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hayandforage.com

March 2017

Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

Get your round baler ready pg 8 Timing dictates grass-feeding success pg 16 Fescue makeover pg 20 Growing into pasture-finished beef pg 23


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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.

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March 2017 · VOL. 32 · No. 3 MANAGING EDITOR Michael C. Rankin ART DIRECTOR Ryan D. Ebert ONLINE MANAGER Patti J. Hurtgen AUDIENCE MARKETING MGR. John R. Mansavage ADVERTISING SALES Jan C. Ford jford@hoards.com Kim E. Zilverberg kzilverberg@hayandforage.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Patti J. Kressin pkressin@hayandforage.com

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W.D. HOARD & SONS

6 Five lessons we could learn from the Kiwis A trip to New Zealand yields some ideas that are worthy of consideration on U.S. farms.

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Dealing with dryland saline and sodic soils

Alfalfa seed must be cleaned to ensure quality

Correcting saline or sodic soils doesn’t happen quickly . . . be patient.

Harvested alfalfa seed must be processed before it is drill-ready.

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DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 8 Forage Gearhead 12 Feed Analysis 14 Beef Feedbunk 20 Pasture Ponderings 24 Custom Corner

THE FORAGE LAB CONSISTENCY CONUNDRUM

FIBER DIGESTIBILITY IS MORE THAN A LAB MEASURE

KEEP SPRING SEEDHEADS UNDER CONTROL

SEARCHING FOR 365 DAYS OF GRAZING

HERE’S WHY TIMING DICTATES GRASS-FEEDING SUCCESS

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HELP YOUR BUSINESS AND EMPLOYEES SUCCEED

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Dairy Feedbunk Machine Shed Forage IQ Hay Market Update

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

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Growing into pasture-finished beef Starting small, this New England farm couple is learning as they go.

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DETERMINE KPS WITH YOUR SMARTPHONE

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WARM-SEASON GRASS SUCCESS DEMANDS PLANNING

ON THE COVER Cattle on Longino Ranch, Sidell, Fla., await the growth of warm-season perennials by consuming dry hay that is supplemented during winter. Originally a turpentine farm, the cattle ranch also produces citrus and is owned by Cliff Coddington and his family. Photo by Ryan Ebert

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.

March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 3


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Mike Rankin

José Oquendo

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OST major league baseball teams have what they like to term a utility player — a guy who can start at multiple positions or pinch hit for just about anyone in the lineup at any point in time and then assume that player’s defensive position. Going way back, Bert Campaneris was one such utility player for the Oakland A’s and was the first one to play all nine positions in the same game (September 8, 1965). Campaneris also could pitch either left- or right-handed. The guy I best remember as a prototypical utility player was José Oquendo, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. In 1987, Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog called Oquendo “The Secret Weapon.” Like Campaneris, Oquendo could be found playing anywhere on the diamond. These days, guys like Ben Zobrist (Cubs), Brock Holt (Red Sox), and Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) are amongst utility royalty. Versatility is often underappreciated; that’s probably because the versatile person or thing is generally not the best at any role. Yet, to be competent in a variety of situations clearly has great value. This is true in baseball, and it’s also the case for forage crops. So, here’s my nomination for the best forage utility player: cereal grains. Over the past two years, I have traveled coast-to-coast and border-to-border talking to farmers and walking their fields. Almost always I find cereals — rye, wheat, oats, barley, or triticale — playing a role to produce meat or milk. Mostly, these cereals are being grown for forage, and all the heralded soil benefits come along for the ride. Cereals are being grazed, baled, wrapped, and chopped; sometimes all of the above on the same farm.

Managing Editor

While in the Northeast, I saw winter rye and triticale being used extensively following or between corn silage crops on dairy farms. The forage was generally chopped in the spring and was used not just in heifer rations but also as a staple feed component for lactating cows. Moving south, cereals are a routine component of many winter pasture mixes for beef and dairy herds, bridging the gap between warm-season perennial seasons. In the High Plains, winter wheat is grazed in the fall and spring as either a dual-purpose crop for grain or as “graze-out” forage. In the Midwest, both winter and spring cereal forages are widely utilized. Though currently less common, oats are still used as a spring companion crop to establish alfalfa. However, growing spring oats in the fall for grazing or for harvesting as oatlage is becoming more popular. Winter cereals (usually rye) seeded after corn silage or soybeans are also becoming a common supplemental forage option as they are in the northeast U.S. Most recently, I returned from a trip to the Central Valley in California. There, thousands of acres of wheat and triticale are currently waiting to be chopped and included in heifer and dairy cow rations. Corn for silage will follow on most of these acres. Also in the West, oat hay is an important export commodity. Cereal forages are rarely the most important or widely used forage crop on any operation, but many farmers across the U.S. are finding ways to utilize this valuable, high-quality, and relatively low-input forage resource. Cereals have become the José Oquendo of forages. •

* 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 | March 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


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Over 300 farmers and ag professionals took part in the New Zealand Grasslands Association Conference and listened to Alvin and Judith Reid describe why and how they use robotic milkers on their pasture-based dairy.

Five lessons we could learn from Kiwis by Dennis Hancock

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ARDLY a blade of grass is wasted in New Zealand. Their agricultural economy is centered on forage production, and they are good at it. Those of us who have spent a career in pastoral agriculture have long known New Zealand to have some of the most efficient and cost-conscious farmers in the world. So, what are their keys to success? A group of us from the American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) took a tour of New Zealand to learn more. Our group of 22 included a diverse mix of extension specialists and county agents, seed company representatives, and livestock producers from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, and Tennessee. The goal for our trip was to visit this legendary place and to foster more of a connection with our colleagues and counterparts in their beautiful country. In addition to numerous farm visits, we ended our visit by taking part in the annual conference of the New Zealand Grassland Association, the sister organization to AFGC. It was a wonderful experience, and along the

way we learned a lot from our newfound friends. For some of us, the experience was transformative. So, here we share the top five lessons we could learn from the New Zealand agricultural industry.

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Learn from the neighbors and your competition It is ironic that we refer to New Zealanders as “Kiwis,” as they share few similarities with the flightless bird found only in New Zealand. Before mankind settled on the land and brought predators with them, they did not need to fly. Now, Kiwis are endangered. In contrast, New Zealanders take flight more than any people-group I’ve ever encountered. Nearly every Kiwi I know has traveled to several foreign countries, often spending months or years abroad. They are well-informed about agriculture around the world, and that is a competitive advantage for them. International trade is crucial to their ag economy. For example, New Zealand’s dairymen-owned milk cooperative, Fonterra, has around 30 percent market share of world dairy exports. So, it is incredibly important for Kiwis to be knowledgeable about global trade

issues and even the politics of their trade partners and rivals. Another surprising trait among Kiwi farmers is that they regularly meet on one another’s farms for “discussion group” sessions. These “discussion groups” consist of 10 to 20 farmers gathering together to discuss a particular topic or theme and see how the host farm is dealing with the issue. The farmers often vigorously debate the subject and critique one another on how they are handling the issue. This has proven to be a very effective way of helping the members of the discussion group correct or avoid costly mistakes.

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Be at the table, not on the menu The ag industry may be the largest contributor to the economy, but every DENNIS HANCOCK The author is an extension forage specialist, University of Georgia.


Kiwi knows that tourism is a close second. The country is incredibly beautiful. There are scenic vistas in every direction, especially the rolling grass-covered hills. Much of the countryside is pristine, with rivers that are crystal clear and lakes that are a brilliant blue. These characteristics attract tourists and their money. Any activity that has or potentially could result in pollution has come under an intense regulatory burden, and the ag industry has the largest target on its back. Interestingly, many Kiwi farmers have decided to be part of the regulatory process. Several of the farmers whom we visited volunteer to serve on regulatory panels and commissions. From that vantage point, the farmers can engage in policy-making and voice the concerns of the farming community. Like the U.S., farmers are vastly outnumbered by urban and suburbanites. So, “the farmer” is largely a faceless unknown to the majority of regulators. By having a seat at the regulatory table, they help put a face to the community and humanize the implications of the policies. As one of the farmers we visited said, “I feel I have to have a seat at the table. Otherwise, I may be on the menu.”

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Hire it done Almost every beef, sheep, and dairy farm that we visited had only one tractor, a mower to clip pastures, and maybe a small sprayer. Most would hire in any jobs that required equipment. The only other piece of equipment that they typically owned would be a motorbike (motorcycle) or quad (four-wheeler/ utility vehicle). Almost none of the farms

had a truck and trailer to haul livestock; however, nearly all of the farms had four-wheel drive midsized pickup trucks, most less than 1/2-ton capacity. If they needed baleage baled, livestock hauled, or silage harvested, they hired it done. Every rural community had three or more agricultural contractors who did the work at a fair price and in a reasonable time frame. For them, there was no need to have a lot of painted steel and the payments that come with it. Yet, the irony of this is that just about every rural town big enough to have a department store would have two or more equipment dealerships. The service contractors were doing enough business to keep a steady supply of new agricultural equipment flowing to the rural areas.

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Know your numbers We toured both the North and South Islands of New Zealand and visited 18 different farms in total. Some of these were small farms run by just the husband and wife, while others operated more than 10,000 acres with several employees. Regardless of whether it was a dairy, beef, sheep, or crop farm, every farm owner or manager that we asked could state their cost of production to the nearest penny. They also could quote their farm’s total production and measures of efficiency (for example, kilograms (kg) of milk solids per hectare, kg of milk solids per kg of cow weight, lambing percentage, kg of beef produced per hectare, and so forth). We were too polite to directly ask about profit, but I am satisfied that they could quote their

After a visit to a hybrid pasture-based dairy in the Waikato Region, the tour group posed for a photo with our farm hosts and representatives from DairyNZ and CRV International.

profit per hectare and return on investment without missing a beat. Sure, they could have made up the numbers on the spot, but I believe they were being open and honest.

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Support comes from within Farming in New Zealand has no safety net. In the mid-1980s, the New Zealand government removed all subsidies, tax breaks, and price supports. The ax was even taken to their version of the extension service. These actions were brutal and extreme, but once the metaphorical Band-Aid was ripped off, the wound healed rather quickly. You would be hard pressed to find a Kiwi farmer who would want their government aid back. Now, the industry is rather self-sufficient. A levy on every animal or kg of milk solid processed in New Zealand funds nearly all research and extension activities, as well as efforts for the benefit of the industry. In U.S. dollars, these levies are $3.20 per head for beef, 43 cents per head for sheep, and 2.6 cents per kg of milk solids. These levies are renewed by a farmer-only referendum every six years. The outcome of the referendums demonstrates their appeal, as those voting to renew usually exceed 80 percent. Risk management includes some insurance policies against weather extremes and catastrophes, but many farmers also hold shares in the cooperatives they run to market their product. This provides a significant hedge, as dividends paid on value added further up the supply chain than the farm gate helps to provide additional income. •

Agricultural contractors are hired to do most jobs requiring equipment, including making and hauling baleage and silage.

March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 7


FORAGE GEARHEAD

by Adam Verner If equipped with a cam-type pickup, checking the cam roller bearing is a hard task, but lying on your shop floor is much more pleasant than lying on a hill of fire ants while working on a pickup in the summer heat.

Belts and bearings

Get your round baler ready for spring

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OWN here in the Southern states it is already “go time” for most dairies and those putting up winter annuals. Our shop has been full the past few months doing winter inspections on our customers’ equipment and getting it ready to go. Though it may be hard to spend that extra money to replace a part that is not completely worn out yet, preventive maintenance can go a long way in impacting this year’s bottom line. A winter inspection of your equipment can show where your eventual downtime will come from. Most parts exhibit some type of wear and fatigue before they break. For lots of our customers, the round baler is the center cog in their operation. If the baler goes down, field operations come to a standstill. Here is a list of some of the things that you can check on your baler before it spits out this year’s first bale.

Spend time with the PTO The most logical place to start is at the front with the hitch. Make sure you look at all of the bolts or welds to be sure they are not loose or cracked. The baler hitch can take a lot of abuse. The same is true for the power takeoff (PTO) shaft. Most balers these days come with a constant velocity (CV) shaft. It is critical to remove all of the shielding at least once a year to inspect the joint for wear and to make sure grease fittings are in place and that they accept grease. Also, the PTO shaft needs to be 8 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

pulled completely out and greased. This is a must so that, during a turn, the shaft doesn’t bind and apply pressure to the main gearbox or the PTO on your tractor. Either of those are costly fixes when compared to greasing a PTO tube. Most commercial balers have some sort of clutch on the PTO and depending on the make (for example, Walterschied, Weasler, Bondioli, or Comer) have instructions for inspecting and adjusting the clutch to make sure it slips when needed. Some companies even have videos on YouTube explaining the process. The main T-shaped gearbox is often overlooked when doing annual maintenance, but spring is a good time to check the oil level and seals for leaks. Baler manufacturers have similar ways of driving the baler, but each is just a little bit different. Chain and sprocket wear is critical to your baler’s performance. A loose chain or worn sprocket can cause your pickup to slip or main drive roller to jump. A lot of newer balers have idler sprockets that are tensioned by springs. In your baler’s operator’s manual, there will be a measurement so that each chain operates with the proper tension and can give under heavy load pressures. You may need to replace the chain or remove a link to achieve proper tension on the chain. Doing this now will lengthen the life of the sprockets. The pickup mechanism is where your high-quality hay enters the baler. Check the tines and stripper bands for excessive wear or broken teeth.

If your baler uses belts, it is a good practice to pull out the belts and replace them every 10,000 bales or so. After belts stretch, they can’t apply the same pressure as when they were new and set at the correct factory measurements. Most balers now have different length belts, and if they are extremely worn you can always convert the long belts to the shorter ones. A vast majority of balers sold these days are designed to apply net wrap. Most manufacturers use rubber rollers to feed the net to the bale. Inspecting the rubber roller is critical to make sure there are no rough places or cuts that could cause the net to grab and stick. In the case of the rear-mounted net wrap balers, the net feeds under the tailgate. There is a plate on each belt to hold the net to the belts, and this is designed to be a wear item and needs to be checked. It’s often in the corners where the wear occurs and creates a good place for the net to hang up. The bearings in the baling chamber seem to cause the most angst among round baler owners. Now is the time to check them, not when smoke is coming out the top of the chamber. Relieve the pressure on the belts in the chamber, so you can get in the baling chamber to check each of the rollers for any excessive movement or play. I also encourage all of my customers to relieve the pressure on their belts during the off season, especially on older balers. This helps cut down the odds of a bearing developing a flat spot due to constant pressure over the winter months. When the chamber is empty and closed is usually the time belts and bearings are subject to the greatest amount of pressure. Good luck this year, and safe baling. • ADAM VERNER The author is a managing partner in Elite Ag LLC, Leesburg, Ga. He also is active in the family farm in Rutledge.


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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.


Severe saline areas like this one can often be mitigated with successive years of full-season cover crops. Choose species that have a high-water use and are salt tolerant.

Dealing with dryland saline and sodic soils by Abbey Wick

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N THE Northern Plains region where salts are naturally occurring even under dryland conditions, farmers are trying multiple strategies to deal with the issue. These include splitting fields, crop selection, cover crops, conservation tillage practices, soil amendments, and drainage improvements. No single approach is best; a combination of approaches is most effective, and solutions are tied to soil water management. It is important to keep in mind that there are some approaches that are not effective for the specific salt issue in a field. This makes understanding what the salt issue is and to what degree it’s occurring critical to selecting the right combination of mitigation approaches.

Get your numbers Soil sampling is the first step to coming up with an effective plan. Poor yielding parts of the field need to be sampled and analyzed separately from the high yielding parts of the field. If salts are suspected to be the cause of low productivity, analyze soil samples for both salinity by testing soluble salts or electrical conductivity (EC) and sodicity by evaluating sodium adsorption

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ratio (SAR), exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP), or sodium percentage. Obtaining the soil test results will allow for the determination of what the salt issue is — saline or sodic — and lead to the selection of an effective remediation strategy. Soil samples for salinity or sodicity analysis should also be taken in increments up to 4 or 5 feet deep to know where salt concentrations are highest and where salts are likely to move in the soil profile. Information on interpreting soil test values in the Northern Plains region can be found at NDSU’s Soil Health webpage (www.ndsu.edu/soilhealth). Once you “have your numbers” and know whether you are dealing with a saline or sodic soil, chances are good that the field will have to be split for effective management and to get the highest returns possible. Salinity is often found on the headland or along a ditch that frequently holds water but can be patchy across a field in response to topography. Try to square off the saline areas to be put into a perennial crop, more salt-tolerant cash crop, or a full-season cover crop, while still growing another cash crop on the remaining “good” parts of the field.

Sodicity can also be patchy across a field and should be managed differently from other parts of the field when possible.

Choose crops wisely Several crops are intolerant of salts and should not be grown on saline areas. When crops fail in a saline or sodic area, start the remediation process by using barley on saline areas followed by a cover crop or a perennial to use the maximum amount of soil moisture possible. Barley can be used as an indicator of whether perennials, including alfalfa, will grow. Plant alfalfa or other forage grasses only in those areas where barley successfully establishes because salts in these areas are likely low enough that alfalfa can get established. The barley mulch may help in this regard. ABBEY WICK The author is an extension soil health specialist at North Dakota State University.


To use extra moisture in the spring or if field access is an issue in the spring, consider seeding cereal rye in the fall (rather than barley in the spring) so that it will establish, over winter, and have a head start on growth early in the season. Harvest the cereal rye for a forage, and then either plant barley or a perennial where the cereal rye successfully established and was able to grow (just like you would when using barley as an indicator). If including barley or cereal rye is not enough to make the soil conducive to establishing a perennial or a perennial does not fit with on-farm goals, then consider using full-season cover crops to remediate the saline areas. Again, use barley as an indicator of what will or won’t grow, and plant a cover crop directly after barley to continue using water. Picking salt tolerant, high-water use cover crops is important for saline areas. In North Dakota, we’ve had luck using radish, sunflower, and dwarf essex rapeseed with barley and cereal rye. Carefully choose only cover crops that you are comfortable controlling and won’t impact the crops being produced in the rest of the field. If the cover crops won’t grow and weeds will, then use the weeds to manage the saline area. Weeds will manage salts (via water use) when nothing else will grow, but be sure to prevent weed seed production by using a batwing mower prior to the weeds putting on seed. For sodic soils, getting organic matter back into the soil using cover crops can help improve the soil.

Tillage strategies vary Minimizing tillage on saline soils is critical to reduce evaporation and mixing of salts from lower in the profile with the surface soils. Farmers have made good progress by not tilling headlands that are impacted by salts and direct seeding their cash crop into those areas each year. This is a simple approach that does not require additional inputs. For sodic soils, tillage may be important during the initial stages of mitigation with the goal of mixing calcium or magnesium salts from deeper in the soil profile with the more sodium-rich surface soils. However, this would not be recommended without a soil test to indicate where the sodium is dominant in the soil profile. If tillage or ripping is used on sodic

Alfalfa grows following a barley crop on a saline soil. The barley mulch and regrowth can also be seen.

areas within a field, incorporating a calcium-based soil amendment like gypsum might improve the affected areas. Immediately plant a cover crop or perennial forage after ripping. Management of sodic areas can be extremely challenging. Focus on making incremental progress rather than drastic improvements. Adding amendments to saline soils does not improve conditions; however, adding a calcium amendment to a sodic soil may be beneficial. Keep in mind that productivity may not improve drastically on these areas by incorporating an amendment. It may be that trafficability is improved so that the tractor won’t sink as deep when the sodic soils are wet or that the soils won’t be as hard when dry. Spot applications of amendments for sodic soils will be less costly, but fields may require more soil testing to define these problem areas. Again, do not add or incorporate amendments to saline soils.

Manage the water Improving surface and/or subsurface drainage is important for both saline and sodic soil management. Ditching to keep the water moving along with improving downward movement of water (infiltration) is important to effectively manage saline soils. Keeping ditches clean both on and around fields can reduce the effects of standing water upwelling into fields and movement of salts into the rooting zone. Infiltration can be improved by reducing tillage and adding cover crops or a perennial for development of root channels and the breaking up of compacted soil layers. This can lead to salt movement deeper into the soil profile and out of the rooting zone. The installation of

subsurface tile drainage can ultimately lead to salt removal. Subsurface drainage is also important for sodic soil management by allowing for removal of sodium. But in the case of sodic soils, there needs to be enough rainfall to move the sodium through the soil profile to the tile lines. This can be a barrier in climatic conditions where evaporation exceeds precipitation.

Be patient The bottom line is that there is nothing simple about managing saline or sodic soils, it requires patience and persistence. Farmers are seeing success using a combination of the above approaches but have to intensively manage these areas. It will likely take multiple years to get something growing, and farmers should not get discouraged when they see weeds coming back into once barren saline areas. Weeds are a sign of progress and not a sign of failure — something growing is better than nothing growing. Realistic expectations are also important because these saline areas are the consequence of other characteristics of that soil or landscape position. The inherent properties causing the salinity or sodicity cannot be changed but can be managed. •

For more information, visit the North Dakota State University Soil Health webpage: www.ndsu.edu/soilhealth. Contributors to this article were Caley Gasch, NDSU assistant professor; Tom DeSutter, NDSU associate professor; and Lee Briese, Centrol Ag Services.

March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 11


FEED ANALYSIS

by John Goeser

The forage lab consistency conundrum

F

of certification, some forage testing EED thrives on consistency — from labs reference published research to the feed and forage testing lab, to guide methods and techniques. Using the silo, to the mixer, to the feedresearch proven techniques helps yield bunk, and into the barn or parlor. Unforconsistency and quality, but there are tunately, that also means inconsistencies some measures that will differ between throughout this chain deprive cows and labs due to the nature of the technique. their performance opportunities. So, what leads to this inconsistency, When environment varies, a crop will and how can we manage around it? express that variation within the silo. Different sections of a field or fields may Digestion measures differ have better or worse fertility, which can manifest in better or worse yield and Rumen fiber or starch digestion meaplant quality. Within the feed mixer, sures often vary between forage testing worn kicker plates or dull knives, inadelaboratories as digestion methods need quate mixing time or speed, or improper live dairy or beef cattle. Laboratory mixing sequence and loading will result rumen digestion measures either digest in a variable total mixed ration (TMR) feeds directly in the rumen (rumen along the feedbunk. incubation; in situ method) or utilize These inconsistency errors are live rumen bacteria inoculum in a lab relatively well understood. However, bench procedure (simulated rumens; in comparing across forage vitro method). testing laboratories Testing labs work makes inconsistency with cannulated identification less steers, dry cows, or lacobvious. Differences or tating cows as rumen inconsistencies between fluid donors or rumen forage testing laboraincubation hosts. Anitories can be one of the mals are very different most confusing and from one another just frustrating predicaas their environment ments a nutritionist or and diets differ. These farm owner faces. factors contribute to Rumen fluid variation from But laboratories slight, unavoidable cannulated cows or steers should be the same, variations in the provides one source of right? Not necessarily. rumen environment While pet and animal possible fiber digestibility and bacteria, leaving variation among laboratories. feeds are tightly regulab measurements to lated, such regulation reflect that variability. for feed and forage testing labs does not With fiber digestibility measures, yet exist. Certification (not regulation) which are important for Milk2006 and for feed and forage analysis laboratories relative forage quality (RFQ) measures, is performed by the National Forage the laboratory average must be considTesting Association (NFTA). The NFTA ered when reviewing differences between certifies laboratories for analyzing crude labs. Think of this like grading on a protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), curve. Laboratory A and Laboratory B and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) promight have slightly different digestion ficiently. Yet, there are not certification averages, so your forage analysis results programs for other routine lab measures can be corrected by adjusting the results such as starch and sugar content, rumen based upon the lab average. This works and intestinal digestion estimates, and well for common forages such as corn, mold and mycotoxin analyses. grass, legume silages, or hays. With over 100 mineral, anti-nutriFor high-value samples, wet chemistry tion, and digestibility measures now analyses, or uncommon feed sample analavailable from feed and forage testing ysis (such as soy hulls or almond hulls), laboratories, and hundreds, if not thousend paired samples with a known feed sands, of commercial feed and forage type along with the unknown samples to testing laboratories now in existence, the laboratory. The known feed should there is room for inconsistency. In lieu be one that the farm has fed and under-

12 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

stands the digestion potential to compare against the unknown feed.

When discrepancies arise In order to avoid unnecessary headaches, a good rule of thumb is to stick with a single, NTFA-certified testing laboratory for all of your analysis needs. Sometimes challenges may still arise as not everyone works with the same laboratory. For example, when hay brokers and buyers do not use the same laboratory, differences become apparent. In this case, the forage testing lab variances cannot be separated from sampling differences. Was the different hay test due to a different sample, or can it be attributed to laboratory differences? To make apples to apples comparisons with forage samples, ask the two laboratories in question to exchange their respective dried and ground samples and repeat the analyses. Then work with the laboratory technical support team, your nutritionist, and any other parties involved to resolve the value differences. If sampling is the root of the variance, the exchanged samples will be reported differently by both labs. Analytic feed and forage laboratories are all aiming to be as accurate as possible to reflect feed quality. After all, their success lies in the success of their customer nutritionists and indirectly, the performance of the animals on the feedstuffs analyzed. Understanding the limits to forage laboratory comparisons can offer reasoning in not only attribution of observed value differences but also in the need for consistency across laboratory analysis. Cows are creatures of habit and enjoy consistency. And it’s apparent that they may be onto something — consistency remains key to performance across all steps of a feedstuff’s journey from field to bunk. •

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.


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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.


BEEF FEEDBUNK

by Matt Poore

Tall fescue pasture with Chaparral seedhead suppression. Note the check strip on the right that didn’t receive Chaparral.

Keep spring seedheads under control

D

URING spring, the growth of cool-season grasses can be explosive and can easily get ahead of a grazier, resulting in a lot of seedhead biomass with low nutritive value. This is especially an issue for tall fescue-based systems because of the alkaloid toxins in the seedheads, but it can also create forage quality problems with other species such as orchardgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and timothy. Most tall fescue in the central portion of the eastern U.S. is infected by the fungal endophyte, and the seedhead is one of the best sources of the toxins produced. Mature seedheads of any grass are also a possible source of toxin from ergot, which is a fungus that can infect the seedhead, being even more toxic than the fescue endophyte. Seedheads are also low in nutritive value, often being below the requirements of a lactating cow, so they really don’t provide considerable benefit.

Many options available The key to limiting problems from these seedheads is to not allow them to develop, or at least to limit their development. In most of the cool-season grass species, flowering tillers that produce seedheads are predetermined by spring, and once they are removed very few flowering tillers will develop until the next year. Methods of removing the seedheads are by hay production, early grazing, clipping, or through the chemical seedhead suppression of tall fescue. As you look at your forage system, it is 14 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

important not to grow a lot of seedheads you don’t need, except in the case of hay production. Cutting in the boot to early bloom stage will result in good-quality hay that will provide excellent nutrition in winter, and also this relatively early cutting date will allow the grasses to make significant vegetative growth before slowing down during the summer. One benefit of taking first cutting hay in fescue-based systems is that a significant amount of the ergot alkaloid toxins are degraded during the curing process. Making haylage in the boot stage is another practice that prevents seedhead production, but be aware that fescue toxins are conserved in haylage systems and might result in a more toxic stored forage than if the crop had been made into dry hay. Clipping a heavy growth of seedheads helps reduce toxin loads on cows, but you need to be aware that it is an expensive and wasteful process to clip a lot of forage you paid to grow but didn’t need for the cows. Reducing fertilization by limiting added nitrogen to only fall applications will help reduce spring seedhead production on most cool-season grasses and will also enhance legume composition assuming soil pH and soil fertility is adequate. One of the best practices you can do for suppressing seedheads is to turn cattle out a little earlier than usual and move cows rapidly through the pastures during the early growth phases. Well-known grazing consultant Jim

Gerrish taught me this years ago, and it really works. The trick is not to graze too short (leave 4 to 6 inches) but rather to move cows quickly and let them eat the boot-stage seedheads. At that point, the seedheads are very palatable to the cows, and in tall fescue the toxin levels will be relatively low. Grazing the seedheads early will allow very significant vegetative regrowth and will result in much better quality forage going into late spring and early summer.

Seedhead suppression Another practice that has been of recent interest in fescue systems is the use of metsulfuron (an herbicide), which has the ability to suppress fescue seedheads. This compound is commercially available in the herbicides Chaparral, Cimmaron, and Cimmaron-Plus. Each of these will work to suppress seedheads, but the most recent research has been with Chaparral, which is a combination of metsulfuron and aminopyralid. Most studies show that Chaparral does a good job suppressing tall fescue seedheads and also controls a lot of common weeds MATT POORE The author is an extension ruminant nutrition specialist at North Carolina State University.


including horsenettle, pigweed, and many other problem pasture weeds. An application of 2 ounces per acre of Chaparral in the boot stage (usually around mid-April along the I-40 corridor) is the recommended practice. If the Chaparral application rate is too high, it can be pretty toxic to fescue. Also, this practice seems to work best when there are other desirable forages such as bluegrass, orchardgrass, and dallisgrass mixed in the stands, which are released when fescue is suppressed. It is important to note that not all weeds are well controlled by an April application of 2 ounces per acre of Chaparral (including hard to kill perennials like blackberry and hemp dogbane). Know what your weed challenges are, and use an additional herbicide application or a different timing of herbicide for control of these other undesirable species.

Use multiple strategies At my home farm in southern Virginia, I am challenged with managing a system with a lot of tall fescue. Our approach is to fertilize in the spring in areas we plan on cutting for hay in early May. Areas where we can’t cut hay (or simply don’t plan to) are fertilized only in the fall; this encourages the growth of clovers. On these fields, we turn cattle out early and rotate fast so the cows eat the seedheads in the boot stage. Over the years, we have found it difficult to get over all this area early enough to get the cows to eat the seedheads, so in recent years some of the pastures (about 10 to 15 percent of the grazed area) get fertilizer in the spring followed by an application of Chaparral. These areas will not have clovers (Chap-

arral is very toxic to clovers, possibly for several years) but will grow a lot of low-toxicity forage that we summer stockpile for use later in the grazing season. This approach has greatly reduced our need to clip pastures and gives us good-quality forage to graze during late summer. The areas we have treated with Chaparral are also shifting to forage species other than fescue, which is an added bonus in my opinion. However you approach it, working in the spring to control seedhead devel-

opment in grazed pastures will pay off later in the season. We are working hard both in research and outreach programs to explore diversifying with alternative forages, including nontoxic fescue, annuals, and native warm-season grasses. Such diversification of the forage system offers great long-term benefits; however, whatever your forage system, it will pay you to minimize seedhead development in cool-season grass pastures, especially those with a lot of endophyte infected tall fescue. •

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Cows grazing tall fescue seedheads. High toxin loads and low nutritive value limits performance of cows grazing in this kind of situation.

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2017 | hayandforage.com | AM 15 1/23/17 9:31


Here’s why timing dictates grass-feeding success by Rick Grant

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RASSES contain more potentially digestible fiber than legumes, but they need to be harvested early to capture the benefit in milk production. Whether in pure stands or in alfalfa-grass mixes, there is a “point of no return” when the goal is harvesting high-quality forage for dairy cows. Research shows that neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility for grasses can decline by over 1 percentage unit per day. So, a delay of several days in harvest can make a potentially great crop only mediocre or worse. Legumes typically have more fragile NDF than grasses, and their particle size declines more rapidly with chewing. Grasses naturally break into long and slender pieces when chewed compared with legumes. Longer forage particles with grass-based diets create a dense rumen digesta mat that slows the passage rate of smaller particles from the rumen, promotes greater rumen fill, and boosts the mass of physically effective NDF in the rumen. Essentially,

longer forage particles in the rumen act as a filter and slow passage of particles that are otherwise sufficiently small and dense enough to escape. High-producing cows with greater appetites and higher dry matter intake will be more quickly limited by rumen fill when consuming average or low-quality grasses compared with legumes. Legumes ordinarily have a 15 to 20 percent greater initial rate of NDF digestion versus grasses, but the extent of NDF digestion is 30 to 40 percent greater for grasses reflecting 30 to 40 percent less lignin.

Needs time in the rumen The figure depicts the average fermentation curves for grass versus legume forages. For average grasses and legumes, the rumen fermentation curves cross at approximately 20 to 30 hours. Beyond this time frame, the inherently greater extent of NDF digestion in grasses should be a nutritional advantage. An important consideration is the

Average and range of fiber and digestibility values for alfalfa and grass Alfalfa, mean

Alfalfa, normal range1

Grass, mean

Grass, normal range

NDF, % of DM

43.7

38.2-49.3

56.7

49.9-63.4

Lignin, % of DM 30-h NDF digestibility, % of NDF

7.4 51.5

6.1-8.6 45.4-57.6

5.2 63.3

3.5-6.8 56.4-70.1

Nutrient

Mean ± one standard deviation. Source: Dairy One Forage Lab, Ithaca, N.Y.

1

16 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

average time that a forage particle spends in the rumen in comparison to the point when grass NDF digestion exceeds that of legumes. If rumen residence time is too short, then the greater extent of NDF digestion for grasses will be of relatively little use to the cow. Research conducted at Miner Institute indicates that the mean rumen retention time for marked hay crop silage and corn silage of medium length (1.18 to 4.75 mm) is approximately 35 to 45 hours for cows consuming about 60 pounds per day of dry matter and producing about 100 pounds per day of milk. Mean retention time for small forage particles (less than 1.18 mm) is about 30 to 35 hours. The inference of this research is that highly productive dairy cows can effectively use grass forage as a source of fermentable NDF. The retention time in the rumen is sufficiently lengthy that the greater extent of NDF digestion of grasses can be effectively exploited. But grass needs to be harvested at earlier maturities with less lignified NDF to enhance NDF RICK GRANT The author is a dairy scientist and serves as president of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y.


Hit your harvest target Grass must be harvested at early maturity when there is less lignification and fiber digestion rates are greater. The table contains forage quality information from Dairy One Forage Lab summarized by Larry Chase at Cornell University in 2012. The normal range in 30-hour NDF digestibility for grass forage is about 55 to 70 percent (normal range is defined as the average plus or minus one standard deviation). In order

Typical fermentation curves for grass and legume forages 60

Grass

50 NDF digestion (%)

digestion rate and extent of digestion. The impact of greater NDF digestibility on dry matter intake and milk production can be tremendous. Consider the example of a 1,400-pound dairy cow eating a diet with a forage blend of 25 percent alfalfa (40 percent NDF) and 75 percent grass (55 percent NDF). When the 48-hour NDF digestibility of the grass is only 60 percent, then cows producing about 90 pounds per day of milk can eat 52 pounds per day of a diet containing just 54 percent forage. But, when the NDF digestibility jumps to 76 percent, then the dietary forage percentage can increase to 63 percent while maintaining feed intake and milk production.

Alfalfa

40 30 20 10 0 0

10

20

30 40 Rumen retention time (h)

to capture the benefit of grass’s greater fiber digestibility, we need to target the upper end of this range to maximize cow productive response. Current recommendations on when to cut your forages often use alfalfa to decide. Research at Cornell University by Jerry Cherney suggests that the height of alfalfa predicts when it and grass fields, in your local climate and conditions, should be cut. When alfalfa near a grass field is about 13 inches tall,

50

60

70

80

then it is time to cut pure grass stands. If alfalfa is mixed 50:50 with grass, then cut when alfalfa is about 23 inches tall. Of course, variation exists among the various grasses available, and the key is to harvest early — when 30-hour NDF digestibility is close to 70 percent. Don’t wait to cut mixed stands until the alfalfa is ready. You will end up with grass that is too mature and will limit dry matter intake and prevent your cows from reaching their genetic potential. •

March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 17


ALFALFA SEED MUST BE CLEANED TO ENSURE QUALITY BWFolsom

by Robin Newell

I

N THE two previous issues of Hay & Forage Grower, we discussed the breeding and development of alfalfa cultivars along with seed field production. The next steps toward a forage producer planting high-quality seed of a cultivar occur within a seed conditioning plant, where combine-run alfalfa seed is cleaned to remove unwanted inert material, weed seed, and other crop seed. Combine-run alfalfa seed received at the seed plant is weighed, sampled, and typically placed in steel boxes holding about 50 bushels. Lab results from initial sampling are used to decide if any special operations will be needed for cleaning specific lots. Each field lot is conditioned individually to maintain integrity of the cultivar and to meet certification and phytosanitary

field inspection standards if the seed is destined for export. An array of machines are used to separate alfalfa seed from other materials based on five main principles: size, density, shape, roughness, and color. Alfalfa seed is relatively small with 200,000 to 225,000 seeds per pound; thus combine-run seed usually contains 20 to 25 percent undesirable material that must be removed, including chaff and light seed, pod and stem pieces, dirt, stones, weed seeds, and other crop seeds. At the end of the conditioning run for each field lot, a representative sample is submitted to one or more labs for germination testing. A registered seed analyst grades the sample for purity, amount and type of inert material, and identifies any remaining weed or other crop species. Among the main genetic

suppliers, testing for the presence or absence of genetically modified traits is performed on each finished seed lot. Once a field lot meets clean seed specifications, it is “put away” in plant inventory as conditioned seed, ready for commercial packaging. The next article in this series will conclude with treatment and packaging operations, plus a bit about commercial seed specifications and labeling required for commercial sale. • ROBIN NEWELL The author is the vice president of North American sales for S&W Seed Company.

Here’s how seed is conditioned:

Seed is first run through a Clipper Cleaner, sort of like the back half of a combine, except that it’s stationary. Just like a combine, air is blown up through a series of reciprocating sieves that are sized to exclude seeds larger than alfalfa. It also blows chaff and the lightest shriveled seed out of the good seed.

1 18 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017


2

3

A gravity table is like an air hockey table lifted at a slight angle on one corner. It vibrates at about 250 shakes per minute. Seed moves across at a speed and distance related to its density. There are three “cuts” of seed coming over the edge . . . light or shriveled seed gravitates to one corner, while the heavy seed, including dirt or small stones, gravitates to the opposite corner. The middle “cut” is good seed.

Since the clipper cleaner and the gravity table have already done most of the cleaning based on size and density, we turn to the principle of seed coat roughness to remove small weed seeds of many species. This bank of inclined velvet rolls removes weed seed of similar size and density to alfalfa seed. Rollers are inclined to allow seed introduced at the high end, to flow down the channel between the rollers and out the low end.

4

5

Rollers rotate up and away from the seed flowing down the channel in the middle where the rollers meet. Rollers are covered with a nappy, velvet-like fabric. Rough-coated weed seeds stick just enough to be pulled out and away from alfalfa seed as it flows down the channel due to its smooth seed coat.

Many field lots are sufficiently cleaned for commercial sale after the inclined rollers. Lab testing of a representative sample will inform the operator whether more cleaning is needed. Each cleaning operation inevitably removes some viable seed along with the material targeted for removal. It’s a judgment call whether to conduct more cleaning operations or to stop when the seed is within tolerance for “other crop” or weed seed and free of noxious weeds.

6

7

A magnetized roller may be used for rough-coated noxious weed seeds, if any remain. A small amount of iron powder and mineral oil are mixed with seed for this “magging” operation. The mixture doesn’t adhere to alfalfa with its smooth seed coat but adheres to rough-coated seeds. Seed goes onto the roller/belt in a single layer; any weed seeds holding iron powder continue around the bottom of the magnetized roller, dropping off the belt at a different point than alfalfa seed, to enable its removal. Seed conditioning photos by Randy Knigge

Color sorters are relatively recent technology. Seed is dropped through channels in a singulated stream. Light-colored seed can be separated from dark-colored seed or vice versa, depending on sensor settings. Any seed that sets off a light sensor triggers a puff of air to blow that individual seed out of the seed streaming by the sensor. These machines are typically used for a small proportion of seed lots because they are slow, but newer ones are getting faster with more light-sensor channels and higher flow rates.

March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 19


PASTURE PONDERINGS

by Jesse Bussard

Plan ahead for a toxic fescue makeover

T

HINKING of renovating toxic fescue pastures in 2017? Beneficial endophyte fescue varieties offer cattle producers in the Fescue Belt an effective forage option to collectively improve pasture forage quality, enhance animal performance, and boost farm profit potential. Despite initial renovation costs being slightly higher than other forages, upward of $200 an acre in 2015, USDA Agricultural Research Service research scientist Glen Aiken said the improvements gained in animal performance make the upfront expense a worthwhile investment. “You have to think about opportunity cost,” said Aiken. “If you replace Kentucky 31, the return over the first few years is going to be pretty substantial. You have to consider the boosts in animal performance and reproduction.”

Start small Many newer beneficial endophyte tall fescue varieties exist on the market today. Cultivars such as Barenbrug’s BarOptima Plus E34 have been shown to be hardy, high-producing quality forages that promise improved average daily gains upward of an extra pound per day and enhanced reproduction in grazing livestock. As a rule of thumb, Aiken suggested renovating no more than 25 percent of an operation’s grazing acres at one time. “It’s going to depend on each farm, what their production goals are, and how intensive their system is,” said Aiken. Retired University of Kentucky weed scientist Bill Witt agreed, adding, “When you start down the road to renovation, 20 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

you’re going to have to take that field out of production for grazing anywhere from six to eight months, possibly a year or more. At any rate, the important thing is, if you’re going to do this, make sure you do it in a timely manner and start with a reasonable target acreage.” According to Aiken, good candidates for renovation will be pastures with better soils conducive to growing tall fescue. He recommended producers leave pastures with more rocky and shallow soils, where establishment of new plantings may be more challenging, for stockpiled winter grazing instead. Witt concurred, noting toxic fescue pastures with known weed issues are also ideal contenders. Renovation provides a means to concurrently eliminate problem weed infestations. Before planting, Witt advised cattle producers do a soil test on the candidate pasture to figure out what, if any, soil amendments are needed. Starting off with a good base is a big factor for successful establishment.

Several establishment options Along with acreage and soil health considerations, producers must ask themselves another question, “To till or not to till?” Witt prefers no-till seeding for renovated pastures whenever possible but understands this technique is not always an option for producers. Where no-till methods are possible, Witt recommended producers plan to drill seed into pastures in a cross-directional pattern, or both directions, to establish a thick stand. This practice is especially beneficial for fields prone to

erosion such as hilly areas or those with sandy soils. If broadcasting seed, tillage will be necessary, but pasture managers must understand disturbing the soil surface also creates the opportunity for existing toxic fescue and weed seeds in the soil bank to germinate. Lastly, producers will need to decide on a renovation strategy. Witt explained there are a few ways to accomplish this task. The first requires less than one year’s time and consists of one to two burndown treatments with glyphosate in late summer, followed by planting a novel endophyte variety in early fall, usually in September. However, Witt made it clear, “You have to realize there are fescue seeds in the field, and some of them are going to still be in that field after spraying.” The downside with the short-term strategy is it is difficult to avoid germination of toxic fescue seeds alongside the seeds you are planting. There is also no way to identify later which plants will be toxic fescue and which are novel endophyte. Both Witt and Aiken agreed that long-term strategies are likely the best choice to ensure toxic seed numbers in the soil bank are reduced as much as possible. These longer term options will take approximately one to two years, depending on the approach chosen, and involve breaking up the renovation process by planting at least one cover or smother crop before reseeding to novel endophyte fescue. Witt added one side benefit to longer term renovation strategies is the ability to also graze cover or smother crops planted during the renovation period. Depending on the crop chosen, pastures do not have to be entirely out of commission. Rest assured, however, Witt said it’s not impossible for producers to get a successful stand of novel endophyte fescue with a short-term approach. These beneficial varieties have proven to be more competitive than Kentucky 31, he noted. It’s just best to consider all the factors before moving forward with renovation plans. • JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.


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Most producers who fail at pasture-finished beef do so because pastures are overgrazed and forage availability eventually runs short.

Growing into pasture-finished beef by John Hibma

P

ASTURE-finished beef is becoming more popular among consumers. However, finishing beef solely on pasture grasses with no grains requires a very aggressive level of pasture management throughout the grazing season. Pastures must supply enough feed to support both a desired growth rate as well as putting adequate fat on the animal at the time of slaughter. This can be a challenge for the grazier since, in many regions of the country, pasture growth and forage quality can be unpredictable throughout the course of the growing season. The key to successfully raising and finishing beef on pasture requires adequate forage availability while at the same time not overgrazing pastures. Attempts at pasture finishing fail largely because the animals are struggling to maintain weight at the end and don’t have the body fat required for marbling and consumer taste preferences. In Plainfield, Conn., Jennie and Dan Kapszukiewicz began raising grass-finished beef in 2012 with a pair of Black Angus-Simmental heifers. After having grown hay on about 33 acres of their 22 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

property for many years, the couple decided it would be a more sustainable use of the land by putting it back into pasture, improving the soils, and raising the kind of meat that they preferred. The initial plan was to rotationally graze their two cows on 3-1/2 acres that was divided into four paddocks. They began with a popular intensive grazing model of keeping the grass short for higher protein. Pastures were then allowed to regrow back 4 to 8 inches. They did that for two seasons, adding a couple of calves along the way. Jennie explained that it was hard to believe but, “we couldn’t keep the animals fed on 3-1/2 acres even though we were rotating them about every seven days through four paddocks.” As the animals romped around the large paddocks, they were gorging themselves with high protein but not allowing the grass root systems enough time to recover and regrow. Hay had to be supplemented to keep the animals fed. The following year, after attending a grazing conference, Jennie and Dan learned that the key to a successful rotational grazing system is to graze

“tight and tall.” So the same 3-1/2 acres were then divided into 12 paddocks. They were amazed at the difference in the regrowth and how much more grass there was as the smaller paddocks had more time to recover. It didn’t take very long before they also noticed a dramatic improvement in soil quality as well. Previously, when Jennie attempted to push the pigtail hot-wire stakes into the ground when moving electric wire, she needed Dan’s help because the soil was so compacted. Now she has little or no problem relocating stakes as the soil has softened with the improved grass growth. During the 2016 grazing season, they expanded the number of paddocks to 19, measuring 320 feet long by 25 feet wide JOHN HIBMA The author is a dairy nutritional consultant and freelance agricultural writer based out of Connecticut.


for a total paddock size of 8,000 square feet each. This year they have a total of nine animals (heifers and calves) on the same 3-1/2 acres that four years ago couldn’t support two cows.

Performance and soils improve In the springtime, the grass is growing rapidly and there’s lots of it, but the cows are still moved to a new paddock every four to five days. Jennie and Dan are no longer concerned about the grass getting too long or mature. In fact, by having a portion of the grass left behind that’s more mature and fibrous, the cows have the ability to self-regulate their forage selections, which enables their rumens to function better. Jennie says that back when they first started grazing, the cows had loose manure due to the low fiber in the grasses they were consuming — that’s no longer the case. Dan noted that the stocking density per acre along with the pounds of beef produced per acre continue to improve. He estimates that the nine animals in the herd are consuming between 200 to 240 pounds of dry matter per day. This equates to as much as 7,200 pounds of dry matter consumed per month. In spite of a very hot and dry summer in Connecticut in 2016, dry matter per acre well exceeded 1 ton per acre on the rotationally grazed pasture. The Kapszukiewiczes are convinced that creating the smaller paddocks was the key to the healthier soils and improved pasture growth. Dan adds that the decision to let the grass grow longer actually provides a canopy shading for the ground, retaining moisture in the soil that helped keep grass growing during the extended dry period this past summer. Jennie also noted that the cows have not had any problems with intestinal parasites since moving to the longer rotation and breaking the life cycle of the worms. They do continue to test for parasites each year just to make sure but have never had to treat the herd for parasites. Flies are still a problem during the summer months, and a future plan for the farm is to add chick-

Jennie and Dan Kapszukiewicz improved pasture growth and soil health by creating smaller paddocks.

ens that can follow behind the cows when a paddock is emptied and dispose of the fly larvae in the cow pies. While the herd is not fed any grain or commodity by-products, they do receive some mineral supplementation. During the winter months while the pasture is dormant (and covered with snow), they are fed baleage that Dan continues to grow on the remainder of the property. The cows are usually back on pasture by early April.

Weigh each week Pasture management is a work in progress as Jennie and Dan learn which varieties of forages grow the best. Currently, the pasture is a combination of timothy, fescue, and orchardgrass along with some alfalfa and clover. Managing and observing the paddocks and grazing patterns of the herd are pretty much daily chores for the couple as they monitor grass growth and move electric line from paddock to paddock. They also weigh cows every week to monitor daily gains that document the progress they’re making. As expected, average daily weight gains vary through the course of the season, with higher gains coming from the springtime forage and lower gains later in the season.

They’ve also been able to document weight loss during hot spells. Overall, however, their cows have managed a consistent average daily gain over the entire season — for multiple seasons — of over 2.2 pounds of gain per day. A steer they shipped at 18 months of age last year weighed 1,375 pounds when it went to slaughter. Minus birth weight, the average daily gain for that steer was 2.3 pounds per day — solely on grass. Jennie and Dan are looking ahead to ultimately grow their herd to about 40 animals and marketing about 15 steers each year using the majority of the 30 acres for pasture. They have decided to phase out the Simmental bloodline and focus on Red Angus. They feel that the Red Angus works better in their grazing environment. A key aspect of pasture grazing and finishing beef is being confident that the breed is matched to the pasture and the pasture can support the stocking density and growth rate needed to attain the quality of beef the market is looking for. After four years of experience and with all of the data that’s been collected, Jennie and Dan feel confident that they can produce a consistent product for much of the year and that their grazing model is working. • March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 23


CUSTOM CORNER

by Kathy Vander Kinter

Help your business and employees succeed

C

ABIN fever has set in for most anyone in the agriculture community by this time of the year. For most of us, we have at least a month until the wheels can again be put into motion. The contracts are signed with the custom operator and clients alike, the forage harvesters are ready to chop, and the planters are ready to roll. What can we do now? This is an opportune time to check in with the office staff to make sure all of the lines of communication are open and proper procedures are in place for the upcoming season. Sometimes we get good results when we do things “off the cuff” or on a whim; however, the most successful outcomes usually occur after strategic planning and with a written protocol. If your custom operating business is on a smaller scale and just starting out, decide who will oversee your human resources. Though it sounds a bit technical, you will essentially need someone or multiple people to hire and fire employees. Only if it were that simple! Coming up with an application for prospective employees to fill out and prepare all the necessary federal and state paperwork are only small portions of the task. During the interview process, there needs to be consistency from one interview to the next. A standard protocol of questions to ask and job expectations should be in place and presented to the potential employee at the time of their interview. Also, by communicating your business’s mission and goals to a potential candidate, you are giving them a handle on whether your job is a good fit for them.

Test your SOPs Long before the potential employment interview even takes place, develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) handbook. An SOP is a written set of instructions agreed upon by a company to help employees understand how to carry out routine jobs. An SOP can be 24 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

as simple or as specific as you want it to be. Keep in mind there are multiple ways to successfully accomplish a task. Consider reaching out to others who are performing the jobs on a regular basis for their input on best operating practices because, in the end, a poorly written or inaccurate SOP can set your business up for reduced productivity, adverse environmental impacts, and jeopardize employee safety. The whole purpose of the SOP is to ensure that you are providing a safe work and living environment for everyone while preventing equipment failure in the field (maximum operational efficiency) and can be used as a training guide for all new hires. Lastly, after you have a draft completed, test it out. Ask someone who performs the job regularly to follow the procedure to see if the outcome is what you are expecting. Then test it out on someone who has never performed the job and see if the outcomes are consistent between the two individuals. If both individuals can come up with the same result, you are on your way to a successful SOP. Use the SOP as a training guide and tool for your business.

Document expectations A more commonly known manual is an employee handbook where company values, policies, benefits, and procedures are compiled into an easy-to-read and comprehensible format. Again, this can be as simple or as extensive as you wish. I would suggest that after drafting a handbook to seek legal counsel to ensure all legal provisions are included and have not been misstated. Finally, the employee handbook should always be readily available to all employees and be reviewed on an annual basis. Employment laws are everchanging, and new obligations are being implemented regularly. By following these couple of steps, you could save your company from financial devastation while providing your employees with a valuable resource.

The employee handbook will serve as your company’s set of expectations and standards relating to job performance. You can choose what works best for your individual business when it comes to training employees. Whether you choose to do a computer-generated slideshow, a one-on-one training lecture, or a hands-on approach, by following exactly what is written in the SOPs and employee handbook, all employees should be performing each job exactly the same to your own company’s standard of excellence. Following through after implementing your employee handbook and SOPs might be the most difficult part of this entire process. It is easy to give an employee doing a satisfactory job a raise in pay. The difficult job is disciplining an employee for subpar performance. If you followed the steps up to this point, the process can be a lot less stressful. You will have a written set of disciplinary measures that you will follow if an issue arises; you will also have a protocol to determine if the employee’s performance is meeting your standards for a pay raise. Employee reviews can be done as often as your company chooses, with an annual review being the usual standard protocol. Reviews serve as the company’s way to give constructive feedback and guidance to the employee and open the door for discussion into the future growth of the employee. Again, an employee review does not have to be a painful process if all the expectations and procedures are documented from the beginning. Share in your employees’ accomplishments, and happy harvesting! • KATHY VANDER KINTER The author and her husband are custom operators in a third-generation family business in Green Bay, Wis.


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Determine KPS with your smartphone by Brian Luck

I

T IS well known that reducing the size of corn kernels in whole plant corn silage makes it more digestible for the cows and enhances milk production. How much to process those kernels is another question. Reducing the gap between the kernel processing rolls lowers the mean particle size of the corn kernels, but there is a cost in that more machine power is required to process the corn silage; this translates to higher fuel consumption and reduced harvest speed. Finding the optimal kernel processing roll gap would be ideal, allowing for the maintenance of feed quality and harvest efficiency. What is sufficient kernel processing in chopped and processed corn silage? Mertens (2005) developed the corn silage processing score (CSPS), also known as the kernel processing score (KPS). This method requires sieving the whole plant corn silage in a rotary shaker table. The material passing

through a sieve with an opening size of 4.75 millimeters (0.187 inch) is analyzed for starch content, and the amount of total starch passing through that sieve is the KPS.

KPS quick tests Kernel processing is considered excellent if more than 70 percent of the total starch passes through the 4.75 mm sieve; 50 to 69 percent passing through the sieve is deemed as adequate. This analysis is typically done in a lab where samples are sent in for analysis. While there is no replacement for lab analysis of your harvested corn silage, these results returning to the producer post-harvest does not provide any opportunity to adjust the machine for optimal harvest efficiency and feed quality. Currently, visual assessment of the corn kernels is the only way to quantify particle size distribution in the field during harvest. A common method of

Table 1. Image analysis of kernel processing from photo Property

Value

Average particle diameter Standard deviation of particle diameters Average particle area

0.086 in (2.18 mm) 0.068 in (1.72 mm) 0.021 in2 (13.45 mm2)

Standard deviation of particle area Total number of particles detected Percent of particles with diameter < 0.187 in (4.75 mm)

0.030 in2 (19.30 mm2) 907 92%

26 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

doing this is taking a 1-quart sample of the chopped and processed corn silage and visually searching for whole kernels. If one or more whole kernels is found within a quart of corn silage, then the kernel processor rolls need to be moved closer together. Another method is hydrodynamic separation of the kernels from the plant material. When a sample of whole plant corn silage is submerged in a pan or bucket of water, the plant material floats on top while the kernels sink to the bottom. The plant material can be skimmed off leaving the kernels for visual assessment. Both of these methods are subjective and do not provide any measurement of the kernels to ensure sufficient processing.

A new approach At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we have been working to develop a smartphone application that will provide BRIAN LUCK The author is an extension agricultural engineer in the department of biological systems, University of Wisconsin-Madison (bluck@wisc.edu)


R FASTE N OW D Y R D

information about the particle size distribution of the corn kernels while in the field during harvest. Image analysis has the capability of determining the size of each pixel in an image if a reference object is included. Use of the application requires separating the corn kernels from the plant material. The simplest method for achieving this is by hydrodynamic separation. The University of Wisconsin-Extension has a nice article on this method titled “Making sure your kernel processor is doing its job” (Shinners and Holmes, 2013). Once the kernels have been separated from the plant material, they are spread on a dark background. Next, a U.S. coin (penny, nickel, dime, or quarter) is placed in the center of the sample and a picture is taken of the sample. The analysis of the developed image identifies the kernel pieces in the image (see picture), counts the kernel pieces, measures their size, and provides a report to the user. The sufficiency threshold used for proper kernel processing is if more than 70 percent of the kernel pieces in the image are smaller than Image analysis results from a 4.75 mm. The smartphone appli- sample of processed corn cation will also generate kernels. Red outline describes each identified kernel with a a detailed report that 1.5-inch calibration disc in the will include the procenter of the image. cessed image, a histogram of particle size, and descriptive statistics about the image (Table 1). This is done so that the producer can interpret whether the image analysis results are accurate (for example, if you get an average particle size of 6 inches, then you know something went wrong and the image should be retaken). The results in Table 1 indicate that the average particle diameter is 0.086 inch, which is well below the threshold of 0.187 inch. Ninety-two percent of the particles detected in the image are smaller than 4.75 mm (0.187 inch). This is an indication of sufficient kernel processing; however, something to consider is how many small particles are in the image. If there are many more small particles than large particles, the results of the image analysis can be skewed. To ensure accurate results, take multiple images of several samples (at least three). Average the three resulting average particle diameters to get a better representation of the actual mean particle diameter of the processed corn silage. This corn kernel particle size analysis tool will be a fast and efficient way for producers, nutritionists, and custom harvesters to verify the performance of kernel processing rollers on forage harvesters. This quick in-field verification will allow for the maintenance of high-quality feed production and also allow for more closely optimal harvest speed and fuel efficiency. Watch for the release of this smartphone application in mid-2017. •

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Once established, warm-season grasses have relatively low input requirements and offer the potential for good livestock gains.

Warm-season grass success demands planning by Melissa Beck

H

ISTORICALLY, producers are warned that it takes two to three years to establish native warm-season grasses. Research at the USDA Plant Materials Center in Booneville, Ark., and the University of Tennessee seem to indicate this isn’t necessarily true, and in reality these grasses may require a much shorter establishment time. Native warm-season grasses are perennial bunch grasses that grow upright and make excellent livestock forage as well as wildlife habitat. They include big bluestem, little bluestem, switchgrass, indiangrass, and eastern gamagrass, among many others. Often referred to as “prairie grass,” these grasses were common throughout the United States and Canada and were inhabited by native peoples who hunted the immense herds of bison, deer, pronghorn antelope, and elk that grazed and roamed the prairies. “Selection of warm species really depends on your objectives,” said Patrick Keyser, professor and director of the Center for Native Grasslands Management at the University of Tennessee. “Typically, we recommend a mix of big bluestem, little bluestem, and indiangrass because they are complementary 28 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

in their production and have higher gain rates for growing livestock.” Keyser said a typical rate of gain for a 120-day grazing season is 2.2 pounds per day for this mix of warm-season grasses alone. He said a producer could double the stocking rate with switchgrass, the cheapest rate of gain for these native grasses, and expect around 1.75 pounds of gain per day. Switchgrass also has the best water use efficiency of the warm-season options.

Don’t overgraze There are some advantages to growing warm-season grasses; perhaps the most appealing is the relatively low inputs required to produce forage. They also require less fertilizer and are more drought tolerant than introduced species. On the other hand, warm-season grass species are more difficult to establish than cool-season perennials, require intensive management, and intentional weed control, particularly at establishment. Diligent oversight is required to maintain the stand. These native grasses do not tolerate overgrazing like introduced species and have a short grazing season, requiring a rest period in the fall to restore root carbohydrates. Keyser says that warm-season grasses

require as much as six weeks of rest in early fall to build up energy reserves. “These grasses respire all winter and, therefore, need energy reserves for that as well as for the green up in the subsequent spring.” The rule of thumb to “take half, leave half” is important for stand maintenance. Furthermore, seed costs can be prohibitive. Planning is essential when converting to native warm-season grasses. John Jennings, extension forage specialist at the University of Arkansas, recommends starting the process a year in advance of planting. “Converting old pastures to warm-season grasses starting in late winter for spring planting can be accomplished but requires a very intensive program of repeated herbicide applications, possibly burning of thatch, and a pre-emergence herbicide applicaMELISSA BECK The author is a freelance writer and stocker-cattle operator from Hope, Ark.


tion (for certain species) after planting,” Jennings explained. He continued, “The best situation for converting to warm-season grasses is on an unproductive field that needs to be renovated anyway, or for landowners with strong wildlife interest where they will manage the grass as forage and wildlife habitat. These forages aren’t a fit for everyone but are very productive with lower production costs than bermudagrass if recommended practices are followed.”

Demonstrations established Jennings cooperated with Keyser to conduct three successful native warm-season grass establishment demonstrations in north central Arkansas; one was at the Livestock and Forestry Research Station at Batesville, one on-farm in Cleburne County, and another on-farm demo in Faulkner County. The demonstrations ranged in size from 10 to 15 acres. The two farm sites were no-till planted into an herbicide-killed sod, and the Batesville site was on a prepared seedbed. To prepare the sites for planting, they were sprayed with 2 quarts per acre of glyphosate in mid-April with a second application before planting. The no-till drill was equipped with a native grass seed box and larger tubes designed to accommodate the fluffy native grass seeds. It was calibrated to deliver 10 pounds of pure live seed per acre. The disk openers barely cut the soil, and the press wheel was adjusted with more pressure. Many seeds were visible in the row, pressed into the prepared soil bed, with good soil-to-seed contact but without planting too deep. The same seed mix and planting rate of pure live seed were used at all three

Arkansas demonstration establishment costs Location Item

Batesville

Cleburne

Faulkner

$ per acre

Seed Glyphosate Plateau 2,4-D Surfactant Sprayer rental Burning of residue Fertilizer Lime Tillage/seedbed Drill rental Brushhogging Total cost per acre

150.00 18.75 15.00 7.00 2.00 45.00 – 30.00 – 45.00 15.00 15.00 343.00

150.00 14.00 15.00 7.00 2.00 45.00 30.00 – 92.00 – 15.00 15.00 385.00

150.00 28.25 15.00 7.00 2.00 45.00 30.00 – – – 15.00 15.00 322.00

John Jennings, University of Arkansas

sites: 8 pounds per acre of OZ-70 big bluestem, 1 pound per acre of Aldous little bluestem, and 1 pound per acre of Osage indiangrass. Imazapic herbicide was applied at 8 ounces per acre after planting to provide pre-emergence weed control. Despite the applications of herbicide, pigweed emerged on all three locations in the summer before the stand was mature enough to tolerate another application of herbicide; therefore, each of the three sites were mowed in July. Once the grass seedlings reached the recommended size, the sites were treated with a broadleaf herbicide. Twig Satterfield owns the 10-acre plot in Faulkner County and said before he participated in the demonstration his pastures suffered during the 2012 drought. He sold most of his cows, burned the pastures, and was surprised when an unfamiliar grass came in. Warm-season grass seed is light and fluffy, which makes specialized seeding equipment necessary.

He called Jennings and found out the burned pastures came back in bluestem.

Be patient before grazing They planted his demonstration plot in late spring and the following August put 35 head on the pasture for four to five days, then grazed it again the following February. Satterfield said that burning down the existing sod at establishment was a game changer. He noted, “The warm-season grass pastures are holding up to our program. We rotationally graze our cows, moving them every two to seven days. They are spoiled rotten, standing at the wire and bellowing when it’s time to move.” “We typically recommend withholding utilization until 12 months after establishment,” Keyser said. “You can use haying or grazing to manage weeds in an immature stand, but the grazing needs to be for a very short interval,” he explained. Jennings observed good stands were established at all three sites with all October stand counts of 90 percent. Rainfall was optimum until mid-August, and the weed control held well through most of the summer. For those interested in converting a pasture to native warm-season grasses, begin planning at least a year ahead of planting. Consider the species that best fit with production goals, and be prepared to manage the grasses with a higher canopy, around 10 to 25 inches in height. Finally, allow the pasture an adequate rest period to maintain the vigor and persistence of the stand. • March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 29


DAIRY FEEDBUNK

by Randy Shaver View forage lab fiber digestibility values as an index to compare feedstuffs. Many factors affect the actual fiber digestibility of fed forage.

Fiber digestibility is more than a lab measure

T

HE combined effects of feed ingredients and nutrients included in dairy cow rations, diet physical form (particle size), and the cowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s level of dry matter intake (DMI) all combine to influence fiber digestibility in dairy cattle. These associative effects, however, are largely ignored within the framework of laboratory in vitro fiber digestibility assays, which include using dry, fine-ground samples, rumen fluid collected from a few donor cows fed one type of diet at one level of DMI, glass fermentation vessels, and so forth. Therefore, for the most part, these lab digestibility tests should be viewed as relative index values for comparison among feedstuffs or over time within feedstuffs to conduct ration performance diagnostics and/or fine-tune feeding programs. They are less useful as predictors of actual fiber digestibility in the cow. The purpose of this article is to review and discuss some of the important associative effects that influence fiber digestibility in dairy cattle.

DMI drives milk response Research at Michigan State University with brown midrib corn silage hybrids led to todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus on improved fiber digestibility in forages for dairy cattle. Substantially greater (10 to 15 percentage units) in vitro neutral detergent fiber digestibility (ivNDFD) for brown midrib (BMR) corn silage 30 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

hybrids, associated with their reduced lignin content compared to conventional hybrids, is now well established. However, greater ivNDFD for BMR hybrids has only sometimes translated into greater NDF digestibility in the cow because high-producing dairy cows respond to greater ivNDFD with greater DMI, faster passage of potentially digestible fiber through the rumen, and reduced rumen fill. Research with lactating dairy cows was performed using USDA (Beltsville, Md.) energy chambers and noted no statistically significant differences in net energy of lactation (NEL) concentrations between a TMR with BMR corn silage compared to a TMR with a nearisogenic nonBMR corn silage. However, both DMI and milk yield were greater for the cows fed BMR corn silage. It is evident that the milk yield response to greater ivNDFD in corn silage derives primarily through greater DMI. Presumably similar relationships among lignin, ivNDFD, DMI, fiber digestibility in the cow, and diet energy content will be observed for reduced-lignin alfalfa compared to conventional alfalfa when fed to high-producing dairy cows.

Key on ration starch content From a meta-regression of published trials, University of Wisconsin researchers reported that higher dietary starch concentration reduced ruminal and

total-tract NDF digestibility in the cow. The digestibility of dietary NDF declined about 0.50 percentage units in the total digestive tract for each 1 percentage unit boost in dietary starch content. Reduced fiber digestibility may be partially explained by lower rumen pH as a consequence of greater amounts of starch being digested in the rumen with higher starch intake. Low rumen pH is known to affect microbial growth and bacterial adherence and thereby fiber digestion. Also, the inherently high fiber digestibility of nonforage fibrous by-products used to partially replace corn grain in reduced-starch diets may be partly responsible. The Ohio State University workers used our reported decline in total-tract NDF digestibility with higher dietary starch content to calculate the effect on dietary energy values. A 5 percentage unit increase in dietary starch content reduced total-tract NDF digestibility by 2.5 percentage units (46.5 percent to 44.0 percent), which resulted in a 5.3 percent bump in dietary NEL. This compares to a 6.5 percent boost in NEL had total-tract NDF digestibility not been adversely affected by the higher dietary starch content. Greater total-tract starch (over 90 percent) than NDF (under 50 percent) digestibility tempers the negative impact on dietary NEL content from reduced total-tract NDF digestibility with greater dietary starch concentrations. Although enhanced concentrations of dietary starch lowers fiber digestibility, the negative effect on the calculated dietary NEL content is not large and, thus, still favors feeding higher starch diets.

Dietary cation-anion difference From a meta-regression of published trials, University of Maryland researchers reported that total-tract NDF digestibility in lactating dairy cows improved linearly with a higher dietary cation-anion difference (DCAD, milliequivalents per kilogram [kg] of DM = Na + K - Cl - S). Each boost in DCAD of 100 milliequivalents per kg diet DM resulted in RANDY SHAVER The author is a professor and extension dairy nutritionist in the department of dairy science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


a 1.5-percentage unit gain in total-tract NDF digestibility. Rumen pH, milkfat percent and yield, and fat-corrected milk feed efficiency also all improved linearly with higher DCAD. This topic becomes very important as higher corn silage diets are fed because corn silage is inherently low in potassium and thus cation-anion difference. Potassium and sodium-based buffers are added to diets fed to lactating cows to boost DCAD, depending on feedstuff analysis and diet formulation to a specific DCAD content. This practice has significant effects on digestibility and lactation performance in dairy cows.

important for achieving high ruminal fiber digestibility in the cow. Evaluating fiber for dairy cows goes beyond NDF content and ivNDFD and includes assessment of its roughage value through particle sizing to estimate physically effective NDF and lab analysis of undigested NDF or uNDF240. All of these fiber and physical form parameters considered together, along with feeding management on the farm, are important for maintaining or improving intake, nutrient digestibility,

and lactation performance in dairy cows. Biological assays, such as laboratory ivNDFD measurements, provide valuable decision-making information. Along with NDF content, they tell us a lot about forage quality. Nutritional models are useful for formulating and evaluating dairy cattle diets; however, numerous associative effects of feed ingredients, physical form, DMI, and feeding management practices ultimately determine fiber digestibility in the cow and the cowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lactation performance. â&#x20AC;˘

Fat is a nonfactor Based mainly on in vitro experiments or trials in sheep, it has been a commonly held opinion that supplemental fat feeding to enhance dietary energy content depresses fiber digestibility in the cow. University of Wisconsin researchers, however, recently refuted this dogma using a meta-regression of published trials with digestibility data from lactating dairy cows fed a variety of supplemental fat sources, including vegetable oils, animal-vegetable blends and tallow, and various rumen-inert fats. Only coconut oil, which we do not feed, was found to reduce total-tract NDF digestibility in the cow, and it was actually improved for cows fed the calcium salts of palm oil fatty acids. Intake of DM was reduced only for cows fed coconut oil or calcium salts of palm and other oil fatty acids. Rumen protection of supplemental long-chain unsaturated fatty acids may be necessary to avoid milkfat depression, but this appears to be unrelated to any reduction in fiber digestibility.

Protein effects Penn State University researchers suggested that feeding low-protein diets reduced NDF digestibility in lactating dairy cows and assumed that most of this reduction occurred in the rumen. Effects on rumen microbial protein synthesis, however, were inconsistent. From their work, it was concluded that diets with less than 10 percent rumen degradable protein (DM basis) reduced fiber digestibility.

Particle size matters Forage chop length, particle size, and TMR mixing protocols impact the rumen fiber-mat formation, the cowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rumination activity, and salivary rumen pH buffering. These factors are March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 31


Searching for 365 days of grazing by James Rogers

I

N 2015, the Noble Foundation undertook a foundation-wide research initiative called Forage 365 with the main objective to develop forages and grazing systems that provide grazeable forage yearround. Within this initiative, there are several projects taking place across the three operating divisions of the Noble Foundation. Projects range from basic research in plant nutrient-use efficiency, drought tolerance, and soil microbes, to applied research involving cow-calf winter forage systems and the use of cover crops in winter pasture stocker systems. In the Noble Foundation Agricultural Division, there are two Forage 365 grazing research projects being conducted.

Cover crops study The first is a cover crop study that addresses the question of what effect will a cover crop grown during the summer have on subsequent winter pasture production? A common forage production system in the Southern Great Plains is to plant wheat or other types of cool-sea-

son annual small grains in late summer, then graze the produced forage with stocker cattle through fall and winter to graze out of the pastures in early spring. During this time, stocker cattle will typically gain an average of 2.5 pounds per head per day on winter pasture with no additional supplementation. Traditionally, land area used for winter pasture is chemically or mechanically fallowed through the summer months to control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Leaving soil bare through the summer exposes soil to a higher potential for wind and soil erosion, and this perhaps creates a missed economic potential by not growing a crop during the summer. Interest in cover crops has risen in the past few years and continues due to the benefits producers see in the ability of cover crops to protect soil from erosion. Other potential benefits from the incorporation of cover crops include soil health improvements through additional residue and organic matter, improved wildlife and pollinator habitat through enhanced plant diversity, and

Table 1. Cover crop and winter pasture system by calendar month Winter pasture

Jan.

Feb.

March

Summer cover crop

April

May

June

32 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

July

Aug.

Winter pasture

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

elevated soil microbial activity leading to improvements in soil structure and nutrient availability. To quantify these effects in a winter pasture system, a multiyear cover crop research project was started in the fall of 2015 at the Noble Foundationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pasture Demonstration Farm west of Ardmore, Okla. This study involves 100 acres of winter pasture area divided into 20 5-acre paddocks. These paddocks were randomly assigned to tillage or no-till production practices with summer fallow in the early 2000s. A summer cover crop has been randomly assigned to half of these paddocks, which will allow us to evaluate tillage and no-tillage methods with and without a summer cover crop. The cover crop being used is a multispecies blend of German millet, pearl millet, sunn hemp, cowpeas, soybeans, buckwheat, and grazing corn. Table 1

JAMES ROGERS The author is an associate professor with the Agricultural Division at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.


shows the cropping system timeline. A large amount of data is being collected during this study to help us understand the biology of the system and quantify cover crop effects on winter pasture production. Sensors are installed at three depths in each paddock to monitor soil moisture and temperature. Soil samples are being taken in each paddock to monitor changes in nutrient levels, soil health parameters, soil bulk density, and soil microbial activity over time. Water infiltration rates are being collected at different times each year. Forage mass of the cover crop and winter pasture will be measured as well as the performance of cattle grazing winter pasture. It is also our intent to graze the summer cover crop if forage mass is sufficient to support grazing. We are now in our second year of evaluating this system. In the first year, environmental conditions were not ideal. Winter pasture was planted the last week of September 2015. The pasture was slow to develop due to dry conditions, resulting in pastures being stocked in December, one month later than the average stocking date. Winter pasture was grazed until early May 2016. Cover crop planting was delayed to early June due to wet weather conditions followed by extremely dry weather through the summer. We were able to graze the cover crops for a 28-day period in August. Stocker cattle gains on the cover crops were good. As part of a multiyear research trial, environmental challenges are to be expected. As our data bank continues to expand from this study, continue to look for updates.

mature Angus cross cows assigned to one of three treatment groups, each replicated three times. Stocking rates across treatments are equal with each treatment area consisting of 40 acres. Treatment 1: A control treatment, in which cows are allocated to bermudagrass pasture with best management practices employed through the spring and summer. When pasture is depleted in fall or early winter, cows are supplemented with hay and concentrate as needed. Treatment 2: Cows are allocated to bermudagrass pasture during the spring and summer. After frost, they are moved to an area of stockpiled bermudagrass. Following depletion of the stockpile, the cows are moved to a pasture of bermudagrass that has been interseeded with wheat. Treatment 3: Cows are allocated to bermudagrass pasture during the spring and summer. After frost, they are moved to an area of stockpiled bermudagrass. Following depletion of the stockpile, the cows are moved to a designated wheat pasture with no bermudagrass base. During the summer, the winter pasture area is double-cropped with a cover crop and grazed with Treatment 3 cows. Data collected during this study include cow weight and body condition score, calf weights, forage mass and nutritive value, and all input costs. In addition to evaluating animal and agronomic performance of both studies, an economic evaluation will be conducted to determine the economic viability of the systems. As we are now only in the second year of both studies, there is very little response data to report, but there will be more to come. â&#x20AC;˘

Cow-calf study The second Noble Foundation Agricultural Division research study, initiated in 2015, is a cow-calf study. It is documented that the largest yearly expense in maintaining a beef cow is incurred during the winter for feed, and the largest portion of this feed expense is normally hay. In southern Oklahoma and the Southern Great Plains, we are blessed with a long growing season and fairly mild winters. This cow-calf study is evaluating forage systems to take advantage of these conditions to extend the grazing season and reduce or eliminate winter supplementation. The research is being conducted at the Pasture Demonstration Farm on 376 acres of bermudagrass and includes 90 head of

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MACHINE SHED

New Challenger midrange tractor line

Case launches G-Series wheel loaders

Challenger, a global brand of AGCO Corporation, offers five new models in their midrange series with maximum engine horsepower (hp) ratings from 120 to 160 and the choice of three transmission options. They are ideal for allaround use on livestock and row crop operations. Models include the MT455E (120 hp), MT465E (130 hp), MT475E (140 hp), MT485E (150 hp), and MT495E (160 hp). The tractors offer improved operator efficiency with a multifunction joystick. When equipped with the CVT or continuously variable transmission and the multifunction joystick, MT400E Series tractors also are extremely efficient and well suited for material handling for livestock and hay operations. The MT400E Series tractors boast a base weight of 15,432 pounds and maximum loader lift capacity of 5,032 pounds at the pivot pin. With the multifunction joystick, loader work is much easier and more efficient because an operator can control the loader as well as move the tractor backward and forward with one hand. The Challenger MT400E Series tractors are powered with a 4.9L AGCO Power 4-cylinder diesel engine meeting EPA Tier 4 Final emission standards. Three transmission choices ensure the tractor is equipped to match the job at hand as well as the operator’s preferences. The advanced electronic engine and transmission management system adjusts to provide more fuel when operating conditions require it. The MT400E Series can be equipped with a steering option that allows the operator to adjust the steering ratio for more or fewer turns of the steering wheel. For more information, visit www.challenger-ag.us.

Case Construction Equipment introduces the all-new G-Series wheel loaders, spanning seven new models scaled for a wide range of applications. An all-new operator environment, controls, and interface make the G-Series the most intuitive and easy-to-operate wheel loaders that Case has ever produced. They range in horsepower from 141 to 347 with bucket capacities from 2.6 to 6.25 cubic yards. Case G-Series wheel loaders feature a broad range of bucket and linkage options to optimize each machine to its application. Each loader comes standard with a four-speed PowerShift transmission, and an optional five-speed transmission with lock-up torque converter is available on the 721G, 821G, and 921G for road speeds up to 25 miles per hour. The Case G-Series wheel loaders are powered by FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies) engines that feature SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology to meet Tier 4 Final standards. SCR also allows the engine to breathe cooler and cleaner. The new cab features the latest in electrohydraulic controls, ergonomic design, and operator interfaces that make operation simpler and more efficient. A membrane keypad replaces a series of rocker switches for common machine functions, and a new steering console mimics the driver controls found in most cars and trucks. The brains of the machine all connect back to a new 8-inch LCD monitor that provides the operator with simple control and greater insight over many of the loader functions and activities. This includes an optional integrated rearview camera. The cab was also engineered to bring a new level of comfort and ergonomics to the operator. For more information, visit CaseCE.com.

New M2-Series loaders from Bobcat Bobcat Company is expanding on the popularity of its current M-Series loaders by introducing the new M2-Series skid steer, compact track, and all-wheel steer loaders. M2-Series compact loaders offer a variety of performance, operator comfort, and visibility enhancements to help boost operator productivity. The M2-Series lineup includes Bobcat 400-, 500-, 600-, 700-, and 800-frame-size skid steer, compact track, and all-wheel steer loaders. Altogether, the M2-Series includes 24 skid steer, compact track, and all-wheel steer models. Bobcat compact loader operators can now turn the automatic ride control option on or off from inside the cab for added convenience. The ride control function is automatically activated by detecting increased hydraulic lift arm pressure when the loader is carrying material. It will deactivate when hydraulic lift arm pressure is reduced — such as when there is no load in a bucket. A new reversing fan option available for M2-Series

loaders allows operators to temporarily reverse the cooling fan direction — for several seconds — to blow dust and small debris from the radiator and rear screens. M2-Series loaders have been improved to increase operator comfort thanks to new front and rear cab isolators, door seals, and side screen dampers. Also, a new lift cylinder-cushioning feature slows down the loader arms before they reach the lift arm stops for smoother movements and increased operator comfort. M2-Series S850 skid steer loaders now come standard with 100-horsepower Bobcat engines, a 9 percent increase from the prior iteration. For more information, visit Bobcat.com.

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.

March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 35


MACHINE SHED

ASV unveils the RT-75 compact track loader ASV LLC recently introduced its large frame, radial-lift Posi-Track RT-75 compact track loader. The RT-75 features efficient hydraulics and an innovative, high-capacity cooling system while delivering superior serviceability. ASV’s patented undercarriage provides high ground clearance, low ground pressure, superior traction, and long track life. The RT-75 suspended wheels and fully-flexible track conform to the ground assuring maximum traction and a smooth ride. In addition, the multiple wheel contact points and triple-guide lugs achieve maximum performance on steep slopes. The RT-75 comes standard with 18-inch-wide tracks and touts 15 inches of ground clearance. The tracks contain embedded co-polymer cords for extra strength and are produced using a single-cure process, eliminating curepoint weaknesses in the track that can lead to premature breakage. The result is 1,500 to 2,000 hours of track life. ASV backs that up with an industry-leading two-year, 1,500-hour track warranty. The RT-75 features a Cummins 2.8-liter turbocharged diesel engine that achieves Tier 4 Final compliance. The 75-horsepower engine produces 221 foot-pounds of torque — 13 percent more than the machine’s 80-horsepower predecessor. There is no need for servicing because the RT-75 does not use planetary drives. The RT-75 uses a diesel oxidation

catalyst that requires no regeneration, no sensors, no diesel exhaust fluid, less wiring, and no additional maintenance. ASV designed the machine with serviceability in mind. The design, paired with sight gauges for both hydraulic oil and coolant, simplify routine inspections of filters, oil, and normal service items. The rearward tilting cab provides easy accessibility when further service is required. ASV built the RT-75’s auxiliary hydraulic system to be highly efficient, including 35.7 gallons-per-minute high flow and 3,300 psi. Because the machine includes larger line sizes, hydraulic coolers, and direct-drive pumps, more flow and pressure is transferred directly to the attachment. The machine features a rated operating capacity of 2,650 pounds and a tipping load of 7,571 pounds. Standard joystick controls make operation easy and intuitive. It comes with an optional all-weather cab that includes heat and air-conditioning and is pressurized for a clean operator environment. For more information, visit www.asvllc.com.

Kioti tractor introduces two new models

Kuhn unveils mounted disc mower

Kioti tractor, a division of Daedong-USA Inc., recently unveiled two new special edition cab models to its CK10SE Series tractor line. The CK3510SE HC and the CK4010SE HC feature the same hydrostatic transmission (HST) and minimal vibration experience that low-maintenance operators know and love about the CK10 Series with added features and benefits of a factory-installed cab. The CK3510SE HC and the CK4010SE HC provide a power takeoff (PTO) of 29.4 and 31.9 horsepower (hp), respectively, and with a powerful engine gross of 34.9 and 39.6 hp, respectively. The drivetrain operates with standard four-wheel drive and rear differential lock. The hydraulic system of the models also features a Category I three-point hitch for various implement-pairing capabilities. Standard features of both models include HST cruise and link pedals to reduce fuel consumption. The all-new CK10SE factory-installed cab models can be outfitted with the Kioti KL4020 front-end loader. For more information, visit www.KIOTI.com.

Kuhn recently announced the availability of their new GMD 11 Series mounted disc mowers. Three sizes are available to suit the needs of diverse operations: GMD 3511 (11-feet, 6-inch-cut width), GMD 4011 (13-feetcut width), and GMD 4411 (14-feet, 3-inch-cut width). Thanks to their horizontal pivoting design, the GMD 11 mowers are easy to transport down narrow roads and through small gateways despite their wide working widths. Lift-control hydropneumatic suspension adapts to all field conditions. Pendulum articulation follows the ground closely, yet reduces soil contamination of the cut crop. The Optidisc cutterbar has differential disc spacing to improve cut quality and crop evacuation, as well as a lubed-for-life design that eliminates the cost and downtime of oil changes. Should the mower strike an obstacle in the field, the nonstop safety system pivots the unit back while the disc-bearing stations protect the cutterbar. For more information, visit kuhnnorthamerica.com.

36 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017


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March 2017 | hayandforage.com | 41


FORAGE IQ Hay Production Workshop March 16, Kittanning, Pa. Details: bit.ly/HFG-PaHay Southeast Hay Convention March 14 and 15, Athens, Ga. Details: georgiaforages.com/events.html North American Farm & Power Show March 16 to 18, Owatonna, Minn. Details: bit.ly/HFG-NAFP17 Wisconsin Custom Operators Business Development Training March 17, Kimberly, Wis. Details: www.wiscustomoperators.org/ Central Plains Dairy Expo March 28 to 30, Sioux Falls, S.D. Details: www.centralplainsdairy.com/ Georgia Forages Conference at the Georgia Cattlemen’s Convention March 29, Perry, Ga. Details: www.georgiacattlemen.org Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference April 17 to 19, Fort Wayne, Ind. Details: tristatedairy.org/ Kentucky Grazing School April 25 and 26, Princeton, Ky. Details: www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/ Virginia Grazing School April 25 and 26, Raphine, Va. Details: vaforages.org Grassfed Beef Conference May 2 and 3, College Station, Texas Details: bit.ly/HFG-GBC17 Corn Silage and Conserved Forage Field Day June 15, Tifton, Ga. Details: georgiaforages.com/events.html Grassfed Exchange Conference September 27 to 29, Albany, N.Y. Details: grassfedexchange.com

HAY MARKET UPDATE

The winds of change Though there hasn’t been a major movement in hay markets, conditions and activity hint that spring is coming. California is wet again, and hay is being made in the Imperial Valley. Temperatures are warming (significantly in some cases), and some livestock producers are

searching for hay to get them to first cutting. Demand will continue until new forage is available. The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of late February. Prices are FOB barn/stack unless otherwise noted. •

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

Price $/ton 180-195 200 150-165 140-150 150-200 125-160 135 200 170-180 185 165 155-190 297 170-190 180-200 168 Price $/ton 160-200 210-240 200 175-180 130-150 195 150 130-140 95-155 115-120 200 130 155-160 120-130 125 160 195-240 150 100-130 135-145 160-180 Price $/ton 115 110 135 140-145 80-85 130-140 110-130 55-135 120-160 105-165 110-125 60-75 80-90 125 140-175

(d) (d) (d)

(d)

(o)

South Dakota (East River) Texas (north,central, east) Texas (Panhandle) Washington (Columbia Basin) Wisconsin (Lancaster) Wisconsin (Lancaster)-lrb Wyoming (eastern)-lrb Fair-quality hay Colorado (San Luis Valley) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (southwest) Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Montana Nebraska (eastern/central) Nebraska (western) Oregon (Lake) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb South Dakota (East River)-lrb Texas (west) Utah (southern) Washington (Columbia Basin) Wisconsin (Lancaster) Wyoming (eastern) Bermudagrass hay Alabama-Premium lrb Alabama-Premium ssb Texas (Panhandle)-Good/Premium Texas (north,central, east)-Good/Premium lrb Texas (south)-Fair/Good ssb Orchardgrass hay California (Intermountain)-Premium Colorado (southwest)-Fair ssb Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Fair Timothy hay Montana-Premium ssb Montana-Premium lrb Pennsylvania (southeast)-Premium Washington (Columbia Basin)-Premium ssb Washington (Columbia Basin)-Fair Oat hay Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Good/Premium South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb Straw Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (north central/east) Montana Nebraska (western) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb South Dakota-lrb

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

42 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2017

145 150 (d) 140 85-105 90-145 60-70 110 Price $/ton 125 110-130 68-75 80-90 60-75 50-135 100-130 75 100 85-100 95-140 60-68 90 100-120 60-80 80-95 58-85 109-112 Price $/ton 107-133 180-300 130-180 (d) 100-120 165-198 Price $/ton 300 210 235-250 160 Price $/ton 210-240 120-125 175-195 200 135 Price $/ton 73 160 63 Price $/ton 85 40-70 85-105 35-50 50 110-155 43-60


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Hay & Forage Grower – March 2017  

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

Hay & Forage Grower – March 2017  

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

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