Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.
Grazing boosts organic matter pg 6 Film wrap improves hay consumption pg 10 Pasture-based dairy like few others pg 20 Knotroot foxtail pg 28
BENEFICIAL ENDOPHYTE FESCUE
August/September 2015 路 VOL. 30 路 No. 1 MANAGING EDITOR Michael C. Rankin ART DIRECTOR Ryan D. Ebert ONLINE MANAGER Patti J. Hurtgen AUDIENCE MARKETING MGR. John R. Mansavage ADVERTISING SALES Jan C. Ford firstname.lastname@example.org Kim E. Zilverberg email@example.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Kaitlyn M. Webster firstname.lastname@example.org W.D. HOARD & SONS PRESIDENT Brian V. Knox VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING Gary L. Vorpahl
6 Grazing boosts organic matter
EDITORIAL OFFICE 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, Fort Atkinson, WI, 53538 WEBSITE www.hayandforage.com EMAIL email@example.com PHONE (920) 563-5551
It took several years, but these Georgia dairies improved their soil quality with pastures.
Breathable wrap improves hay Outdoor storage option preserves quality, reduces loss and improves consumption.
Change silage quality at harvest
Several options exist to impact corn silage quality at the feedbunk.
A New Zealand model that works in southwest Missouri.
DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 8 Custom Corner 22 Forage Shop Talk 26 Research Round-up 30 Machine Shed 38 Hay Market Update
BACK IN BUSINESS
KNOTROOT FOXTAIL: A NEW CHALLENGE
GETTING READY FOR HARVEST
NEW MACHINE INTRODUCTIONS
RAPID DRYING REDUCES LOSSES
PLAN TO IMPROVE YOUR FORAGE I.Q.
A pasture dairy like few others
GRASS-FED FACES GROWING PAINS
A FARM WITH ALFALFA ROOTS
ON THE COVER After a wet start, a weather window in early June finally allowed for first cut to be made at Schaufine Farms in Greenville, Ill. The generational farm is owned and operated by Boyd and Sandy Schaufelberger and their daughter, Amy. Photo by Art Director Ryan Ebert.
HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright 漏 2015 W. D. Hoard & Sons Company. All rights reserved. Published six times annually in January, February, March, April/May, August/September and November by W. D. Hoard & Sons Co., 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Tel: 920-563-5551. Fax: 920-563-7298. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.hayandforage. com. Periodicals Postage paid at Fort Atkinson, Wis. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscribers may subscribe at: USA: 1 year $20 U.S.; Outside USA: Canada & Mexico, 1 year $80 U.S.; All other countries, 1 year $120 U.S. For Subscriber Services contact: Hay & Forage Grower, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 USA; call: 920-563-5551, email: email@example.com or visit: www.hayandforage.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HAY & FORAGE GROWER, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Subscribers who have provided a valid email address may receive the Hay & Forage Grower email newsletter eHay Weekly.
hayandforage.com | August/September 2015 | 3
FIRST CUT Advertorial
T PROYOTUER C
STMENT E V N I E FORAG Mike Rankin
By Daniel Wiersma, DuPont Pioneer Livestock Information Manager Today, most forage growers and dairy producers understand the value of highquality forages. They also know it is important to protect these forages with a quality silage inoculant. Ideally, this inoculant protection starts at the forage chopper. To ensure correct application rates, growers must pay attention to inoculant applicator calibration. Bacterial inoculants function best when applied uniformly to freshly chopped forages. Accurate application rates are critical to help overcome naturally occurring epiphytes (plantdwelling bacteria). Maximum inoculant effectiveness and fermentation success starts with proper calibration. Here are three keys to successful applicator preparation and calibration: 1. Always read and follow the label directions for the inoculant purchased. Manufacturers formulate and package inoculant differently, resulting in different application rate recommendations. 2. Clean out and calibrate applicators at the beginning of the season, during the harvesting period and between harvests. Don’t forget to calibrate new applicator equipment. • Replace fi lters and nozzles frequently, and recalibrate after nozzle and fi lter changes. • Low-volume applicators require careful calibration to ensure correct application rates. • Use multiple nozzles when applying inoculants on balers and bagger equipment. 3. Match inoculant application rates with forage delivery rates. Output from an applicator is different when delivering 300 tons per hour to the silo versus 50 tons per hour. • Use a timer to monitor forage unloading rates when applying at the silo. • Monitor application rates, pressure gauge and empty rate frequently during silage harvest. • Newer choppers may be equipped with a yield monitor. When using a synchronized inoculant applicator, inoculant delivery rates are adjusted on the go. Accurate calibration is an essential element of your inoculant investment. An application in excess of the recommended rate is uneconomical, and inoculant applications below recommended levels may limit the maximum performance of the product. Calibrate today and calibrate frequently for greater inoculant success. The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and suggestions specific to your operation. PIONEER® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents. ®, TM, SM Trademarks and service marks of DuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners. © 2015 PHII. DUPPFO15043_VA_080115_HFG
Back in business
GRICULTURALLY, you might call it dormant or fallow. That’s been the status of Hay & Forage Grower magazine since late last year when its publisher terminated the publication. Like many of you, I felt an old friend had moved away forever. In fact, I still had the premier issue from March 1986 stuffed away in my desk (and most of the ensuing issues stored in a file cabinet). I would miss the occasional call from editor Fae Holin, and before her Neil Tietz, asking about how to price standing forage or some other facet of haymaking. Such is the life of an academic forage junkie. Not too many months ago, I was working on my 27th year as a county crops and soils agent with the University of Wisconsin Extension Service. Previous to that gig, I attended graduate school at Iowa State researching alfalfa and worked eight years on a large dairy and grain farm in southern Illinois. While at my extension desk earlier this year, I read that the W.D. Hoard & Sons Company had purchased the rights to Hay & Forage Grower along with its companion email newsletter, eHay Weekly. It meant my forage friends were coming back and would be on pretty solid ground with the publisher of Hoard’s Dairyman, an institution in the dairy industry for 130 years. It also meant the life and job I loved were about to change after many years of being pretty much the same. Long story short — in mid-April I found myself retired from my long-held university job and thrust into the role of managing editor for a forage magazine and digital newsletter; and to think I always figured I’d work part time in a hardware store during retire-
4 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
ment, or maybe as a Wal-Mart greeter. No, forage crops and forage people would now be a daily focal point . . . the perfect retirement job, though no workload reduction. In early June, the first issue of eHay Weekly hit the email inboxes. The goal of the newsletter is to provide timely forage updates that focus on the production, marketing, and utilization of forage crops for ruminant livestock. Yes, you’ll also get some personal commentary from yours truly and news from the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. That’s right, in addition to running a publishing company, the W.D. Hoard & Sons Company also owns and operates a dairy farm just north of our home base in Fort Atkinson, Wis. You can read more about it on page 24. If you’re not an eHay Weekly subscriber and would like to check it out, go to http:// on.hoards.com/subscribe-eHay Expect a magazine in your mailbox from this point forward. To start, there will be six issues per year with information for livestock producers, custom operators, commercial hay growers, forage consultants and educators. We’ll cover bermudagrass to alfalfa to corn silage. Editorial comment will also come free of charge. Together, we’ll soon see how quickly an agronomist can transform himself into a journalist. It should be an educational and enjoyable ride. I’m looking forward to it and hope you are as well. Finally, don’t be afraid to pass along your opinions of what you like or don’t like in the publication. My door and email box are always open. •
Write Managing Editor Mike Rankin, 28 Milwaukee Ave., P.O. Box, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538, call (920) 563-5551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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7/21/15 10:32 AM
Grazing boosts organic matter by Dennis Hancock
AIRY producers have to keep a sharp pencil to ensure the milk check covers all their costs, but there is one factor that probably never shows up on the balance sheet that can help keep the farm in the black: soil organic matter (OM). Scientifically speaking, soil OM is a collective term that refers to the amount of carbon-based material in the soil. In a sense, soil OM quantifies the living component of the soil (such as roots, fungi, bacteria and earthworms), as depicted in the photo on the opposite page. But
why does soil OM matter? Soil organic matter acts as a sponge. It holds water; improves the soil’s cation exchange capacity, allowing it to hold more nutrients; and provides a host of other advantages. Dairymen who farm sandy soils, like those in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S., need all the help that they can get with these soil properties. Often, having good soil OM and the benefits that come from it can be the difference between losing and making money. Since 2005, there has been dramatic
“. . . the average 500-acre, pasture-based dairy farm in Georgia is sequestering the annual carbon emissions of over 1,200 vehicles.”
6 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
growth in the number of pasture-based dairies not only in Georgia but the entire Southeast. In Georgia, nearly 20 percent of the dairy herd is now “out to pasture.” Most of these new farms have been going in where cotton, peanuts and corn had been produced for decades. A few years after these new pasture-based dairies were up and running, several of the producers indicated they were noticing some major changes in their pasture’s productivity and need for inputs. These producers reported that they were irrigating less and needed progressively less nitrogen fertilizer to get the same amount of pasture productivity. They were good graziers and knew that their soil OM was going up and providing these very positive side effects.
Unprecedented improvement Crop and soil scientists from the University of Georgia began to take soil samples to monitor these changes. The preliminary results on one farm showed the soil OM had increased from 1.1 percent at a time point three years after
Figure 1: Organic matter tripled in five years
Figure 2: Pasture-based dairying improved carbon retention
Soil organic matter (%) 0.0
Soil depth (inches)
16 (tons C/acre in top 12 inches)
15 20 25
conversion to over 2.1 percent in their farm’s sixth year. Such rates of soil OM improvement are unprecedented in the scientific literature. In fact, these results were so striking that no one in the group believed the data. Subsequently, a research study was initiated to take a closer look at what was happening. The study, published in Nature Communications in late April of this year, confirmed that soil OM is drastically increasing. The results are most astonishing in the top few inches of the soil on these farms (Figure 1). Five years after conversion, soil OM in the top 4 inches of soil had essentially tripled. Additional research showed that the fastest rate of soil OM accumulation occurs on the pasture-based dairies between two and six years after converting from row crops. Carbon (C) in the top 12 inches of soil (OM is about 58 percent C) rose by approximately 3.6 tons of C per acre per year (Figure 2). Incidentally, this rate of soil OM buildup is among the highest rates ever recorded in any system. In fact, if one considers that the average automobile produces 1.5 tons of carbon per year, the average 500-acre, pasture-based dairy farm in Georgia is
Soil organic matter is comprised of many components.
sequestering the annual carbon emissions of over 1,200 vehicles. According to EPA estimates, 5.6 tons of CO2 per year x CO2 is about 27 percent C. In other studies, prediction models developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and refined for Georgia forages and conditions showed that pasture-based dairying in the Southeast has a carbon footprint similar to the freestall dairies in this region (on per unit of milk produced basis).
Won’t occur overnight It is worth noting that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will soil OM. The soil OM on the pasture-based dairies we studied did not show much gain in the first one to two years following conversion. This is probably the result of a lag in getting the population of soil microbes and earthworms built up. Additionally, it is unclear if that high rate of OM buildup can continue. In some of our older pasture-based dairies, the soil seems to have stabilized at 3 to 4 percent OM, indicating that soil OM levels will eventually plateau. In addition to continuing to monitor soil OM levels, this research has now moved into trying to determine which part of the forage system contributes
2 3 4 5 Years since conversion to pasture-based dairy
the most to this change in soil OM. The preliminary results seem to indicate that the roots and root exudates are the major sources of soil OM improvements. These results support the findings of a consortium of American and European scientists in a recent review in the journal Nature. Their report conclusively showed that roots and root exudates are the primary source of soil OM buildup, disproving the long-held dogma that crop residues and biomass on the soil surface are the primary sources of soil OM buildup. “Carbon footprint” is a common catch phrase these days, but this research is now beginning to examine the “carbon fingerprint” of our forages. Cool season and warm season forages have distinctly different carbon radioisotope signatures. By monitoring the radioisotope signatures in the roots, plant litter, and animal manure from these different forages, scientists can better understand how much of the OM buildup is due to each of these forage types and the degree to which manure is playing a role. In so doing, scientists hope to build a forage system that provides high-quality forage crops that suit the needs of the rumen microbes and the soil biota. •
DENNIS HANCOCK The author is an associate professor and extension forage specialist at the University of Georgia.
hayandforage.com | August/September 2015 | 7
Getting ready for harvest by Jon Orr
Y THE time this column goes to print, I will already have my crew in south Georgia cutting corn silage. My team will be enjoying the 100° heat, 99 percent humidity, afternoon thunderstorms, sand roads, nasty ants, spiders, snakes and gnats — all the fun of becoming a custom harvester in the Southeast. To get ready for the corn season, I like to imagine the path a stalk of corn takes from the front tip of the harvester head to the tip of the spout. I want to take a look at each of these parts and decide if it is ready for another season. While doing this, I also look at the driveline that is powering any of these parts that move. For example, I start with the points on the corn head, are they cracked? Are the pivot bolts tight, worn or missing? You can work your way back to the knives on the corn head and teeth on the gathering drums or auger. The performance of the head will determine the output of the entire harvesting operation. Simply replacing the teeth on the auger may make a huge difference on how many tons cross the scales every day. Continue back through the crop flow, visually checking all liners, ledges, rollers, bearings, springs, grease lines, electric harnesses, and hydraulic lines. Even if you do not need to replace a part, you might find a few parts that can be stocked on your farm so you are prepared for when they are needed. Are any gearboxes leaking? Checking the fluid level of a gearbox before you drain it for an oil change can be an easy way to help find a problem. If the oil is low, look until you find the problem. If you do not find it before harvest starts, you will find it during harvest. Seals are cheap, gears are expensive.
Engines need attention Do you have enough hours on the engine that you need the engine serviced? We are usually asking for 110 percent of engine capacity while chopping, which means a little extra service can offer a big payback in season. I have had many choppers that significantly responded to having the intake and exhaust valves adjusted at 250 hours from new. Talk to your dealer about the possibilities of getting a trained techni-
cian to look over the engine. It is easy to overlook the lack of power while cutting haylage, but when the cab-high corn starts to feed in and the engine is choking, you will be glad you spent the extra time checking all the boost lines and changing the fuel filters — all the fuel filters — including any prefilter screens that may be hiding in the fuel system. Again, ask the dealer for advice or maybe even get the operator’s manual out of the box below the seat and read up on the service section. Once you have made it all the way to the spout flipper and it is all good to go, return to the owner’s manual and read the first 20 to 50 pages of the book that deals with the safe operation of the chopper. This part of the book gets overlooked by most of us but is actually the most important part. Did you check the fire extinguishers to make sure they are fully charged? How about all the caution lights? Back up beeper and lights? What about that nasty beeper that tells us the cutter head is still turning? All of these need to work. All of that hard, mechanical work is done, and now you are ready to harvest. WRONG! Get the entire harvesting team together, including the part-time, fill-in employees, and train them all on how you want things done. The most important part is getting through the harvest without any injuries and as few mishaps as possible. If you are not sure where to start on this safety meeting, check with your insurance agent. All reputable compa-
8 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
nies have loss prevention agents who can help. Also, U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc. has a video set that can be purchased for less than the cost of the pizzas you will buy the crew for lunch. The safety meeting is more important than getting the chopper ready to run!
Honoring a colleague I will close out this month with a very sad goodbye. One of my great friends in the harvesting world was killed by a drunk driver in late May. All of the Hay & Forage Grower readers should remember the California Chopper Challenge from a few years back. Dan Lamb had a constant desire to see manufactures improving choppers. I was fortunate enough to share countless hours talking about different ideas, designs and concepts with Dan. I witnessed firsthand some ideas for improvement that came out of the Chopper Challenge that are now on machines. We are all benefiting from Dan’s dedication to organizing the entire competition. I was always impressed that a man with so much of his own work to do would take the time to answer my questions. The harvesting family lost a great one. • JON ORR The author is a partner in Orrson Custom Farming Ltd., Apple Creek, Ohio. He currently serves as president of the U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc.
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Breathable film wrap improves hay consumption by Kevin J. Shinners
ARGE round bales can be made for less cost than large square bales, and because the round bale shape helps shed precipitation, low-cost outdoor storage is possible. However, uncovered bales stored outdoors are subject to losses and deterioration of nutrient composition due to weathering. Additional losses can occur during feeding, mainly due to animal rejection of the weathered portion of the bale. Our research has shown that outdoor storage losses are less when bales are secured with net mesh rather than with twine. Wrapping with net mesh requires only three to five revolutions of the bale
compared to 25 or more for twine. This difference improves productivity by reducing time lost to wrapping, and leaf loss is reduced as well. It’s the leaves that form the thatch that help shed water, so when leaves are lost during wrapping, more weathering losses occur during storage. Although uncommon, some producers wrap dry hay with a few layers of plastic stretch film using a bale wrapper. Bale conservation is improved because precipitation can’t reach the bale, but wrapping in film adds costs. Also, moisture often condenses at the interface between the bale and plastic, causing mold and algae growth.
Consumption of hay wrapped and stored in three ways, averaged across the five preference trials Comparisons*
Number of periods first treatment preferred over second (18 total periods)
Fraction of treatment consumed within pairing (% of DM fed)
15 or 83%
9 or 50%
13 or 72%
*BF: bales wrapped with breathable film and stored outdoors; NWI: bales wrapped with net and stored indoors; NWO: bales wrapped with net and stored outdoors. (Data for this table was extracted from “Cattle preference for hay from round bales with different wrap-types,” from the Professional Animal Scientist Volume 29, pages 665 to 670.
10 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
A new “breathable film” bale wrap known as “B-Wrap” has recently been introduced to overcome these deficiencies. The breathable film is applied at baling and is designed to not only shed precipitation, but allow water vapor to escape from the bale through microscopic pores. The ability for water vapor to escape eliminates the condensation problems associated with plastic film, and because the material is applied at the baler, the cost of wrapping dry hay with plastic film is eliminated. Our research has shown that bales wrapped with the breathable film reduced losses during storage. For instance, alfalfa bales stored for 10 months in Wisconsin experienced losses of 1 to 3 percent, 2 to 3 percent and 7 to 12 percent of dry matter for indoor, breathable film and net wrapped bales, respectively. Because net wrap and breathable film shed water so well, placing bales on a well-drained surface will reduce damage to the bottom of the bale (see figure).
Preference trials A hay loss that is often overlooked occurs when animals refuse to eat weathered hay. We investigated how different ways to wrap alfalfa hay might
30 20 10 Moisture profile (scale on right) of alfalfa bales stored outdoors for 10 months in Wisconsin. New wrapped bales stored on soil (left) or on a rock pad (middle); and bales wrapped with breathable film stored on a rock pad (right).
affect refusal losses from beef animals. Bales of alfalfa were stored indoors, outdoors with net wrap or outdoors with breathable film wrap. Bales were stored for 10 months and then tub ground before feeding. We quantified hay preference by (a) the number of times one hay was preferred over another and (b) the amount of each hay that was consumed across the entire trial. Hay wrapped with breathable film was preferred over net wrapped hay stored outdoors in all five trials. Cattle chose to consume hay from bales with breathable film 15 times out of 18 or 83 percent of possible pairings, and they consumed almost twice as much of this hay when paired with outdoor stored hay (see
table). Preference of hay from breathable film bales did not differ from that stored indoors. This study published in the Professional Animal Scientist showed that, when bales are stored outdoors, beef cattle strongly preferred hay conserved with breathable film compared to net wrapped hay, which might result in less hay lost to rejection at feeding. There is no one right way to wrap and store round bales. Producers in arid climates baling grass hay that thatches well may find that twine wrap is an economical option. Breathable film costs an additional $5 per bale beyond net wrap, so it may not be the right choice for low quality hay or bales that will be consumed shortly after baling.
But good-quality hay that will be stored outdoors for several months or longer can be wrapped with breathable film and benefit from better storage conservation, and potentially reduced feeding losses and improved animal intake that will help offset its added cost. •
KEVIN J. SHINNERS The author is a biological systems engineering professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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hayandforage.com | August/September 2015 | 11
Rapid drying reduces respiration losses by Dan Undersander
ROM the time forage is cut until it is fed, the goal is to minimize dry matter and forage quality loss. While all forage declines in dry matter and forage quality after cutting, the amount of decline is determined by the management strategies. One of the often overlooked sources of dry matter and forage quality loss is respiration after mowing. Respiration is the breaking down of starch and sugars to produce energy (heat) and carbon dioxide. The process occurs in growing plants and continues after mowing, even in baleage and silage when heat is produced.
Lost value Data suggest that 2 to 8 percent of the dry matter may by lost due to respiration. The table shows that, at current hay prices in the Midwest, a 4 percent dry matter loss results in a
of remaining components. A 4 percent $6.90 loss per ton of hay. loss in starch and sugar would raise Losses are greatest in the West NDF (neutral detergent fiber) slightly where forage is often cut with a large over 3 percent. Note that this is a drop cutter bar and put into a windrow that of almost 20 points of RFQ (relative fits between the swather tires. This forage quality). Thus, if one had cut hay often takes five to seven days to alfalfa at just below 40 percent NDF dry for baling, while some farmers of and lost 4 percent sugar and starch, the the same region put forage into a wide swath and bale it in two days. Not only does the faster drying time result in less dry Quality losses due to respiration matter loss, but getting the Dry matter loss 2% 4% 8% hay off the field faster results Economic loss ($/t) in less wheel traffic damage Hay value $173/t $3.50 $6.90 $13.80 to regrowth and higher yield of next cutting. Forage quality loss from 4 percent sugar and starch loss Respiration also causes ADF, % NDF, % RFQ Value, $/t a significant forage qual30.0 40.0 153 $173 ity loss since lost starch Forage quality if lose 4 percent dry matter of starch and sugars and sugar are 100 percent 33.0 43.4 134 $122 digestible. As the table shows, loss of sugar and Prices based on Midwest Hay Market Report (http://fyi.uwex.edu/ forage/h-m-r/) for June 19, 2015 starch increases the content
12 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
The first and largest good practice is to spread forage into a wide swath so that more sunlight is intercepted and stomates (breathing holes in the leaves) stay open to allow rapid drying of the leaves. The goal is to maximize the interface of sunlight to forage. Hay should be managed to dry, as quickly as possible, to 60 percent moisture or less on the day it is cut. When forage moisture falls below 60 percent, respiration is greatly reduced. Hay that is put immediately into a windrow dries slowly inside the windrow and has high respiration rates for an extended time. Thus, growers should spread cut hay into a wide swath (and drive over it) rather than to make a windrow that fits between the wheels. Note that if a grower insists on putting forage immediately into a windrow and taking the respiration losses of sugar and starch, then the forage must be cut earlier to be below 40 percent NDF (150 RFQ) at baling or chopping, if that is the goal. Cutting earlier to allow for the respiration losses means at least a 10 percent yield loss and greater stress on the stand, thereby shortening stand life.
Another option A second method to reduce respiration losses is to make haylage in a pile or bunker or to make and wrap bales in plastic. Respiration requires oxygen. If packed tightly, the forage respiration will quickly use up the oxygen, and respiration will stop. This practice is most effective reducing respiration losses if combined with forage put into a wide swath at cutting, dried quickly to 60 to 65 percent moisture and then ensiled or wrapped in a bale. There has also been discussion about the need and effectiveness of the forage conditioners. The conditioner is designed to crush the stem and scrape the waxy cutin area. This allows for faster dry down once the stomates close. Though not as critical when forage is made for haylage, conditioners are highly recommended for dry hay harvest.
DAN UNDERSANDER The author is an extension forage agronomist, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
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hayandforage.com | August/September 2015 | 13
July 14, 2015 12:46 PM
Forage is often 75 to 78 percent moisture when cut, so the key to high-yield of high-quality forage is to manage so the first 15 percent moisture is lost as rapidly as possible. Reducing the unseen losses of respiration will increase yield and forage quality. Additionally, getting hay off the field faster will boost the yield of the next cutting. •
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harvested quality would be above 40 percent NDF, which is currently selling for about $50 per ton less.
Plan to improve your forage I.Q.
HE American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) will kick off the new year with their annual meeting in Baton Rouge, La., from January 10 to 12, 2016. The event will start with a farm tour sponsored by the Louisiana Forage and Grassland Council on Sunday, January 10. Teddy Gentry, of the band Alabama, will open the educational program on Monday. Gentry is also a beef producer who was instrumental in the development of the South Poll breed. Workshops being planned for the day include an in-depth look at tall fescue, no-till/ soil health and warm season grasses. There will also be plenty of educational posters to view, a trade show, the forage spokesperson competition, and a national forage bowl competition. On Tuesday, there will be more opportunities to learn and talk forages with workshops on NRCS programs and GMOs, volunteer oral presentations, the emerging scientist competition, more posters, and a “hot topics” session. Additional activities will include a photo contest and silent auction. The AFGC awards banquet will be held on Tuesday evening. Information about how to participate in the emerging scientist, forage bowl, forage spokesperson and photo contest can be found at www.afgc.org. Also available on the AFGC website is a tentative program agenda and sponsorship information. Conference registration is scheduled to open in September.
Speaker: Kenneth Kalscheur, dairy scientist, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, Wis. 1:30 p.m. Managing fermentation with baled silage Speaker: Wayne Coblentz, agronomist and dairy scientist, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Marshfield, Wis. Thursday, October 1 10 a.m. Cows agree with total tract NDFD Speaker: David Combs, professor of dairy science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis. 1:30 p.m. Forage systems for warm season dairying Speaker: Dennis Hancock, forage extension specialist, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. Friday, October 2 10 a.m. Making or breaking rations with forage digestibility and quality Speaker: Mary Beth Hall, dairy scientist, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, Wis. 1:30 p.m. The secret life of rumen microbes Speaker: Paul Weimer, research microbiologist, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, Wis. Saturday, October 3 10 a.m. Managing reduced-lignin alfalfa Speaker: Dan Undersander, professor of agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis.
World Dairy Expo forage seminar schedule
Producing alfalfa and forages in a water-challenged world
World Forage Analysis Superbowl has announced the lineup for the 2015 Dairy Forage Seminars, held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo. Seminars will be presented at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday on the Dairy Forage Seminar Stage in the back of the Arena Building.
The 2015 Western Alfalfa and Forage Symposium will be held in Reno, Nev., from December 2 to 4 at the Silver Legacy Hotel. The focus will be on water, irrigation, pest management and economics. The conference will offer a great opportunity to learn more about alfalfa and forage crops; to visit with farmers, scientists and experts in various fields; and learn about alfalfa management in the West. Eleven Western U.S. states have joined forces to plan the symposium. The
Wednesday, September 30 10 a.m. How much forage can we feed to dairy cows?
14 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
event will be managed by the California Alfalfa and Forage Association in Sacramento, Calif. Between 500 and 700 people have attended past events. Highlights include: • One-day alfalfa irrigation training workshop (December 2) • Economic trends • Pest management methodologies • Environmental/water issues • Alternative forage crops in a drought year • Forage quality and utilization • Harvesting technology For more information on the program and registration, visit the symposium website at: http://calhay.org/symposium/
National Hay Association Convention in Pennsylvania The 120th Annual Convention of the National Hay Association will be held September 24 to 26, 2015, at the Best Western Premier Eden Resort in Lancaster, Pa. Marvin Hall, Penn State University forage agronomist, will address the general session. In addition, there will be a trade show, off-site tours and educational presentations. For additional information and registration, visit www.nationalhay.org
Sixth National Conference on Grazing Lands Grapevine, Texas, will host the sixth National Conference on Grazing Lands to be held December 13 to 16. Featured speakers will include Don Ball, former extension forage agronomist and professor emeritus at Auburn University; Garry Lacefield, forage agronomist at the University of Kentucky (retired); Kathy Voth, author of the book Cows Eat Weeds and co-founder of OnPasture. com; and Rachel Gilker, sustainable agriculture and soil health professional and co-founder of OnPasture.com. The program will provide a forum for discussion and exchange of grazing lands information and technology and an opportunity to identify research and program needs. Displays and samples of new products and services will also be on exhibit. For additional information, visit www.grazinglands.org. •
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Change corn silage quality at harvest by Joe Lauer
as hybrid selection, planting date, plant population and soil fertility, and those made after, like packing, sealing and feed-out rate can influence corn silage quality. At some point, yield is no longer the objective and moisture levels drive the harvesting decision. Each structure has different optimum moisture ranges for ensiling. The optimum moisture for a bunker silo is 65 to 70 percent, a bag silo is 60 to 70 percent, a concrete stave silo is 60 to 65 percent, and for an oxygen-limiting silo it is 50 to 60 percent. To ensure good silage preservation, harvest at the correct maturity and moisture, pack to densities greater than 17 pounds per square foot, seal the silo tightly so that no oxygen can enter, and feed-out at a rate that minimizes spoilage. Shrink losses in the silo can never be totally eliminated and occur due to fermentation loss (2 to 5 percent), leaching loss (1 to 3 percent) and feed-out loss (5 to 11 percent). If forage inventories dictate that maximum yield is not needed, raising the cutter bar can change the moisture
ORN silage harvest presents a relatively narrow window to optimize feed quality. Pull the trigger too early and you have a wet mess that is sour and seeps. Pull it too late and molds can develop and digestibility is lower. Either way, corn silage yields are reduced and cows do not perform as well. So, you watch your neighbors and try to decide when to start harvesting. Or, horror of horrors, the custom chopper shows up at your farm gate ready to chop. Your dilemma, “Do I chop, or do I tell him to come back later?” Then that brings up the question . . . if he leaves, will he come back in a timely manner? There are a number of tools that can be used together to predict optimum harvest date. These include noting hybrid maturity in combination with the planting date, recording the tasseling date and adding 42 to 47 days and determining moisture by drying down a representative plant sample with a microwave or oven once the kernel milkline has started to move. Decisions made before harvest, such
Cutting height effect on corn silage yield and quality
Percent change (%)
Milk per ton
Milk per acre
95 90 85 80
12 Cutting height (inches)
and quality of the corn silage being harvested off the field.
The influence of cutting height Raising the cutter bar from 6 to 18 inches can reduce yield up to 15 percent (see figure). However, milk per ton improves because NDF (neutral detergent fiber) digestibility is greater in higher plant segments (see table). Only small changes in NDF are measured in vertical plant segments. Even though forage yield is reduced, milk per ton improves up to 12 percent; so milk per acre only falls 3 to 4 percent. At corn silage harvest the driest plant part is the grain, while the wettest plant parts are the stover (leaves, stalk, shank and husks), especially the lower stalk (see table). Whole-plant moisture falls 3 to 4 percent as the cutter bar is raised from 6 to 18 inches (see figure). There are a number of ways that raising the cutter bar can be employed to change corn silage quality. If cut forage at normal height (6 inches) is too wet, then raising the cutter bar will result in drier forage. This can be useful in situations where the custom chopper has shown up early. It might also be useful when harvesting parts of a field that are replanted or at a lower elevation than the rest of the field. Adjusting the cutter bar can be used as a method to “even up” a field due to soil characteristics or in years of drought or flooding. Leaving the worst part of the plant, the lower stalk, in the field can help with snow capture and reduce soil erosion. To make correct cutter bar height decisions, having a forage moisture meter in the discharge stream of the chopper would be a good tool to provide confidence to the operator for the adjustments made. •
Forage yield and quality at corn silage harvest (Arlington, Wis., 2010). Plant segment
Whole-plant silage Stover biomass Above ear-node segment (54 to 98 inches) Mid-segment (26 to 54 inches) Low-segment (6 to 26 inches) Ground-segment (0 to 6 inches)
Yield (dry matter per acre) tons
34 51 68 73
1.8 1.0 0.8 0.4
75 74 76 76
55 50 46 36
16 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
JOE LAUER The author is a corn agronomist with the University of Wisconsin extension.
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Grass-fed faces growing pains by Jesse Bussard
HE fruit of opportunity couldn’t be riper for the picking in the grass-fed beef sector right now. Now a $2.5 billion industry, predictions from industry experts suggest within the next 10 years, grass-fed beef has the potential to make up at least 30 percent of all domestic beef produced. This growth will not come without challenges though. In the forage and grazing side specifically, a larger issue has become apparent. Forage finishers, highly-skilled graziers, are few and far between. Grazing expert Jim Gerrish explains not just any grazier can accomplish the results necessary to achieve the high degree of finish (such as fat and marbling) consumers expect. Finishing cattle on pasture requires a different paradigm of thinking than other types of grazing. Unlike maintaining cow-calf pairs or grazing stocker steers, the take-half-leave-half philosophy must be left behind. Instead, cattle being finished on grass must always have the selection opportunity to take the best feed. “Every pasture has some finishing quality feed in it, some growing quality feed, and then cow feed,” says Gerrish. “I’ve seen too many finishers trying to finish cattle on pasture that is too mature, too far gone.”
Feed them right Gerrish is well-known for his work pioneering the use of management-intensive grazing and has worked with livestock graziers across the globe for the past 30-plus years. When finishing cattle, he notes, the focus must be on the amount of energy the animal is eating. “When pasture gets too mature, the
amount of digestible energy, other than maybe 20 or 25 percent of that forage, is not adequate for finishing,” says Gerrish. The key instead, Gerrish says, is to move animals faster when pastures are in high Phase 2 of pasture growth, allowing them to only graze forage once. This is the period when pasture nutrient content and quality is at its highest and plant growth most efficient. To finish cattle successfully, Gerrish suggests graziers learn what types of animals work and how to graze them correctly. It is important not to get too focused on the animals though, he explains. “Get decent, functional pairing animals and then just really focus on your grass management,” says Gerrish. “You can get a functional animal for half the money or less than what superior seedstock are.” Ideally, optimal genetics and good grass management is the perfect mix, and when done properly, Gerrish says these two things will build on each other. Aside from production, location and types of forages used for grazing are also important things to consider when finishing cattle. In high elevation, arid climates like the ranch unit Gerrish manages near Patterson, Idaho, are ideal for perennial pastures. Using effective management and irrigation, Gerrish says he can get finishing rate of gains through the entire growing season. In places like the Southeast, producers may consider a cocktail mix of warm season annuals coupled with strategic irrigation to grow finishing-quality feeds through most of the season. Still, Gerrish indicates in any system there will be weak time slots when
18 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
quality forage will not be available. In these cases, direct-cut silage is the only alternative forage that gives the same fat profile as what grazing green grass does. “If there is an area for more research, forage-finishing beef is it because just about every location is going to have those transitional periods that are weak,” says Gerrish. “We need to work on the forage options in those windows.” It is evident these issues will be tricky and complex to solve. Solutions will not happen overnight. If grass-fed beef’s market share is to grow to 30 percent, supply issues will also have to be addressed. Gerrish notes development of interregional marketing cooperatives has been one option discussed to maintain adequate supply across the country. This would mean focusing production in different regions, taking advantage of the grazing season in each area, in a means to supply grass-fed beef to areas which cannot produce it at that time of the year. However, says Gerrish. “We are not going to get 20 million head finished from people who are doing 23 or 38 head at a time, so that’s a limitation.” Instead of small-scale operations, Gerrish believes it will be larger outfits, those finishing 1,000 to 5,000 head at a time, who will lead the way to grass-fed’s increased market share. • JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.
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A pasture-based dairy like few others by Mike Rankin
OUTHWEST Missouri is hot and humid in the summer, prone to drought, can experience extreme cold in the winter, and is home to vast amounts of native, endophyte-infected tall fescue. Nevertheless, its rolling hills are well suited for pasture-driven agriculture; that’s why the New Zealand-based Grasslands Group decided to hitch their horse to the region in 2005 after looking at several other countries and U.S. states. “It was more difficult than we anticipated to devise a farm system that accommodates the variation in weather that we get in Missouri,” notes Gareth van der Heyden, chief executive of the Grasslands Group. New Zealand has a more moderate climate. After 10 years of trial and error, Grasslands now operates 12 separate, seasonal dairy units comprising 10,800 acres in the region. There are also six corn blocks for grain and silage production and two young stock support units. The backbone of the enterprise is the establishment and maintenance of high-quality permanent pasture for
the 7,000 milking cows. “Our goal is to replicate a simple farming system across multiple farm units. To do that, we need consistent production of high-quality forage,” notes van der Heyden. The consistent production at Grasslands comes primarily from perennial ryegrass, though two of the farms are 60 percent soft leaf tall fescue (BarOptima PLUS E34). “There was a lot of trial and error finding varieties that were best for this region and system,” says van der Heyden. “We finally settled on Remington and Albion perennial ryegrass.” Each seems to persist through the less than tropical Missouri winters.
Pasture establishment Though 90 to 100 percent of the grazed land is typically in permanent pasture, some nonperforming pastures and fields are used as overwintering areas for the cows. In the spring, these “stand-off” areas are sown to turnips (up to 10 percent of the dairy platform area). Van der Heyden says the turnips are important on dryland as the
With land well-suited for grazing and great highways for moving dairy products and by-product feeds, the New Zealand-based Grasslands Group decided to locate their dairy operations in Missouri.
20 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
rotation can be extended easily in June and turnips allow for good weed control before sowing permanent grasses in the fall. “We’ve found this system minimizes the amount of land that is out of the grazing rotation at any one time.” If the need arises to establish grass following an existing grass pasture, Grasslands uses one or two applications of glyphosate to ensure a good kill of existing grass. Then two passes with a no-till drill are made, with the second pass perpendicular or diagonal to the first. Van der Heyden actually prefers air-seeding pastures followed by rolling the seedbed. The downside, he states, is that cultivation is needed before seeding. “Establishing a dense pasture is important. We’ve found a 7-inch seed spacing is too wide and allows for weed invasion. Cross-seeding helps, but a drill with a 3.5-inch seed spacing would be more ideal,” opines van der Heyden.
Maintaining quality pastures Two principles guide the Grasslands’ model: Grow high-quality pasture and get the cows to eat as much as possible.
Managing pastures for short- and longterm productivity is crucial. Explains van der Heyden, “We aim to graze our perennial ryegrass when it has 2.5 to 3 leaves. The exceptions to this rule are at peak growth in the spring, when we graze at two leaves, and for overwinter stockpiled feed, which is grazed at three to four leaves.” Being seasonal, cows are dry during much of December and January. Grasslands targets an average of 2,200 pounds per acre for pasture cover going into winter. As cows start calving in late January and early February, the “winter-saved” forage is grazed to 1,400 pounds per acre of residual. Once the perennial ryegrass begins to grow in the spring, pregrazing residuals are targeted at 2,500 pounds per acre and postresiduals at 1,400 to 1,500 pounds.
Finding proper balance Daily access to new pasture is gauged such that the postresidual is uniform, eliminating the need for mechanical topping. “Grazing to a consistent, even residual means cows can be offered quality feed at each grazing. That translates to more energy in and more milk out,” says van der Heyden. Tall fescue pastures are managed in much the same way as the perennial ryegrass with pregraze residuals of 2,100 to 2,200 pounds per acre and postgraze levels of 1,550 pounds. Farm managers on the dozen Grasslands’ farms do weekly farm walks to measure the amount of grass in each field. Van der Heyden cites this as one
“We’ve found this system minimizes the amount of land that is out of the grazing rotation at any one time.” — Gareth van der Heyden
of the most important jobs on the farm. Visual assessments are entered into a database that calculates the “grass wedge” and average growth rates of pasture grasses. This information is then used to make cow movement and feeding decisions. Grazing management — knowing when to move cows — is only part of the equation for keeping productive pastures at Grasslands. Agronomy comes into play as well. “We ensure that our phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur levels are adequate and make sure pastures receive enough nitrogen to support a dense growth habit,” says van der Heyden. For Grasslands, that means four to five applications of about 35 pounds of nitrogen per acre during early spring and summer. Additional nitrogen is applied in the fall. Wastewater effluent from the milking facility is also utilized as a nutrient
source. Like most farms, a nutrient management plan is in place to ensure against overapplication of nutrients.
Clover joins the mix Though grass comprises the backbone of pasture feed at Grasslands, van der Heyden says they are starting to seed white clover where new pastures are established using cultivation and air seeding. In some cases, clover seed is also added to the early spring fertilizer application. Farming is an exercise in trial and error, regardless of farm type or management style. Grasslands is no exception. Though there have been trials and tribulations in the past 10 years as a New Zealand grazing model has been thrust into the hills of southwest Missouri, van der Heyden has no regrets. “After all,” he says, “every challenge provides a new learning opportunity.” It’s hard to argue with that philosophy. •
hayandforage.com | August/September 2015 | 21
FORAGE SHOP TALK
co-founder and manager of Shredlage LLC Oskaloosa, Iowa
HFG: Shredlage has certainly created a great deal of interest in the corn silage industry. What makes the product so unique? RD: Shredlage is branded silage produced mainly for corn. It’s cut at a much longer length — 1 to 2 inches — and then is processed with the Shredlage brand processor that actually rips the plant material lengthwise into planks and strings. By opening up the stalk, we get improved microbial exposure to the inner cells of the plant. The longer cut provides more effective fiber to the cow compared to standard processors. In addition, the corn kernels are adequately processed, consistently scoring in the 70s on processing score.
HFG: What about economics? Does it cost more to produce Shredlage? RD: When comparing Shredlage brand silage with conventional corn silage, university studies have shown improvement in animal performance and possible reductions in feed costs as diet adjustments are made. No study has been done to document harvest costs and when we ask the harvester operators, we get a variety of answers. Some of the change in operational cost comes in the uniquely designed Shredlage brand processor itself and the patented Loren Cut rolls. Also the variation of plant material differs; however any style processor cost changes under different conditions. HFG: The original licensed manufacturer of the Shredlage processor recently filed a lawsuit against Shredlage LLC. Can you say anything about that at this time? RD: Not at this time. We’re going to let the court system handle that. HFG: You’ve now also entered into a new alliance with Claas. What will that mean for the future in terms of purchasing and servicing the Shredlage processor and Loren cut rolls? RD: At this point, the nonexclusive license agreement with our original manufacturing and distribution partner will remain in place through the calendar year 2016. They will continue to provide Shredlage products and parts through local Claas dealers as before. In May of this year, we entered into an agreement with Claas to produce, market, distribute and service Shredlage brand processors and Loren Cut rolls through their dealer network to serve both the domestic and global markets. The Shredlage brand processor will be available on most Claas Jaguar model years, with the exception of some of the oldest models. In 2016 the Claas Shredlage Corn Cracker will be in full worldwide production.
HFG: Will the Shredlage processor and Loren Cut rolls be installed at the Claas factory? RD: Yes. Shredlage brand processors are now manufactured in the Claas factory and can be ordered factory installed with new Jaguar units or through the Claas parts department as an aftermarket installation. The TLC (theoretical length of cut) system will now properly show the correct length actually chopped. Future enhancements will just be part of the system. Claas/Shredlage will train the worldwide dealership network. HFG: How will processor warranty issues be addressed with the new alliance? RD: All harvester and processor warranty issues will be handled through the local Claas dealer. HFG: Do you see a greater worldwide demand for Shredlage? RD: Yes, we routinely receive calls and emails from foreign countries. Because Claas has a worldwide presence, we think the demand will continue to grow as parts and service will become readily available. HFG: Do you find it frustrating when someone invests in Shredlage but then doesn’t take the time or have the know how to properly adjust the processor? RD: Setup and making adjustments as you harvest are critical to the Shredlage system, or any silage processing system for that matter. Our co-founder and technical advisor, Roger Olson, and I, along with our primary research partners have worked to develop a simple, yet vital monitoring tool. When used during harvest, it will guide the operator to the proper equipment adjustments to ensure Shredlage is produced. This tool is actually a system that carries a patent pending status and its availability for field use has yet to be determined. HFG: What about the future? Any new research projects being planned? RD: Yes, in fact there are current discussions underway to better understand why Shredlage is so unique, and the reasons for what we have seen to date. There are a number of research facilities that will be equipped with the new Claas Shredlage Corn Cracker and will likely begin further trials after the 2015 crop has been harvested. Other on-farm feeding trials at key locations are also being considered. HFG: Favorite food? RD: Ice cream. HFG: Thanks, Ross. Best of luck down the corn row. •
In each issue of Hay & Forage Grower, we talk to a forage industry newsmaker to get their answers on a variety of topics.
22 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
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by Mike Rankin
A farm with alfalfa roots
YPICALLY, a relatively small publishing company doesn’t also own and operate a commercial dairy farm, or any other kind of farm for that matter. But, such is the case at the W.D. Hoard & Sons Company, publisher of Hay & Forage Grower. How the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm got its start has a lot to do with forage, specifically alfalfa. In some respects, Hay & Forage Grower and eHay Weekly bring the company back to its foundational roots, which actually started with alfalfa roots. It was the late 1800s and alfalfa was still trying to gain acceptance by farmers in the Midwest. Sure, Wendelin Grimm had introduced the species in the late 1850s in Carver County, Minn., but as with any new crop venture, acceptance of the new is slow and the management learning curve is high. In Wisconsin, not even the agricultural specialists at the state’s university were recommending alfalfa; lack of persistence just wasn’t worth the gamble. Enter W.D. Hoard, a former Wisconsin governor and current newspaper and dairy magazine publisher. He had seen value in alfalfa for growing and wanted to prove its worth as a feedstuff. Just writing about it wasn’t good enough. As the story goes, Hoard was driving down a gravel road and noticed some alfalfa plants growing in the corner of the fence line along the road. A failed attempt to grow alfalfa in the adjacent field had occurred some years earlier. He surmised that these plants likely had superior genetics or were being aided by the lime dust coming from the road — perhaps both. Hoard dug out about 100 roots to replant, but with no farm to plant them he began his alfalfa
enterprise on an empty city lot near his home. He nursed and experimented with his alfalfa until convinced that it would thrive in Wisconsin and not lose productivity during the heat of summer; such was not the case for timothy and red clover, both common feeds at that time. To prove alfalfa’s worth to both farmers and university experts, Hoard bought a run down farm just north of his hometown of Fort Atkinson, Wis., in 1899. He successfully established eight acres of alfalfa and talked about the crop at every opportunity. It was the beginning of widespread alfalfa use in the state . . . it was also the beginning of the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm.
The farm today Today, the farm is a striking contrast between old and new. The original farmstead, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sits near the road. Just to the east of original farm buildings are a milking parlor and freestall barn, which were constructed in 2007. The facility also includes a visitor center and meeting room.
Cows are milked three times per day. Just over half of the herd is Jerseys, while the balance are Guernseys. The milking herd is fed a total mixed ration (TMR) twice per day. Dry cows and young stock are housed at separate locations away from the main farm. Currently, about 900 acres of owned and rented cropland are dedicated to growing alfalfa (300 acres) and corn (575 acres for silage and grain). Custom operators are employed to accomplish all of the field activities from planting to harvest. Both alfalfa and corn silage are stored in bags that sit on a gravel base. Alfalfa is generally cut four times per growing season with the last accomplished in late August or early September depending on the year. Average dry matter yield was in excess of 6 tons per acre in 2014. From time to time, we discuss what’s happening on the farm in our email newsletter, eHay Weekly. If you’d like to read more about the specifics of the dairy operation, the farm’s website can be found at www.hoards.com/farm. •
The freestall barn and milking center at the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. Both were built in 2007. To feed the dairy herd, the farm grows 300 acres of alfalfa and 575 acres of corn, which is mostly harvested for silage.
24 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
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www.dairylandseed.com // 800.236.0163 *Assumes an average yield of 5 dry tons/a, a 12% yield advantage with HybriForce-3400, haylage harvested at 55% moisture and 20 wet tons per semi-trailer load ©2015 Dairyland Seed Co., Inc. All rights reserved. ®Dairyland Seed and the Dairyland Seed logo are trademarks of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow. Dairyland Seed is a seed affiliate of Dow AgroSciences. DSHA0715962
962-01_AlfalfaAd_8.375 x 10.875_r1.indd 1
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Few differences among grass drying rates
Trace mineral variation in dairy forages
Researchers at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis., compared the drying rates of three cool-season grass species to determine if there were differences. Meadow fescue, orchardgrass and reed canarygrass were cut and swathed once the heading stage was reached in early June 2011 and 2012. Moisture, drying rate and nutritive value were measured over time. The study was reported in the electronic journal Forage and Grazinglands, and the results are summarized as follows: • Drying rates among the three species were very similar, though daily differences sometimes occurred. • Initial moisture of the grass at cutting had a greater impact on final moisture content than did species. • Though orchardgrass was 10 percent wetter than meadow fescue for initial moisture content in 2012, final moisture at the end of the third day was similar. • Forage quality was generally similar among the three grass species, though in 2011, reed canarygrass was significantly higher in crude protein (12.6 percent) than meadow fescue (10.5 percent). Also in 2011, meadow fescue had significantly lower NDF and higher NDF digestibility. • Swath width and conditioning appear to be the most important drivers influencing grass drydown rate.
Research funded by Micronutrients (Indianapolis, Ind.) and performed by J.R. Knapp (Fox Hollow Consulting LLC, Columbus, Ohio), W.P. Weiss (The Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio), and R.T. Ward (Cumberland Valley Analytical Services, Hagarstown, Md.) investigated the variation of trace minerals in dairy forages. The results were reported at the joint annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association and American Society of Animal Science. The study documented copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and iron (Fe) concentration variations in typical dairy forages. The researchers found significant variation in trace mineral concentrations; the largest sources of this variation were U.S. location and ash content. Seasonal differences at the same location were often not significant. Some locations had consistently low trace mineral concentrations, while other locations were consistently high with a large amount of variation. This variation was attributed to soil contamination in the forage. The authors noted that trace minerals originating from plant material are highly available to the animal, while minerals found in soil are poorly digested. The study supports the concept that fed forages need to be analyzed for trace minerals rather than simply using reference values as rations are formulated.
Zeolite investigated as possible Aphanomyces control treatment Aphanomyces root rot (ARR) accounts for many failed new alfalfa seedings. It’s a difficult disease to visually diagnose and generally expensive to confirm with routine sample analysis. It has haunted alfalfa growers, field agronomists and researchers for many years. Each time plant breeders think they have developed varieties with some level of resistance, seemingly a new strain or race of the disease is identified in yet another failed new seeding field. The other issue that makes ARR control problematic is that common fungicide seed treatments like mefenoxam, the active ingredient in Apron XL, have little to no efficacy on the disease. Some seed treatments such as Stamina provide variable control, depending on variety and environmental conditions. According to the July issue of USDA’s AgResearch magazine, zeolite is a naturally occurring compound that comes from degraded volcanic rock. Golf course managers currently use it as a soil amendment to enhance water infiltration and water holding capacity. Further, it has fungicidal properties and qualifies as an accepted product for use on organic farms. Deborah Samac, a USDA Agricultural Research Service plant pathologist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, 26 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
initiated research to look at the effects of zeolite as an alfalfa seed treatment. In addition, she also wanted to see how zeolite impacted beneficial microbes in the soil and on the health of plant roots. Samac’s research involved testing three different treatments. They included a control with nothing on the seed, mefenoxam-treated seeds, and commercially available zeolite-coated seeds that are sold for organic production. The seeds were inoculated with pathogens that attack alfalfa roots. Soil was also collected from 12 Minnesota alfalfa fields to assess treatment performance in naturally occurring, pathogen-rich soils. The results of the initial study showed that the zeolite coating was as effective as the mefenoxam for protecting seeds from most soil pathogens; however, the mineral coating was better than mefenoxam at protecting the seedling from ARR. A second study done by Samac using zeolite from a different mining source showed less promising results. Though more research needs to be done, zeolite appears to hold some hope for both conventional and organic alfalfa producers. Time will tell.
Timing and rate of Chaparral on tall fescue seed head development University of Kentucky research investigated the best timing and rate of Chaparral herbicide to suppress seed heads in endophyte-infected tall fescue. Endophyte concentrations are highest within the seed head and adversely impact cattle health and performance. The research results were reported in Forage and Grazinglands. The researchers applied three rates of Chaparral in October, March, and April. Though all treatment timings resulted in reduced seed head development, the April application had the highest suppression. It also was least detrimental for plant density reduction. The March treatment resulted in the least effect on seed head density and reduced stands the most. The authors point out that this has not always been the case in previous research. The fall application of Chaparral was surprisingly effective at controlling seed heads the following year, warranting further investigation.
Dairy slurry applications to alfalfa stubble Applying liquid manure to alfalfa following harvest has long been debated from a forage yield, stand health, and/or soil compaction standpoint. Researchers at the USDA Dairy Forage Research Center (DFRC) at Marshfield, Wis., decided to look at the practice from the aspect of introducing undesirable microorganisms such as clostridia into the harvested crop. If this occurs, the likelihood may increase for clostridial fermentation in the silage. Dairy slurry was applied to alfalfa plots at rates of about 4,500 gallons per acre. Four treatments were evaluated: • No manure • Manure applied to stubble immediately after harvest • Manure applied after one week of regrowth • Manure applied after two weeks of regrowth Treatments were made after first and second cutting and the crop was harvested as baleage. The manure applications had little effect on forage yield, quality, or fermentation. Clostridial counts were always highest when manure was applied and generally highest for the two-week regrowth treatment. Based on this limited research, trial coordinator Wayne Coblentz at the DFRC suggests: • Apply manure as soon after harvest as possible. Do not apply once regrowth begins. • Harvest at proper moisture levels (too wet increases clostridial fermentation risk). • If manure is applied, use a lactic acid inoculant.
A LL N E W
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hayandforage.com | August/September 2015 | 27
A new bermudagrass challenge by Neil Rhodes
NTEREST in hybrid bermudagrass for high-quality hay production has climbed the radar in recent years. In particular, the strong demand for bermudagrass hay in small bales has prompted a number of growers in the Mid-South to enter this market or expand their existing acreage. To successfully compete in the high value, small bale market, producers must be in a position to produce virtually weed-free bermudagrass hay for their customers, many of whom are horse owners. Horse owners are willing to pay a premium for clean hay and they are becoming more selective buyers. The registration of Pastora (nicosulfuron + metsulfuron) has greatly improved the ability of producers to effectively manage many grass and broadleaved weeds in bermudagrass hayfields. In particular, it has proven effective on troublesome annual grass weeds such as barnyardgrass, fall panicum, broadleaf signalgrass, and annual foxtails. Foxtail control is critically important in production of horse hay in that the seed head bristles can cause serious problems with mouth ulcers in horses.
A perennial foxtail We became keenly aware of this problem a few years ago when we started receiving reports of Pastora failures on foxtail in Tennessee and other states in the Mid-South. After investigating these reports, we found that the majority of cases of insufficient foxtail control were in hayfields infested with knotroot foxtail, a perennial species, rather than
annual foxtails. Horse owners are becoming increasingly aware of this problem and many avoid purchasing hay that contains foxtail seed heads. Because of this, hay infested with knotroot foxtail seed heads is often harvested as large round bales for the cattle market rather than small bales for the horse market. In Tennessee, clean hay in small bales averages over $200 per ton, whereas large round bales sell for approximately half that amount. Clearly, this weed presents a serious economic challenge for many producers. We have conducted research during the past three years to identify effective herbicide options for controlling knotroot foxtail in bermudagrass hayfields. While no herbicides tested produced anything approaching complete control, the most effective option for suppression of knotroot foxtail (reduction or elimination of seed heads in harvested hay) was Pastora plus glyphosate at first cutting followed by a second application of Pastora alone two to three weeks later. This program will cause substantial bermudagrass injury but it will recover. Injury can be reduced if the first herbicide application can be made within seven days following hay harvest. While on farm visits in 2013 and 2014, we observed that there appeared to be a relationship between nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) applications and severity of knotroot foxtail infestations. Fields where Pastora was applied that were fertilized with recommended N and K rates and timings appeared to be less severely infested than those where Pastora was
28 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
applied but were receiving low N and K. Accordingly, we conducted research in 2014 to investigate this apparent relationship and a possible interaction of fertility management and Pastora plus glyphosate applications on knotroot foxtail biomass and seed head production. High N and K rates resulted in a lower knotroot foxtail seed head density at the second harvest as compared to low N and K rates. No herbicide by fertility interaction was observed. As expected, the effect of herbicide was stronger than that of fertility.
Take home message Intensive management of bermudagrass hayfields includes following recommended N and K rates and timings, combined with a properly timed, sequential herbicide program is critical in high-quality bermudagrass hay production where knotroot foxtail is present. Likewise, producers are strongly encouraged to scout fields often in order to detect knotroot foxtail invasion. This will allow spot treatment before the entire field is infested, and this will pay big dividends down the road. â€˘ NEIL RHODES The author is a professor and extension weed management specialist at the University of Tennessee.
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For a full list of conventional and Genuity Roundup Ready varieties, visit americasalfalfa.com America’s Alfalfa is a registered trademark and Traffic Tested, the America’s Alfalfa logo and the Traffic Tested logo are trademarks of Forage Genetics International, LLC. © 2015 Forage Genetics International, LLC. Genuity® Roundup Ready® Alfalfa seed is available for sale and distribution by authorized Seed Companies or their dealers for use in the United States only. This seed may not be planted outside of the United States, or for the production of seed, or sprouts. Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. This product has been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. Do not export Genuity® Roundup Ready® alfalfa seed or crop, including hay or hay products, to China pending import approval. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Biotechnology Industry Organization. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design,® Genuity Icons, Genuity,® Roundup Ready,® and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC.
New machine introductions abound this summer Krone expands Comprima baler line
New Holland self-propelled windrower
Krone promises high-density, concise round bales and some of the similar production advantages of large square balers with the introduction of the Comprima V 150 and Comprima V 180 balers. These balers are the newest models introduced in the Krone Comprima round baler line. “The Comprima round baler design is simple: produce a round baler with the similar functionality and production as the BiG Pack large square baler from Krone and offer significantly higher bale densities regardless of condition” explains Jody McRee, Krone manager of sales, Southern Region. These results are achieved with a camless EasyFlow pickup provided on both models. The camless design requires 58 percent fewer moving parts, leading to less wear and lower maintenance costs. The Novogrip belt and slat elevator system uses a set of endless belts created from layers of fabric and rubber, resulting in denser bales. The horizontal metal slats connect between the two belts to intermesh with all crops, ensuring the bale is constantly turning in all conditions. These models produce 4-foot wide bales. Baler functions can be controlled with the standard CCI 200 touch-screen monitor.
New Holland’s new Speedrower self-propelled windrowers are raising the bar with best-in-class comfort, horsepower and efficiency thanks to upgrades to the cab, fuel efficiency and the latest Tier 4B engine offering. “We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of innovative New Holland windrower technology with the new Speedrower models, which not only set the industry standard for productivity, but look great with new updated styling,” says Michael Cornman, dairy and livestock marketing segment leader. The new Tier 4B engines, combined with the programmable throttle which allows the operator to set the exact engine speed needed, lead to maximum fuel efficiency that results in decreased operating costs. Compared to the Tier 3 Speedrower units, the new four-cylinder Speedrower 160 achieves a 20 percent increase in horsepower, while the six-cylinder Speedrower 220 and 260 units increase engine horsepower by 10 percent. Fuel usage is also significantly reduced along with expanded cooling capacity. The latest Speedrower Series features unrivaled control and comfort with a deluxe cab that’s standard equipment.
System measures alfalfa RFV of every bale Harvest-Tec has developed an on-baler system that calculates and records relative feed value (RFV) as each bale is made and can assign that value by attaching an RFID tag to the bale’s string. For alfalfa producers and buyers, the standard practice for gaining an indication of the hay’s quality is through random bale core sampling. Bales with greater density contain more leaves because leaves pack much better than stems. A bale with high leaf content has higher feed value. Leaves are flat, and compress nicely, adding weight to the bale. Bales with more stems will always weigh less. Harvest Tec’s system calculates the RFV of each bale by measuring the key factors of moisture, bale weight and density. The producer takes a hay sample just before or after the field is cut and gets a lab RFV analysis. That value is entered into the Harvest Tec system when baling begins. As the baler operates, Harvest Tec’s dual star wheel sensors take hay
moisture readings 96 times every three seconds to achieve moisture measurement of plus or minus 1 percent accuracy. Next, the baler’s scale provides bale weight accuracy within two percentage points. From the moisture and weight data, the Harvest Tec system calculates the dry matter density and the RFV of each individual bale. Utah State University completed a study where there were 542 harvested bales individually cored and analyzed. The Harvest Tec system consistently tracked with the core sample analysis for each bale. Realizing it would be a significant change for feeders, growers and hay buyers to accept the calculated RFV instead of lab analysis, the new system was tested on eight farms across six different states, with more than 3,000 bales individually cored and analyzed. For more information, visit www.harvesttec.com or call (800) 635-7468.
The Machine Shed column will provide an opportunity to share information with readers on new equipment to enhance hay and forage production. Contact Managing Editor Mike Rankin at email@example.com.
30 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
Krone triple mower line includes two new models The EasyCut B 1000 CR and EasyCut B 1000 CR Collect are the newest models of triple mowers from Krone that offer industry-leading crop cutting and ease-of-use modifications to meet the conditions of each field. The mower conditioner features a hydraulically adjustable working width of 30 feet 6 inches to 33 feet 2 inches, which provides a generous overlap when working on hills or turning. The CombiFloat feature optimizes the flotation by maintaining the pressure inside the hydraulic system. The flotation is set from the monitor in the cab so when the mowers travel over uneven ground the pressure is maintained at a steady rate, instead of increasing or decreasing. A low-profile cutterbar design allows for an even cut and the SmartCut cutterbar provides for a clean cut, even in light crop. The QuickChange
blades make changing blades fast and easy. A set of intermeshing rubber rollers delivers ideal conditioning results, specifically for leafy crops. The conditioner is powered by a gearbox and drives both the top and bottom roller at 750 rpm. The EasyCut B 1000 CR Collect is equipped with a hydraulic merger that can be raised and lowered from the cab to merge the crop into one large center windrow. The mower can also be operated with the merger doors open to lay the crop flat.
New Holland T6 all-purpose premium tractor series New Holland Agriculture launches the new T6 all-purpose premium tractor series that combines ultimate power with advanced technology to deliver unmatched comfort, visibility and maneuverability together with more power and performance. The new four-cylinder engine achieves better performance by maximizing power output from each cylinder. The new engine control unit brings the engine to maximum torque mode faster and holds through the lower rpm longer, outperforming the previous generationâ€™s engine. The Engine Power Management delivers extra horsepower when under load. Engine Speed Management ensures speed is maintained under changing loads, for applications that require a constant PTO speed, or to maintain a fixed forward speed in difficult terrain. The Horizon cab provides the operator with the ultimate
work environment: from the dual-zone air conditioning to the enhanced instrument panel; from the further reduced noise levels at 69 decibels to the Sidewinder II armrest that puts all the commands at the operatorâ€™s fingertips in the Auto Command models; it all adds up to unmatched comfort. The new T6 is available with a choice of proven transmissions. The different packages provide configurations tailored to various applications.
Kuhn VB 2260 and 2290 round baler
Kuhn touts MM 700 merger
The new Kuhn VB 2260 and 2290 provide more than just a sleek, new look. Upgraded features provide enhanced throughput compared to standard open throat designs. These ISOBUS-controlled balers are designed to meet the needs of hay producers and custom harvesters. The bale chamber, comprised of three rollers and five belts, is available with either laced or endless belts to provide ideal bale formation in all crop conditions. The improved top bale chamber roller reduces backfeeding in short, dry crops, grasses and straw. Three different intake options are available: new OptiFlow open throat, OptiFeed rotor and OptiCut 14-knife cutting rotor with dropfloor. The new OptiFlow intake is a nonrestricted open throat system designed for maximum capacity in tough conditions including short, slick crops like corn stalks and straw. A wide 91-inch pickup is available on OptiFeed and OptiCut intake models.
With 23 feet 10 inches of pickup in a single pass, the new Kuhn MM 700 merger has 90 percent of the capabilities of a 30-foot merger at a substantially smaller price point. It is unique in the industry and unmatched in its simplicity of operation, durability and merging capabilities. The MM 700 can merge crop to the left, right, split, or if needed, with either wing in the raised position. Having the ability to raise the wings independently is particularly useful for opening up fields or cleaning up point rows. The commercially designed pickups with exclusive tine bars treat crop gently and are built for extreme use. Featuring a two-point swivel hitch, attachment to the tractor is simple and allows for superior turning. Patent-pending, anti-wrap end guards reduce the potential of crop wrapping on pickup ends. A narrow 10-foot transport width reduces stress during transport and allows easy access through tight field openings. hayandforage.com | August/September 2015 | 31
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Hay and Forage Grower
Now in its 45th year, the Symposium is a comprehensive and educa�onal program for anyone with an interest in important issues related to alfalfa and forages. Water & Irriga�on, Hay Harves�ng & Management, Economics, Marke�ng, Forage Quality & U�liza�on, and Pest Management are just a few of the topics that will be covered in this year’s Symposium. EXHIBITOR & SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE Reduced Rate Early Bird Registra�on Through Sept. 15 FOR A COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS, EXHIBITOR/ SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION, AND SYMPOSIUM REGISTRATION, VISIT OUR WEBSITE calhay.org/symposium/
©2015 Progressive Agriculture Foundation
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Hay holds steady on price and demand Hay markets are in a hold pattern for most of the U.S. With the widespread rain in May through June, supplies of dairy quality hay are lower than most years. Improved haymaking weather recently has bolstered hopes of still
being able to produce higher quality hay before season’s end. The prices reported below were obtained primarily from USDA hay market reports in early August. Prices are FOB for large square bales unless otherwise denoted. •
For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com Supreme-quality hay California (northern) California (southern) Colorado (San Luis Valley) Kansas (north central) Kansas (southwestern) Montana-ssb Oklahoma (central) Oregon (eastern) Texas (eastern) Texas (Far West)-ssb Texas (Panhandle)-ssb Utah Premium-quality hay California (northern) Colorado (northeastern) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (northeastern) Kansas (southwestern) Missouri Nebraska (northeastern) New Mexico (eastern) New Mexico (southern) Oklahoma Oregon (Klamath Basin) Oregon (Lake Co.) South Dakota (East River) Texas (Far West) Texas (Panhandle) Utah (southern) Washington (Columbia Basin)-ssb Wyoming (eastern) Good-quality hay California (northern, SJV) Colorado (southeastern) Idaho Kansas (southwestern) Missouri Montana Nebraska (northeastern)-lrb Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb New Mexico (eastern) New Mexico (southern) Oklahoma (central) Oklahoma (eastern) Oregon (eastern) Oregon (Lake Co.) Pennsylvania (Lancaster) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb Texas (eastern) Texas (Panhandle) Utah (northern) Utah (southern) Washington (Columbia Basin)
Price $/ton 280 (d) 270 (d) 185-200 185-210 180-200 200-210 185-200 210 240-260 (d) 270-330 (d) 370 (d) 175-190 Price $/ton 170-230 185 (d) 260 (d,o) 150 165-185 160-185 150-200 195 210-220 (d) 180-200 (d) 150-185 200 210-220 180 220-240 200-205 155-170 260-265 200 Price $/ton 155 125 150 120-160 120-160 150-200 80-85 85 170-180 170-180 125-140 120-130 185 190-210 250 110-125 200-220 190-200 140-165 100-120 140-180
Wisconsin (Lancaster) Wyoming (western) Fair-quality hay California (northern, SJV) Colorado (northeastern) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (south central) Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb Missouri Montana Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb New Mexico (southeastern) New Mexico (southern) Oregon (eastern) South Dakota (East River) South Dakota (East River)-lrb Utah (northern) Wisconsin (Lancaster) Bermudagrass hay Alabama-good ssb Alabama-premium lrb Texas (eastern)-good lrb Texas (Panhandle)-good Orchardgrass hay California (northern)-premium Oregon-premium ssb Timothy hay California (northern)-premium Colorado Oregon (eastern) Pennsylvania (Lancaster)-good Oat hay Kansas New Mexico (southern) Oregon-good Washington (Columbia Basin) Wyoming 17% Dehy alfalfa pellets Nebraska 15% Suncured alfalfa pellets South Dakota Straw Alabama California Colorado Idaho Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas Nebraska Pennsylvania (Lancaster) South Dakota Washington
Abbreviations: d=delivered, lrb=large round bales, ssb=small square bales, o=organic
38 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2015
100-115 140 Price $/ton 140 115-125 150 100-115 90-100 85 100-120 115-140 70-75 130-160 120-150 150 150 140 (d) 90-135 60-65 Price $/ton 180-300 80-130 120-140 180 Price $/ton 270-300 230-240 Price $/ton 320 308 210 190-205 Price $/ton 70-80 135 100 120 105 Price $/ton 240-260 Price $/ton 185 Price $/ton 160 80 45-60 50 50 70-90 60-65 60-70 190-220 60-110 60-65
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Large Square Baler
Cash discounts up to $11,000 It’s DealMaker time. Now through December 31, 2015, you’ll save BiG on the Krone® BiG Pack large square baler. See how our precision German engineering can pack more into your bales and more into your wallet. There’s never been a better time to buy, so call your Krone dealer today and put our 100+ years of hay and forage focus and expertise to work for you, for less.
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123 N. Third Street
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REALRanchers Trust Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers
REALRanchers Trust Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers
Bert Hutson, of Hutson Angus Farms, realizes AgroLiquid causes his forage crop to emerge sooner, and have a bigger root mass, so he can turn his animals out earlier than his neighbors. In fact, research has proven forages fed with AgroLiquid nutrients produce substantially more yield with higher quality as measured by protein, relative feed value and total digestible nutrients.
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“We’re grazing, they’re waiting, and we’re gaining.” Hay and Forages_Full Page.indd 1
7/22/15 3:25 PM
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Published on Aug 25, 2015
Hay & Forage Grower provides the newest production and marketing information in print, online and in person for large-acreage forage produce...