Winter annuals are often used to extend the grazing season. These forages can be used as supplemental feed when lower quality perennial forages dominate or to provide grazing at times when other forages are not available. On farms where row crops are grown, the combination of crop residues and fall growth of annual crops can allow livestock grazing to be extended well into the winter months. The annuals provide a cover for the soil during winter as well. Winter annuals planted in the early fall will allow grazing in late fall to early winter similar to stockpiled fescue. Based on their high forage quality and increased cost of production, winter annuals are most economical to use primarily for livestock with high nutrient requirements, such as lactating and growing animals. Additionally, mature animals could be utilized as second grazers in a leader-follower grazing system.

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This is part of the Forage-Related Cattle Disorders series.