow the stem of the plant to generate) before turning their herd out in it. I personally have found the crop to be more beneficial and productive if I turn the goats into it when it reaches six inches or so in height. The grazer will continue to grow throughout the season if grazed in this manner and with sufficient moisture should last until fall.
I have planted both oats and wheat for a fall and winter pasture and have found that the goats prefer the oats over the wheat by far. Oats provied more protein than wheat and seem to grow better in this area of Texas. Oats and wheat can be planted in mid October (or when the soil temperature and daylight decreases.) These crops will often flourish on a light dose of fertilizer and whatever winter moisture happens to fall on them. There are also winter mixtures available, such as Triticale, that provide a variety of grazing for your herd. While some hay and feed will ultimately need to be supplied during the winter months, overall, providing pasture for your goats is a must if your operation is to see a profit.
Planting a Pasture
General Goat Care
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