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Group of young steers in the meadow

The Alabama Forage Basics Handbook provides beef and forage producers in Alabama and the Southeast region with Extension and research-based information on animal, environment, forage, and soil topics. Objectives are to increase profitability and resilience, assist with risk management, and promote competitiveness in the livestock industry.


The livestock industry is one of the most important agricultural industries in the Southeast region. In Alabama, it is the second most important, just behind the poultry industry. The recommendations and guidelines suggested in this handbook address common questions and concerns with the convenience of fitting in your pocket. The authors do not assume any responsibility, make any guarantees, or offer any warranties regarding the results obtained from using any management strategies or suggestions included in this handbook.

This publication was made possible by funding from the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association through their marketing program.



Plant Physiological, Morphological & Growth Characteristics

Perennial Grasses

Annual Grasses

Perennial Legumes

Annual Legumes

Seasonal Distribution of Forages in Alabama

Stand Establishment & Management Strategies

Soil Fertility & Sampling & Forage Crop Fertilization Requirements

Forage Quality

Harvest Management Strategies

Management & Marketing Economics

Animal Health Considerations

Insect Pest Management

Weed Control

Sprayer Calibration

Ecosystem Benefits of Grasslands


  • Appendix A – Methods to Estimate Forage Production
  • Appendix B – Steps for Drying Samples Using a Microwave Method
  • Appendix C – Adjusting Stocking Rate
  • Appendix D – Resources for Forage Growers




Logos for the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, Forage Focus Program, and Alabama Beef Systems

Peer ReviewAdam Rabinowitz, Extension Economist; Audrey Gamble, Assistant Professor; David Russell, Extension Weeds Specialist; Jason Sawyer, Associate Professor; Katelyn Kesheimer, Extension Pests Specialist; Ken Kelley, Regional Agribusiness Extension Agent; Kim Mullenix, Extension Beef Cattle Systems Specialist; Leanne Dillard, Extension Forage Specialist; Liliane Silva, Postdoctoral Fellow; Max Runge, Extension Economist; Rishi Prasad, Extension Nutrient Specialist; and Soren Rodning, Extension Veterinarian; all with Auburn University

The authors wish to thank the following individuals for their contributions:

Don Ball, Emeritus Professor; Gerry Thompson, Regional Extension Agent; Joshua Elmore, Regional Extension Agent; Landon Marks, Regional Extension Agent; and Valens Niyigena, Extension Small Ruminant Specialist

New October 2022, Alabama Forage Basics Handbook, ANR-2845


For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, contact Extension Communications and Marketing at 334-844-5696 or extcomm@aces.edu.