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March 2016

Silage bags remain popular pg 6 Forage gap warfare pg 12 Striving for a better red clover pg 18 Part 1:

Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

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Fescue toxicosis relief pg 24 2/26/16 8:27 AM


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March 2016 · VOL. 31 · No. 3 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 jford@hoards.com Kim E. Zilverberg kzilverberg@hayandforage.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Patti J. Kressin pkressin@hayandforage.com W.D. HOARD & SONS

6 Silage bags remain popular as a storage option Bags offer flexibility but siting is critical for success.


Forage gap warfare: interseeding into bermudagrass Advance planning can drastically reduce hay feeding.

Researchers strive for a better red clover

Part 1 of a series to eliminate or manage around fescue toxicosis.





DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 16 Custom Corner 20 Forage Shop Talk 22 Research Round-up 26 Pasture Ponderings



Novel endophyte provides fescue toxicosis relief

Resistance to 2,4-D . . . Yes, we can.



EDITORIAL OFFICE 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, Fort Atkinson, WI, 53538 WEBSITE www.hayandforage.com EMAIL info@hayandforage.com PHONE (920) 563-5551









28 30 40 42

Forage IQ Machine Shed Feed Analysis Hay Market Update




ON THE COVER With help from his son, Ben, Andy Musgrave checks a new forage seeding under an oat companion crop. Musgrave, who lives in rural Pittsfield, Ill., oversees a 200-cow registered Black Angus herd and large cash grain operation along with his father, Melvin, and brother, Tyler. Photo by Ryan Ebert, Art Director

HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2016 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: info@hayandforage.com. Website: www.hayandforage. com. Periodicals Postage paid at Fort Atkinson, Wis., and additional mail offices. 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: info@hayandforage.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.

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Mike Rankin

A dose of toxicosis


VEN the name — fescue toxicosis — sounds like life support is eminent. Though it’s been known about for years, fescue toxicosis continues to haunt the livestock industry in a manner similar to human type 2 diabetes: The afflicted still function, but often not at peak performance. It’s estimated that tall fescue resides on about 35 million acres of pasture and hay land in the U.S. Much of that acreage is in the lower Midwest and South, the so-called Fescue Belt. A lot of those acres are also Kentucky 31, a variety that’s been around for north of 80 years and one that contains toxic ergot alkaloids. That’s not new information for the majority of Hay & Forage Grower readers. In his article that begins on page 24, Glen Aiken states that fescue toxicosis is estimated to cost the beef industry over $1 billion annually. Add in losses to the dairy, sheep and horse industries. Over many years, millions of research dollars have been spent to find answers to the problem. Solutions do exist, some easier and less costly than others. Aiken, a USDA-ARS research scientist in the heart of fescue country, discusses novel endophyte varieties and pasture conversion in this issue and will address strategies to manage around the problem in our next edition. Fescue toxicosis is a complex problem; so is eradicating 35 million acres of endophyte-infected tall fescue. I was talking to one well-known commercial Angus producer this winter who sells breeding stock throughout the Fescue Belt and beyond. Many of his pastures were infected tall fescue, but he preferred to manage around the issue by doing things such as offering supplemental feeds like soybean hulls. “I don’t know where these cattle are

Managing Editor

going once they leave our place,” said the producer. “If they aren’t exposed to infected fescue here and get shipped to a farm that has it, they’ll go downhill in a hurry.” Effectively, this producer was willing to accept a low level of toxicity in his own cattle to maintain the farm’s reputation for selling animals that are adaptive to a range of conditions. This demonstrates the complexity of the issue, but it also shows that the problem can be effectively dealt with even when pastures are endophyte infected. On a different Angus ranch I visited last June, hundreds of acres had been sprayed several weeks earlier with Chaparral herbicide to suppress tall fescue seedheads. Seedheads contain a high concentration of ergot alkaloids. While the practice reduces overall biomass yields, operators of this large ranch felt the trade-off was worth the expense and effort to maintain animal health. It’s unrealistic to think that 35 million acres of infected fescue are going to be destroyed and reseeded to novel endophyte varieties. That said, at least some acres on many farms probably should undergo such a transition and be targeted for summer grazing when the risk and effects of toxicosis are the greatest; read Aiken’s plan for success. Science has provided many answers. For infected acres, there are strategies to help alleviate the negative effects of grazing such pastures. Dilution, whether it is supplemental feeds, interseeded legume species or other grass alternatives, is always a solution. One billion dollars is a lot of money to leave on the table. •

Write Managing Editor Mike Rankin, 28 Milwaukee Ave., P.O. Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538, call (920) 563-5551 or email mrankin@hayandforage.com

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NAFA DC Fly-In Builds on Recent Success by Beth Nelson, NAFA President

The nation’s capital was host to NAFA’s 6th annual DC Fly-In on February 9-11. NAFA members built their case for continued funding for the Alfalfa Seed and Forage Systems Research Program (AFRP), enhanced funding for alfalfa research at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), an expansion of the current Forage Seeding Program, the development of a crop insurance program which protects alfalfa producers from losses in quality and revenue, and more. AFRP was awarded $1.35 million in fiscal years ‘14 and ‘15, and $2 million in ‘16. Building upon this success, NAFA members focused on AFRP priorities, the long list of states receiving research funding, and the increasing inertia within the alfalfa research community, to build the case for increasing AFRP to $3 million for 2017. While AFRP funding does not level the playing field in terms of research funding between the nation’s third most valuable field crop and other program crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat, it is a significant step forward in bringing parity to public research funding for alfalfa. NAFA representatives also stressed the need for better funding for alfalfa research at USDA-ARS. The continued lack of an adequate safety net for alfalfa and forage producers was the focus of House and Senate Ag Committee member meetings. Due to the fact that alfalfa is not considered a Title I program crop, its producers are not able to take advantage of Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage available to program crops; this leads to lenders encouraging producers to plant commodities which have greater risk protection. Thus, it is critical the Risk Management Agency continue efforts to develop a quality and/or revenue program, and enhance and expand the forage seeding program. In addition to Congressional meetings, NAFA met with: 1) EPA to maintain communication about crop protection tools for the industry; 2) USDA’s Risk Management Agency to expand and improve its crop insurance programs for the alfalfa industry; and 3) USDA-ARS to discuss the need to increase its financial commitment to alfalfa and forage research. “NAFA is continuing to make its presence known on Capitol Hill,” said NAFA President Beth Nelson. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but the progress we’ve made since the very first DC Fly-In is evident. As alfalfa growers know – ‘persistence’ is a good thing.”

Photos from the 6th Annual D.C. Fly-In - February 9-11, 2016

NAFA representatives attended more than 100 meetings to promote and educate Congressional members and agency officials on the issues important to the alfalfa/forage industry, and continue to build recognition for the nation’s 3rd most valuable field crop.

NAFA Dir. Darrin Unruh & Ron Cornish, Beth Nelson, Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), CA Producer Tom Barcellos, NAFA Dir. Ray Smith

Morgan Tschida, NAFA Dir. Drex Gauntt, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), WY Producer David Hinman

NAFA Dir. Ron Cornish, Beth Nelson, NAFA Dir. Tom Barcellos, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), NAFA Dir. Ray Smith & Darrin Unruh

NAFA Dir. Chris Pratt, Morgan Tschida, Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), WY Producer David Hinman, NAFA Dir. Leland Tiegs, NAFA Member Rodney VanOrman

Rep.Greg Walden (R-OR) standing, NAFA Member Mark Owens

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), NAFA Dir. Darrin Unruh

NAFA Dir. Leland Tiegs, Sen. James Risch (R-ID), NAFA Dir. Chris Pratt February NAFA Advertorial.indd 1

Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), NAFA Dir. Dan Funke

www.alfalfa.org 2/16/2016 1:54:34 PM

Silage bags remain popular as a storage option by Chris Wacek-Driver


EVERAL years into my forage career I encountered a high-producing, well-managed herd struggling with managing forage piles. It wasn’t that they couldn’t manage all the plastic and tires that came with piles. They just really, really disliked nearly every aspect of successful pile management. This herd was on track for a rapid rate of expansion, and they preferred to put their limited resources to other areas. Yet, quality forage was needed to feed the cows and maintain the excellent production this herd was justifiably proud of. Their nutritionist and I looked at every angle of those piles. We discussed proper packing and proper covering, the correct number of tires, correct sizing, and pile placement. We calculated the dollar value of the massive amounts of shrink they were experiencing. Still, it was clearly not working. They refused to consider proper pile management. They understood the problem, yet the solutions we offered simply did not resonate with them or their systems. In the end, the farm, not the so-called experts, solved their forage dilemma. They bought one of the first 14-foot baggers in the Midwest and proceeded

to harvest excellent-quality alfalfa and corn silage, as they had done prior to the expansion. They laid those perfectly packed bags on the solid asphalt pad that was previously the site of the previous ill-fated piles. In the process, they taught us there was more than one way to store forages on large farms.

Bags offer flexibility Silo bags carry advantages that are sometimes overlooked. Initially, they can offer a lower capital investment during times when cash flow may be limited, as often is the case during a farm expansion. Bags are flexible, can offer temporary storage solutions, and can be adapted for large and small herds. Feed is easily inventoried and can be as simple as using a can of spray paint to mark the field, forage quality or crop on the side of the bag. Safety hazards such as silage avalanches, falling tires or chunks of ice are also reduced for personnel working around bags. Potential drawbacks include the large footprint needed to store forage and the large quantities of plastic needing disposal. Similar to piles and bunkers, the forage is stored under plastic and prone to rips and tears. This requires regular

inspection to repair damage and maintain quality. Due to the smaller surface area on the feeding face, moisture variation can happen rapidly; this may cause ration dry matter adjustments to be missed. Properly managed bags have the potential to store some of the lowest shrink and best fermented forage compared to other storage systems. The balance of this article will discuss key management factors essential to maintain forage quality in bags.

Siting is important With bunkers and piles, the person on the pack tractor is a key ingredient to the production of quality forage. For bags, this role shifts to the person running the bagging equipment. A good working knowledge of the bagging CHRIS WACEK-DRIVER The author is a forage consultant in Bay City, Wis.

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equipment and how to properly set up and run the equipment is instrumental to maintaining forage quality in storage. The person monitoring the bagger needs to ensure the forage is loading evenly to the packing knives and that brake tension is properly set and routinely checked. Other equipment settings and maintenance factors need to be a part of the operator’s checklist. Other key areas include site selection, proper crop moisture, crop maturity, correct bag size relative to the herd size, and desired feedout rate. Site selection requires careful consideration of topography, the feeding systems employed and environmental conditions during the entire year. Improper site selection can quickly turn a lower initial capital storage system into an expensive nightmare. Because of the flexible nature of the bags and bagging equipment, poor site selection is common. How many of us have seen bags surrounded by a sea of mud? Ideal site selection for bags includes a solid, smooth, well-drained surface with an eye toward water flow. Asphalt or concrete are ideal. If finances are tight, the site can be prepared as it would for asphalt and then utilize packed limestone or road re-grind over crushed rock as the base. The key is to pack and level the surface similar to building the base for laying concrete or asphalt. A well-prepared surface often pays for itself within a year or two due to reduced feed shrink, less dirt contamination, better quality fermentation and pack, and reduced animal health concerns. A good question to ask when considering the site is: Will this site (ground) support the heavy equipment needed to fill and empty the bags at any time during the year?

For those in Northern climates, consider orientating bags north to south and feeding out of the south end during winter to help alleviate frozen silage chunks. Locate the site away from woods, corn and soybean fields, and old buildings to lessen damage from wildlife. Mowing weeds and grass regularly and disposing of trash and unusable feed will minimize areas where critters can hide, giving ready access to your bags. Additionally, be wary of the potential damage to bags from livestock, pets and even children. Small holes, scratches and puncture marks can lead to a massive amount of spoilage due to oxygen infiltration. Left unrepaired, one small puncture can lead to many tons of spoiled feed.

from such inexpensive measures as putting bird netting over bags (make sure netting is elevated off the bags); stringing fishing line from tire to tire sitting on top the bags to prevent birds from landing on the top; electric fencing set up around the bags; mothballs; or birdshot; to as expensive measures as bag tarps and solid fences.

Size and seal

When bagging is done properly, highly efficient and quality fermentations will occur. Proper moisture for different crops is listed in Table 1. In general, the more mature and/or drier the forage, the finer the initial chop length should be to ensure proper density and porosity. Make sure bag ends are completely sealed with no No duct tape possibility of air penMaintaining bag integrity is etration. If air is seen On the issue of holes critical. Keeping weed growth rippling in the ends, . . . they will happen under control around bags better sealing needs no matter the best helps eliminate rodent and other wildlife damage. to occur. laid plans. Check for Bags that are immeholes often and make diately sealed at the bag repair part of a correct moisture will potentially produce regular maintenance plan. Keep bag gas quickly, which is a normal fermentape handy and make everyone aware tation. This gas needs to be monitored of where it is; this includes your feeder, so it does not damage the bag. If needed, nutritionist, and the harvest team. cut a slit or use a commercially available Keep tape close to the bag site so people vent to release this gas. Remember to will be more likely to use it when they reseal or close this opening since failure see a hole. to do so can result in spoilage. Storing tape in a container near the Another common area of bag mismanbags, on a nail in a nearby shed, or agement is correct bag sizing. Similar in the TMR tractor or truck can help to other storage structures, bags need ensure holes get repaired immediately to be sized for proper feedout. Improper versus forgotten in the mix of everysizing can quickly lead to spoilage and day life. Be sure to use tape designed large losses of dry matter, feed quality for agricultural plastic. High-quality and lost animal production. Recombag tape has built-in UV protecTable 1. Recommended moisture mended feedout rates for summer and tion, adheres to the bag, and will not percent by forage type winter are presented in Table 2. degrade. Duct tape is not acceptable for Forage type Percent moisture Think of the silage bag as an bag repair. Alfalfa haylage 55 to 63 upright silo laid out on its side. Unlike While repairing punctures is inevCorn silage 62 to 68 the upright silo, forage is not getting itable, prevention is better. Methods Small grain 60 to 65 compacted from the weight of silage to help protect bags have ranged above it. Less forge compaction leads to more air ingression into the silage Table 2. Recommended feedout rates based on silage bag diameter face once opened. Haylage bags, in Winter feedout Summer feedout particular, are prone to oversizing Bag diameter (ft.) Feet/day Bag diameter (ft.) Feet/day and more difficult to smoothly pack. When in doubt, select a smaller bag 8 1.0 8 2.0 for optimal forage quality. 9 1.0 9 2.25 In summary, bags can be an excel10 2.0 10 2.5 lent method to store high-quality 11 2.25 11 2.75 forage on many farms and should be 12 2.5 12 3.0 carefully considered when looking at 14 3.25 14 3.5 new forage systems. • March 2016 | hayandforage.com | 7

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Early spring grass provides enough protein, energy and dry matter intake for milk production and calf weight gain. Later in the season, hay will have to be supplemented.

the only feed, along with a little mineral, fed during the winter months when there is no pasture.

Match hay quality to needs

Be a strategic forage feeder by John Hibma


OTH dairy and beef producers are encouraged to feed as much forage as possible to their herds. However, forages such as hay crops or silages often cannot provide all the nutrition necessary to efficiently produce milk and meat. Having high-quality forage available in beef and dairy cow diets is much more critical during growth and early lactation when protein and energy demands are the highest. Forages that do not meet adequate nutritional requirements often wind up costing the producer more money due to poor production or slower growth rates. A study at Mississippi State University on beef cows that had recently calved and were in early lactation concluded that over 46 percent of the forages grown in Mississippi did not meet protein requirements, and over 70 percent of those forages did not meet the energy needs for those cows. As these beef cows progressed through their lactation, stopped lactating and calves were weaned, their nutritional requirements for energy and protein also decreased. The MSU study concluded that the same forage samples were then able to meet about 80 percent of the protein needs for the cows and almost 50 percent of the energy requirements. In Hebron, Conn., Marc and Anne Baribault have a 30-head herd of Angus. The Baribaults raise their Angus for both the local grass-fed market as well as the traditional grain-fed market. As with most beef herds, the cows calve

in the spring and run in pairs. On their Briar Ridge Farm, the Baribaults rotationally graze the herd — both cows and calves — on about 20 acres of perennial pastures during the spring, summer and fall months. The early spring grass is the most nutritious for both the lactating cows and their growing calves, providing ample protein, energy and dry matter intake for adequate milk production and aggressive daily gains for the growing calves.

Monitor pastures Weather, of course, dictates how long the pastures can hold out. Generally, rainfall diminishes and summertime temperatures slow pasture growth. Forages mature more rapidly during the warmer weather, with or without moisture, and the protein and digestibility of the pastures start to give out by mid-summer. Marc and Anne monitor the growth rates, and when the pastures start showing signs of diminishing nutrition, they supplement feed. When the herd gets ahead of the pasture, the animals are moved into a feedlot where they will be fed hay for a few weeks while the pastures have time to recover. To meet the marketing and labeling requirements for the grass-fed calves, the Baribaults are allowed to supplement with a purchased alfalfa pellet to maintain daily gains. Along with the pastures on their property, the Baribaults also rent neighboring farmland to grow hay. The hay that is made and stored is used to supplement diets when the pastures slow down and is

As is typical in the Northeast, the first cutting for hay crops is often more mature than desired. The second and third are usually better. The first cutting mostly tests between 9 and 10 percent crude protein. The later cuttings can get up to 15 percent. Marc makes primarily round bales and stores them in a hoop-barn that is open at both ends. He begins stacking the hay on one end of the barn and fills it up as the season progresses with later cuttings. If everything goes according to plan, the cows are dry and pregnant and calves are getting close to market weights as pastures wind down in the fall. At this point, the lower quality first cutting is fed to the cows — when their nutritional demands are not as high. Depending on how they’re being marketed, calves are supplemented with alfalfa pellets or a grain mix for finishing. The mid and later season forage — the higher-quality hay — is saved for feeding during the late winter and early spring as cows get close to calving. Here is where the higher-quality forage does its most good — at the time when the cows need the extra energy and protein during late gestation. Cows will have fewer metabolic issues as they come out of a cold winter when they have the feed that will meet their nutritional requirements. As such, newborn calves will have lower mortality and be healthier. Variation in forage quality is always going to be a given for farmers. Knowing the nutritional needs for a herd of cows, whether it be beef or dairy, at different stages of lactation and growth enables the producer to incorporate a lower-quality forage into a feeding program and still have it be cost effective. •

JOHN HIBMA The author is a dairy nutritional consultant and freelance agricultural writer based out of Connecticut.

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James Barnhill & Steve Price (inset), Utah State University

Healthy (right) and nematode stunted (left) alfalfa. A plant infested with nematodes shows symptoms of stem swelling and shortened internodes.

Extraction of nematodes from plants is easily done in a plastic baggie. With the bag held upright, stem nematodes will aggregate in the corner of the bag and can be seen with a 10X hand lens.

Managing with and against alfalfa stem nematode by Ricardo Ramirez


LFALFA stem nematodes are not new pests to alfalfa but the problems associated with their presence have appeared to be more persistent in recent years. Stem nematodes are translucent, nearly microscopic roundworms that inhabit the soil. Unlike many of the other plant parasitic nematodes that attack roots below ground, stem nematodes infect the crown and stems of alfalfa plants above ground. Some specialists have attributed their renewed primary pest status to changes in available broad-spectrum pesticides once used in alfalfa, such as carbofuran that had nematicidal properties, to products with shorter residual activity and no soil activity. Stem nematode-infested alfalfa plants are stunted and have swollen nodes and shortened internodes. This is also accompanied by small leaves and, in heavy infestations, “white flagging” or leaves that appear bleached. Across the landscape of an alfalfa field with stem nematode, there are stunted, slow-growing patches of alfalfa. Most of these symptoms show up in the early spring when temperatures are cooler, 59 to 70°F, providing a preferred habitat for stem nematodes to develop and reproduce. Although stem nematodes do not do well when temperatures rise during the summer, the initial harm posed by stem nematode to alfalfa in the spring

can linger and be seen in these patchy areas with each harvest. Although the total number of acres affected by stem nematodes is difficult to calculate, some research conducted in greenhouses has suggested upwards of 13 percent yield losses. Given the susceptibility of alfalfa to winterkill with high stem nematode infection, overall yield losses can be significantly higher.

process that stem nematode may be the culprit but it is also encouraged to work closely with experts in the extension service who can help with definitive identification. There are many state departments of agriculture and universities with diagnostic support. Stem cuttings can then be used every season to monitor the progression of stem nematode infection.

Take stem cuttings

Resistant varieties available

The first steps in managing a pest problem are identification and monitoring of the pest. For nematodes this can be a difficult task given their tiny size. However, seeking out symptomatic plants can aid in finding them if they are present. It is important to gather a number of these symptomatic plants for inspection. If nematodes are present, they can be found by finely chopping the swollen alfalfa stems with a razor blade and letting the plant material sit in a small pool of water. The stem nematodes will be released from within the plant and wriggle around in the water. While this is easily viewed with a hand lens, with high infestations nematodes can be visible with the naked eye. Take note that plant hairs may look like nematodes, but do not be confused and recognize that stem nematodes tend to be very active and mobile. These steps provide the initial identification

Keeping alfalfa stem nematode in check is limited to general changes in plant and soil maintenance, although there are a number of ways to do this. The National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance (NAFA) provides alfalfa pest resistance ratings for many varieties, and alfalfa stem nematode is listed as a pathogen pest in some evaluations. In addition to selecting a pest-resistant variety, it is important to use certified seed and avoid “brown bag” seed. Stem

RICARDO RAMIREZ The author is an assistant professor in the department of biology at Utah State University.

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nematodes have been recovered from unclean seed or “brown bag” seed and this provides a mode of dispersal for nematodes to healthy fields. Given the close relationship between nematodes, water and soil, it is important to understand that the movement of soil and application of water can also be a means of nematode spread. Nematodes prefer moist environments and are water loving. Therefore, strive to avoid runoff, long-term standing water, and, if at all possible, shared or recycled irrigation sources. There have been cases of runoff from nematode-infested fields moving downstream. Infestation of plants in these cases is evident closest to the irrigation source. Sprinkler irrigation, however, appears to have fewer issues with stem nematode spread.

Sanitation is key Harvest alfalfa when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry to reduce nematodes from reentering the soil as the plant dries. Sanitation of equipment and machinery that comes in contact with soil from nematode-infested fields can help prevent nematode inoculation of new areas. Power washing equip-

Distribution of the alfalfa stem nematode in the United States

Not known to occur Occurs, not considered a problem Occasional losses on susceptible cultivars Frequent losses on susceptible cultivars

ment, harvesting uninfested alfalfa fields first, or harvesting a grass field following an alfalfa harvest can reduce contamination. It has also been suggested that stem nematodes can be moved by grazing animals and in uncomposted manure. Finally, one predictive model suggests that the longer a stem nematodeinfested field is out of alfalfa, the longer

it will take for a newly established alfalfa field to reach 50 percent infection of plants. Therefore, rotation of alfalfa to a nonhost crop, such as corn, small grains and sunflower, for a 2 to 4-year period can help reduce populations and slow reinfestation. Currently, there are no nematicides registered for alfalfa to suppress stem nematodes but product evaluation is ongoing.•

Forage Management for Dairy Forage is the backbone of livestock rations. Sections in this resource book include cost-saving feeding strategies; forage testing, weather management, storage strategies and efficient delivery to minimize shrink. 35 pages. q Forage Management for Dairy $9.95 Add shipping: $5 for orders up to $25, $8 for orders up to $60 Add sales tax: CA - 7.5%, IL - 6.25%, MN - 6.875%, WI - 5.5%, Canda add 5% GST Call for quantity pricing and shipping ORDERS OUTSIDE THE U.S. - CONTACT US FOR SHIPPING AND FEES

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Forage gap warfare: interseeding into bermudagrass by John Jennings


ILLING forage gaps with winter annual forages can be a challenge. In the southern U.S., winter annuals are often interseeded into bermudagrass (or bahiagrass) sod to provide fall and winter grazing. Plans for interseeding winter annuals should consider the growth characteristics of the bermudagrass forage. In Arkansas and the mid-South, bermudagrass will produce green blade tips in March, but sustained growth does not occur until late April or early May when night temperatures are 60째F or more for about a week. At the end of the growing season, growth declines sharply when night temperatures drop into the 50s, and growth basically stops when night temperatures drop into the 40s. Other points to consider are that bermudagrass is very resilient, it tolerates herbicide suppression, and it is compatible with complementary cool-season forages. The most common annual forages interseeded into bermudagrass are annual ryegrass, small grains, annual and perennial legumes, and forage

brassicas. Ryegrass is highly productive and the growth profile extends into late spring, but it is less productive in fall than small grains or brassicas. Winter oats are fast growing, palatable and easy to establish, but winterkill can be a problem in the upper South. Rye is fast growing, winterhardy and tolerates poor soil. It is very early maturing with rapid spring growth. Wheat is readily available, more cold tolerant than oats, matures later than rye, but earlier than ryegrass. All of the small grains have less shading impact on spring greenup of the underlying bermudagrass sod than ryegrass. Mixtures of small grains with ryegrass have been shown to provide a reliable and longer grazing period from fall through spring than small grains or ryegrass alone. Forage brassica in the South is used for fall grazing and has minimal regrowth in spring.

Have a gap plan Recommendations for filling fall forage gaps with winter annuals in the mid to upper South are as follows. Typical

seeding recommendations are to clip or graze the bermudagrass to a 2 to 4-inch stubble, and interseed 100 to 120 pounds of small grain with 20 pounds of annual ryegrass per acre between September 15 and October 15. A simple calendar of estimated grazing periods for different winter annual forage options is illustrated in the figure. For grazing by November 1 to 15: Small grains and ryegrass intended for grazing by early November must be planted before September 15. Planting on a tilled seedbed or no-tilled into harvested crop fields will be required for this to work. Apply fertilizer nitrogen Continued on page 14 JOHN JENNINGS The author is the extension forage specialist for the University of Arkansas. Paul Beck, Dirk Philipp and Kenny Simon contributed to this article.

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Continued from page 12 (N) after the stand comes up to ensure fall growth. Apply phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) according to soil test. Apply more N in February for sustained growth into spring. Due to the tillage requirement, this option will not fit every case or every field. However, selecting specific fields for this early planting option may fill a void until other forage is available. For grazing by December 1 to 15: Winter annuals intended for grazing in early December can be interseeded into warm-season grass sod or planted in crop fields from September 15 to October 1. Suppress grass sod with a low rate of glyphosate herbicide or with moderate disking when planting this early to prevent competition with the small grain seedlings. Planting can be done with a no-till drill or by disking followed by broadcast of seed and dragging with a harrow. Apply fertilizer N after the stand comes up to ensure growth, add P and K according to soil test, and then broadcast more N in February for sustained growth into spring. For grazing by February to early March: Planting annuals after mid-October into November will allow good establishment, but forage production will be delayed until February or early March. Fertilizer applications can be delayed until February since growth potential is limited during mid-winter.

to 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of forage dry matter per 400-pound calf. So winter annual pasture with 1,000 pounds per acre of dry matter in the fall could sustain one 400-pound calf per acre. As forage yield increases in spring, stocking rate can increase accordingly.

Legumes can help Annual legumes such as crimson clover, arrowleaf clover and hairy vetch provide little forage growth after planting in fall but provide excellent quality forage for spring grazing. The spring growth profiles also matched the small grain and ryegrass profiles, meaning that the forage matures in late spring and dies; this allows bermudagrass to grow through summer. Hairy vetch shaded bermudagrass more than the annual clovers. Perennial legumes such as red and white clover and alfalfa became more competitive through spring and early summer, depending on legume stand density. Consider the important seasonal production of bermudagrass when selecting a cool-season forage due to competitive growth differences in spring and summer.

Brassicas are an option Forage brassicas are becoming popular in the Southeast for fall grazing. Commonly planted species include

How much to plant Limit grazing of winter annuals is an effective supplement to the increased nutrient requirements of spring calving cowherds. Research at the University of Arkansas has shown that limit-grazed cows on winter annuals two days per week and fed hay the remaining time performed as well as cows on hay with a balanced ration. Plant one-tenth acre per cow per day of the week to be grazed through the winter. For example, if cows will be limit-grazed three days per week, then plant three-tenths of an acre per cow. For 50 cows, that equals 15 acres. Estimating stocking rate at turn-in is important to prevent overgrazing. At least 900 to 1,200 pounds of forage dry matter per acre should be available before turn-in. Research indicates that 2.5 to 5 pounds of forage dry matter per pound of calf bodyweight allows for average daily gains of 2 to 2.5 pounds on winter annual pasture. This translates

forage turnip, rape and turnip/rape hybrids. Early planting is the key to successful brassica establishment. For Arkansas conditions, we have found that planting from late August to September 15 produces good results. Later planting produces very poor yield. Generally, light to moderate disking of the sod is required for successful establishment. For pure stands, plant 5 pounds per acre of brassica. For mixtures with ryegrass or small grain, plant 2 to 3 pounds per acre of brassica. Our results have shown over 2,000 pounds per acre of dry matter by late October and over 5,000 pounds dry matter by early December in well-managed stands. Forage brassica mixed with ryegrass can provide excellent fall grazing from the brassica and spring grazing from the ryegrass. Livestock unaccustomed to brassica will often refuse the forage at first turn-in; plan an acclimation period on a small area of brassica pasture. Once the animals have accepted the brassica forage, strip grazing with a single-strand electric wire will prevent trampling and excessive waste of the forage. Turnip bulbs are a secondary feed source and animals learn to consume those as well. Tests indicate bulbs contain about 10 percent crude protein and 78 to 80 percent total digestible nutrients. •

Estimated grazing periods for interseeded forages based on planting date and method Fall Sep


Winter Nov



Spring Feb



Summer May




Small grains, Sep - tilled seedbed Small grains, Sep - suppr. sod Small grains, late planted Annual ryegrass - early planted Forage brassica

Annual ryegrass late planted Arrowleaf clover Crimson clover Hairy vetch White clover Red clover

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Dan Wiersma, MS DuPont Pioneer Forage Agronomist





Genuity® and Roundup Ready® are registered trademarks used under license from Monsanto Company. The DuPont Oval Logo is a registered trademark of DuPont. 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 services marks of DuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners. © 2016 PHII. DUPPFO16025VA_030116_HFG



by Kathy Vander Kinter

Never a downtime


INTER is winding down and spring will be here before we know it. In the business of custom fieldwork, many onlookers refer to the winter months as our “downtime.” In actuality it is an opportune time to take a look at our business and determine where to make improvements and set goals for the upcoming season.

Meet with customers This time of year is an ideal time to meet with current customers and potential new prospects. As a best practice, it’s good to meet with the farmer and discuss what went well during last year’s harvest, what could be improved, and, of course, determine the costs of services for the upcoming season. During a time of low milk prices (like now), it’s in the best interest of both the farmer and the custom operator to know the expectations each one has for the other. When working with a prospective customer, understanding their needs and expectations of their custom operator is key to a positive business relationship. Building a relationship of trust and opening lines of communication prior to the season can prevent a lot of headaches and frustrations when it’s “go time.”

Safety is always a priority Safety and maintenance know no season. We should all be doing daily maintenance and safety checks on all equipment such as checking oil levels, lubricating moving parts, checking lights, ensuring tire pressures are at recommended levels and so forth. Taking a little more time and doing a thorough inspection in the winter can prevent downtime, and in turn avoid lost profits, during the regular season. Whether you schedule an appointment for your equipment with your local dealership or you perform the yearly maintenance yourself, it’s worth the time and money investment. While performing those maintenance checks, you should also be mindful of the safety equipment on board your machines. Make sure that the SMV (slow moving vehicle) signs are in good condition and mounted appropriately, fire extinguishers are charged, and all lights including the strobe lights are in tip-top order. In its second year, the Wisconsin Custom Operators organization offers a

safety certification program for members. Not only is regular maintenance good for safety, but taking it to the next level and training all your employees and family members in the safe operation of your equipment will prove profitable to your business. Accident prevention in the workplace and operating today’s larger equipment are key topics that are covered in the program. Insurance companies have already taken interest in the certification program and are offering discounted rates to some customers for being WCO Safety Certified. To learn more, visit www.wiscustomoperators.org.

Evaluate employees With spring drawing near, now is the time to do a little housekeeping in the human resource department. Reflecting on the question “Would I want to work for me?” can make a big difference in the attitudes of your employees and family members. Self-evaluation is also critical to retaining the outstanding employees you already have working for you. Take the time if you haven’t already to develop a basic employee handbook where all of your expectations and disciplinary measures are clearly defined. This will help in the future if there is

Kathy Vander Kinter grew up on a 60-cow dairy farm in Fond du Lac County, Wis. After technical college, she married her husband, Luke, and moved to the Green Bay, Wis., area where she became an employee of his family’s custom harvesting business, Vander Kinter Farms, LLC. Today, Vander Kinter Farms is a third-generation, custom farming business comprised of six family members and several full and part-time employees. The business offers all aspects of custom field operations from manure hauling,

ever a question about responsibility or what measures are taken as a follow up. When interviewing a potential new hire, ask enough questions to understand the candidate’s abilities. Make a list of all the capabilities that the new hire has and put the list in their file; then revisit that list in six to 12 months. Has the employee lived up to those capabilities? This in turn becomes a great tool for you to use in reviewing individual employees and possibly determining a promotion, pay raise or maybe even a termination. Lastly, of course, life is short. Do what makes you happy. Take a vacation. Spend time with family and friends. Laugh and enjoy life! Finally, from one custom operator to another, the next time someone asks what you are doing in the off-season . . . you can reply “What off-season?!” •

planting and forage harvesting to combining and custom trucking. Kathy does the bookkeeping for the business, helps with field operations when time allows and raises three young children: Michael (9), Matthew (7) and Olivia (4). For the third consecutive year, Kathy serves as president of the Wisconsin Custom Operators (WCO). The WCO is an organization comprised of individuals throughout the state who derive their income in whole or part from providing custom farming services. Vander Kinter Farms is also an active member of the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin, Midwest Forage Association and our local forage council.

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Researchers strive for a better red clover by Heathcliffe Riday


HE USE of red clover in the U.S., as measured by seed production, is only about 10 percent of what it was at its peak around 1950. But since 1990, red clover seed production has stabilized at about 10 million pounds of seed produced each year (see figure) compared to 57 million pounds for alfalfa. There is a dedicated niche market for red clover but a limited amount of research to improve red clover options. Recent research has improved the persistence of red clover, and current research is trying to develop varieties that are tolerant of commonly used broadleaf herbicides.

The rise and fall of red clover Red clover has a long history of use in agriculture and is associated with agricultural intensification starting in the 1500s. Initially, it was used in cropping rotations as a nitrogen fertilizer source.

However, starting in the 1950s, there was a large drop in red clover usage until about 1990. This decline in red clover usage is mirrored by an increase in synthetic fertilizer usage. It is interesting to note that during a recent spike in nitrogen fertilizer prices, there was a spike in red clover seed production, indicating that, to some extent, producers will revert to red clover usage to achieve nitrogen fertilization. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) does not keep records on red clover acreage, but it does keep records for seed production. It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of red clover seed is produced in Oregon. Assuming that most of the seed produced in the U.S. enters U.S. markets, there would be an estimated 3 to 6 million acres of land planted with red clover (compared to 18.2 million acres for alfalfa). Much of this acreage is

likely in mixed grass/legume pasture. As in the past, current producers still look to red clover to supply nitrogen fertility to their systems and to enhance feed quality. The estimated value of red clover is shown in the table.

The red clover niche Today, red clover is used in very diverse management systems including: as a summer or winter annual cover crop or hay/silage crop; as a

HEATHCLIFFE RIDAY The author is a research plant geneticist, specializing in legumes, at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Madison, Wis.

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the 1980s at the University of Florida using a traditional breeding approach. Recently, researchers at the University of Florida and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center have revisited this material to develop it further to create varieties for use by producers. The University of Florida released a variety called FL24D that is not yet commercially available. The U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center has transferred the Floridian 2,4-D tolerance

into red clover germplasm that is better adapted to the northern U.S., and they have also selected for increased 2,4-D resistance. In field tests, this red clover tolerated standard 2,4-D application with no plant death and some initial plant injury followed by plant recovery. Currently, experimental varieties from this material are being developed and tested with a focus on improved agronomic performance in northern U.S. growing conditions. •

FF 9615 red clover (outlined in yellow) as seen in the third year of a variety trial, showing superior persistence compared to the other varieties.

Red clover seed production

100 Million lbs. seed

companion with a small grain crop; in a pure stand for hay or silage; in a pasture mixture; or overseeded into existing pasture to improve pasture quality. Red clover has excellent establishment ability and is very shade tolerant, allowing it to be used in a range of management systems. Red clover’s major weakness is its shorter life span, although newer, improved red clover varieties can persist for three to four years. Due to a scarcity of breeders and resources, breeding targets remain to improve plant persistence and enhance forage yields in diverse management systems. From a management perspective, one reason for red clover’s shorter stand life could be insufficient seeding rates. Currently, there is little consensus in recommended red clover seeding rates. An internet search revealed a range of 8 to 20 pounds per acre for purestand establishment, and a range of 3 to 14 pounds per acre for overseeding existing pastures or establishing red clover as part of a mixture. Such hugely variable seeding rates likely have a major impact on red clover stand life. Clearly, more research needs to be done to clarify red clover seeding rates, particularly when considering the use of new and improved red clover varieties. There are about five organizations actively engaged in red clover breeding in the U.S. and Canada, including the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center. These breeders are striving to improve red clover for use in very diverse environments from subtropical Florida to cool temperate climates in Canada. One new variety developed at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center is FF 9615; it became commercially available through forage seed vendors in 2015. This variety has significantly improved persistence and yield and is expected to improve red clover productivity in the cool-humid regions of the U.S.

USDA NASS Oregon State University

80 60 40 20 0 1895








Herbicide tolerance Producers using red clover in pasture mixtures with grass have limited herbicide weed management options if they want to retain forage legumes in their stands. Producers would benefit by having red clover varieties that are tolerant of commonly used broadleaf herbicides such as 2,4-D. Work to develop such red clover material was initiated in

Estimated retail value of red clover seed and its value-added products Measure

Red clover seed Nitrogen fertilizer

Value (million $ per year)

$29 $215

If all red clover sold as hay


If all red clover converted to milk


If all red clover converted to beef


March 2016 | hayandforage.com | 19

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Peter Ballerstedt


Forage product manager for Barenbrug USA and former forage specialist at Oregon State. He also speaks often about human nutrition.

HFG: It seems that the amount of science devoted to forage grass development and management is at an alltime high. Do you agree? PB: I agree. Today we’ve seen the introduction of beneficial endophytes in varieties of tall fescue, perennial ryegrass and other species. We are witnessing the development and introduction of a new fiber digestibility assay that will more accurately predict the digestibility of fiber, and enhance the use of highly digestible, physically effective fiber from modern grasses in rations for high-producing dairy cows. The growing interest in soil health is demonstrating the value of grass in cropping systems, either as long-term stands or as short rotations. Nutrient management challenges will also lead to a greater use of grass in farming systems. HFG: For many years, grasses never really got their due nutritional credit. Managed rotational grazing and new forage quality analytics seems to have put grass in a much better standing. Agree? PB: Agreed! Modern fencing materials and harvesting equipment allow management options that weren’t practical earlier. Too often forage grasses were considered “marginal crops” and were sown on fields unsuited to more valuable crops. Management was likewise lax, and so were returns. Other countries were forced to pay greater attention to their grass resources and improve their utilization. Today we have greater ranges in maturity dates, disease resistance, winterhardiness, fiber digestibility and other important traits than ever before, but large quantities of old varieties are still being grown and sold. In addition, some popular species of cool season grasses have inherently lower fiber digestibility than others. Until we developed assays that could discern these differences, the “wrong” species were widely recommended. HFG: Ryegrass genetics seems to be much improved today compared to 10 or 15 years ago. Why is that? PB: New varieties from more continental environments (Europe) were introduced to the United States. Some of these were found to perform better than the more winter-active varieties from Mediterranean climates (New Zealand). From these, new varieties were selected and released for the U.S. market. The introduction of beneficial endophytes into these adapted varieties has resulted in varieties well-suited to wider areas of the U.S. HFG: Given tall fescue’s historic reputation, was it initially a tough sell to get farmers on board with the new generation tall fescue varieties? What about now? PB: Absolutely! At one meeting, a dairyman told me that his

father had spent his life trying to kill the Alta (an old, roughtype tall fescue) his grandfather had planted, so he wasn’t pleased that his son was planting soft-leaf fescue! Fortunately, the performance of the grass and his cows convinced his father, at least partially! Yes, the identification of the beneficial and novel endophytes has been a huge advance. Another challenge has been the memories of growers who replaced their KY-31 fields with endophyte free varieties back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The importance of the endophyte for the survival of the grass, especially in the southern part of the transition zone, wasn’t appreciated. When these new stands didn’t persist, farmers became reluctant to repeat the experience. HFG: Where do you feel grass management still needs to improve the most? PB: Our appreciation of the nutritive value of grass is not as advanced as that for alfalfa and corn silage. We’ve been thinking in terms of pounds of dry matter per acre. We need to think about pounds of digestible fiber per acre. A pound of digestible fiber has the same energy as a pound of digestible starch. HFG: Down the road, what can we look forward to in terms of improved grass genetics and traits? PB: The continuing search for unique traits in places where these species originated will lead to revolutionary new products: Stoloniferous perennial ryegrass and rhizomatous tall fescue are two examples. New and rediscovered species like meadow fescue will also play a role. The development and application of new breeding techniques and technology will produce advances that we don’t fully appreciate today. HFG: You have taken a strong interest in human nutrition and given many presentations on the topic. What prompted this interest? PB: It was my personal experience. In late 2007, I realized that I was an obese prediabetic. My wife and I learned that what we’d been told for decades — that the products of forage agriculture, meat and dairy products, needed to be restricted in a “healthy” diet — was not well founded. Further, we discovered that the majority of our calories do not need to come from carbohydrates; in fact, very few should. People have become, to varying degrees, carbohydrate intolerant. HFG: Favorite food? PB: Chuck eye steak, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled to medium rare. Add a green salad or some fresh veggies. •

In each issue of Hay & Forage Grower, we talk to a forage industry newsmaker to get their answers on a variety of topics.

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©2016 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. For the 2016 growing season, HarvXtra™ Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is available for planting in a limited geography and growers must direct any product produced from HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology seed or crops (including hay and hay products) only to US domestic use. 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 product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate. Glyphosate agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Roundup®, and Roundup Ready® are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. HarvXtra™ is a trademark and NEXGROW® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtraTM Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is enabled with Technology from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc.


Pasture red clover establishment: Broadcast versus fed Improving or maintaining the forage quality of pastures can be accomplished in a variety of ways. A common method is to introduce a legume to the pasture species mix. In addition to improved quality, such a practice may reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizer and/or dilute the effects of endophyte-infected tall fescue. The most common means of establishing legumes such as red clover is to use a no-till drill or simply broadcast seed (frost seed) in mid-winter or early spring. Some livestock producers have tried to feed red clover seed to their ruminant livestock in hopes that it would pass through the digestive tract and establish by feces deposition. This has been done as a matter of convenience, time-savings or simply because the terrain was too rough for machine operations. Researchers at North Carolina State University designed a study to test the practice of red clover establishment by feeding seed to beef cattle and then compared it to broadcast establishment. They also contrasted the effects of coated (with inoculant and lime) versus uncoated seed. Paige Kennedy, a NCSU graduate student who leads the investigation, reported first-year results from the study at the American Forage and Grassland Conference in Baton Rouge, La. The trial was set up to feed red clover seed along with freechoice mineral. To test the effect of the high-salt mineral on seed viability, germination was tested following 2, 7, 14, 28 and 56 days of seed contact with the mineral. After 14 days, coated seed viability declined significantly to only 70 percent and there was 0 percent viability at 28 days of contact. Uncoated seeds remained completely viable until 28 days of contact, when germination percent dropped to near 50 percent. Seed viability dropped to 7 percent at 56 days of contact. The researchers surmised that moisture would accelerate seed damage over time. A second source of potential seed damage was also tested; that of the animal’s digestive tract, which is acidic, populated with microorganisms and generates heat. Fecal samples were taken from animals that consumed the mineral-seed mix and seed germination was measured. Seeds passing through the digestive tract ranged in viability from 0 to 30 percent, regardless of the presence of coating. Finally, the researchers evaluated the ability of fed seed to establish after being deposited on the soil surface in the feces. Results from this component of the study showed that seedlings were not able to effectively establish unless the fecal pats were spread out by dragging. The overall success of red clover establishment after feeding was compared to broadcast frost seeding. A mineral-seed mixture was made available to cattle grazing across 16 acres. Comparison plots within the area were frost seeded at a rate of 10 pounds per acre for uncoated seeds and 13 pounds per

Mineral salt, the digestive process and seed survival in feces were all among the factors that made fed-seed establishment a low-success practice during the first year of this North Carolina State research trial.

acre for coated seeds (same number of actual seeds were broadcast for the two treatments). The number of seedlings established for both seed types was about 10 per square foot. For the fed-seed system, less than one plant per square foot was established. The experiment will be repeated in 2016, but initial results indicate that feeding red clover seed to cattle as a means of establishment is highly inefficient and should probably only be considered when broadcast seeding is not possible. Contributors to this project are Paige Kennedy (graduate student, NCSU Animal Science), Matt Poore (NCSU Animal Science), Ben Goff (University of Kentucky Plant and Soil Science), Carrie Pickworth (NCSU Animal Science), and Lori Unruh-Snyder (NCSU Crop Science).

22 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2016

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Control seedheads for at least two years once a novel endophyte tall fescue variety is established.

Novel endophyte provides fescue toxicosis relief by Glen Aiken


HERE are approximately 35 million acres of tall fescue in the U.S. that is predominately in the transition zone between the subtropical Southeast and the temperate Northeast; a region collectedly referred to as the “Fescue Belt.” Most tall fescue is infested with a fungal endophyte that produces alkaloids that impart the plant with tolerances to environmental stresses; unfortunately, it also produces ergot alkaloids that induce a toxicosis in cattle. Signs of toxicosis are: 1) elevated body temperature which causes cattle to be vulnerable to heat stress in moderate air temperatures, 2) maintaining rough hair coats during the summer, 3) low prolactin (hormone required for milk production), and 3) poor performance (weight gain, reproduction and milk production) and thriftiness. The “fescue foot” malady can also be caused by extreme cases of fescue toxicosis that can lead to lameness and eventual gangrenous conditions of the hoofs, tail switches or ear tips.

Ultimately, fescue toxicosis has been estimated to cost the U.S. beef industry over $1 billion per year. Tall fescue is extremely persistent and productive in the climatic and soil conditions in the Fescue Belt, which makes it extremely challenging to replace toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue with nontoxic grass alternatives. There is another option, which is to replace toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue with nontoxic endophyte-infected tall fescues.

Nontoxic endophytes Endophytes have been selected and developed that do not produce ergot alkaloids but produce other alkaloids needed to increase plant persistence. This is currently the only technology available for alleviating fescue toxicosis. Fescue toxicosis is also alleviated on pastures of endophyte-free fescue, but these lack persistence compared to toxic and nontoxic endophyte-infected tall fescues. There are a number of these novel

endophyte tall fescues on the market. New Zealand AgResearch Ltd. in the early 1990s developed strains of nontoxic tall fescue endophytes. The cultivar, Jesup, developed by the University of Georgia, was artificially infected with a novel endophyte and commercially released as Jesup MAXQ (Pennington Seed Inc., Madison, Ga.) in 2001. The novel endophyte tall fescue, TexOma MAXQII, was later commercialized from a joint venture between Pennington Seed, AgResearch and the Samuel Roberts Nobel Foundation. The advantage of MAXQII over the MAXQ endophyte is that it survives longer storage times. GLEN AIKEN The author is a research scientist at USDA-ARS Forage-Animal Production Research Unit, Lexington, Ky.

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Barenbrug USA developed BarOptima that is artificially infected with their E34 endophyte and is distributed under the name BarOptima PLUS E34. The E34 endophyte produces small quantities of ergot alkaloids. The University of Arkansas developed the ArkShield novel endophyte and commercially released Estancia ArkShield. DLK also is distributing two fescue cultivars with the Protek novel endophyte. Consult extension agents and specialists in your state to determine which novel endophyte fescue best meets your farm’s needs.

Out with the old

Fescue belt

shade and ponds than those grazing toxic endophyte fescue. We like toxic fescue because it can be grazed heavily, but heavy stocking rates on nontoxic endophyte fescue may become excessive during the summer. Use a rotational stocking system to allow recovery growth and rotate cattle when pastures heights are 3 to 4 inches. This will provide stronger stands that can better handle those periodic drought patterns.

Mathew Poore

An important point is that maintaining pastures of nontoxic endophyte-infected fescue will require more inputs of management than pastures of toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue. There are certain considerations when establishing and grazing non-toxic endophyte fescues. Prior to planting novel endophyte Control seedheads fescue, kill the existing toxic endophyte fescue and control any subsequent A major concern has been re-infesvolunteer emergence. The spray-smothtation of toxic endophyte tall fescue er-spray technique prior to planting into the novel endophyte tall fescue is recommended. For stand. Although fall-planted fescue, you may succeed in kill the existing field establishing a solid of toxic fescue with a stand of novel endo2 quart per acre rate phyte-infected tall of glyphosate in the fescue, understand spring when fescue is there still can be an actively growing. A secample supply of toxic ond application may be endophyte tall fescue needed to remove any seed in the soil. A heifer suffering from fescue surviving fescue. The endophyte can toxicosis. This condition costs Plant an annual survive for up to two cattle producers over $1 billion warm-season grass to annually. Planting a novel years in the soil (only provide good cover and endophyte variety offers one a year when stored shading to smother any management option. on a shelf!) and can surviving and volunpotentially emerge teer fescue. Harvest the warm-season in the right conditions. It is therefore grass in mid-August and spray with important to control seedheads for at glyphosate. Wait a couple of weeks to least the first two years of a new pasdetermine if there is emergence of any ture of novel endophyte tall fescue. toxic fescue seedlings that will need to Early work by Dr. Henry Fribourg be sprayed. After a week, the pasture at the University of Tennessee demoncan be planted with the nontoxic seed. strated that ergot alkaloids are not Do not overgraze nontoxic endophyte an issue if less than 20 percent of the fescue during late spring and the plants are infected with the endophyte. summer when there is less active fescue The only way to maintain a low pergrowth. Be aware that cattle grazing centage of toxic endophyte-infected nontoxic endophyte fescue will spend plants is to control the seedheads for more time grazing and less time in the at least two years after establishment;

otherwise, the stand is vulnerable to gradual increases of toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue. For controlling seedheads, pastures can be mowed before the seed matures and sheds. Cattle will readily graze off the seedheads when the seeds are immature. This can be a problem with pastures of toxic endophyte tall fescue because the seedheads are the most toxic part of the plant, but will not be a problem with pastures of novel endophyte tall fescue. A problem with mowing or using the cattle to graze off the seedheads is that barren stems are left behind to potentially cause a high incidence of pinkeye. An alternative is to use chemical seedhead suppression. Metsulfuran, an active ingredient in Chaparral herbicide (Dow AgroSciences), has demonstrated to suppress seedhead emergence of tall fescue and maintain stands in a vegetative stage of growth. It is recommended to spray the herbicide at a rate of 2 ounces per acre during late vegetative growth and up to the boot stage of growth. Fescue can yellow and have a lag in growth if the herbicide is sprayed early in vegetative growth while air temperatures are cool. It has been found that this dampening in growth is minimized and maximum seedhead suppression is achieved if spraying occurs late in vegetative growth when air temperatures are high enough to encourage active fescue growth. Research has shown novel endophyte tall fescue to persist better than endophyte-free fescue and as well as toxic endophyte fescue, but special precautions through management will be needed. Emergence of toxic endophyte tall fescue will cause the number of toxic plants to increase to an unacceptable percentage of the stand if seedhead emergence is not controlled in the early stand years. Also understand that the cattle intake and grazing time for novel endophyte fescue is greater during the late spring and summer than for toxic endophyte tall fescue, so grazing management is needed. •

This is the first of a two-part series on strategies to alleviate the effects of fescue toxicosis. March 2016 | hayandforage.com | 25

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by Jesse Bussard

It’s more than just grazing systems


HEN it comes to grazing better, Tim Steffens says what he absolutely does not want to talk about are grazing systems. Steffens, who serves as an AgriLife extension specialist in rangeland resource management with West Texas A&M University, says, “Many named grazing systems have been tried and some actually worked, but oftentimes systems fail because they are not adaptive enough.” Instead, Steffens suggests graziers turn to the concrete facts science knows about grazing to help devise successful and adaptive grazing strategies. He detailed these strategies at the Annual Society for Range Management Meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas. Steffens listed 10 key concepts, many known for some time. Concept No. 1 - Severe defoliation, also known as overgrazing, takes off photosynthetic material and arrests root growth, making it difficult for plants to compete with neighboring plants. This is one of the main reasons the “take half, leave half” rule came into being, noted Steffens. Concept No. 2 - Forage demand, also referred to as stocking rate, determines the average rate of defoliation. Where the problem lies, however, is cattle do not know they are supposed to follow the “take half, leave half” rule. Concept No. 3 - Timing can be influential to defoliation of plants. “If we defoliate a plant during the dormant season or before the plant’s growing point elevates, it’s not such a big deal as long as it doesn’t happen again,” said Steffens. “The worst result for a single

grazing event is when we take off the growing point.” Concept No. 4 - Recovery is required after defoliation. “Once severe defoliation occurs, plants need a chance to recover,” said Steffens. “It (the plant) has to put out another set of leaves and store enough energy to take care of itself.” The length of the recovery period depends upon how much plants were defoliated, what the growing conditions are, and when in terms of plant growth the plant was defoliated. Concept No. 5 - Germination and establishment can occur quickly in environments where moisture is readily available. A lot of times, however, Steffens says that because periods of growth are often short and erratic, the time it takes for a plant to establish may be longer than expected. If plants are defoliated more than once before they are fully mature, mortality will increase significantly. When establishing new stands, more recovery may be needed. Concept No. 6 - At the landscape scale, grazing animals do not graze over a whole area evenly. Steffens explained that factors such as topography, weather, location, season, proximity to water and species composition can all impact how much animals graze one area versus another. When animals use preferred areas repeatedly, overgrazing occurs; when observed on a small scale, this can be an indicator of larger pasture degradation to come. Concept No. 7 - To make changes in

defoliation or grazing intensity, graziers must change how animals interact with the plants and the landscape. “There’s nothing magical about having lots of pastures for a herd of animals and moving them around,” said Steffens. Steffens makes it clear that in these situations, continuous grazing and overgrazing can still occur. What matters instead, he expounds, is giving plants adequate recovery periods; getting livestock to graze more evenly via higher stocking densities and more frequent moves; and making an effort to change up the time of year and season of use for pastures over their useful life. Concept No. 8 – The animal’s ability to meet nutrient demands is a function of quality and quantity of forage available. Cattle will graze both the most palatable and lesser palatable plants if given the opportunity. However, if only lower-quality forage is available, animal performance will decline. Concept No. 9 - On a fixed land base with a set number of animals, if the number of paddocks is increased and cattle are grazed at a higher density, it does not necessarily mean the livestock will graze paddocks more intensely. “It’s a rate and time issue,” said Steffens. “I can have animals at a high density and the forage disappears quicker. But if I have a much shorter graze period based on the smaller paddock size, I will graze it to a much lighter intensity.” Concept No. 10 - When cattle use a greater proportion of the pasture or graze a greater variety of plants, stocking rate can be sustainably increased if pastures receive sufficient recovery periods between grazing. Steffens closed the talk by noting that grazing systems, much like fixed policies, do not work well. In their place, adaptive grazing strategies based on the listed 10 concepts, with a focus on ecological health, offer graziers more flexibility and control. Therefore, Steffens said, “Don’t apply someone else’s grazing system. Figure out what your farm has and put together a plan based on that.” • JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.

26 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2016

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Do not export Genuity® Roundup Ready® Alfalfa seed or crop, including hay or hay products, to China pending import approval. In addition, due to the unique cropping practices do not plant Genuity® Roundup Ready® Alfalfa in Imperial County, California, pending import approvals and until Monsanto grants express permission for such planting. 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. Commercialized products have 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. 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. 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 Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity ®, Roundup Ready ® and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. © 2016 W-L Research.


Georgia Forages Conference The Georgia Cattlemen’s Annual Convention will again kick-off with the Georgia Forages Conference on March 30 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry. Presentations will include management strategies for warm season annual forages, current research on winter annual forage systems, bermudagrass stem maggot control options,

and a beef producer panel. For program and registration information, visit http://bit.ly/GFC2016.

Toxic tall fescue conversion schools Four educational one-day schools with a focus on successfully converting Ken-

tucky 31 tall fescue to novel endophyte varieties will be offered by the Alliance of Grassland Renewal. The schools will be offered at one location in Oklahoma and three locations in Missouri. Conversion topics to be covered include establishment practices, fertility needs, smother crops, weed control, stand maintenance and variety selection. Attendees will be provided hands-on training for drill calibration and view different novel endophyte varieties. Dates and locations for the schools are as follows: Welch, Okla., March 28 Mt. Vernon, Mo., March 29 Columbia, Mo., March 30 Linneus, Mo., March 31 All schools run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration numbers are limited at each location. For additional program and registration information, visit http://grasslandrenewal.org.

Grassfed Exchange Conference This year’s Grassfed Exchange Conference will run under the theme of “Regenerating Lives One Farm at a Time.” The 2016 edition will be held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Ga., from April 27 through 29. Day one of the conference will include a tour to White Oak pastures, the University of Georgia agricultural experiment station, Farmview Market and Fort Creek Farm. The following two days of presentations will include topics dealing with soil quality, human nutrition, financing, direct marketing, cover crops and pasture management. Program and registration information are available at www. grassfedexchange.com. Discounted rates are available for students.

International Rangeland Conference


All things rangeland management will be addressed at the International Rangeland Congress in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, from July 16 to 22. The event will include numerous presentations regarding grass, land and wildlife management. Both pre- and mid-congress tours are also planned. A detailed agenda and registration information is available at www.irc2016canada.ca/. •

28 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2016

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We made $300 more per acre in milk. And saved 13¢ per cow per day on supplemental minerals. –Dan & Paul Natzke, Wayside Dairy

Better Forage, More Profit Dairy farmers can see multiple benefits from improved soil health. As forage yields increase, milk production per acre rises. As the quality of that forage increases, out-of-pocket supplemental mineral costs are reduced — because many of the necessary minerals are present in the forage. And minerals in plant form are more bioavailable to the cow than minerals in supplement form. These savings can be significant — just ask the team at Wayside Dairy. For over 30 years, Midwestern BioAg has helped farmers improve soil health to increase yields and improve forage quality. Our fertilizers and soil amendments are blended with high-quality, plantavailable ingredients that activate soil microbes and help grow forages with higher levels of digestible fiber, protein, and essential minerals such as calcium. Every aspect of our program promotes soil health, is gentle on roots and soil microbes, and optimizes plant growth, resiliency and quality.

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New Kubota mowers offer size, conditioning options For larger operations, Kubota’s two new disc mower introductions, the DM3087 and the DM4032, come equipped with Kubota’s fully-welded cutterbar. The DM3087 is a center-suspended disc mower that is an ideal combination of low weight and wide working width. At 3,000 pounds, and large working width (28-feet, 7-inches wide), the “butterfly” formation offers ideal weight distribution. In addition, the DM3087 allows farmers to effectively cut extensive areas with a minimum of 140 PTO horsepower. The second mower introduction, the DM4032, distinguishes itself through its excellent cutting performance and its unique ability to adapt to a variety of terrain. Both mowers offer outstanding suspension: the DM3087 center suspension system ensures optimal tracking and precise ground contour following, while the DM4032 allows the operator to set the height of the tractor linkage and adjust ground pressure by tightening

the suspension springs. For smaller operations, added to the Kubota DMC8000 series of trailed disc mower-conditioners is the new DMC8028R. The DMC8028R features full-width roller conditioning and Kubota’s threebladed cutterbar technology designed to allow the cutterbar and conditioning unit to float separately from the main chassis, creating the ability to follow a variety of terrains. Equipped with features such as a fully-welded, highly-durable cutterbar; SemiSwing or chevron roller conditioners; independent active suspension; the series offers a machine to meet a variety of environmental conditions with exceptional performance. Learn more at www.kubota.com.

Kubota adds to their round baler line Kubota brings three new variances to its popular baler line in 2016. New offerings include the BV4160 and BV4180 PremNet models, and the BV5160 Net model. These new variances offer a net-only binding system that ensures trouble-free and reliable operation, while the efficient fork feeder makes quick work of silage, hay and straw. The BV4180 PremNet model is packed full of premium productivity with a bale diameter of 4-feet wide by 6-feet high with 79-inch pickup capacity. These balers precisely craft softer cores with stronger exteriors for better weathering. Operators can depend on the newly patented PowerBind net wrap system for trouble-free and reliable operation as well as the efficient fork feeder intake system for a faster, more efficient baling process. The PremNet models are compatible with all brands of nets and feature a direct injection system for a sure start

every time. The BV5160 Net model features a bale size of 4-feet wide by 5-feet high with an 86-inch wide pickup capacity for fast and efficient pickup. An Intelligent Hay Density system allows the operator to preselect between three different bale densities from inside the tractor cab. The 14-knife chopping system provides a fast and efficient flow into the baler. With a chopping length of 2.75 inches, it is the ideal solution for producing dense and airtight bales. For more product information, visit www.kubota.com.

New Gator offers speed and utility John Deere has introduced the new Gator XUV590i and four-passenger XUV590i S4 Crossover Utility Vehicles, designed for operators who desire performance, comfort and customization. They come equipped with a powerful twin-cylinder engine, independent four-wheel suspension, and with the availability of more than 75 attachments. The XUV590i offers operators 10.5-inch minimum ground clearance, 800-pound load capacity, and 1,100-pound towing capacity. Likewise, the XUV590i S4 has a 9.3-inch minimum ground clearance, 1,200-pound load capacity and is capable of towing up to 1,100 pounds. The Gator XUV590i and XUV590i S4 also come standard with an 875-watt, 65-ampere alternator to run auxiliary attachments, such as lights, winches and sprayers, without the fear of discharg-

ing the battery. The new Gators feature a large, 7.4-gallon fuel tank to keep the vehicles running longer between fill-ups. The instrument cluster is backlit and provides critical vehicle information, such as speed, engine rpm, fuel level, coolant temperature, and warning lights for information such as power steering, maintenance reminders and seat belt reminder. For more information, visit www.JohnDeere.com/Gator.

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 mrankin@hayandforage.com.

30 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2016

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New Holland updates T5 tractor line for 2016 New Holland’s T5 tractor series — a popular choice of tractor in the livestock, hay and utility markets — has been refreshed for 2016 to not only meet stringent Tier 4B engine emissions regulations, but to also incorporate a host of new features to boost efficiency, productivity and comfort. The new T5 Tier 4B series has been re-engineered to meet the evolving needs of dairy and livestock farmers and those who require a nimble, mid-powered tractor for fieldwork on family farms, hay operations and smaller cropping farms. A premium and stylish short wheelbase hay-making and loader tractor, it offers multipurpose versatility with a high powerto-weight ratio and a transmission that’s optimized for loader and hay-making operations. A key development is the Terraglide front suspended axle option. When paired with the optional Comfort Ride cab suspension, farmers and operators can expect similar comfort levels to those already found on larger machines. Standard front brakes are available for true four-wheel braking performance. Externally, night vision is improved with new high power LED work lights. The optional four LED lights provide 7,800 lumens and a broader spread of white light. Compared to equivalent powered Halogen lights, they offer 177 percent more light and increased durability with less power consumption. Those operating compatible equipment benefit from optional ISOBUS Class 2 capability, which makes it easy to monitor and

control all implements using the optional IntelliView III or IV monitor for single-screen operation. The option of new mechanical or electrohydraulic joysticks with integrated transmission shifting is aimed at making operation easier, and more efficient, for those who fit their T5 with a loader. These provide transmission and loader function buttons on the one unit. New optional AutoShift function improves the functionality of the standard Electro Command transmission, enhancing drivability. For roadwork, operator input can be reduced by simplified gear changing in Auto Transport mode, which can significantly reduce fuel consumption. In the field, performance and economy during PTO and draft operations can be optimized with Auto Field mode, which manages both engine speed and transmission gear. The new T5 series is available in two models: the 107hp T5.110 and the 117hp T5.120, with respective maximum torque figures at 1,500 rpm of 345 and 362 feet per pounds. Read more about the T5 series at www.newholland.com.

Massey Ferguson 5700SL series mid-range tractors debut Massey Ferguson, a global brand of AGCO Corporation, introduced the 5700SL series mid-range tractors to producers during the 2016 National Farm Machinery Show. These tractors build upon the Massey Ferguson 5600 Series, and each of the three new models is equipped to work in compact spaces and offers the power, maneuverability, comfort, and performance needed for efficient loader work, hay production and general on-the-farm use. The new Series will include three models ranging from 110 to 130 engine horsepower. All are available in Classic and Deluxe Editions with cabs. The Deluxe Edition includes a new SpeedSteer option that lets the operator adjust the steering ratio for more or fewer turns of the steering wheel, making loader and headland turns faster and easier. Rear-mounted PTO engagement means fewer trips in and out of the cab to connect and operate the PTO, plus convenient, push-button access to quickly stop it. In addition, Deluxe Editions offer the optional factory-installed Auto-Guide 3000 automated-steering system to reduce wasteful overlap and save time during field operations. An open-center hydraulic system with a standard flow rate of 11 gallons per minute (gpm) to the rear three-point link-

age and 15 gpm to remote valves provides fast, responsive hydraulic function. An optional Twin Flow system combines the flow from both pumps, providing 26 gpm to remote hydraulic circuits for even faster cycle times. The 5700SL Series has a large and comfortable cab identical in size to the Massey Ferguson 7700 Series. The dash in the 5700SL Series features an easy-to-read digital display plus a new Setup and Information Screen (SIS). The easy-to-navigate, color SIS screen is 50 percent larger with 10-times greater resolution than the Dash Control Center on previous models. Powered by a 4.4L four-cylinder AGCO POWER diesel engine, the 5700SL Series meets Tier 4 Final compliance. A number of operator-preferred features will be retained in the 5700SL Series. Topping that list is the rugged and reliable Dyna-4 transmission with 16 forward and 16 reverse speeds for versatile, smooth shifting. For more information visit www.masseyferguson.us. March 2016 | hayandforage.com | 31

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American Forage and Grassland Council The Leader and voice of economically and environmentally sound forage focused agriculture

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Current events, special features and Hay & Forage Grower updates

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Connect with us at hayandforage.com March 2016 | hayandforage.com | 39


by John Goeser

What determines foragemarketing benchmarks?


O YOU know what actually goes into TDN (total digestible nutrients), RFV (relative feed value) or milk per ton values used to buy or sell hay or silage? Is the important nutrition component, fiber digestibility, included in the evaluation? Feed value indices have evolved substantially over the past 30 years as numerous researchers have published

and documented the impact NDFD (neutral detergent fiber digestibility) has upon animal performance, with greater NDFD measures corresponding to greater gains or milk per cow. Gaining two to three units in NDFD will often lead to 1 pound per cow improvement in performance. As dairies and feedlots recognize performance variances from one crop

Figure 1: California TDN based solely on ADF

Figure 2: RFV is impacted entirely by ADF and NDF

*Pie chart representing the amount of California TDN (CA TDN) variation, as percent of total, explained by core forage nutrient and digestion (NDFD30) measures. CP




Figure 3: RFQ came close to measuring alfalfa’s value

*Pie chart representing the amount of relative feed value (RFV) variation, as a percent of total, explained by core forage nutrient and digestion (NDFD30) measures. Fat



Figure 4: Milk 2006 ties alfalfa quality to animal performance

to the next, in many cases due to NDFD, the industry’s search for better crop value measures intensified. As a result, crop value predictions have evolved to incorporate NDFD measures and improved in accuracy under the guidance of university researchers and professors. However, with all of this progress in understanding, too many conversations and transactions still center on forage measures that do not consider advanced nutrition NDFD. Millions of dollars in hay and silage are bought and sold each year based upon quality values that do not reflect fiber digestion potential. Does the benchmark used to value forage consider appropriate nutrient measures or NDF digestibility within the ranking? In the following discussion and figures, an outline of how forage nutrient parameters (such as crude protein; CP) and NDFD are related to, and explain, common forage value measures. Early crop quality predictions, dating back 20 years or more, began by measuring acid detergent fiber (ADF), which is the amount of fiber that was not soluble in acid. Some early research showed that ADF was strongly correlated to TDN, and California TDN (CA TDN) was born. TDN is estimated solely based upon the ADF content. Figure 1 demonstrates that ADF content explains all variation. Notice that NDFD does not explain any of CA TDN. Fiber content matters and ADF is important. But while research-backed, ADF alone falls short of explaining many animal performance swings. As time has gone on, forage crop value estimates further evolved to incorporate another fiber measure, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), into RFV. The RFV measure added slightly more complexity, however it still simply repJOHN GOESER

*Pie chart representing the amount of relative forage quality (RFQ) variation, as a percent of total, explained by core forage nutrient and digestion (NDFD30) measures.

*Pie chart representing the amount of Milk2006 variation, as a percent of total — excluding starch and dry matter, explained by core forage nutrient and digestion (NDFD30) measures. Please note, both starch and dry matter were excluded in the evaluation here to demonstrate nutrient and NDFD contributions to Milk2006 across all forage crops.

The author is the director of nutrition research and innovation with Rock River Lab Inc, and adjunct assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dairy Science Department.

40 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2016

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inc resents only fiber content as evidenced in Figure 2. The hay or haylage NDF explains over 75 percent of RFV, while other nutrient measures, such as crude protein and NDFD, have no impact on RFV. As mentioned previously, fiber content is important and is the first parameter that many evaluate when interpreting hay or silage value. But the fiber digestibility is equally valuable relative to animal performance, and is not considered in RFV. As a result, the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ; Undersander and Moore, 2001) measure was developed. Relative forage quality is built upon NDF and ADF but also builds in other nutrients reported on the forage analysis, and incorporates NDFD, as highlighted in Figure 3. Further investigating the forage analysis measures that contribute to RFQ, NDF remains a large stake-holder, similar to RFV. However, crude protein (CP), fat, and ash are important forage nutrients to consider, and RFQ builds these in — meaning RFQ is more dynamic than RFV. The RFQ index not only builds these valuable nutrients into the equation, but further relates to animal performance by incorporating NDFD, which accounts for roughly 25 percent of the RFQ result (Figure 3). Greater NDFD will be reflected in higher RFQ values, other things being equal, and this is logical. The goal for RFQ should be 175 or greater for high performing dairy or beef cattle. While RFQ is applicable hay-and haylage, there is 1/2for page 4 color one more advanced quality ranking; the Milk2006 equation, 3.62” x 10” which seeks to better relate to animal performance. Hay & Forage The Milk2006 equation and forage valueGrower expands upon ration model equations (NRC, 2001) to refine how NDFD contributes to forage value, as can be seen in Figure 4. Milk2006 also offers outputs in several fashions to fit a variety of users — TDN, net energy for lactation (NEL) or pounds of milk per ton of forage. Milk2006 is currently the most dynamic forage value index available to date and applicable for all forage types, incorporating starch and dry matter for corn silages to better reflect silage performance. Fiber digestibility is now a primary forage analysis component in determining TDN, NEL or milk per ton using the Milk2006 approach. And rightfully so. The goal in TDN is to be greater than 70 percent. The goal in milk per ton is to be greater than 3,200 pounds per ton.

rea Now sed , w pro ith duc tivi ty


Bale hay when you need to. Not just when you can find help. The versatile Model 1000 accumulator features the new telescopic push-over arm, for increased productivity. Preserve your hay quality by stacking the bales on edge, without bending or dragging them.

Develop a system These pie charts are a visual representation of which forage analysis measures, and to what extent, are used to value forage with your favorite index. If your index seems overly simple, such as being based on a single nutrient or two, work with your consulting team to choose a new one that has potential to better reflect the quality of your forage for use on your own herd, or for marketing your forage to others. Consider using the more advanced quality rankings to more appropriately value your forage and better relate to animal performance. Besides analyzing your forage value to build a great ration, the forage quality measure utilized on your farm or your clients’ farms can also hone a benchmarking program to continue to improve quality through the years. All of this can be done while the industry waits for history to repeat itself with new parameters for forage quality measurement that get us closer to knowing exactly what happens within the cow. •

Eight models of forks are available for different configurations. Handle from four to 18 bales at a time.

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Demand still light in many regions Many reports are still indicating light to moderate demand, though in some areas there seems to be a modest uptick in activity. Extreme weather events continue to have an impact in some areas. The USDA reports that hay stocks in December are in good

supply for most regions. The prices reported below were obtained primarily from USDA hay market reports in late January. Prices are FOB barn/stack for large square bales unless otherwise denoted (abbreviations are below table) •

For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com Supreme-quality hay California (intermountain) Colorado (northeast)-ssb Colorado (southwest) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (southwest) Kansas (south central) Missouri Montana Montana-ssb Oklahoma (central) Oklahoma (western) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb South Dakota (East River) Texas (Panhandle) Texas (western) Texas (western)-ssb Utah (central/northern) Premium-quality hay California (southern) California (southeast) Colorado (southeast)-ssb Illinois (central) Kansas (north central/east) Missouri Montana Nebraska (northeast/central)-lrb Oklahoma (central) Oregon (Klamath Basin) Oregon (Lake County)-ssb Pennsylvania (southeast) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb South Dakota (East River) Texas (Panhandle)-ssb Utah (southern) Washington (Columbia Basin)-ssb Wisconsin Good-quality hay Illinois (southern)-ssb Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (north central/east) Kansas (southwest) Minnesota (Pipestone)-ssb Missouri Montana Nebraska (northeast/central) Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb Oklahoma (central) Oregon (Crook-Wasco) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb South Dakota (western) Utah (northern) Washington (Columbia Basin)

Wisconsin Price $/ton 320 (o) Wyoming (central/western) 229 Fair-quality hay 175 California (central SJV) 140 California (southeast) 155-170 Illinois (northern) 170-190 Illinois (southern) 190-200 Iowa (Rock Valley) 180-200 Kansas (southwest) 150-185 Kansas (north central/east) 200 Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb 165-185 Missouri 160-170 Montana-lrb 250-280 Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb 200 Nebraska (western) 205-230 South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb 220-240 Texas (north, central, east) 315-333 (d) Utah (northern) 150-175 Utah (Uintah Basin) Wisconsin 260 (d) Wyoming (eastern) 225-230 Bermudagrass hay 200 Alabama-Premium lrb 230-285 (d) Alabama-Premium ssb 160-180 Texas (Panhandle)-Good/Premium 150-190 Texas (north, central, east)-G/P ssb 150-165 Texas (south)-Good/Premium lrb 92-95 Bromegrass hay 135-165 Kansas (north central/east)-Good ssb 180 Kansas (southeast) Good 200 Missouri-Fair to Good 200-270 Orchardgrass hay 185-235 Colorado (southwest)-Premium ssb 190 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb 280-290 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Good ssb 120-150 Virginia-Good lrb 260-265 Timothy hay 112-123 Colorado (southeast)-Premium ssb Montana-Premium ssb 200-240 Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good 110-130 Virginia-Good 100-120 Washington (Col. Basin)-Premium ssb 150-160 Oat hay 120 Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb 120-160 Oregon (Lake County) 140-150 South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb 150-160 Texas (Panhandle) 80-85 Straw 100-130 Alabama-ssb 225 California (north SJV) 150-210 Illinois (northern) 105-125 Iowa (Rock Valley) 90 Kansas (southwest) 120-140 Pennsylvania (southeast) 135-147 South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb

85-110 110-120 198 (d) 125 120 128-145 93-108 90-100 100-120 80-90 100-120 100-110 70-75 90 90-98 160 90-120 85-100 60-80 70 130 180-300 140-180 (d) 231-265 120-130 120-145 75-100 50-80 277 240 225 65-110 154-167 180-210 160-225 155 170 65 100 65 160 160 125 (d) 120-125 (d) 80-100 60-65 (d) 160-260 65-68

Abbreviations: d=delivered, lrb=large round bales, ssb=small square bales, o=organic

42 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2016

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For information only. Not a label. Prior to use, always read and follow the product label directions. WILBUR-ELLIS logo, Ideas to Grow With, INTEGRA and INTEGRA FORTIFIED SEED are registered trademarks and INTEGRA logo is a trademark of Wilbur-Ellis Company. K-0216-076

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Sources: Quality Source: Monsanto and university trial data Data Source: Experiment IDs 2003999A07, TAES; 2003599501, MSU; B4-03 U of MN; 2003723037, SDSU **University of California Cooperative Extension Online Survey of 113 Roundup Ready Alfalfa Growers, October-November 2011 Do not export Genuity® Roundup Ready® Alfalfa seed or crop, including hay or hay products, to China pending import approval. In addition, due to the unique cropping practices do not plant Genuity® Roundup Ready® Alfalfa in Imperial County, California, pending import approvals and until Monsanto grants express permission for such planting. 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. 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 Excellence Through Stewardship. Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. This result may not be an indicator of results you may obtain as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible. 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 Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready® and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2016 Monsanto Company. MSC-16003-RR+Alfalfa-H&FG-030116

Profile for Hay & Forage Grower

Hay & Forage Grower - March 2016  

Hay & Forage Grower provides the newest production and marketing information in print, online and in person for large-acreage forage produce...

Hay & Forage Grower - March 2016  

Hay & Forage Grower provides the newest production and marketing information in print, online and in person for large-acreage forage produce...