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February 2017

Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

Lower sprinkler drops save water, energy pg 10 Soil health is more than just cover crops pg 16 A ruminant growth promoter pg 30 Self-loading wagons pg 32



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12/13/16 10:23 AM

February 2017 · VOL. 32 · No. 2 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 Illinois farmer leads, adjusts, and diversifies

PRESIDENT Brian V. Knox VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING Gary L. Vorpahl EDITORIAL OFFICE 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, Fort Atkinson, WI, 53538 WEBSITE www.hayandforage.com EMAIL info@hayandforage.com PHONE (920) 563-5551

Ron Tombaugh is a forage “lifer”who continues to reinvent his business in the middle of cash grain country.


Do corn genetics matter when grazing residue? The composition of grazed cornstalks have changed. The “how” might surprise you.


Lower sprinkler drops save water and energy

Multiplying alfalfa seed involves a number of steps and intense quality control.






DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 8 Beef Feedbunk 14 Dairy Feedbunk 18 Feed Analysis 20 Pasture Ponderings 24 Forage Shop Talk




Multiplying alfalfa seed with bees and combines

The need for reduced water usage has led to new irrigation strategies and technologies.







28 32 33 42 42

Research Roundup Forage Gearhead Machine Shed Forage IQ Hay Market Update




ON THE COVER Alfalfa haylage is pushed into one of the bunker silos on Stone-Front Farm in Lancaster, Wis. Fifth generation farmer Andy Buttles and his wife, Lyn, own and manage the dairy operation that includes 1,000 milking cows, 500 alfalfa acres, and 400 corn silage acres. Forages are custom harvested. Photo by Mike Rankin

HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2017 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.

February 2017 | hayandforage.com | 3

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ERHAPS more than any other season, winter is a period for reflection. The USDA helps in this regard with their bevy of January production reports. I, like many people, have sometimes looked at elements of these reports and wondered, “How can that be?” For sure, there are times when they probably miss the mark or make a calculation error. Sometimes methodology can be questioned, but let’s also keep in mind that quantifying forage production across the U.S. is a daunting task. Methodology aside, there is still great value in these reports from a trend and comparison standpoint. That’s really where our focus needs to go. The USDA reports will never be perfect, but they’re the best information we have, and I would hate to see them completely go away. December hay stocks: USDA pegged December 1 hay stocks at 95.8 million tons, up only 0.9 percent from one year ago. This was the highest December hay stock total since 2010 when supplies reached 102 million tons. Recall, however, that supply depleted quickly with some widespread drought conditions in 2011 and 2012. The 2016 year-over-year boost in stocks was less than 1 million tons compared to a nearly 3-million-ton rise from December 2014 to 2015. Individual states varied in the direction and amount of hay stocks. In the West, net decreases were seen in California (down 5 percent), Arizona (down 3 percent), and Colorado (down 13 percent). Drought-ravaged states in the Southeast had significant declines with Alabama suffering a whopping 34 percent drop in year-over-year supplies. In the Midwest, those states with supply reductions were Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, and Illinois.

Harvested hay acres: USDA dropped its 2016 harvested hay acreage number to 53.5 million, down nearly 1 million acres from 2015. Nearly all of the acreage reduction came in the form of alfalfa, dropping from 17.8 to 16.9 million acres. Most of the major alfalfa producing states registered declines in acreage except for Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Those states with the largest alfalfa acreage reductions were Iowa (down 220,000), Wisconsin (down 200,000), and South Dakota (down 200,000). New seedings of alfalfa in the U.S. during 2016 totaled 2.3 million acres, down from 2.5 million acres in 2015. Wisconsin led the new seeding decline, down 120,000 acres from 2015. Hay production: The 2016 production of all hay types in the U.S. totaled 134.8 million tons, up only 0.2 percent from 2015. Total alfalfa production declined by 1.2 percent down to 58.3 million tons. In some states, alfalfa hay production was cut significantly in 2016 compared to 2015. Included in this group were South Dakota (down 780,000 tons), Iowa (down 693,000 tons), Colorado (down 490,000 tons), North Dakota (down 470,000 tons), and California (down 411,000 tons). In some cases, the lower production was caused by acreage reductions, others by reduced yield, and some a combination of both relative to 2015. Bottom line: Growing dairy and beef herds, improved milk and beef prices, a strong hay export market, and fewer alfalfa acres (both established and new seedings) are signs that hay prices likely won’t retreat further in 2017 and probably will strengthen, at least modestly. •

* SOURCE: Utah State University HayBoss G2 is a trademark of AGCO Corporation. AGCO Parts, the AGCO Parts logo, AGCO and the AGCO logo are trademarks of AGCO Corporation. © 2017 1208D_HF

4 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

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


Chris Britton DuPont Pioneer Account Manager


Stephen Hawk Grower



Pioneer.com/HarvXtra HarvXtra® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® alfalfa with Roundup Ready® technology is enabled with technology from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark used under license from Monsanto Company. Do not export Pioneer ® brand alfalfa seed or crops containing Genuity® Roundup Ready® technology, including hay or hay products, to China pending import approval. In addition, due to the unique cropping practices, do not plant this product in Imperial County, California. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Alfalfa with the Genuity® Roundup Ready® technology provides crop safety for over-the-top applications of labeled glyphosate herbicides when applied according to label directions. Glyphosate agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. ACCIDENTAL APPLICATION OF INCOMPATIBLE HERBICIDES TO THIS VARIETY COULD RESULT IN TOTAL CROP LOSS. Pioneer ® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents. ® TM SM , , Trademarks and service marks of DuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners. © 2017 PHII. DUPPFO17005_VA_020117_HFG

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The Tombaugh farm operation has diversified and all members of the family are involved. From left, Tyler (son), Sandy (wife), and Ron Tombaugh.

Illinois farmer leads, adjusts, and diversifies by Sydney Sleep


ON Tombaugh’s entrepreneurial nature helped him successfully integrate a haying and trucking business. In Streator, Ill., the epicenter of corn and soybean country, Tombaugh bought his first round baler for custom work in 1973. Three years later, his family owned 13 pieces of New Holland equipment, so Tombaugh and his dad decided to open a New Holland dealership in the Streator area; at the same time, Tombaugh was still working on his general agriculture degree at the University of Illinois.

Full-time hay Upon graduation, he moved back to the farm full time and in five years began his successful career in the hay business with the purchase of his own baler and bale wagon. He named his business “Dart Hay Service.” Along the way, Tombaugh had also been brokering hay, which proved to be helpful in his custom haying business. In 1992, Tombaugh bought a big 6 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

square baler. “There was a time when we did small squares, big squares, and we even wrapped some,” Tombaugh said. However, he realized that the market was in big square bales, so he decided to make that his main business. He appreciates the big balers because they require less labor, work faster, and handle larger windrows entering the baler so more leaves are saved. At that time, he was baling hay on 300 acres. By 1993, he was haying almost full time and running the machinery business. Tombaugh and his dad had given up the New Holland dealership in 1988 but continued specializing in used New Holland hay tools. The following year his father passed away, and he gave up the machinery business completely.

Diversify and downsize Straw baling began in 2003 when a friend came up short on a wheat straw contract for an Illinois mushroom farm. Tombaugh stepped in, filling the contract and establishing a new branch

of his business. The following year he baled 2,700 acres of straw. One of his biggest years was 2005, when he baled 700 acres of hay and 5,000 acres of straw. “An important part of my expansion was getting into straw,” he said. When the grain prices and markets expanded from 2008 to 2014, a number of landlords didn’t want to make longterm commitments to hay. As a result, Tombaugh decided to downsize a bit. He currently bales 700 acres of straw and 180 acres of alfalfa. These days, Tombaugh operates with a 16-foot self-propelled disc mower, a hay rake, and a large square baler. SYDNEY SLEEP The author was the 2016 Hay & Forage Grower summer editorial intern and is a junior at South Dakota State University.

Ron Tombaugh begins another day of baling wheat straw. The hay business “lifer” noted that straw gave his business a big lift when hay acres became more difficult to procure in the heart of grain country.

The business is now a two-person operation run with his son, Tyler, who is attending Joliet Junior College this fall studying agriculture business and mechanics. “I would like to come back and help Dad in the long run and maybe even start my own business,” Tyler said. On his own farm, Tombaugh grows 180 acres of alfalfa, 150 acres of wheat, 250 acres of corn, and 350 acres of soybeans. Making the highest quality hay possible has always been of utmost importance. At the 2011 World Dairy Expo, one of his samples placed second in the World Forage Superbowl contest. He firmly believes that “quality hay will always sell.” Most of Tombaugh’s hay goes to dairies, but some is fed to beef.

is making and selling miniature 1-pound bales. Sandy noticed the mini bales at a craft fair and they caught her interest. She located their first handmade baler in Texas that created 5- by 7- by 12-inch bales. They currently sell the bales at craft fairs and by word of mouth. People use the bales for everything from decorations to rabbit feed. Sandy runs a commercial T-shirt embroidery business that she started with a partner in 2015. Ron and Sandy are in the process of building a retail store to sell the bales and house her embroidery business. The couple also recently got started with vermiculture and is hoping the new store will provide a place to market worm casings. •

Building relationships Tombaugh also runs his own trucking business. “It made sense for me to get into trucking shortly after starting the custom baling business because I already did all my hay and straw deliveries,” Tombaugh stated. At one point, he had four trucks and several drivers. However, he decided to downsize to two trucks so that he could make all the deliveries. Over the years he has hauled loads as far as Alabama, Texas, New Jersey, and Georgia, but most of his deliveries are in Illinois and neighboring states. “I always try to deliver the hay so that I can talk face to face with buyers, and that way if there are any issues we can get them resolved right away,” Tombaugh said. To him, it is all about building relationships and personal communication. He says it is also very rewarding to deliver his own bales. Into the future, he would like to continue baling about the same amount of hay and straw that he is currently. His main goal will remain the same, “baling everything efficiently and producing the highest quality possible.”

Really small square bales On top of staying busy with his business, Tombaugh has made the time to be involved in many organizations and has held numerous leadership positions. To name a few, he was the American Forage and Grassland Council president (2002 to 2003), the National Hay Association president (2007 to 2008), and the National Forage Testing Association president in 2010. He is currently serving on the board of the National Forage Testing Association. In 2011, Prairie Farmer magazine named him a Master Farmer. Ron gained another business partner when he married his wife, Sandy, 12 years ago. They adopted Sandy’s grandson, Tyler, shortly after getting married. A unique side business that the couple has started together February 2017 | hayandforage.com | 7


by Mary Drewnoski Grazing cornstalks from modern hybrids often means less corn grain but more plant residue than in past years.

Do corn genetics matter when grazing residue?


VERY year I hear cattle producers make the comment: “Cattle don’t seem to do as well as they used to when grazing corn residue.” Many of them go on to suggest it is due to genetic modification of the corn plant. When grazing corn residue, cattle select dropped corn grain along with the husks and leaves. The digestibility of the plant has not been found to differ between transgenic and the nontransgenic parent. The gain of calves, if supplemented with distillers or corn gluten feed, grazing transgenic versus the parental hybrid has not differed. In fact, the numerical differences in gain track better with the amount of dropped corn in the field than with genetic modification. So . . . has genetic modification caused the residue to be less nutritious? No and yes. The digestibility of the plant parts themselves has not changed due to genetic modification. However, there is now less ear drop than in the past because of transgenic traits, advancements in harvest technologies, and improved hybrid genetics. This means that the nutritive value of the residue in the field is likely lower because less total pounds of downed ears are available.

Residue is still a good value Remember, the corn grain itself has more energy (83 percent total digestible nutrients [TDN]) and protein (10 percent crude protein) than any other plant part. In grazing studies conducted in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, grain remaining in the fields ranged from 2 to 14 bushels per 8 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

acre. In similar studies conducted after 2000, corn remaining in the field ranged from 0 to 3 bushels per acre. At the same time, the yield of corn and the corresponding amount of residue has been rising; this has allowed cattle to graze on the same fields longer, consuming diets with an even greater proportion of husk and leaf relative to grain. Even with less available corn grain, mature, spring-calving cows that are in good condition can maintain body condition score (BSC) and have good rebreeding rates with no supplemental energy or protein if stocked at the appropriate rate. In a five-year study, supplementation of a distillers-based cube at 2.2 pounds per cow for animals grazing corn residue did not improve pregnancy rates or weaning weights over nonsupplemented cows. At the start of the winter, the cows had a good BCS of 5, and nonsupplemented cows were able to maintain BCS over the winter when grazing residue alone. However, if mature gestating cows are thin (BCS 4), they will respond to protein supplementation. Typically, we suggest feeding 0.3 pound of protein. This would be 1 pound of dry distillers or 2 pounds of modified distillers. Corn residue can also cost effectively be used to develop replacement heifers. Supplementation of 2 pounds of dry distillers to 600-pound heifers will typically result in an average daily gain (ADG) of 1 pound, while 4 pounds of dry distillers results in 1.5 pounds ADG. First-calf heifers have the greatest nutrient requirements in the cow herd.

Corn residue can still be successfully grazed with first-calf heifers, but they do require supplementation. First-calf heifers in midgestation (six to three months prior to calving) will need protein supplementation at about 0.5 pound of protein per day. Supplementing about 1.8 pounds of dry distillers will correct this deficiency. During late gestation (three months prior to calving), firstcalf heifers are both deficient in protein and energy. Feeding 3.3 pounds of dry distillers will meet their needs.

Consider stocking rate Stocking rate affects the plane of nutrition. Digestibility (energy) of the diet is quite high at the initiation of grazing but declines with time because cattle select the more digestible parts such as the grain and husks early in the grazing period. Husks are about 60 percent TDN, and leaves are about 50 percent TDN. Cattle consume the cobs and upper stalks, which are only 35 percent TDN, when the availability of husks and leaves become limiting. Stocking rate recommendations dictate that corn residue can be stocked at one 1,200-pound cow for one month for every 100 bushels of corn. At this stocking rate, cattle would be consuming half of the leaves and husks available, which is only 15 percent of the corn residue produced. If grazed beyond this, supplementation of mature cows in late gestation is likely needed to meet energy and protein requirements. The plane of nutrition when cows were grazing corn residue 30 years ago is likely different than today because the amount of corn grain left in the field is often less than in the past. However, today corn residue is still one of the lowest cost resources for wintering cows in the Corn Belt, and mature cows can be wintered without supplementation if the appropriate stocking rate is utilized. • MARY DREWNOSKI The author is a beef systems specialist, University of Nebraska.

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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. ©2017 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 2017 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 U.S. domestic use. 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. HarvXtra® is a trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra ® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready ® Technology is enabled with technology from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. Genuity Design ®, Genuity Icons, Genuity ®, Roundup Ready ® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. © 2017 W-L Research.



HarvXtra® Alfalfa is first in its category of genetically enhanced alfalfa technology. It’s designed to maximize quality versus traditional alfalfa at the same maturity stage through lignin reduction in the plant.

LEPA being used on a row crop using drag socks to minimize erosion to the furrow dikes that limit water movement in the furrows.

Lower sprinkler drops save water and energy by R. Troy Peters


HEN center pivots were first introduced, they used high-pressure impact sprinklers on top of the pipe. These sprinklers needed 40 to 60 pounds per square inch (psi) to operate properly, were spaced 20 to 30 feet apart, and the irrigation application efficiency was about 60 percent, as measured by catch-can tests. Currently, most center pivots use mid-elevation spray application (MESA). These sprinklers typically use 15 to 20 psi pressure regulators, are spaced much closer together at about 10 feet apart, and the irrigation application efficiency is routinely measured at about 80 to 85 percent. Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) and Low Elevation Spray Application (LESA) take that one step further to use 6 to 10 psi pressure regulators, the sprinkler drops are spaced 5 feet or less apart, and the irrigation application efficiency is improved to about 96 percent as measured by catch-can tests without a crop canopy. Lowering the sprinkler drops enhances efficiency and uses less energy; how10 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

ever, more drops are required to uniformly distribute the water. LEPA is a modification to the sprinkler configuration on center pivots or linear moves that minimizes evaporation and wind drift losses by running (dribbling) the water directly onto the soil surface at very low pressures, saving significant pumping energy and water. LESA is a similar modification, but uses a suspended sprinkler or spray head to spread the water out to apply it a little more uniformly than LEPA and also allows more time for the water to infiltrate into the soil. As a result, it has fewer problems with nonuniformity, crop germination, or with ponding and runoff compared LEPA. It, therefore, can be more flexible than LEPA with a wide variety of crops, row orientations, and tillage systems.

Measured water savings Tests were done with catch cans to evaluate the differences in irrigation efficiency and uniformity of MESA versus LESA. These tests were done 10 different times, under different weather

conditions, and the cans were dug in such that the can openings were level with the soil surface. In these experiments, an average of 81 percent of the water that left the MESA nozzles was collected in the catch cans. By comparison, an average of 96 percent of the water that left the LESA nozzles was collected in the catch cans. These differences were statically significant and translated to 18 percent more water reaching the ground with LESA when compared with MESA. These differences will likely be even higher when the LEPA or LESA sprinklers operate within a crop canopy. The LESA sprinklers had measurably poorer distribution uniformity. However, this may be of minor imporR. TROY PETERS The author is an associate professor in the department of biological systems engineering located at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Wash.

tance since the sprinklers are close enough together that the soil’s ability to move water laterally, and the crop roots’ ability to grow toward water can compensate for this lack of uniformity on a small scale. It might be compared to how a wetted furrow every 5 feet (irrigating every other row on a 30-inch spacing) can adequately irrigate a row crop. Deep-rooted crops like alfalfa are especially resilient to nonuniform water distribution if the variation is on a small scale like that of LEPA or LESA.

Limitations exist LEPA, and to a lesser extent LESA, apply the same amount of water to the soil within a smaller radius and in less time than that of a pivot pass. Consequently, the risk of water runoff is elevated in fields with steep slopes and tight soils where runoff is already a problem. These types of fields probably shouldn’t convert to LEPA or LESA without first making changes to tillage or residue management practices that limit the elevated potential for runoff. The lower flow per sprinkler also means that smaller nozzle sizes will be used throughout the pivot. These can get plugged easier unless the water is filtered for smaller debris particle sizes in the water.

Positive test results LEPA and LESA have been used successfully in Kansas and Texas for

almost 20 years. This has been driven by the very acute water shortages that they have in these areas. Getting more water to the soil per gallon pumped translates into improved yields and higher profits. Trials and demonstration projects have been ongoing in the Pacific Northwest for the last four years. In many of these trials, the last span of a pivot was converted to LESA or LEPA for comparison purposes with the rest of the pivot. The crops grown included: timothy hay, alfalfa, grass seed, beans, mint, silage corn, barley, potatoes, and wheat. No observable damage was done to the crops by dragging the sprinkler heads through any of the crops. The feedback from the growers has been largely positive. Almost all of those who saw it demonstrated on their farms are expanding to greater use of LESA or LEPA. Especially in Idaho, where there has been a court-ordered reduction in water rights, growers are beginning to convert pivots to LESA. Mint growers have also been converting their pivots to LEPA because of an ancillary benefit of higher mint oil yields that are likely due to water from sprinklers washing mint oil off the plant leaves. In areas where the soils are particularly sandy (less able to move water laterally in the soil) and/or if growing crops with particularly shallow root zones, it may be necessary to use a tighter spacing (2.5 to 3 feet) between their sprinkler drops. It is simple to change

LESA operating in a cornfield. The narrow spacing eliminates typical uniformity issues with MESA on wider spacings due to the canopy disrupting the application pattern. Although the canopy periodically held up the heads, no noticeable uniformity issues were observed even though the rows were not planted in a circle.

LEPA being used on mint. This setup allows conversion back to MESA for better crop germination, if desired.

the LESA sprinkler spray plate. Often it’s just a matter of turning them upside down to expose a different plate to the stream from the nozzle; this widens the wetted radius. Another approach is to spray the water more upward at certain stages of the crop development to compensate for potential issues with water distribution uniformity.

Potential for cost sharing LEPA or LESA uses more drop hose, sprinklers, and pressure regulators and, therefore, there is a slightly higher equipment cost estimated to be about $1,000 per span, depending on a number of factors. These costs can be paid for over time by energy savings at the pump alone, even when the costs of reworking the pump to be more efficient at a lower pressure are considered. Growers who don’t have enough water and are forced to deficit irrigate their crops will realize the largest financial benefit from converting to LEPA or LESA since their ability to get more water to the crops will result in improved yields and crop quality. When all of the fixed costs of land and equipment ownership, planting, cultivating, and harvesting a crop are fairly constant, better yields and crop quality can result in disproportionately greater profit margins for the grower. In addition, LEPA and LESA not only benefit the grower but also can benefit the public at large through water and energy conservation. There are several organizations willing to cost share on the conversion costs from MESA to LESA, depending on where you live. These include Bonneville Power Administration rebates through your local electric utility, the USDA National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and possibly your local conservation district. Before you begin converting pivots, contact these organizations and ask about potential cost-share programs. •

The wind drift losses are fairly visible under the MESA section and practically nonexistent in the LESA section where the spray heads are below the top of the wheat canopy.

February 2017 | hayandforage.com | 11

First-cut alfalfa is mowed on the Bill Simon farm near Fairfield, Idaho. “Timing and the ability to move fast when the weather breaks in spring is critical in this region,” said Simon.

One-cut wonders by Mike Rankin


OU can cut alfalfa 20 times in one year or one time for 20 years. This was an axiom told to me many years ago. It relates to the persistence of an alfalfa stand given the intensity of a chosen cutting schedule. The practicality of cutting alfalfa either one time per year or 20 times per year seemed a bit foreign at the time, but not anymore. On a visit to a couple of Idaho farms last summer, I spoke with two producers who routinely are able to only get one cutting of alfalfa on some of their acres. Driving across Highway 20 in south central Idaho puts you at an elevation of about 5,000 feet. Bordered by two mountain ranges, towns are few and far between. Dennis Strom farms just past mile marker 137 near Hill City, a burg that really has no size resemblance to a “city.” Strom is mostly an alfalfa farmer; 2,500 acres worth of combined irrigated and dryland fields. The home farm has been in the family since 1903. Strom said, “It’s beautiful country but a tough place to make a living.”

rainfall is less than an inch. “My number one wish for alfalfa variety improvement is frost tolerance,” Strom exclaimed. “Our growing season is about 60 days, but it’s possible to get a frost on just about any night of the year.” When alfalfa breaks dormancy in the spring, it’s routine to have it frosted multiple times. As we walked his fields, plants were in a range of maturity as some were set back by frost more than others. Down the road a distance and just outside of Fairfield is Bill Simon Sr., who farms with his two sons (Bill Jr. and Dave) and a son-in-law (Matt McLam). Each has a financial stake in the operation through land and machinery ownership. Together, they battle the same environmental conditions as Strom — living off winter moisture and experiencing frost on a routine basis. They, too, have both irrigated and dryland fields that total nearly 6,000 acres. “Timing and the ability to move fast

How tough is it? Strom gets one cutting of alfalfa per year on his dryland and two on his irrigated acres. The dryland averages about 1.3 tons per acre (combined bale weight) while nearly 3 tons per acre are annually attained on the irrigated ground. Average annual precipitation is about 14 inches per year, and it comes mostly in the winter as snow. From June through October, monthly average 12 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

Dennis Strom points to plants in an 18-year-old alfalfa stand. He usually gets 15 to 20 years out of his dryland fields before rotating to a cereal grain like barley.

when the weather breaks in spring is critical in this region,” Simon said. A large portion of their alfalfa is organic hay that is marketed through a broker. Similar to Strom, they get one cut per year on their dryland production and two cuts from irrigated fields.

High quality, long stand life The unique growing conditions in this part of Idaho do offer some advantages. The cool nights keep plant respiration to a minimum and forage quality is maintained through maturation, especially fiber digestibility. It’s this high quality that helps Strom and Simon produce bales that can be marketed for a premium price. Going back to that original alfalfa axiom on stand persistence, Strom gets a whopping 15 to 20 years out of his dryland fields that only produce one annual cutting. One of his 18-year-old stands is still nearly weed free and productive. In all of his fields, Strom is vigilant about weed control. As for his stand persistence, Simon noted, “We get about a seven- to eightyear stand life on our irrigated fields and nine to 10 from the dryland. Damage from rodents is a real problem in some fields, and it’s often the primary reason we have to rotate a field out of alfalfa and into a cereal grain.” Although larger pests and wildlife are detrimental to alfalfa stands in the higher elevations, the cool temperatures usually keep insects at bay. “We rarely have significant insect damage,” said Simon. •

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by Gonzalo Ferreira

Potassium in forages . . . why does it matter?


document, 27.6 percent of the surveyed operations use anionic salts. Inducing a metabolic acidosis causes the blood to become slightly acidic. When more acidic conditions are accomplished, the absorption of calcium in the intestine and the release of calcium from the bones is stimulated. The result is elevated blood calcium concentrations. In nutritional and chemical terms, metabolic acidosis is induced when the anion equivalents from chlorine and sulfur are greater than the cation equivalents from sodium and potassium. In lay terms, diets that contain

NIONIC salts are typically incorporated in feed rations for close-up dry cows. By inducing a metabolic acidosis (nothing related to ruminal acidosis), the inclusion of anionic salts in diets for close-up dry cows stimulates calcium metabolism, therefore diminishing the incidence of clinical and subclinical hypocalcemia during the transition period. The National Animal Health Monitoring System (USDA, 2014) reported in their latest dairy survey that there is a growing tendency to include anionic salts in diets for close-up dry cows to prevent hypocalcemia. According to the

Table 1. Dietary cation/anion differences of common feed ingredients*

Table 2. Potassium (K) concentrations (%, DM basis) of different forages

Na %

K %

Cl %

S %

DCAD meq/kg DM

Corn silage Legume hay Grass hay Corn grain Barley grain

0.01 0.02 0.08 0.02 0.02

1.20 2.45 2.13 0.42 0.56

0.29 0.61 0.92 0.08 0.13

0.14 0.31 0.24 0.10 0.12

+143 +271 +172 +31 +41

Soybean meal Dried distillers grains with solubles Calcium chloride Magnesium chloride Calcium sulfate Magnesium sulfate Commercial anionic blend 1 Commercial anionic blend 2 Commercial anionic blend 3

0.03 0.30 0.26 1.49 0.04

2.41 1.10 0.59 1.22 0.48

0.13 0.26 49.00 34.90 13.90 9.08 10.29

0.39 0.44 18.60 12.80 5.46 3.60 0.35

+351 +64 -13,803 -9,831 -11,625 -8,000 -7,200 -3,847 -2,977


Data obtained from NRC (2001) except those for the commercial blends.


14 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

greater equivalent amounts of chlorine and sulfur than equivalent amounts of sodium and potassium are considered anionic diets, which will likely induce metabolic acidosis. The balance of these four elements is known as the dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD), and the units are expressed in milliequivalents (meq) per kilogram (kg) of dry matter (DM). Depending on the concentrations of the different minerals, the DCAD can be positive or negative. A negative DCAD implies that the amount of anion equivalents is greater than the amount of cation equivalents. When formulating



Sudangrass baleage


Sorghum silage Farm A (30% DM)


Sorghum silage Farm B (30% DM)


Corn silage Farm C (35% DM)


Corn silage Farm D (26% DM; drought-stressed)


Corn silage Farm E (42% DM; normal year)


Corn silage Farm E (22% DM; drought-stressed)


Barley silage Farm F (38% DM; dough stage)


Barley silage Farm G (46% DM; dough stage)


Barley silage Farm H (41% DM; dough stage)


Wheat silage


diets for close-up dry cows, the goal is to reach a negative DCAD that ranges between -100 and -150 meq per kg DM.

Don’t ignore potassium As mentioned before, anionic salts are included in rations for close-up dry cows to make the diet anionic and, therefore, induce a metabolic acidosis to stimulate calcium metabolism. As depicted in Table 1, feeds commonly fed to dairy cattle contain positive DCAD values, while anionic salts or commercial blends of anionic salts have very negative DCAD values. For at least two reasons, potassium can never be ignored when referring to DCAD and anionic diets for close-up dry cows. The first reason is that potassium is one of the four determinants of the DCAD, which means that diets with high concentrations of potassium are less anionic than diets with low concentrations of potassium. The second reason is that, after carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen (main elements in proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates), potassium is

the element with the largest concentration in feeds and forages (Table 1). This means that, depending on the composition of the diet and on the potassium concentration of its ingredients, a DCAD between -100 and -150 meq per kg DM might not be possible to accomplish despite the use of anionic salts or commercial blends of anionic salts. As an example, the very high concentration of potassium and, therefore, high and positive DCAD, of legume hay (see Table 1) is a reason for avoiding the inclusion of this type of forage in diets for close-up dry cows. As forages are the major components of diets for close-up dry cows, the concentration of the main ions in forages should always be determined by a laboratory analysis to obtain an adequate DCAD. Even though they are typically aware of the high concentrations of potassium in legume-type forages, also be aware that certain grass-type forages, such as sorghum silage or baleage (especially sudangrass), or drought-stressed corn silage (Table 2)

can also have very high concentrations of potassium. As most of the potassium is contained in the vegetative stover of the plant and not in the grain, droughtstressed corn silages containing little proportions of grain can have atypically high concentrations of potassium. Keep in mind that when including forages with very high potassium concentrations in diets for close-up dry cows, it might be very difficult, independent of the anionic salt or anionic commercial blend utilized, to obtain a negative DCAD capable to induce metabolic acidosis . . . it is simply a matter of math! •

GONZALO FERREIRA The author is assistant professor, department of dairy science, Virginia Tech.

Cutting costs in a down year by Mike Rankin


HAT do you do when hay prices reach levels not seen in many years and you’re in the business of selling hay? That was essentially the question asked by University of California forage specialists Steve Orloff and Dan Putnam in a recent survey sent to Western hay growers. Orloff, an extension farm advisor in Siskiyou County, shared the survey results at the California Alfalfa & Forage Symposium held in Reno, Nev. A total of 151 hay growers from six Western states responded to the survey. When asked, “What did you do in response to low prices in 2015 to 2016?” the most frequently returned response was to purchase less equipment (42 percent of respondents). Orloff noted that the decision to purchase new equipment really depends on the condition and age of your current machinery line. He said that if a grower has the available funds, sometimes equipment purchases in a down year might result in being able to negotiate a favorable price.

The second most popular answer was to cut alfalfa fields more frequently for higher quality (32 percent), which hopefully would translate to an improved selling price. Orloff noted that 40 percent of respondents made no change to their cutting schedule, surmising that many were already cutting at an accelerated frequency. For those growers that did change their cutting schedule, either shortening their cut interval or some combination of shortening and lengthening the interval accounted for most of the strategy modifications. “What Dan Putnam and I both advocate is to use a combination approach, shortening some cuttings but lengthening others,” Orloff said. “Personally, I advocate letting one of the summer cuts go longer because it’s hard to make high-quality dairy hay in the summer anyway due to a lower leaf-tostem ratio and enhanced fiber levels.” The third most indicated change was not to plant any more new fields (31 percent) followed by reducing or eliminating fertilizer inputs (28 percent). As for the latter, Orloff noted that the

smart play is to test soils and plants so that fertilizer rates can be more easily scrutinized for an economic return. About 26 percent of respondents said they abandoned lower-producing fields and 21 percent noted that they essentially made no major changes in their management or spending strategies. Other changes with over 10 percent of respondents answering in the affirmative included reducing work force (21 percent), improving irrigation management (19 percent), and using less insecticide (17 percent). Those cost-cutting measures receiving less than a 10 percent response rate included applying less water per cutting, curtailing irrigation after midseason, reducing tillage prior to planting, seeding a cheaper variety, and cutting back on seeding rates. “There is no universal recommendation for how to cut costs without reducing profitability,” Orloff noted. “The answer is different for every farm. Each crop input needs to be analyzed from the perspective of diminishing returns.” • February 2017 | hayandforage.com | 15

Vetch, oats, and wheat comprise this cool-season cover crop.

the farmer’s ability to follow the soil health principles. Managing the type, timing, and use of cover crops is crucially important to the success of the principles. The crop type, seasonality, and longevity of cover crops planted correlates directly to the third and fourth principles — enhancing crop diversity and keeping living roots in the ground. Utilizing the cover crop for secondary purposes has become a source of considerable concern and opportunity. Whether the cover crop is terminated, grazed, or harvested, influences the outcomes of essentially all of the principles.

Leave plant residue

Soil health is more than just cover crops by Jeff Goodwin


OR more than a decade, a movement has been taking the agriculture industry by storm. That movement is called soil health. This movement was not born in a laboratory nor by legislation. It was born by farmers and ranchers who wanted to do things differently. Sixty years ago, the agriculture industry was operating on cheap feed, cheap fertilizer, and cheap fuel. Our industry and our science during that time period focused on the chemical and physical characteristics of soils with little to no consideration of soil biological interactions. During this period, the prices of feed, fertilizer, and fuel eventually elevated to the point at which they became unsustainable for many operations. Some farmers had to make a choice, continue doing what was always done or find new ways to farm. Born out of equal parts necessity and frustration, some farmers began to experiment with farming techniques that limited the use of inorganic fertilizer, fuel, and feed. They began to see that limiting or eliminating tillage reduced their fuel bill and using an ageless practice, “cover crops,” began to keep the ground covered and provided numerous benefits to the soil. What they were doing, in essence, was building a foundation of principles that we follow today to manage healthy soils. These soil health principles were set

16 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

forth to achieve specific goals that are inherent to all soils. They are based on harnessing the power of biologic interactions between plants, soil microbes, fungi, and all other soil life. These principles build soil aggregation, which further builds structure. The implemented practices have proven the path forward for many progressive farmers and substantiated that conventional farming is not the only way. The following soil health building principles were developed by farmers, for farmers. • Keep the ground covered • Minimize mechanical soil disturbance • Boost crop diversity • Keep living roots in the soil • Integrate livestock Cover crops are commonly utilized in agronomic systems to meet several goals, such as keeping the ground covered and adding biological diversity. Cover crops are an incredible tool. They can be utilized to directly or indirectly meet any and/or all of the five soil health principles. Many producers have been utilizing mixed-species cover crops in cropland and pasture systems to improve plant diversity, raise soil organic matter, enhance soil microbiological function, and so forth. However, with that said, you will notice that simply planting cover crops is not one of the principles. Cover crops are facilitators. They facilitate

For instance, many progressive producers have added livestock grazing of these crops for the additional benefits of animal impact and distribution of urine and manure. Once livestock grazing is introduced, these are no longer traditional cover crops with the sole purpose of improving the soil. They are now mixed-species, dual-purpose forage crops. In order to receive the soil health benefits and follow the principles, grazing these mixed-species forage crops should be managed to leave proper residue amounts in contrast to being completely grazed out. Grazing these crops recycles the majority of their nutrients, while haying and/or cutting cover crops for silage defeats the purpose of trying to add organic matter. Grazing mixed-species forage crops can be very useful and can add flexibility in animal production systems. However, the focus should be on addressing the soil health concern that prompted planting the cover crop in the first place; subsequent benefits should be secondary, if the goal is to build soil health. The cover crop craze has come with the soil health movement. Cover crops, although a great tool and facilitator, are not a silver bullet. Simply planting cover crops does not ensure healthy soils. Applying proper and timely management following the soil health principles is the path to ensure that outcome. •

JEFF GOODWIN The author is a pasture and range consultant for the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, djgoodwin@noble.org

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©2017 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. HarvXtra™ Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is enabled with Technology from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. * Because of factors outside of Forage Generics International, LLC’s control, such as weather, applicator factors, etc., results to be obtained, including but not limited to yields, financial performance, or profits, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by FGI. Actual results may vary.


by John Goeser

Managing the yield and quality trade-off


Yield or quality? Additional yield tends to bring more dollars per acre but often comes at a detriment to quality and cattle performance in terms of milk or meat. Thus, how do we define profitability? The answer lies in assigning a dollar value to the yield and quality, then balancing these to find the optimum economic return per acre.

IELD versus quality: What is more important? Which is easier to comprehend? When interacting and facilitating discussions during forage planning meetings, the conversations regarding yield and quality are fascinating. The industry influencers at the table (agronomists, growers, dairy owners, beef owners, harvest crew managers, and nutritionists) often understand or rank them differently. Yet, we often come to the realization that the entire team has similar goals. Typically, the entire forage harvest and management team aim for the dairy or feedlot to be as profitable as possible. So, what drives farm profitability?

Dry hay yield is relatively easy to quantify and value, but Midwestern and Eastern farms harvest silage, where yield value and forage contracts should be based upon dry tons. Determining dry matter tons can get confusing. Spend time planning to accurately

Alfalfa quality and yield impact on $/acre













RFQ Value/acre Yield

100 50 0



1.0 0.5 25

30 Days

18 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017





Ton/acre (dry hay)


RFQ or $/acre

Valuing yield

determine both wet tons harvested and moisture concentrations to appropriately value total yield. Wet tons can be determined using a drive-over scale or through volumetric estimates of the storage structure or forage wagon. When determining moisture content, develop a moisture sampling protocol. During harvest, record loads per field, then gather enough moisture measurements to accurately determine field moisture content. For fields that are 25 acres or larger, plan to sample from at least two or three loads, or consider making one moisture sample for every 10 acres. For each load sampled, take three to five subsamples into a 5-gallon bucket from the load after it has been dumped. Keep safety in mind and stay clear from power takeoffs or moving equipment. Thoroughly mix the three to five subsamples with a hand-scooping, turnover technique (like a TMR mixer), and then scoop out two or three small samples from this mix for the moisture measure. Be careful not to use a “hand grab� technique, as this can leave grain and fines behind. The moisture sampling protocol may seem challenging and tedious, but this effort is critical to determining yield value.

Valuing quality Forage quality should be valued based upon the market hay price or milk value per ton of forage. In both cases, quality generally depends on two characteristics: nutrient content and nutrient digestibility. More fiber dilutes out energy value, and greater starch, sugar, and protein improve forage energy value and quality. Fiber is negative while protein, starch, or sugar are positive in energy terms because fiber digestibility (or energy value per pound) is always less than that of starch, sugar, or protein. Fiber digestibility through high-producing dairy cows averages around 40 to 50 percent whereas protein, sugar, and starch average 90 percent digestibility or greater! Top-notch dairy quality corn silage and alfalfa haylage or hay will have less than JOHN GOESER 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 percent fiber. Exceptional grass, small grain, or sorghum silages will have less than 50 percent fiber. To achieve lower fiber crops, select the best seed genetics and manage aggressively. Determine your harvest timeline based upon plant and grain maturity rather than the calendar. At times, a hay crop may be ready to harvest in less than 28 days. With corn silage, cutting at 12 to 18 inches above the ground will increase the grain to stover ratio (less fiber). For further considerations in high-cutting corn silage, please reference the “Taking corn silage to new heights” article in the August 2016 issue of Hay & Forage Grower. While less fiber is generally better, fiber and starch digestibility have also received considerable attention, and rightly so. Environment has a profound impact upon fiber and starch digestibility. Sometimes planting the best seed or implementing the most aggressive management practices yield less than desirable results. But rest assured that genetics and management will still influence digestibility. Within corn silage, fiber content and digestibility have been estimated to be 50 percent heritable, meaning selecting the right seed can pay off. Management of the crop for less fiber, as discussed above, also tends to improve fiber digestibility. Cutting earlier for legumes and grasses, or cutting silage at a greater height above the ground, will also boost digestibility. So, why wouldn’t we seek to optimize forage quality? Unfortunately, quality typically comes at the expense of yield or stand life. Cutting earlier or higher off the ground typically equates to less tonnage. The best means to balance yield and quality is striving for maximum milk harvested per acre.

choice and cutting height can have on yield and quality. Weigh the plot loads or samples for yield estimates and then send representative samples to your forage testing laboratory for quality measures, including digestibility. Combining yield and quality results into milk per acre estimates can then assist in choosing which cutting height makes sense for the operation in question. Finally, compile your results along with university plot results and seed representative recommendations to

make educated decisions with the next year’s seed corn purchase. Working with your nutrition and crop management team can improve your dollar-per-acre projections as you strive to balance yield and quality. Expand on quantifying dry matter yield using some of the tips offered here and work to better assign a milk value per ton. Integrating these two management schemes can then help you balance the forage teeter-totter and your checkbook, bringing home optimum economic return per acre. •





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Finding a balance Yield and quality should be balanced to harvest the greatest economic return per acre (milk per acre or dollars per acre). For alfalfa or grasses, consider the relationships shown in the figure. Here the value of dry hay was determined as $1 per point of relative forage quality (RFQ) per ton. Meanwhile, the yield gain per day is set at 160 pounds of dry matter and the RFQ declines at 5 points per day. In this example, the optimum economic return appears to be less than 30 days. Use this example to help make your own projections to hold this optimal balance. For corn silage, build test plots into your or your clients’ crop management plan and test the impact both hybrid

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1/23/17 9:41|AM 2017 | hayandforage.com 19


Grazing with an ecological focus


to grow grass, Gerrish expounded. HIS past October, Jim Gerrish Understanding plant growth cycles put on a three-day whirlwind and how to manage forages for a tour of soil health workshops compromise of both adequate quality encompassing three cities across and yield are essential. Leaf stage and western Montana. The meetings were growth phases, he pointed out, are organized by a collection of sponsors, more important criteria to observe than including the Soil and Water Conservaplant height, when it comes to grazing. tion Districts of Montana. Grazing when grass plants are in A beef-forage systems expert with Phase 2, during stem elongation and a lifetime of research and outreach preboot stage, offers the greatest photoexperience, Gerrish shared his insight synthetic efficiency in the growth cycle. on the benefits of grazing management Gerrish noted grazing too early in the based on ecosystem processes and the growth cycle is the leading cause of lost paybacks it can give in the form of pasture production. improved soil health. Step 2: Manage for a healthy water In an almost philosophical mancycle. Before one can manage for a ner, Gerrish explained that a grazing healthy water cycle, Germanager must not seek rish said producers need answers before underto establish a baseline for standing the questions average moisture accumuthey are asking in relalation in their area. He rection to their ecosystem. ommended using historic “The question is not weather records to deteralways what you think mine long-term precipitait is,” Gerrish said, “and tion. This information can the answer is rarely be found on several online what you expect.” Jim Gerrish noted that weather websites such as Gerrish took workshop both management and the National Oceanic and attendees back to the environment must be Atmospheric Administrabasics, covering grazing’s considered to determine pasture carrying capacity. tion and NRCS’s National foundational principles. Water and Climate Center. He described only four According to Gerrish, lack of a ingredients — carbon dioxide, solar healthy water cycle leads to: energy, water, and soil minerals — are necessary for making meat, milk, and • Reduced vegetative cover fiber. To effectively produce these end (bare ground) products from livestock, producers must • Diminished root growth manage pastures to be efficient solar • Declining organic matter panels, water catchments, and nutrient • Poor soil structure banks. This is accomplished, explained • Compacted soil Gerrish, through managing grazing • Restricted infiltration livestock more intensively and bal• Poor water holding capacity ancing strategies with the ecosystem • Excessive runoff processes involved. To ensure an effective water cycle, Management-intensive grazing is about Gerrish said graziers should control the using your resources in space and time, amount of time livestock spend in one noted Gerrish. In addition, it’s critical to area and allow for sufficient recovery understand that the carrying capacity of periods in balance with environmental pastures is determined by the combinaconditions. Doing so will ensure optimal tion of environment and management. vegetative cover and an adequate litter To get the most out of pastures, Gerrish layer on the soil. At the same time, soil recommended the following steps. organic matter and health are improved. Step 1: Build a better solar panel. Step 3: Create a dynamic mineral Only green, growing leaves carry out cycle. In grasslands, Gerrish described photosynthesis and it takes grass that nutrients flow in a cycle. Inputs

20 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

by Jesse Bussard from mineralization, the atmosphere, fertilizer, animal manure, and plants go in and products such as hay or meat, milk, and fiber come out. This nutrient cycle becomes more consistent and well distributed when livestock are grazed at higher stocking densities and moved to new forage more frequently. Step 4: Enhance biodiversity. Gerrish explained that a biodiversity of plant species in pastures brings a multitude of benefits to livestock producers. Increased photosynthesis per acre leads to greater forage production. In addition, multiple types of plants ensure pastures offer a more balanced diet and uniform forage supply throughout the year. The added perks don’t stop at the soil surface, however, said Gerrish. Below ground, a diverse plant community leads to a greater diversity of soil microbial life. This plethora of pasture plants also provides better wildlife habitat and ecological stability. Producers can create greater diversity in pastures by selecting a combination of both complementary and competitive forages. This means selecting species from each functional group — grasses, legumes, and forbs. For example, on his Idaho grass-finishing operation, Gerrish said he grazes his cattle on pastures containing everything from tall fescue, orchardgrass, red clover, and yellow sweet clover to cheatgrass, downy brome, and dandelion. To maintain plant diversity, Gerrish said he varies his pastures’ season of use by alternating each year between grazing during growing and dormant seasons and observes appropriate recovery periods depending on environmental conditions. Additionally, he said his experience has shown, similar to maintaining a diversity of plants, multispecies grazing can also be a helpful tool in maintaining pasture biodiversity above and below the soil surface. •

Learn more about Gerrish’s work at www.americangrazinglands.com.

JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.










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Newest generation of alfalfa combining improved forage yield potential with top disease rating on eight pests, including Race 1 and 2 of Aphanomyces.



HarvXtra® alfalfa seed with Roundup Ready® technology is the industry’s first genetically enhanced alfalfa developed to maximize quality, compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity.

To learn more, visit americasalfalfa.com or call 800.873.2532 For the 2017 growing season, growers must direct any product produced from HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology seed or crops (including hay and hay products) only to United States domestic use. In addition, due to the unique cropping practices do not plant HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology in Imperial County, California, pending import approval in China and until Forage Genetics International, LLC (FGI) grants express permission for such planting. 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. 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. Forage Genetics International, LLC (“FGI”) is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). FGI products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with FGI’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. Certain 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. Growers should refer to http://www.biotradestatus.com/ for any updated information on import country approvals. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Biotechnology Industry Organization. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready® and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by FGI. America's Alfalfa, America's Alfalfa logo, Traffic Tested alfalfa seed and Traffic Tested logo and HarvXtra® are registered trademarks of Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is enabled with Technology from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. © 2017 Forage Genetics International, LLC.

* Because of factors outside of FGI’s control, such as weather, applicator factors, etc., results to be obtained, including but not limited to yields, financial performance, or profits, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by FGI. Actual results may vary.

Alfalfa seed harvest requires combine settings for adequate threshing while avoiding mechanical damage.

Multiplying alfalfa seed with bees and combines by Robin Newell The prior article in this series addressed the genetics of alfalfa and the processes alfalfa breeders typically use when breeding for improvement in the crop. This article will cover seed production starting with breeder seed, through foundation and commercial seed production.


REEDER SEED is early-generation seed produced from a polycross of multiple parent plants, creating an experimental cultivar. Breeder seed production is typically done in a greenhouse and in small outdoor caged plots with captive pollinators to exclude outside alfalfa pollen. A portion of breeder seed is used for small plot forage trials and characterization that includes testing for disease and pest resistance. The rest can be kept in controlled storage until needed to grow later generations of foundation and commercial seed production, if the experimental cultivar performs well enough in forage trials for advancement to commercial status. Foundation seed production is a crucial step on the path to commercial

22 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

seed production. Foundation seed fields are typically 2 to 5 acres. Breeder seed is planted in 30-inch rows at low rates of 1/2 to 1 pound per acre, maximizing foundation seed production from just a few pounds of breeder seed that will need to last for the commercial life cycle of a cultivar. Breeder seed is often pelletized with a coating so that seed can be singulated for uniform spacing within the row.

Maintain genetic purity Great care must be taken to maintain genetic purity of a cultivar by isolating foundation fields from other alfalfa seed fields of diverse types. A diligent seed producer will scout nearby field edges and ditch banks to remove unwanted volunteer alfalfa plants. Ideal field isolation distance is 2 miles or more for isolating conventional cultivars from genetically modified (GM) cultivars. Lesser isolation distance can be acceptable under certification standards, but the rule of thumb is “keep your distance.� Combine cleanout is equally important before harvesting a foundation seed field. Combines are typically

blown down with compressed air inside and out. Every nook and cranny needs to be free of seed before harvesting a new foundation seed field, so as to maintain genetic integrity of each cultivar. The same goes for maintaining genetic purity during the seed cleaning and conditioning process for foundation seed. Commercial seed production is the next major step, planting larger commercial seed production acreage from foundation seed. Most seed production is in the arid West for efficient and consistent yield of high-quality alfalfa seed. With no appreciable summer rainfall, seed growers can manage the timing and level of moisture stress

ROBIN NEWELL The author is the vice president of North American sales for S&W Seed Company.

Scott Newell

Scott Newell

Leafcutters are solitary bees that gather alfalfa pollen as food for developing larvae. They are efficient pollinators for alfalfa seed production.

Bee boards are placed in alfalfa seed fields. Boards can be wood or Styrofoam, with 3/8-inch holes for leafcutter bees to nest in.

needed to produce a seed crop instead of a forage crop.

mercial seed is produced in solid stands where seed growers take one or two cuttings of hay in the spring, followed by seed production in the hot summer months, then back to hay production after seed harvest. However, most dormant seed production in the Northwest is planted like a row crop, since the goal is not forage production, but rather to maximize the yield of quality seed. Planting like a row crop allows equipment to pass through fields with less damage to plants when controlling weeds and insect pests. Weed control is important to minimize weed seed. Pest control is especially critical during and after seed set through seed maturity. Insect pest control must be done in a way that avoids killing pollinators while late emerging flowers are still being pollinated. Lygus bugs are the most widespread insect pest, ruining immature seeds with their piercing-sucking mouthparts.

Long pollination period Commercial seed fields range in size from small to large. The preferred establishment time is late summer, allowing for good stand establishment and full seed production the following year. Only 60 to 80 percent of full seed yield is attainable if the fields are spring planted. Here again, 30-inch rows are the norm for commercial seed production. The seeding rate is 1 to 2 pounds per acre of raw seed. Alfalfa is an indeterminate flowering plant. Buds and flowers develop sequentially over a period of weeks as stems continue to elongate. Pollination and seed set occur over a period of two to three weeks with seed maturing first in lower pods. Wider rows help reduce humidity within the canopy to avoid quality loss of early maturing pods, thus maintaining recoverable seed yield of early-set seed while later pods continue to mature further up the stem. Some California nondormant com-

Quality control Like many other agricultural products, the U.S. is a net exporter of

alfalfa seed to countries all around the world where alfalfa is grown. Seed growers have a special skill and check their fields often since seed production requires a lot of management and work. Seed production grown for export usually requires field inspection depending on the destination country. Seed production agronomists, seed certifying agency personnel, and phytosanitary inspectors are some of the people who also check alfalfa seed fields during the growing season. When seed matures, alfalfa plants can either be direct harvested or cut and windrowed for combining a few days later. Combine settings require a balance for adequate threshing of this small-seeded crop, versus the potential for mechanical damage. Combine-run seed is usually trucked to a receiving facility where it is weighed, sampled, and tested before undergoing a series of cleaning operations. The next article in our series will cover conditioning, treatment, and packaging, as alfalfa seed makes its way to your seed dealer. •

Pollinators key to efficient seed production Because alfalfa is primarily self-incompatible, pollinating insects are needed for cross-pollination among plants in order to obtain a seed crop. Leafcutter bees are the preferred pollinator because they seek pollen and stay close to their domicile within the field where they are placed. Their cost is about $400 per acre at current bee prices and recovery rates in the Northwest. Alkali bees are a native ground-nesting species that can be encouraged through cultural management of sodic soil areas near seed production fields and can help seed producers defray costs of purchasing leafcutter bees. Honeybees are less expensive and less efficient pollinators than leafcutter bees. Honeybees seek primarily nectar and they try to avoid the slap in the face delivered by an alfalfa flower when it “trips� to splash pollen on visiting insects. Honeybees can fly several

miles in search of nectar from other flowering plants. Whether intentionally placed as pollinators, or just backyard bees, honeybees are almost always present and can spread small amounts of alfalfa pollen between seed production fields, even with good isolation. This aspect of pollen travel makes it difficult to completely avoid low-level cross-pollination between seed fields grown under accepted certification standards for field isolation. Seed companies often seek greater isolation distances of 2 miles or more in order to produce seed that meets a nondetect standard for genetically modified (GM) traits. Some seed companies use similar rigorous isolation standards for growing foundation seed. Low-level presence of a GM trait in foundation seed will render subsequent commercial seed production unacceptable for most seed exports and for planting seed in fields where hay production is destined for sensitive markets. February 2017 | hayandforage.com | 23


Neal Martin

A former Minnesota forage extension specialist and director of the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center. He and his wife now operate an Ohio blueberry farm.


HFG: What experience or person was most instrumental in your decision to make the forage industry a lifelong career? NM: Walter Wedin. Starting my master’s degree at Iowa State University I wanted to become a soybean physiologist, but Walt was the only professor who would accept me. During a discussion about future direction and my career, he asked me what part of dairy farming and undergraduate studies at Ohio State I liked. My answer was forage crops. After completing my master’s degree, Walt offered a threequarter-time associate position, and I decided to pursue a joint Ph.D. program in agronomy and animal science with Walt and Richard Vetter.

HFG: During those years in Minnesota, it must have been enjoyable to work through a period when major changes were occurring in terms of alfalfa cutting schedules and forage testing. Tell us about that. NM: I am blessed to have been able to work in Minnesota with a strong research team on campus, an interdisciplinary group of extension specialists, great county agents who welcomed field projects, and many innovative farmers. One of my first dairy meetings was with Mike Hutjens. I was fully armed with new data from Gordon Marten (three-cut schedules to maximize protein yield). On the way back to St. Paul, Mike said, “If you’re going to continue doing dairy meetings, you have to get rid of that cutting study. Dairy farmers need to know how to reduce the fiber and enhance the energy from alfalfa.” From that point, I was driven to find a better answer, and several cutting schedule studies that were done in Minnesota helped me reach that end. We recognized that forage quality (relative feed value, at the time) dropped rapidly in those first two cuttings and that they needed to be cut early for high-energy feed. Forage quality changes were more dynamic. Some highlights included serving on the 1978 Alfalfa Hay Quality Standards Committee, initiating the National Hay Testing Association, and receiving a USDA grant to partially support the purchase of a near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) testing van for Minnesota. The van project provided

a tool for agents, farm advisers, industry reps, and farmers to enhance harvested forage quality and assess feeds before being fed. It also led to the initiation of quality-tested hay auctions in the state. HFG: Compared to your Minnesota years, university extension and forage research positions have been drastically cut across the United States. Does this concern you? NM: Since I started at the University of Minnesota, forage teaching and research faculty in the department of agronomy and plant genetics declined from four to one; USDA-ARS positions have experienced significant declines as well. The problem-solving programs we used in my days are now limited or nonexistent. At the same time, ruminant livestock and perennial forages are key elements to global sustainability in terms of land preservation and water quality. HFG: Following your career in Minnesota, you accepted the director position at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis. How did your extension career make you a better research director? NM: My Minnesota experience taught me that to solve problems there needed to be key people involved in the planning, execution, and dissemination of solutions. The U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center (USDFRC) had the ideal mission to implement this model. During my tenure as director, I started to incorporate industry collaboration and input from innovative farmers. Clive Holland, retired forage production manager from Pioneer-DuPont, helped establish an active USDFRC stakeholder committee to support development of multidisciplinary problem-solving research of national significance. USDFRC scientists were interdisciplinary, but many disciplines were needed to solve forage production and dairy utilization problems. We were able to build needed discipline expertise and establish the Institute for Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management in Marshfield, Wis. Most of the new hires during the expansion of the USDFRC effort had a strong outreach component in their background, and I wanted to participate in outreach myself.

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

24 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

HFG: Does any accomplishment stand out while you were at the USDFRC? NM: Consortium for Alfalfa Improvement. Redesigning alfalfa for dairy cattle needed an industry-public-private partnership. It was a pleasure working with Mark McCaslin from Forage Genetics International and Richard Dixon at the Noble Foundation to form the consortium. USDFRC scientist involvement within the team to improve forage digestibility (reduced lignin) and protein utilization (reduction of proteolysis and the addition of tannins) of alfalfa for dairy cattle was essential. Being part of the excitement of basic scientists developing gene silencing when proof of concept feeding trial results first appeared was second to none; more important will be farmer discovery.

forage, feed, and supplement diets, especially for high-producing dairy cows. Using new knowledge related to digestive microbiology and rapidly changing animal genetics, it’s time to research and rewrite our body of knowledge pertaining to animal nutrition. USDFRC is well positioned to do this.

HFG: Looking back on your career, where do you feel the forage industry has made its greatest advances that have translated to farm profitability? NM: Application of NIRS to standardize, describe, and value forage quality needed by each livestock class.

HFG: Has operating a blueberry farm in retirement taught you any new agricultural lessons? NM: The necessity to make production decisions without having all detailed information has been huge for me. I have a greater appreciation for the time that’s required to improve production. I am still learning after 13 seasons, and my respect for farmers and farming has been enhanced.

HFG: Where do you feel there is still a significant forage knowledge gap that needs to be addressed? NM: We need animal digestion data. We have used too much modeling based on outdated nutrition data to develop

HFG: What new forage technology is particularly exciting to you? NM: It would have to be advances in harvest technology — leaf-strippers, in-line quality analysis on balers, and yield monitors on balers and choppers. We need equipment to enable better utilization of redesigned alfalfa. More important, we need to improve alfalfa yields. A state yield average of 3.0 to 3.5 tons per acre is shameful.

HFG: Favorite food? NM: Yellow perch. •


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Leachate runoff from harvested feed can erode concrete, corrode metal, and negatively impact water resources.

The perfect 2-for-1 by Aaron Wunderlin and Callie Herron


T SEEMS pretty rare to find a 2-for-1 deal that is of value. It can also feel frustrating when proposed practices to protect the environment impede your ability to remain efficient and profitable. Proper silage storage strategies offer the rare 2-for-1: What is best for your feed is also best for the environment, and both require implementing the same strategies. During a two-year study on three bunker feed storage facilities, the University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms Program identified enhanced nutrient losses when water came in contact with feed and pad litter. Several practices can be used to minimize losses and maintain feed quality.

Crop moisture is key If the crop is too wet, then it is at risk of breeding unwanted microbes that can reduce palatability and boost livestock health risks while not supporting the bacteria needed for proper fermentation. Too much moisture also means more potential for liquid to ooze out of your pile. That liquid, also known as leachate, is likely to carry with it a high 26 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other constituents that can have negative impacts downstream. It can be challenging to harvest crops at the recommended moisture content, but it is the first step to ensure feed and water quality. It’s often recommended not to harvest corn silage above 70 percent moisture and hay silage above 65 percent. Next, it is vital to properly cover and store feed to ensure feed and water quality. It is worth the time and energy to make sure you are following these four steps: 1. Check the forecast. If rain is in the forecast during filling and packing, temporarily cover silage to prevent additional water from entering your pile. Additional water added to feed before sealing raises the moisture content, which counteracts harvesting at the recommended moisture. 2. When filling, pay special attention to the back corners. It is important to pack silage so all the water sheds away from the pile. Voids in the back corners of bunker walls are common areas for water to pool, especially after

shrinkage caused by the fermentation process. Fill the bunker so the silage pile is slightly above the bunker wall to allow for shrinkage so that pockets don’t form in the back corner. 3. Seal the edges after covering to keep water out. Adequate covering ensures proper fermentation, which is needed to produce high-quality feed. Also, the less water that comes in contact with the nutrient-rich feed, the less nutrients that will run off with water. 4. Cover sidewalls. This will help keep water from running down the edges and seeping into the feed. Be careful when covering sidewalls to allow for shrinkage of the silage pack so air gaps are not formed between the covering and the silage. An alternative option is to cover the sidewalls prior to filling. First, allow 2 to 4 feet of cover at the bottom of the walls, then flip the cover temporarily over the walls, dump silage along AARON WUNDERLIN AND CALLIE HERRON The authors are senior research specialist and outreach specialist , respectively, at UW Discovery Farms.

walls to hold side cover in place, fill the bunker, and finally flip the side cover back over the top of the silage pile and overlap it with the top cover.

Ask these questions Discovery Farms’ staff traveled to bunker sites shortly after rain events to visually assess where water flowed from bunkers and to collect water samples. After hundreds of site visits, a few common themes arose. Here are four critical questions to ask when assessing a bunker storage unit: 1. Where does the water flow? Make sure water diverts away from the feed storage area. Drainage from areas outside of feed storage should not drain into the feed storage area. The pad should slope away from feed and water should drain off the feed pile to a collection point. If you notice water draining into your feed storage area, divert it away. If it is unavoidable, make sure water stays away from feed and keep the pad clean of litter. 2. Is water backing up into the silage pile? Ensure that the end of the bunkers do not intrude your feed pad’s high water mark. Water that backs up into silage will wick into feed and then seep out, carrying nutrients away when water recedes. In areas where this may be unavoidable, lay covering near the end of the pile, apply silage, and then wrap it up in the covering so that the top cover overlaps it. 3. Are there holes in the cover? Holes in the covering allow water and air to enter. Water can percolate through feed and air can be reintroduced to fermented silage, which will lead to spoilage. Repair any holes or rips in covers immediately. 4. How exposed is the vertical face? Keeping a well-maintained vertical face during feedout minimizes the exposed area. Avoid uncovering more than necessary at any one time. This minimizes exposure to water and aids in achieving a feedout rate that is greater than the spoilage rate caused by exposure to air and moisture. Both the feed quality and water quality benefits from properly harvesting, storing, and protecting feed are substantial. Industry estimates suggest that 20 percent of the corn silage ensiled each year is lost due to improper storage techniques. The economic impact of improper

Discovery Farms’ research found that the average phosphorus and nitrogen losses from feed storage runoff are 120 times more than edge-of-field losses.

storage is too significant to ignore and so, too, are the water quality risks. Leachate flowing from feed harvested at too high of a moisture content can erode concrete, corrode metal, make aquatic habitats unlivable, and render drinking water unsafe. In addition, Discovery Farms’ research found that the average phosphorus and nitrogen losses from feed storage runoff are 120 times more than edge-of-field losses. Flow from feed storage results in feed quality decline and causes environmen-

tal concerns if corrective steps are not taken. Proper silage storage protects your bottom line and water quality. So, this season make sure to manage for this 2-for-1. •

For more information on the UW Discovery Farms leachate project, visit UW Discovery Farms on the web at www. uwdiscoveryfarms.org or contact Aaron Wunderlin at aaron.wunderlin@ces.uwex.edu

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Hold the alfalfa water early, not late


2 3 Irrigation treatment

28 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017




Water applied 97.5% 87%

20 10

2 0

40 30

6 4



2 3 Irrigation treatment



Water applied (inch)

Dry matter

50% of ET

50% of ET

20 10

2 0


30 75% of ET



2016 alfalfa deficit irrigation strategies

100% of ET


75% of ET


10 100%




Alfalfa dry matter (t ac1)


Water applied

Water applied (inch)


100% of ET

Alfalfa dry matter (t ac1)


Dry matter

75% of ET

2015 alfalfa deficit irrigation strategies


respectively. The soil profile was refilled to full capacity in early spring for all treatments. Alfalfa dry matter (DM) yield per acre for full crop ET irrigation was 10.2 tons in 2015 and 8.5 tons in 2016 (see graph). Across both years, yields were reduced only 3 to 5 percent for the two 75 percent crop ET treatments (2 and 3). The 50 percent crop ET treatment (4) resulted in a 20 percent yield reduction in 2015 and 13 percent yield loss in 2014. Putnam noted that the reason for the low-yield penalty with the deficit treatments is because nearly 75 percent of the total season yield occurred prior to August. Hence, late-season moisture stress coupled with alfalfa’s ability to extract deep moisture for end-of-summer growth minimizes total-season yield reductions. The results of the experiment to date show that near maximum alfalfa yields can be obtained with a 25 percent reduction in total irrigation water used. Target mid- to late season for those reductions. A few other considerations highlighted by Putnam: • Fill the soil profile with water at the beginning of the season; that water is needed to sustain alfalfa growth during the heat of summer. • Though deficit water strategies are possible with all irrigation types, it may be easier and more effective with subsurface drip irrigation. • Results may be different on a more coarse-textured soil or under hot, desert conditions. • The effects of late-season deficit irrigation imposed for several consecutive years on plant survival and persistence is still not known. • In some cases, full-season irrigation may be needed to leach salt from the soil profile.

75% of ET

Water shortages in the West have prompted farmers and researchers to explore strategies that will cut water usage while at the same time maintaining profitable alfalfa yields. According to Dan Putnam, University of California-Davis extension forage specialist, deficit irrigation may be an option. Deficit irrigation can be accomplished using one of several strategies. The first approach is to simply reduce watering over the entire growing season. This is what Putnam refers to as the “starvation diet.” The alternative approach is to provide the alfalfa full water early in the season and then cut off all water at some point during midseason. Using a subsurface drip irrigation system, researchers at UC-Davis compared variations of three deficit irrigation strategies against a full irrigation treatment at 100 percent of crop ET (evapotranspiration). The results were discussed in a recent UC-Extension Alfalfa & Forage News blog post. Field plots were established in 2014 on a silt-loam soil at Davis, Calif., and treatments were applied in 2015 and 2016 as follows: 1) Full irrigation at 100 percent crop ET. 2) Full irrigation until mid-August, then water cutoff. 3) Full irrigation until early July (50 percent of seasonal ET), then 50 percent sustained deficit irrigation for the rest of the season. 4) Same as 3, but water was totally cutoff in early July for the rest of the season. Treatments 2 and 3 both result in applying irrigation water at 75 percent of crop ET; the crop received only 50 percent of crop ET with treatment 4. The cumulative applied water for the irrigation treatments 2, 3, and 4 during the 2015 irrigation season were 29.5, 30.4, and 19.0 inches, respectively; for 2016, 30.2, 29.1, and 19.4 inches of irrigation was applied,

T:8.375” S:7.875”

HarvXtra® alfalfa is the most advanced alfalfa trait in the industry. A wider cutting window gives farmers the flexibility to maintain a normal harvest schedule and achieve higher quality. Or, delay harvest for up to 7 days for higher yield potential without sacrificing quality, when compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity. HarvXtra® alfalfa also comes stacked with Roundup Ready® Technology for unsurpassed weed control.

Discover more at HarvXtra.com


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, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready ® Technology is enabled with Technology from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. ©2017 Forage Genetics International, LLC



For the 2017 growing season, growers must direct any product produced from HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready ® Technology seed or crops (including hay and hay products) to U.S. domestic use only. 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.

Researchers are currently exploring the benefits that red clover may provide for improving livestock protein utilization.

A ruminant growth promoter you can grow by Michael Flythe, Glen Aiken, and Brittany Harlow


S REGULATIONS for food animal production change, interest in growth promoters for cattle is growing. In past decades, the growth promoters were antibiotic or synthetic chemicals; however, we are now finding that natural plant compounds can be used to enhance gain-to-feed ratios in ruminants. Better yet, the compounds can come from forage plants. Our group, the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Forage-Animal Production Research Unit, has discovered an antimicrobial growth promoter in red clover. The compound, called biochanin A, belongs to a family of chemicals called isoflavones that are found in many legumes. To fully appreciate how biochanin A works, we have to understand how antimicrobial growth promoters work in general.

HAB control The feature that makes ruminants special is the rumen, the fermentation vat of the stomach that is home to some of the most amazing microorganisms in the world. These microorganisms break down fiber, which gives ruminants 30 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

access to energy that nonruminants simply cannot use. Without the rumen microorganisms, ruminants could not get enough energy from fiber, and their diets would be more like diets for swine or other nonruminant species. However, the fiber-digesting bacteria are not the only microorganisms in the rumen. Others attack and digest almost every component of the feed. Most of them are helpful or at least harmless, but the bacteria that digest protein take more than their share. These bacteria convert the amino acids that make up protein to ammonia, which is where they get the name, hyper ammonia-producing bacteria (HAB). When the protein is converted to ammonia, much of it is absorbed into the blood and converted to urea. When you apply nitrogen fertilizer to boost the protein in your grass, as much as half of it can be urinated back onto the ground. You have the HAB to thank for that. This is where antimicrobial growth promoters come in. A selective antimicrobial can kill the HAB without harming fiber-digesting bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms. When

HAB are inhibited, more protein is available to the animal, and gain-tofeed improves. You can think of this in the same way that you think of an herbicide. An herbicide is sprayed to selectively eliminate weeds and leave the plant species we want. Likewise, an antimicrobial growth promoter is fed to selectively inhibit wasteful rumen microorganisms and direct nutritional resources where we want them to go. Some feed additives that we think of as antibiotics and coccidostats are also antimicrobial growth promoters, which is why we see growth rate or feed-efficiency improvements in healthy calves that don’t have infections or coccidiosis.

Red clover shines Our search for natural, plant-based growth promoters begins in the labMICHAEL FLYTHE, GLEN AIKEN, AND BRITTANY HARLOW Michael Flythe and Glen Aiken are USDA-ARS research scientists based in Lexington, Ky. Brittany Harlow is a postdoctoral research scientist working with Aiken.

oratory. Pure cultures of rumen HAB are used to screen plant compounds. Figure 1 shows an agar Petri plate that we use for growing bacteria. The HAB is grown in the agar and a plant compound is applied. If the compound prevents growth of the HAB (clear spot in the middle), then it is a candidate growth promoter. We perform a number of other tests before the plant compound is ready for an animal test to determine if it prevents ammonia production from protein, harms beneficial microorganisms, and if it is safe for cattle. Biochanin A, the isoflavone from red clover, passed all of our laboratory tests. It reduced ammonia production from valuable amino acids and protein. We are also currently exploring the effect of biochanin A on other beneficial groups of microorganisms in the rumen. We knew that biochanin A would be safe for cattle because the beneficial dose was within the range that we see naturally in Kenland and other red clover cultivars. The initial grazing trials were conducted with steers grazing a mixture of orchardgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and endophyte-free tall fescue. Each steer also received daily 3 pounds of dried distillers grains (DDG) either with or without purified biochanin A mixed in. The study was conducted in the spring and fall of 2015 with two different sets of steers. Each 2.5-acre pasture was grazed with four steers, and each treatment was replicated three times. Figure 2 shows that DDG without biochanin A improved average daily gain 13 percent relative to the pasture-only treatment, but adding biochanin A to the

Figure 1: Agar Petri plate

DDG boosted average daily gain 29 percent compared to the control. This suggested that adding biochanin A to the protein supplement improved the quality of protein available to the steers.

Questions remain Red clover has long been an important pasture legume and high-protein diet component, and the effects of biochanin A might explain the production benefits that go beyond protein content. However, there are new considerations if red clover or other legumes are to be used as a source of antimicrobial growth promoters. First, it is important to know that biochanin A and other isoflavones are phytoestrogens. In high doses, they can mimic the positive and negative effects of estrogens. Grazing red clover can lower the fertility of cows and sheep. Another consideration is how to best deliver the biochanin A to growing steers. Grazing is the obvious choice for many, but a 20 to 40 percent clover stand will likely be necessary to obtain the benefits of clovers on calf performance. We are presently conducting a grazing trial that delivers low and high doses of the isoflavone through consumption of the clover. Our future research will evaluate the optimum dose of biochanin A to achieve the maximum response by the animal. This research will give us a better idea of the range of clover percentages in mixtures with grasses needed to accomplish improved performance. Our current work indicates that biochanin A is stable in red clover hay, but we do not know how forage quality, harvesting, and environmental factors impact stability. •

Rumen Hyper Ammonia-producing Bacteria (HAB) are growing in the agar of this Petri plate. The living bacteria are stained red. When applied to the middle of the plate, the clover compound, biochanin A, made a clear spot where the HAB could not grow.

Average daily gain, lb/steer/day

Figure 2: Average daily gains 2.00 13.4% 29.2%




Pasture only

Pasture and Pasture and DDG DDG and BCA

Average daily gains for pasture only, pasture and dried distillers grains (DDG), and pasture and dried distillers grains and biochanin A (BCA). Percentage increases in daily gains relative to the pasture only and pasture and DDG treatments.

February 2017 | hayandforage.com | 31


by Adam Verner

Self-loading forage wagons gain traction


N THE fast-paced world of farming, it can be a real challenge to keep up with current technology and all of the new and improved equipment in the marketplace. In matters of new iron, it’s important to ask, “Will this new piece of equipment actually benefit my operation?” or maybe, more importantly, “Can it make me more efficient and save time without sacrificing the quality of the product being produced?” One relatively “new” product that is just starting to gain a little traction in some areas of the U.S. is the self-loading forage wagon. A few manufacturers have been producing these machines for over 50 years, and they have been commonly used in other countries. In Canada, self-loading forage wagons are routinely seen around most of their predominant dairy areas. It was always curious to me as to why these machines weren’t more popular in the U.S. during previous years.

Fits smaller operations I think that it may have a little to do with our American mentality dealing with horsepower and larger machines covering more acres in less time. We all love, including myself, raw horsepower, especially when it comes to forage harvesters! In today’s world of tighter margins and higher machinery costs, I truly believe that these wagons may have a place in the equipment shed on many dairies. There are lots of dairies and custom harvesters who struggle with the later cuttings of grass each year. For the owner, the low tonnage being produced is 32 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017

probably costing a little more than his/her average cost per ton for that year. Similarly, the custom cutter isn’t producing the tons per hour he needs to turn a profit. Both are stuck, as the dairy needs the field harvested to bolster forage supplies and maintain a cutting schedule; the harvester needs to chop these fields to keep his customer from shopping elsewhere until corn season rolls around when greater profit margins are possible. In terms of cost per acre or cost per ton with grass, alfalfa, or cereals, the self-loading wagon may offer some advantages, especially for the smaller operations. These self-loading wagons have come a long way, and some manufacturers say they can rival the production of small self-propelled harvesters. There are only a couple of manufacturers currently stocking and marketing self-loading wagons in the United States. The units vary in terms of price, options, and capacity. Most of the larger wagons offer an onboard knife sharpening system with scales and are ISOBUS compatible with your new model tractors. Prices can range from $50,000 to $200,000, so there is a new unit in just about everyone’s price range with horsepower requirements ranging from 50 to over 300.

Reduced labor requirement Load capacities range from 800 to nearly 4,000 cubic feet, and most have high-speed road travel undercarriages. The simplicity in their design makes them easy for less experienced operators to maintain and put up high-quality

feed. One person, one tractor, and one wagon can do the work of a forage harvester and up to four trucks. Labor can be cut by 50 percent, not to mention the timely harvesting and, therefore, higher quality of the crop. There are some custom operators who own these wagons to capitalize on their efficiency during certain lower-yielding cuttings each year. The wagons can easily be adapted to the current trend of longer chop length. They have a simple pickup and rotor design and are equipped with a floor chain, which enables the wagon to double as a silage-hauling wagon during corn season. The chop quality and quantity will rival most forage harvesters and the tons per hour will be impressive, but I think more importantly it will put a lot less strain on your wallet. This winter, while you’re snowed in and surfing the web, take some time to check out these wagons; try to keep an open mind and a sharp pencil. I think that you may be surprised. They are definitely not for everyone, but for some they could provide a reasonable, cost-effective forage-harvesting alternative. • ADAM VERNER The author is a managing partner in Elite Ag LLC, Leesburg, Ga. He also is active in the family farm in Rutledge.


New Kuhn GMD 5251 TC Disc Mower

New min-till drill for hay and pastures

The GMD 5251 TC has several features that make it worthy of consideration. It cuts up to 17 feet 1 inch with every pass, but quickly folds down to a compact 9-feet 6-inch transport width. This makes it extremely maneuverable and easy to manage on tight country roads. The Gyrodine swivel hitch, available in both drawbar and two-point versions, makes it easy to cut any size field by allowing for chatter-free sharp turns. High-lift discs optimize cut quality and material flow in all crop conditions. Should the mower strike an obstacle in the field, Fast-Fit knives and Protectadrive disc bearing stations make it easy to get back up and running. All of these features and more make the GMD 5251 TC from Kuhn suited for any large farm or custom operation looking to boost profitability by doing more work in less time. For more information, visit www.kuhnnorthamerica.com.

Kasco Manufacturing introduces the Hay Master, min-till (minimum tillage) drill for pasture renovation, wildlife habitats, and erosion control. The Hay Master features 6-inch row spacing for tighter germination of a variety of grass seeds. A spring-loaded design on the coulter blades and the cast iron cultipacker allows this min-till drill to follow the contour of even rough terrain. The close-coupled frame allows for use on smaller horsepower tractors and offers versatility, durability, and low maintenance. Kasco’s metering system offers less seed waste and better pasture development by ensuring easy and accurate calibration to any smooth seed. For more information, visit www. kascomfg.com.

John Deere expands 3E series tractor lineup To meet varied customer needs and budgets, John Deere introduces the 3025E to its 3E series compact utility tractor line. With the addition of a 25-horsepower option, John Deere now offers a trio of compact utility tractors all the way up to 38 horsepower. The 3025E model features an easy-to-use, tworange hydrostatic transmission (HST), enhancing tractor performance while eliminating clutching for fast and easy direction changes. Additionally, Twin Touch foot controls provide an automobile-like experience while reducing operator fatigue. The 3025E can be transformed with a variety of implements, from box blades to rotary cutters, tackling any chore with

ease. An optional quick-hitch provides for easy rear implement hookup, while operators stay seated. The 3025E offers excellent serviceability, with easy access to regular service points. Each compact utility tractor is compatible with the exclusive John Deere Service Advisor system, allowing for extensive self-diagnostic capabilities. For more information, visit www.JohnDeere.com.

Massey Ferguson adds 5700/6700 series Massey Ferguson, a global brand of AGCO Corporation, expands its heavy-duty utility tractor lineup with the new 5700 and 6700 series, offering outstanding weight and lift capacity for tractors in the 100- to 130-engine horsepower (hp) range. The MF5710 and MF5711 are 100- and 110-hp tractors, while the MF6712 and MF6713 provide 120 hp and 130 hp, respectively. The 5700 and 6700 series are durable machines with the weight, power, and versatility to handle the toughest jobs. They offer a level of styling and ergonomic design typically found in premium-priced products, featuring simple and intuitive controls. The tractors are equipped with cabs that provide visibility and comfort with extremely low noise levels. The 5700 series equipped with 4WD and a cab weighs in at 9,840 pounds, while the 6700 series 4WD cab tractors weigh 10,392 pounds.

Both the 5700 and 6700 series are powered with 4.4L, 4-cylinder, Tier-4 compliant diesel engines, equipped with high-pressure, common-rail direct fuel injection, along with a turbocharger and intercooled intake air. All models are available in 4WD. For operators seeking a more basic tractor, select models are available with 2WD. The Massey Ferguson 4700, 5700, and 6700 series utility tractors are the result of the largest single manufacturing and new product project in AGCO’s history. For more information, visit www.masseyferguson.us.

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.

February 2017 | hayandforage.com | 33

Kioti debuts tractor models in PX series Kioti Tractor, a division of Daedong-USA Inc., is expanding its PX tractor series with the launch of three new models: the PX9530PC, PX1053PC, and PX1153PC. With greater engine power, lifting capacity, and comfort, the PX series new additions combine modern design and robust functionality. The new PX models offer operators more gross engine power than previous models, with the PX9530PC, PX1053PC, and PX1153PC yielding 93, 103, and 110 horsepower (hp) Tier 4 compliant diesel engines, respectively. Outfitted with a synchronized power shuttle transmission, the new models provide smooth shuffle operation and allow the operator to perform loader work without pressing the clutch pedal. In addition, the new models offer a lift capacity of more than 8,000 pounds and

deliver PTO speeds ranging from 79.1 hp to 92.2 hp. The tractors come equipped with standard features, including a climate-controlled cab, four-wheel drive, and a category II three-point hitch. The PX series also features a larger fuel tank with 34.3-gallon capacity. The enhanced PX series models come standard with dual remote hydraulic valves to accommodate a wide variety of attachments and implements, including the Kioti KL1153 front loader. For more information, visit www.kioti.com.

Claas redesigns Jaguar 900 series harvesters Comprehensive upgrades to the Jaguar 970 and 980 forage harvester models have been made by Claas. The enhancements include changes to the engine, cooling system, header drive, front axle, shearbar, and auto fill system, among others. Up front, the feederhouse has been enhanced for optimized feeding and to accommodate an optional new hydraulic header drive. The innovative hydraulic header drive allows the operator to adjust header speeds from the cab to accommodate changing conditions. A redesigned shearbar system features a four-bolt attachment and a new pivoting point for enhanced cut quality. Hydraulic shearbar clamping ensures smooth and consistent movement for accurate placement of the shearbar to the knives, which reduces wear. When the new shearbar is adjusted, the drum concave is automatically adjusted as well. The sharpening system has also been updated for superior cut quality and easier maintenance. A new, heavier and stronger front axle with optional differen-

tial lock improves traction in wet and hilly areas. With the new front axle, 520 duals can now be ordered for the new models offering greater stability on hilly or soft ground. The drive train on the new Jaguar 970 and 980 has been redesigned for improved efficiency, less fuel consumption, and up to 13.6 mph in first gear. The Jaguar 970 has been upgraded with a V12 MAN 24.2 liter engine offering 25 more horsepower at 800 hp. The Jaguar 980 stays at 884 hp. Using auto fill, operators can now have the machine automatically fill trailers that trail directly behind the new Jaguar models while opening the field. For more information, visit www.claas.com.

New disc mower-conditioner from Kubota Kubota debuts a new disc mower-conditioner, the DMC8540R, which touts a 13-foot width and full-width chevron conditioner rollers which provide even conditioning and drying throughout the swath. The new mower features Kubota’s own patented, fully welded cutterbar. All Kubota DMC mower conditioners are designed to ensure a high level of durability, low maintenance, and quiet operation. With three counter-rotating blades per disc, Kubota mowers are constantly cutting, which allows for one-third less load per blade, an even load on the drive, and smoother power use to produce a neat, clean cut each and every time. The new DMC8540R also offers outstanding suspension, enabling the DMC8540R to follow any type of ground contours as well as giving maximum protection to the cutterbar to ride over obstacles in the field. For more information, visit www.kubota.com.

34 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017


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To view previous issues online, visit: hayandforage.com/issues

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FORAGE IQ Alfalfa & Stored Forage Conference February 21, Cave City, Ky. Details: http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/ Pennsylvania Forage Conference February 22, Grantville, Pa. Details: http://bit.ly/HFG-PFC Texoma Cattlemen’s Conference February 24, Ardmore, Okla. Details: https://www.noble.org/tcc SW Missouri Spring Forage Conference February 28, Springfield, Mo. Details: http://springforageconference.com Western Dairy Management Conference February 28 to March 2, Reno, Nev. Details: http://wdmc.org/ Great Lakes Forage & Grazing Conference March 1, St. Johns, Mich. Details: http://bit.ly/HFG-GLFGC Idaho Hay and Forage Conference March 2 to 3, Burley, Idaho Details: www.idahohay.com Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshops March 6, Mound Valley, Kan. March 7, Mt. Vernon, Mo. March 9, Lexington Ky. Details: http://grasslandrenewal.org Southern Indiana Grazing Conference March 8, Odon, Ind. Details: http://www.daviesscoswcd.org/sigc Hay Production Workshop March 16, Kittanning, Pa. Details: http://bit.ly/HFG-PaHay Southeast Hay Convention March 14 to 15, Athens, Ga. Details: http://www.georgiaforages.com/ Virginia Grazing School April 25 and 26, Raphine, Va. Details: http://vaforages.org 42 | Hay & Forage Grower | February 2017


The beat goes on With still relatively strong December 1 hay stocks in many states, hay prices and demand still muddle along at a relatively stagnant pace. Any local shortfall of hay supply seems to be getting easily filled by neighboring areas. Extreme rain and snow events this winter have limited

the short-term movement of hay in some regions. Fair quality hay stocks look to be diminishing. The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of late December. Prices are FOB barn/stack unless otherwise noted.•

For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com Washington (Columbia Basin) Supreme-quality hay Price $/ton Colorado (southeast)-ssb 200 Wisconsin (Lancaster) Kansas (south central) 140-150 Wyoming (central/western)-ssb Kansas (north central/east) 150-200 Fair-quality hay Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 140-190 California (Sacramento Valley) Montana 135 Colorado (San Luis Valley) Montana-ssb 200 Iowa (Rock Valley) Oklahoma (central) 125-135 Kansas (north central/east) Oregon (Lake County) 225 Minnesota (Pipestone) Texas (Panhandle) 160-180 (d) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Texas (Panhandle)-ssb 243 (d) Montana Texas (west) 170-190 Oklahoma (western) Utah (northern) 100-130 Oregon (Lake)-ssb Wyoming (central/western) 160 (d) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb Premium-quality hay Price $/ton California (Intermountain) 165 South Dakota (East River) California (southern) 190 Texas (west) California (Sacramento Valley) 200 Utah (southern) Colorado (San Luis Valley/southwest) 150 Wisconsin (Lancaster) Kansas (southwest) 130-140 Wyoming (eastern) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 120-160 Bermudagrass hay Missouri 160-200 Alabama-Premium lrb Montana 115-120 Alabama-Premium ssb Montana-ssb 200 California (southeast)-Premium Nebraska (eastern/central) 155 Texas (Panhandle)-Good/Premium Oklahoma (central/western) 110-125 Texas (south)-Good/Premium lrb Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-ssb 240-250 Bromegrass hay Oregon (Lake)-ssb 185 Kansas (south central)-lrb Pennsylvania (southeast) 170 Kansas (southeast) Premium ssb South Dakota (East River) 150 Orchardgrass hay Utah (southern) 100-130 California (Intermountain)-Premium Washington (Columbia Basin) 100-125 California (Sacramento Valley) Washington (Columbia Basin)-ssb 150 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb Wisconsin (Lancaster) 158 Timothy hay Wyoming (central/western) 140 (d) Montana-Premium ssb Montana-Good lrb Good-quality hay Price $/ton California (Intermountain) 125-135 Pennsylvania (southeast)-Premium Colorado (northeast) 110-115 (d) Oregon (eastern)-Premium Idaho 90 Washington (Columbia Basin)-Premium Iowa (Rock Valley) 88-103 Oay hay Kansas (north central/east) 130-140 California (Good) Kansas (southwest) 110-130 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 100-140 Kansas (southwest) Montana 105-165 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Good/Premium Montana-lrb 120-140 Oregon (eastern)-Fair Nebraska (eastern/central) 130-140 South Dakota (East River)-lrb Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb 65-75 Texas (Panhandle) Nebraska (western) 110 Straw Oregon (eastern) 130 Iowa (Rock Valley) Oregon (Harney County)-ssb 105 Kansas (north central/east) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb 150-195 Minnesota (Sauk Centre) South Dakota (East River) 120-130 Montana Texas (north, central, east) 150-160 (d) Nebraska (western) Texas (Panhandle)-ssb 210 Pennsylvania (southeast) Utah (Uintah Basin) 75-90 South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb

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

80-100 125-145 165 (d) Price $/ton 60 120 78-85 65-75 60-75 65-110 95-130 60-75 100 120-130 63-70 130 100-110 60-80 68-110 90-100 Price $/ton 133 180-300 65 180 80-120 Price $/ton 75-80 130-135 Price $/ton 240 200 230-250 Price $/ton 210-240 110-120 160-190 180 200-220 Price $/ton 90 40-73 45-55 160 90 85 100 (d) Price $/ton 53-70 85-105 55-110 37-50 80 90-120 48-50

UNLOCK THE POTENTIAL IT ALL BEGINS WITH THE SOIL 7 Strains of Highly Beneficial Soil Bacteria Formulated for Optimum Soil Health To learn more about our NUTRIOâ„¢ product line, contact your local Wilbur-Ellis location or visit us at ag.wilburellis.com.

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Profile for Hay & Forage Grower

February 2017 Hay & Forage Grower  

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

February 2017 Hay & Forage Grower  

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