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Silo bags have limits pg 6 Custom harvesting adds diversity pg 14 Growing forage for grass-fed beef pg 18 Death by iron toxicity pg 20
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August/September 2017 · VOL. 32 · No. 5 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 email@example.com Kim E. Zilverberg firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Patti J. Kressin email@example.com W.D. HOARD & SONS PRESIDENT Brian V. Knox VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING Gary L. Vorpahl
6 Silo bags have limits
EDITORIAL OFFICE 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, Fort Atkinson, WI, 53538 WEBSITE www.hayandforage.com EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE (920) 563-5551
A fast-maturing rye crop led to learning a variety of lessons for this dairy farm operator.
Take another look at silage for finishing cattle Researchers are taking a new look at using corn silage for finishing cattle.
Custom harvesting business adds diversity
DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 8 Beef Feedbunk 22 Forage Shop Talk 23 Pasture Ponderings 24 Dairy Feedbunk 28 Feed Analysis
THEY’RE NOT YOUR GRANDPA’S OATS
PREDICTING GRAIN YIELDS FROM CORN SILAGE METRICS
GOOD TIME FOR A SPRAYER UPGRADE
Keeping it in the family Working in the family business provides challenges and blessings.
This Texas operation thrives on diversity and providing quality service.
AMMONIATION: SOMETHING TO CONSIDER THIS YEAR?
GROWING FORAGE FOR GRASS-FED BEEF
DEATH BY IRON TOXICITY
31 32 42 42
Research Round-up Forage Gearhead Forage IQ Hay Market Update
A NEW SOURCE FOR LOW-CARB HORSE HAY
DON’T CROSS THROUGH THE SUMMER SLUMP
ON THE COVER Cook Dairy is a fifth-generation farm located in Pewamo, Mich. Operated by Tom and Dianne Cook and their three children, the farm is home to 285 cows that graze 230 acres of mixed grasslegume pasture. Cows are also supplemented with a TMR containing haylage and corn silage. Photo by Mike Rankin
HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2017 W. D. Hoard & Sons Company. All rights reserved. Published six times annually in January, February, March, April/May, August/September and November by W. D. Hoard & Sons Co., 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Tel: 920-563-5551. Fax: 920-563-7298. Email: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.hayandforage.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HAY & FORAGE GROWER, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Subscribers who have provided a valid email address may receive the Hay & Forage Grower email newsletter eHay Weekly.
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Mike Rankin Managing Editor
T’S A new day as farmers and ranchers are in the midst of a value-added revolution. What is most impressive is the sheer number of ways this is happening. Making money when milk is at $25 or feeder cattle are $230 per hundredweight is pretty easy. However, most livestock producers have figured out those levels are just going to be blips on the radar, which are quickly countered by much lower-valued blips. Volatile markets have forced the move to value added and a more margin-driven business model. Science and industry have helped push that bus. At first glance, most people think of value added as getting more of the consumer retail outlay; however, there’s also a second way to add value — produce the same or more product at a lower cost. Some people call this efficiency, but the end result is no different than adding value or enhancing profit margins. Sometimes, but not always, this can be accomplished by getting bigger. In some cases, it’s also possible to do by getting (or staying) smaller. There is no “one size fits all” business model to capture added value. As a forage industry, where do we fit in the value-added revolution? The answer: a lot of places, and here are just a few that come to mind. Grass-fed: This is the ultimate consumer-driven, value-added product — 100 percent forage based. Beef is the leader, but grass-fed dairy is also gaining identity (certified organic or not) and fetching a price premium. I have been on several grass-fed operations this summer and one thing is very clear — if you’re not dedicated to rotational grazing and the production of high-quality forages (pasture and stored feed), this business model will be a disaster. It takes top-level management, record keeping, and genet-
ics. The term grass-fed is a bit deceiving because for this system to work, legumes have to play a foundational role. Reduced-lignin alfalfa: If you’re in the business of making milk or selling hay, anything — and I mean anything — you can do to improve forage quality while maintaining yield output is going to add value. No forage quality enhancement comes with greater value than improved fiber digestibility. True, the seed comes with a higher price tag, but the return in the form of a greater crop value or additional pounds of milk is a pretty easy math calculation. Annual forages: Call them cover crops if you wish, but if you grow them and graze or harvest them . . . they’re annual forage crops by any definition. The popularity of annual forage crops has never been higher, serving a variety of purposes to add end-product value (improve margins) or, dare I say, improve soil health and quality as forage crops have been doing for generations. Apparently, few people noticed. Easily documented added value comes as extended grazing in the early spring, late fall, or winter; forage “slump busters” in the summer; an alternative to summer toxic tall fescue; and an additional high-quality stored feed source (often haylage or baleage) to help boost forage inventories. Novel endophyte tall fescue: When you can improve gains by 30 to 50 percent during those periods when native fescue is the most toxic, what more needs to be said? Forage crops have been adding value for a long time and with the help of science and technology, they will continue to do so into the future. •
Write Managing Editor Mike Rankin, 28 Milwaukee Ave., P.O. Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538, call: 920-563-5551 or email: email@example.com
4 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
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Silo bags have limits by Chris Wacek-Driver
sons ago. The experience yielded several S THE realization of the work good lessons to keep in mind about rye, and endless tasks begins to bear silo bags, and hiring a custom operator. down each spring, the anticiJoe’s farm was by anyone’s standards a pation of a new crop year can quickly well-managed, productive operation with turn to anxiety. Juggling the spring healthy cows and crops that were the workload requires well-thought-out envy of his neighbors. To boost on-farm plans and a healthy dose of experiforage inventories, Joe decided to seed ence. However, even the most carefully 130 acres of winter rye in the fall. crafted plans can be destroyed by the It wasn’t the first uncertainty of spring year the farm had weather. Heavy planted winter rye. workloads delayed by “The bag The initial attempt weather often mean expanded in girth had been seven years critical decisions need previous. Joe had been to be made between rather than length, satisfied with how the spring planting or the and before filling crop had yielded and timely harvesting of a fed. What hadn’t been forage crop. was complete, satisfying was how the As the practice of the first bag hollow-stemmed forage double cropping has had packed in the split open.” gained more tracsilage pile. Joe’s crop tion throughout the manager commented Upper Midwest, high the rye tended to “flow a bit like water” yielding and quick maturing winter rye underneath the pack tractor tires. has helped boost forage inventories and allowed adequate time for a subsequent An early spring crop to be planted and mature. A major drawback is that harvest usually falls As spring approached, Joe decided to during the busy crush of spring workput the ryelage in a silo bag rather than load. Limited experience or poor planpack it in a silage pile. The farm didn’t ning, coupled with hasty decisions and have bagging equipment, so a call was the unpredictability of Midwest weather, made to a well-respected custom bagmeans winter rye can frustrate even the ging operator and scheduled the desired best managers. week for harvest. I saw this happen firsthand on a farm I Spring arrived early and fieldwork was working with a couple of spring seaclicked along. High-quality forage and 6 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
high-producing cows go together. Timely spring rains and an unusually warm stretch of weather brought first crop alfalfa along quickly. When the opportunity came for an early alfalfa harvest with excellent quality, Joe capitalized and successfully harvested several hundred acres of excellent first crop. The unusually warm weather had also pushed both the yield and maturity of the winter rye. It is often said winter rye can go from prime quality to junk in the space of a day. The rye was maturing quickly and a call was placed to the original custom bagger; unfortunately, he was now committed elsewhere. The farm desperately needed to find a new custom bagger. After several phone calls, one was located, but Joe knew virtually nothing about the operator. The new custom bagger offered assurances that his bagging equipment could handle the farm’s trucks. Joe made the decision to hire the individual without the usual references he had required in the past. The farm crew had pushed hard to get the alfalfa harvested. Cutting the rye immediately would result in harvesting over the Memorial Day weekend. It was decided to let the crew celebrate the holiday with family. That decision proved unfortunate as the next week brought torrential downpours. However, the delay would appear relatively minor compared to the downward spiral of events that followed.
From bad to worse The custom operator showed up with bagger in tow. His unkempt appearance coupled with the amount of garbage that rolled out of his truck didn’t do much to ease Joe’s anxiety. The bagging machine came complete with a coating of the previous year’s rotten forage. Despite the custom operator’s insistence that the rotten forage and his machine’s obvious lack of maintenance would not affect how it performed, Joe proceeded to flush the machine clean. As the bagger was being scrubbed, the custom operator commented on how previous clients were impressed with how CHRIS WACEK-DRIVER The author is a forage consultant in Bay City, Wis.
much feed he could fit in a bag. The rye began to roll in and it became obvious that horsepower was not a limitation. The bag began to expand, but similar to a party balloon, silo bags have limits. It soon became evident that the operator had never experienced filling a bag with ryelage. The bag expanded in girth rather than length, and before filling was complete, the first bag split open. As rebagging commenced, the rye was drying rapidly. By the time the second bag was started, the forage had already fallen below the target moisture range of 62 to 70 percent and was now in the 50s. The race was on to fill the next two bags, and the custom operator continued to stretch the bags’ physical limits. When the final two bags were completed without bursting, the farm crew breathed a sigh of relief, which turned out to be short-lived.
Lessons learned The hollow and porous nature of winter rye brings unique challenges. As the unseasonably warm weather continued, the gas spaces within the
“It is often said winter rye can go from prime quality to junk in the space of a day.” bag expanded. Despite normal venting, in less than a week the second bag split open followed closely by the third. The custom bagger was called back, and some of the forage was rebagged with Joe’s insistence that the new bag not be overstretched. Unfortunately, the second bag was positioned between bag one and three. Rebagging the partially fermented rye was impossible. After conferring with a couple of the farm’s consultants, it was decided to “wrap” the forage in place utilizing a sheet of oxygen barrier plastic. Tempers flared as the farm workers dug out the sides of the bag to get the plastic down to the ground. Another round of torrential downpours, complete with high winds, did little to cool tempers. Once the plastic was finally secured, a bin fan was used to draw oxygen out of the bag and pull the plastic down tight, allowing
fermentation to finish. Surprisingly and likely due to the quick action and hard work of the farm crew, the rye heated very little and spoilage was minimal. Although overly mature, the rye was good enough quality to feed young stock and low-producing cows. Joe acknowledged that his unfamiliarity with bagging winter rye, not anticipating the timing and short-harvest window, and a lack of communication with the original custom bagger were significant oversights. Ultimately, not following farm protocol and checking references on the second custom bagger ended up being a mistake not likely to be repeated. Joe continues to plant and harvest winter rye and a new custom bagger has been hired — this time vetted and with extensive, reliable references. •
B:7.5” T:7.5” S:7.5”
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August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 7
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by Mary Drewnoski
Ammoniation of crop residues can turn a low-quality forage into a medium-quality forage that can maintain a dry cow without supplementation.
Ammoniation: something to consider this year?
IVEN the drought in the Northern Plains and eastern Montana, forage may be hard to find this fall for some beef cow producers. Ammoniation of low-quality crop residues such as wheat straw and corn residue or low-quality CRP (conservation reserve program) hay may be worth considering, depending on the price and availability of medium-quality hay. Ammoniation is not a new technology but can be used to make these low-quality forages have digestibility and protein content that is equivalent to that of medium-quality grass hay. Ammoniation of low-quality forages is relatively easy to do, although working with anhydrous ammonia can be dangerous and proper safety precautions must be taken. Prepare a site for ammoniation by scraping an area that will accommodate the stack of bales plus an additional 5 to 6 feet on either side and in the front and back. Push the dirt to the sides of the area where the bales will be stacked. The dirt will be used to seal the plastic around the edges that will cover the stack of bales. Gather bales into rows that are
stacked. If using round bales, stack in a pyramid leaving a couple of inches between pyramids for the ammonia to filter around the bales. For instance, three bales on the base, two bales on the second level, and one bale on top. Cover the entire stack with one sheet of 6- to 8-millimeter black plastic. If the plastic is 40 by 100 feet, you will be able to cover 10 to 12 pyramids in a row. Make sure the edges of plastic on the ground are sealed with loose soil to prevent leaking of ammonia. Any holes in the plastic have to be patched using duct tape to prevent the loss of ammonia.
Know the cost To determine the cost of ammoniating low-quality residue, use local prices. For example, if anhydrous ammonia is priced at $500 per ton, this equates to 25 cents per pound. It is suggested that you use 60 pounds of anhydrous per ton of dry matter (DM). If your residue was 90 percent DM, you would need to add 54 pounds of anhydrous per ton of residue and the cost of the anhydrous would be $13.50 per ton (as fed). The plastic will cost about $7 per ton.
8 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
If labor was $3 per ton and machinery costs are $1.70 per ton, then the total ammoniation estimated cost, not including the residue, would be $25.20 per ton. Right now, corn residue is being sold for around $40 per ton, making $65 per ton the total cost (as fed). If the cost seems reasonable, next determine how much anhydrous will be needed. If the stack is arranged in pyramids (three-bale base, two bales in the middle, one bale on top) 14 bales long, there would be a total of 84 bales. If each bale weighed 1,200 pounds, there would be 50.4 total tons of residue. If the residue was 90 percent DM, there would be 45.4 tons (50.4 tons x 0.90 = 45.4 tons) of DM. You will want to add 60 pounds of anhydrous ammonia per MARY DREWNOSKI The author is a beef systems specialist, University of Nebraska.
ton of forage DM (3 percent). In this example, you will need 2,724 pounds of anhydrous ammonia (45.5 tons DM x 60 = 2,745 pounds).
Temperature driven Remember, the ammoniation process is temperature dependent and occurs faster at higher environmental temperatures. Black plastic is recommended, as it collects heat from the sun (it is also more resistant to deterioration from ultraviolet light than other colors). This is also why it works so well with straw harvested and ammoniated in the summer. However, this does not mean that it can’t be done successfully even in late fall after corn residue is harvested. Last year, we ammoniated corn residue starting in early November and were able to achieve a 10 percentage unit boost in digestibility from 50 percent total digestible nutrients (TDN) to 60 percent TDN plus increase the crude protein (CP) content 5 percentage units up to a total of 9 percent CP. When ammoniating during cooler ambient temperature, the key is to
leave the stack sealed longer. At a temperature of 86°F or above, you only have to leave the stack sealed for seven days. At temperatures of 60°F to 86°F, you need to leave it sealed for two to four weeks, and when below 60°F, keep it sealed for four to eight weeks. Ammoniation can transform low-quality forage into forage that can maintain a dry cow without supplementation. The value of ammoniation will depend on the availability and cost of other forages (such as medium-quality hay) and the cost of anhydrous ammonia. Given current conditions, this may be the year for some to consider ammoniation of low-quality forages to feed their herds as anhydrous ammonia prices are currently at a four-year low, ranging from $400 to $500 per ton. Further, medium-quality hay may be hard to find in some regions of the U.S. this fall. Here are some other helpful hints when ammoniating crop residues or other low-quality forages: 1. DO NOT ammoniate medium- or high-quality forages as this can cause toxicity due to the reaction of soluble
sugars with ammonia. 2. The ammonia can be applied through a hose or pipe extending from the tank under the plastic and terminating near the center of the stack. Placement of the end of the hose or pipe is not critical if the stack is on level ground. However, if the forage is stacked on a slope, inject the ammonia at the higher end of the stack. 3. The reaction requires some moisture (at least 10 percent with an optimal moisture of 15 to 18 percent). It is best to bale straw or stover as soon after harvest as possible or early in the morning when there is some dew present. 4. Apply ammonia slowly (no more than 30 pounds of ammonia per minute) to minimize ballooning and stretching of the plastic. Anhydrous ammonia expands from a liquid to a gas when it is released from the pressure of the tank. •
For more information on ammoniation, visit beef.unl.edu.
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August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 9
Predicting grain yields from corn silage metrics by Joe Lauer
RAIN producers and dairy operators annually debate the question, “What is corn silage worth this year?” The starting point to answer this question is often based on commodity grain market quotes at one or more points during the growing season. A fair price must be negotiated from the seller’s minimum and buyer’s maximum price perspectives. Buyers and sellers need to also consider local market conditions that might influence the final negotiated price. If the seller’s minimum price is greater than the buyer’s maximum, then it would be more economical to harvest the crop as grain rather than sell it as silage. The seller has opportunities with marketing grain and opportunities for marketing or retaining the value of the stover in the form of soil nutrients and erosion control. The seller starts with the value of the standing corn minus grain harvest costs. The price is adjusted for the value of phosphorus and potassium harvested in the stover. The prospective silage buyer starts with the price of standing corn in terms of quality and harvesting costs. The buyer usually assumes harvesting costs when corn is standing and adjusts the value of corn silage based on what it would cost to purchase corn and straw to replace the nutritional value of corn silage. Forage quality adjustments can
be derived through milk marketing opportunities. Some corn, like brown midrib (BMR) hybrids, have more stover value than nonBMR hybrids. Corn silage is often harvested after kernels are fully dented, with most acres harvested at about 50 percent kernel milk before grain is physiologically mature (black layer). Corn grain yield improves from 0 to 43 percent between full dent and black layer, with about 9 to 13 percent of the final grain yield determined after 50 percent kernel milk. A major factor in negotiating a silage price is predicting what the final grain yield would be in any given cornfield.
Grain equivalents Our approach uses paired plots for collecting data to predict final grain yield using silage yield and quality measures. Half of the plot is harvested for silage yield and quality, while the other half is left standing for subsequent grain harvest using a combine. Experiments have been conducted at numerous locations over many years and experimental factors including hybrid, plant density, planting date, and row spacing, along with interactions. Grain equivalents (grain yield at 15.5 percent moisture divided by forage yield at 65 percent moisture) are often used in corn silage contracting. However, grain equivalents can be quite variable and change over time with the environment
10 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
and management. In 1972, grain equivalents were estimated to be 5 to 7 grain bushels per silage ton for typical grain yield levels at that time. For modern hybrids used in our studies, average grain equivalents ranged from 5.1 to 8.6 bushels per ton, depending upon grain yield (see table). However, depending upon hybrid and environment, grain equivalents could be as low as 3.8 bushels per ton and as high as 10.5 bushels per ton. In order to accurately use grain equivalents in contract negotiations, measurements need to be taken after the silage is harvested. Few growers are willing to leave “check strips” in the field. Weather, wildlife, hybrid standability, and ear droppage can influence grain yield measurements. A better approach might be to use a silage yield or quality estimates to predict final grain harvest yield.
Silage quality predictors We have found forage yield to be a good predictor of final grain yield (R 2 = 0.70). The forage quality paramJOE LAUER The author is an extension corn agronomist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
eters neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and NDF digestibility were not good predictors of grain yield (R 2 = 0.04 to 0.10, respectively). Since the 1990s, an objective of the University of Wisconsin corn agronomy program has been to determine the relationship between silage starch content and final grain yield. Silage starch content is a common silage quality measurement routinely evaluated by forage testing laboratories. Starch content has proven to be the best silage quality parameter for predicting grain yield (R2 = 0.29), but it is still not as reliable as silage yield. Assuming that starch was 70 percent of the grain, we used starch content and forage yield to back calculate grain equivalents (starch method in the table). This method consistently underestimated true grain yield equivalents. The difference (or bias) between these two methods was affected by the grain yield level. However, by using a forage yield measurement, a more accurate contract could be arrived at between grain producers and dairymen. In conclusion, corn silage buyer and
are greater than older hybrids. The relationship between forage and grain yield is quite variable. Starch content of corn forage can be used to predict grain yield; however, grain equivalents using starch content underestimate final grain yield and must be adjusted using a bias. •
seller perspectives are different with each needing to develop a price from the seller’s (minimum to accept) and buyer’s (maximum to pay) perspectives. Cost of corn silage production has risen over time, so it is imperative to get a handle on these costs. Grain equivalents in modern hybrids
Corn grain equivalents (15.5 percent moisture) per ton of silage (65 percent moisture) Starch content
Bushels of grain/ton silage (1972)
Bushels of grain/ton silage (Revised 2016)
Bushels of grain/ton silage (Starch method)
3.8 5.4 6.0 6.7 7.3 7.9 8.6 9.3 9.9
20.9 27.3 29.0 30.4 31.4 32.2 32.6 32.6 32.4
5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.0 7.0 7.0 7.0
5.1 6.6 7.1 7.5 7.8 8.1 8.3 8.5 8.6
4.4 5.8 6.1 6.4 6.6 6.8 6.9 6.9 6.8
0.7 0.8 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.8
Less than 90 90-110 110-130 130-150 150-170 170-190 190-210 210-230 230-250
A corn silage pricing Android app for smartphones is available at the Google Play Store. A silage price calculator can also be found online at http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/Season/DSS.aspx.
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August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 11
Take another look at silage for finishing cattle by Sydney Sleep
HEN corn prices are high, corn silage may be a more economical feed to replace a portion of the corn grain in beef finishing diets,” said Galen Erickson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension beef feedlot specialist. “Manure and storage shrink loss also play an important role in the overall economic picture,” he added. With the current situation of tight cattle supplies and expensive feeders, feed costs might be more critical now than in the past due to the large investments required to buy and finish cattle. As a result of this, Erickson evaluated research that explored whether feeding elevated amounts of corn silage and lower levels of corn was economical and could maintain performance and feed
conversion. He shared the results at the Silage for Beef Cattle Conference in Mead, Neb.
Corn silage competes Due to the growing use of distillers grains, he chose to revisit research completed 40 years ago that suggested silage could be fed at a 40 to 60 percent inclusion rate and still be economical, though feed conversion proved poorer. To accomplish this, three feedlot experiments were designed. One outcome from these experiments showed that corn silage was an equally productive roughage source, if not more so, as cornstalks. “Feeding more than 15 percent corn silage, perhaps 30 to 40 percent inclusion, to replace expensive
Finishing steer response to corn silage moisture and inclusion 15% corn silage diet
45% corn silage diet
Initial body wt., lbs.
Final body wt., lbs.
Dry matter intake, lbs./day
Avg. daily gain, lbs.
Live final wt., lbs.
University of Nebraska, 2016
12 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
grain can be economical, especially for a farmer feeder, if manure and its nutrients are applied back onto silage acres and storage shrink is well managed,” Erickson said. This amount of inclusion will, however, hurt feed conversion and depress average daily gain. But if 20 to 40 percent distillers is also fed, the losses will be minimal. Erickson also conducted literature searches on silage hybrids for beef cattle, as well as kernel processing. He found that silage is significantly less researched for beef cattle nutrition compared with dairy cattle. This creates a challenge for beef producers feeding elevated amounts of silage in finishing diets or growing programs.
Beef cattle are different Most of the dairy nutrition literature does not apply to beef cattle because dairy cows are consuming about 50 SYDNEY SLEEP The author was the 2016 Hay & Forage Grower summer editorial intern and is a senior at South Dakota State University.
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The Nebraska beef specialist was recently involved in a similar evaluation of whether ensiling and feeding dryer silage improves performance of both growing and finishing cattle. Silage was harvested at 37 or 43 percent DM and ensiled in silo bags. It was then fed to finishing cattle at 15 or 45 percent of the diet. Feeding the 45 percent silage inclusion diet lowered average daily gain and boosted (worsened) the feed:gain ratio compared to feeding the 15 percent diet. Harvesting silage at 43 percent DM improved total silage yield and resulted in lower concentrations of ADF and NDF. Feeding the drier silage did not statistically impact dry matter intake, average daily gain (ADG), or feed:gain (see table). It also did not affect any of the carcass characteristics (data not shown). In the 88 percent silage diets fed growing steers, the higher DM silage resulted in slightly poorer performance (2.93 versus 3.19 ADG). “Based on literature and our research, we suggest targeting a DM for silage between 36 and 40 percent for finishing diets,” Erickson concluded. Milkline markers can be useful, but whole plant DM varies considerably at similar milklines. Erickson noted that it is a challenge to predict whole plant silage DM while the crop is still standing in the field. Unfortunately, other than milkline, there are really no other useful measures as alternative predictors of optimum harvest time. •
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 the following states, use of HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready ® Technology is subject to a Seed and Feed Use Agreement, noting that this technology can only be used on farm or otherwise be used in the United States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. 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. Visit www.ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products. © 2017 Forage Genetics International, LLC
August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 13
percent or more dry matter (DM) compared to beef. The passage rate is also much higher in dairy cattle, which can limit ruminal digestibility if particle size or grain processing is not optimized. For example, finely ground dry corn has been shown to improve starch digestion in dairy cows, yet leads to acidosis and no production improvements in finishing beef cattle. This difference in responses is presumed to be due to passage rate differences. Erickson emphasized that more research on hybrids, silage production, and kernel processing is needed for beef. As for hybrid traits, Erickson noted that genetically enhanced hybrids (GMOs) evaluated for traits such as herbicide or insect tolerance reveal clear nutritional equivalence and no impact on digestibility or performance. Data on kernel processing of silage fed to beef cattle is very limited, but in general it has positive attributes for ruminal starch and overall digestibility. One study conducted at the University of Idaho evaluated the effect of hybrid, maturity, and mechanical processing of corn silage on intake and digestibility of beef cattle. Corn was harvested both when the milkline had progressed halfway or fully down the kernel. Harvesting was done with or without fully active kernel processing using a field chopper. It was found that the black-layer silages had a higher DM content, as was expected. Starch content rose with maturity, resulting in lower levels of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Processing boosted starch digestibility but reduced NDF and ADF digestibility. Erickson noted that hybrid, maturity, and processing all affect corn silage digestibility.
Custom harvesting business adds diversity by Mike Rankin
EVIN Huffman is a survivor. Like most farmers and ranchers, he tries and he fails, then he tries again with a different plan of attack. Eventually, a winning combination is found but with the underlying notion that there’s always room for improvement. “We had to diversify enterprises to survive,” said the McGregor, Texas, farmer who took over the family farm in 1999. “There were some tough years for grain and cattle previous to that, and I just felt we needed a new model.” A big part of that new model involved harvesting corn for silage. Huffman, along with his wife, Sheryl, who manages the farm’s bookwork, still cash crops and plants 4,200 acres to corn, wheat, and cotton. Two of the family’s children also plan to return to the farm, which encompasses a 13-mile radius. He also has about 1,800 acres of pasture that supports 140 cow-calf pairs. The calves are sold after weaning. “We found it was easier to grow corn for silage than for grain,” Huffman explained. “We only average about 85 bushels per acre for our grain corn. It gets hot down here in the summer and
the crop just starts to shut down at some point. We found that harvesting corn for silage provided a much more consistent product,” he added.
Move to on-farm storage Huffman started selling corn silage to dairy farms soon after taking ownership of the farm. At first, he hired a custom forage harvester out of Kansas to chop his corn, which was then trucked directly to his dairy farm customers. The homegrown corn silage enterprise has evolved since then. Huffman decided to build his own storage pad along with a drive-over scale. Corn silage is now delivered to his dairy customers as fermented feed that is stored in both bags and in a large drive-over pile. A Versa 12-foot bagger was purchased in 2011. “We like the bags in terms of the quality of the feed we can store, but the pile is a really cost-effective means of storage,” Huffman said. Silage is tested and delivered daily to their customers, many of whom are near Dublin, nearly 100 miles away. Huffman grows and harvests 3,200 acres of corn silage on the home farm. His average wet yield is about 12 tons per acre. “We get 30 inches of
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rain per year, but most of it comes in the fall and winter,” explained Huffman, who normally starts his planting season between February 15 and March 1. Corn silage harvest begins about June 25 and continues through July. The central Texas farmer plants 112 to 116 relative maturity corn. Most are grain-type hybrids that help to leave his options open for harvesting. Huffman noted that he tried brown midrib corn but was not satisfied with the lower yields. Huffman Farms’ soils cruise at about a 6.5 to 7.5 pH. Soil samples are taken annually from the same locations in each field. “We find phosphorus seems to be our most limiting nutrient,” Huffman noted.
Dives into custom business Enterprise diversity is a common theme that comes up when talking with Huffman, and in 2010 he decided to start harvesting forage for neighboring dairy and beef farms. That’s when Johan Brink came into the picture. Brink, originally from South Africa, had previously been an H-2A worker in the United States. He received his citizenship and was looking for a per-
manent job and location. Hearing that Huffman was starting a custom harvesting business, he called and convinced him that he’d need a full-time manager for the enterprise. That was the beginning of a relationship that still exists after nearly eight years. Brink coordinates the custom forage harvesting enterprise that also employs seven H-2A workers from South Africa. “One of our biggest challenges is labor and taking care of our employees,” said Huffman. “We’ve had very good success with our H-2A South African employees. Many of them come back every year,” he said of his seasonal workers. The current John Deere 8600 chopper is operated by Brink. There are also five trucks, a MacDon swather, and silage push tractor that are used when the job requires them. When Hay & Forage Grower visited the farm in late March, it was clear that Brink and his employees enjoyed and were passionate about their work. The job that day was on a dairy farm near Waco where a mixture of wheat and ryegrass were being chopped. The field was 17 miles from the dairy, which according to Brink was a pretty typical haul. Huffman Farms custom harvests for about 20 dairy and beef customers who are within a 100-mile radius of the home farm. “We start in the spring each year harvesting cereal forages and cool-season grasses,” Brink said. “In June and July, the focus shifts to corn
The Huffman Farms’ custom harvesting crew prepares to chop a field for a local dairy farm. Johan Brink (back row) manages the custom enterprise. South African H-2A employees are the backbone of the workforce. The crew also harvests 3,200 acres of home-grown corn silage that is stored in bags and in a large pile.
silage, and then that’s followed by either sorghum or a second crop of corn silage.”
Serve the customer For Huffman Farms, it’s not just about doing the job. “Customer relationships are really important for us,” Brink said. “We try to get to know our customers and their needs. We also try to educate them regarding new developments in silage making. We feel this helps separate our business from many others,” Brink explained. Whether chopping their own corn or forage crops for others, quality feed remains the end game. “We want our
customers to be satisfied with both the quality of our work and the product we deliver,” Brink explained. For corn silage, he monitors kernel processing by floating a silage sample in water and checking the kernels for adequate processing. Part of the custom business success story can be linked to dependability. “Custom harvesting has taught us to be more flexible,” Huffman said. “In this line of work, you can plan out a strategy, but often plans change with the weather or a farm’s other obligations. We have to change with them to keep them as a customer,” he noted. The willingness to experiment, change, and add or subtract enterprises has been a major driver for achieving success at Huffman Farms. That will no doubt continue into the future. By the way, if you want some custom planting done, a silage bag filled, or if you’re in need of some bagged deer corn, they do that, too. •
August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 15
Keeping it in the family by Andrew Eddie
CCORDING to USDA’s 2014 Census of Agriculture, 97 percent of the 2.1 million farms in the United States are family owned and operated. Unfortunately, the trend for the last few years has been one of decline as younger generations are either heading for “greener pastures” or do not have the means to take over their family’s operation. I have been working on my family’s 1,200-acre farm in eastern Washington for my entire life. I attended college at the University of Oregon and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising. I then returned to the farm to help my dad operate the family business. I’m involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm, including employee management, marketing and promotion, inventory tracking, field scouting, and much more. We produce high-quality alfalfa and timothy hay that is sent all over the world. The possibilities are endless as to where it will ultimately end up after being baled and put in the stack. It could be put on a truck and delivered to a Canadian retail feed store. Possibly, it might be put on a truck destined for a local pressing facility, be processed, and then placed in a shipping container and sent off to the Middle East, Japan, or China. It really depends on the quality of the product, the desires of the
market, and what our hay buyers need to fill their quota.
It’s not always easy Anyone who works with family will tell you that it can be hard, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Every day presents a new challenge, experience, and memory with no two days going exactly the same. People always tell me how lucky I am to work with my family and how easy it must be. No, it’s not always easy, but I feel blessed beyond words that I am able to see and work next to my family members every single day. Some of my best memories with my dad have happened during the workday. There are days that go smoothly when everything falls into place, and then there are the times that you just want to go home and forget the day ever happened. Making high-quality hay is wrought with stress, but doing so with family adds another layer of complexity. Here are six things that I have learned about working with family: 1. Business is business and family is family. Simply put, don’t take things to heart when something goes awry. “Employer dad” is looking out for the success of the business, and if on occasion there are tempers that flare, I know it’s not personal. After the dust settles, there is usually something to be learned. 2. Constantly communicate, listen, and learn. The best way to learn
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is by seeking out those who know more about something than you do. Be willing to sit, listen, and ask questions to those who are experienced around you. Proper communication is the key to having a positive working relationship with your family. Sometimes it may be the hardest thing that you do during the day, but with proper communication, any task can be made easy. 3. Things are different when you work for family. There is a huge difference between working for someone else and working for family. With family, you are often held to a higher standard with the expectation that work will be performed at a high level. At the same time, you often are given more responsibility. Embrace the challenge. 4. Work hard and stay humble. The best things in life aren’t handed to you, they are earned. This is done through hard work, dedication, and a showcase of passion for what you are doing. Show up to work every single day with a positive attitude and a willingness to work. Take pride in every task that you do as every single one plays a role in the efficient operation of the business. 5. Cherish every moment. Always remember to tell your family how much you appreciate them after a long workday. You may have disagreed and been annoyed all day long, but at the end of the day, sit around the table and talk. Talk about the weather, life, sports, or anything your heart desires. Cherish the moments that you have because you never know what the future will bring. 6. Learn to manage your time. When you are at work, make the most of your time to be productive and efficient. When you are at home, try to block out your work as much as possible. This is sometimes difficult considering a large majority of the day is spent at work, but there needs to be some separation of the two worlds. While working with family may be one of the hardest things I have done in my life, it has also been the most rewarding. There is nothing in life more important than family and no better feeling than what comes with a successful family business. • ANDREW EDDIE The author is a commercial hay grower in Moses Lake, Wash., and has his own advertising business.
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The success of a grassfed beef operation relies on getting average daily gains of at least 2 pounds per day. Animals will need to maintain a body condition score of 6 or better.
Growing forage for grass-fed beef by Robert Fears
ANY consumers prefer grassfed beef over grain-fed and are willing to pay a premium price for a product they consider natural. Although this niche market offers cattlemen an opportunity to derive a higher income from their calves, producing good-quality grass-fed beef is not as easy as it sounds. The program requires a year-round supply of nutritious forage, the right type of cattle, and perhaps the ability to smoothly mesh the enterprise into current ranch operations. The three requirements will be discussed separately with the first addressed here. Information in this article is based on a presentation delivered by Monte Rouquette Jr. at a recent grass-fed beef production conference held on the Texas A&M University (TAMU) campus. Rouquette is a TAMU Regents Fellow and professor at Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Rouquette noted that both the growth
and utilization of forages for grassfed beef are closely linked. Degree of utilization has a large influence on the amount of forage produced by plants, and growth is responsible for the amount of available utilization. Forage production is also dependent on soil fertility, rainfall, and temperature. Fertility is manageable on improved pastures, but the operator can do nothing about rainfall and temperature. Stocking flexibility is important for easing the effects of weather variability on forage production. Cattle stocking rates have a direct influence on forage utilization, animal performance, and acceptable carcass quality; so, they are a very important component of pasture management. When planning for year-round forage production, there are several factors to consider. Adapted forage species differ across various climatic-vegetational zones of production. Even within the same zone, seasonality of forage
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production varies and forage nutritive values change with weather and other environmental characteristics. A target average daily gain (ADG) of 2 pounds per day is needed to put enough fat on an animal to produce a desirable carcass. This means that the animals will need to maintain a body condition score of 6 or better. Desired total body weight at harvest and ADG determine how long the calf will need to be fed.
A plan is needed A certain amount of forage quantity and quality are required to produce the ROBERT FEARS The author is a freelance writer based in Georgetown, Texas.
desired ADG. Forage quantity is measured as dry matter, and forage quality is primarily determined by crude protein and total digestible nutrients (TDN). Grass-fed beef producers can learn forage management techniques from stocker operators who normally feed minimum amounts of supplements. There are forage systems in the southern United States that produce 2 pounds per day ADG on stockers year-round. Cool-season annuals in the systems are small grains grazed from December through April, annual ryegrass utilized from January through May, and clovers that are available for use February through May. Warm-season annual grass provides good grazing in May through July. Dry matter requirements are met with these annual grasses during July through October, but supplement is needed to fulfill nutrient requirements during the late summer and fall. Supplement requirements do not make these systems unusable for grassfed producers. Forage based supplementation is acceptable as long as it doesnâ€™t contain grain. Good-quality hay, silage, or haylage meet supplement criteria for grass-fed beef. Cornstalks are considered forage if they donâ€™t contain grain. Warm-season perennial grass provides good grazing from April through June and again from July through October with supplementation during the latter period. Forage classes for southern pastures and some of the species within each class are shown in Table 1. Grass-fed beef producers should develop forage calendars that are applicable to their area and use them to design a year-round forage system. Silage or some form of harvested forage may have to be fed during winter when snow covers the ground. The forage calendar example presented in Table 2 demonstrates the ability to provide year-round grazing and production overlaps of the various classes of forage.
Southeast forage types Warm-season perennial grasses are the foundation of pastures in the southeast United States. These grasses produce the highest amount of dry matter per acre and provide the most sustainable pasture systems. The bad news is that they are in the lowest nutrient category of all forages. Com-
Table 1: Forage classes for southern pastures Warm-season perennial grasses
Cool-season perennial forages
Bermudagrass Dallisgrass Bahiagrass Bluestems
Tall fescue Alfalfa
Warm-season annual grasses
Cool-season annual forages
Pearl millet Brown midrib sorghum-sudangrass Sorghum-sudangrass Crabgrass
Clovers Ryegrass Small grains
Monte Rouquette Jr., Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Table 2: Forage calendar Jan Feb Mar Small grains Annual ryegrass Clovers
Warm-season perennial grasses Warm-season annual grasses Monte Rouquette Jr., Texas A&M AgriLife Research
mon warm-season grasses used in the South are Tifton 85 bermudagrass, Coastal bermudagrass, bahiagrass, and native grasses. Nutritional value of bermudagrass and other warm-season perennial grasses is limited by their relatively high concentrations of fiber and lignin that reduce digestibility. Tifton 85 has higher dry matter production and drought tolerance than other bermudagrasses. It has lower lignin concentration than Coastal bermudagrass and higher digestibility. Because of these characteristics, it provides superior animal performance over the other bermudagrasses. Warm-season annual grasses are ranked medium in nutritive value and include brown midrib sorghum-sudangrass, pearl millet, and crabgrass. Sorghum-sudangrass is a hybrid of forage sorghum and sudangrass. The brown midrib mutation has less lignin than conventional varieties, which makes them more digestible by cattle. When crabgrass is mentioned, most of us automatically think of it as a lawn weed. However, it is a high-quality, very palatable grass that provides excellent grazing during the summer. Cool-season annuals have high nutritive value when grazed before seedhead development. This class includes small grains (wheat, oats, and rye), annual ryegrass, clovers, and other legumes. When establishing year-round
pasture systems, try to incorporate existing forage rather than plowing the whole farm or ranch. Overused native grasses can often be restored through rotational grazing, which allows each pasture a period of rest.
Establishment checklist Before planting pastures, collect soil samples for analysis. Take 10 to 20 samples per field, and immediately ship a composite sample to a credible soils analysis laboratory. The soil analysis will provide fertilizer recommendations for the designated crop based on soil type and current fertility status. For forage maintenance, take soil samples at one- to two-year intervals, depending on the nutrient status of your soil. Select forage varieties that provide good production for your climate and soils. To derive maximum value from pasture establishment, use the recommended seeding rate. Before seeding, make sure there is enough soil moisture for seed germination and plant growth. Success of the planting method depends on environment, soil type, weather, and the ranch management system. Normally a prepared seedbed will offer a lower risk for failure compared to sod seeding. Stocking rates are the most important practice for forage establishment and maintenance. Stock newly established pastures at a lower rate than well-established forage stands. â€˘
August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 19
Death by iron toxicity by Jimmy C. Henning
NE of the constants in the forage world seems to be the love-hate relationship that practicing agriculturalists have with haymaking. On the one hand, we talk a lot about cutting strategies, hay testing, curing and baling tweaks, and so on. On the other hand, some say it is too expensive for small producers to own hay equipment. A nationally recognized economist recently told me the biggest challenge to the profitability of cattle operations was iron toxicity. He meant that their haymaking equipment costs were eating up the profits of the cattle enterprise. While I am sure his statement was based on hard numbers, it struck me as an oversimplification of a complex situation. So, is it feasible to quit making your own hay? Here are some tangible steps: Establish a long-term relationship with a handful of growers who have a good reputation among other customers in the community. Let them know you’re in it for the long haul. Make sure they have the scale to meet your needs and will let you see the fields your hay will come from. Most will regularly test their forage and will be able to communicate why their hay will meet or exceed your livestock’s needs. Having more than one supplier will spread your risk. Differentiate yourself from the “average” customer. In any given area, hay gets ready to cut about the same time; you want to be among the first customers a commercial hay supplier thinks about. Take delivery in-season, saving the storage space of the hay grower.
Communicate your needs for hay early enough to let the producer plan their season. Communicate about the quantity and quality needed and be conversant in the language of forage quality. Help move the hay from the field to your farm if you can, or be there to unload the hay when needed. Be there when hay is delivered to inspect the bales; show interest in the challenges of your main hay suppliers. Be a good payer — slow payment or no payment are the biggest problems for hay sellers. Pay in cash if needed, and be willing to offer partial prepayment to secure the hay supply you need. Being a good payer is the best way to differentiate yourself to hay suppliers. Be willing to pay for quality and service. “Everybody wants a bargain — it’s human nature,” said Ron Tombaugh, owner of Dart Hay Services in Streeter, Ill., and a hay producer himself. “There is no such thing as cheap hay, you pay eventually in terms of animal performance,” Tombaugh explained. The glut of “$20 a roll” hay in flush years is a real problem for commercial hay producers. Any analysis will show no one can afford to make hay for $20 a roll, much less make a profit. Good suppliers will try to meet your stated needs, but they won’t do it for free. Establish a relationship with a hay supplier where you are comfortable paying above Walmart prices for good hay in flush years, and they are comfortable giving you a break on price in deficit years to keep you as a customer. Adjust your pasture system accord-
20 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
ingly. Buying all hay off-farm will require rethinking your livestock enterprise to harvest the excess spring growth that characterizes most years. Graze this excess growth with livestock that can provide cash income such as with retaining fall-born calves. Buying off-farm can provide an opportunity to convert fields to higher yielding, higher quality forages. These conversions could allow the planting of summer-productive forage that better addresses your traditional pasture deficit periods. Another alternative is to pay someone else to cut and bale those acres for you, assuming they can do so in a timely manner. In reality, farmer practice says they greatly prefer to be able to make their own hay. This preference may be more of a statement about the scarcity of suppliers than their unwillingness to stop making hay. My conclusions: 1. Haymaking is expensive. Equipment is not cheap so watch your spending. Keep your costs as low as possible and know your cost of production. This fact alone may convince you that buying hay is an economic option. 2. If you are going to make hay, make the best hay possible. Making bad hay is expensive even with low equipment costs. Bad hay limits production, costs money, and wastes time — the commodity in shortest supply. A compelling argument can be made that it may be more economical to make haylage (a higher cost option) because the quality is much better, with higher livestock output per dollar spent. 3. If you are going to stop making hay, do so gradually and only if you can find reputable growers who are interested in your success as well as their own. By now you are doubly convinced of the complexity of this topic. But perhaps you have a better idea of how much “iron” constitutes toxicity on your farm. Happy foraging. •
JIMMY C. HENNING The author is an extension forage specialist with the University of Kentucky.
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Private crop consultant, researcher, and owner of Advanced Ag Systems based in Kinderhook, N.Y.
HFG: Explain your early career shift as a fisheries biologist to agronomist with Cornell Extension? TK: In fisheries, the culture at the time discouraged innovative outside the box thinking. Secondly, people don’t always need fish but do need to eat, so I saw working in agriculture as a more stable employment. HFG: What do you consider to be the most effective forage management changes made by producers during your extension years from 1976 to 2009? TK: Implementing crop rotations based on soil; feeding high-forage diets; the adoption of wide-swath, same-day haylage; and the implementation of minimum and no-tillage systems. HFG: You were one of the early proponents of the “haylage-in-a-day” wide-swath system for alfalfa. What prompted this effort? TK: I started the concept of haylage-in-a-day when I saw grazed forage samples with energy values the same as corn silage while our haylage was 20 percent less. High forage utilization in dairy rations was inhibited by excessive protein solubility, which I found could be reduced by same-day ensiling. HFG: What are the biggest mistakes that you still see are being made with the wide-swath system? TK: Often the mower is not laying out a wide enough swath. To make the system work, the swath needs to be greater than 80 percent of the cutterbar width. I also see too much “minimum tillage mowing,” which incorporates a lot of dirt in the forage. Wide-swath mowing and harvesting has been a major paradigm shift for both farmers and machinery companies. HFG: Briefly explain what you do now as a crop consultant and independent research contractor? TK: I conduct research on applied forage crops and production techniques. The findings are presented at seminars during the winter. I do a small amount of on-farm consulting. HFG: You’ve done a lot of work using a double crop of winter annual cereals and summer annuals such as brown midrib (BMR) sorghum. What does this system offer for producers in the Northeast and Upper Midwest? TK: Winter forages produce some of the highest, if not the highest, forage quality for high-producing dairy cows. Planting date drives yield; farmers need to plant early, which then also gives superior soil and nutrient retention and soil health improvement over the winter. We are still investigating exactly where and how BMR sorghum species fit on farms.
HFG: You seem to prefer triticale versus other winter annual species? Why? TK: Winter triticale has been bred for forage quality, whereas most rye has not. Research at Cornell found triticale holds forage quality better in the spring than rye or wheat. It will not lodge at higher nitrogen rates like rye does; however, in side-by-side trials, triticale will outyield rye by 25 to 35 percent. Newer varieties of triticale will mature closer to rye. HFG: What are the keys to success for growing triticale? Sorghum? TK: The keys for winter triticale are to plant two weeks earlier than wheat, especially in the North; plant 1.25 inches deep using certified seed; fertilize in the fall (loves manure); fertilize in spring with nitrogen and sulfur; harvest at flag leaf (stage 9); and use the wide-swath, same-day haylage system. We are still trying to figure out sorghum. My recent research is being analyzed as you read this and, hopefully, the results will give us clear management conclusions for Northern areas. Nutritionists need to learn that BMR sorghum silage is not the same as corn silage. HFG: You’ve also done a lot of work with red clover. Do you feel this is an underutilized species for haylage? TK: Hugely underutilized. It has superior forage quality to a lot of alfalfa that is harvested, fits in short rotations to maximize yields over the whole rotation, easily establishes in winter triticale, and can be dried for same-day haylage with proper management steps. HFG: In your opinion, what is the one component of a farm’s forage enterprise that is most often mismanaged or generally offers the greatest potential for improvement? TK: Cost of crop production by field. Farms cull unproductive cows but continue with the same unprofitable, generic rotations on unproductive fields that they use on their good fields. Soils drive the rotation, which drives what the cows are fed. HFG: Are you currently working on any new forage projects that you feel show promise? TK: We are looking closely at BMR Pearl Millet and the management, quality, and yield of this potentially highly digestible crop. HFG: Favorite food? TK: Ice cream. •
In each issue of Hay & Forage Grower, we talk to a forage industry newsmaker to get their answers on a variety of topics.
22 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
by Jesse Bussard
A new source for low-carb horse hay
percent) based on the forage analyses. These categories were developed based on research that has shown forages with NSC levels below 12 percent are the most ideal for metabolically sensitive horses.
the harvest and growth factors that GROWING trend of obesity and affect NSC levels in forages like teff. associated metabolic disorders In 2017, Shaw took her low-carb hay are raising the horse industry’s efforts one step further launching a need for alternative forage sources. combination hay certification program Surveys indicate today that 20 to 30 and hay directory she calls simply, Low percent of horses qualify as obese Carb Horse Hay (LCHH). The goal: (having a body condition score of more Build a more consistent supply of conthan 7.5). trolled and certified low-carbohydrate “Girths are expanding at alarming rates hay products for severely metabolic as horses get urbanized and are overfed and/or overweight horses. forage more frequently,” said Natalie “The directory will connect horse Shaw, a certified equine nutrition conowners with responsible hay growers,” sultant based in Ellensburg, Wash. says Shaw. “It’s about bringing the two A seasoned horsewoman, Shaw has sides together and getbeen consulting on ting them talking the equine nutritional same language.” needs for nearly a Shaw says LCHH does decade. She notes, that this in two ways: in addition to the rise in 1. By providing a overweight equines, the directory that connects veterinary community horse owners to local hay has realized there’s a growers, retail suppliers, host of diseases directly distributors, and hay related to horse diet, and more specifically, Low-carb hay may benefit those horses that haulers of LCHH-certithe nonstructural carare deemed to be obese and at risk for future fied products. 2. Offering a scienbohydrate (NSC) values health problems. tifically tested and in the forage that verified certification horses consume. Examprogram, giving horse owners peace of ples of such linked maladies include mind knowing they are buying a hay laminitis, equine metabolic syndrome, product that is certified low in NSC and insulin resistance. and appropriate for their horses. In forage analysis, NSC is made up of Shaw said her LCHH certification two components, water soluble carbohyhelps hay growers find new niches drates and starches. Forages like teff and better means to market their hay are commonly lower in NSC and offer products. Through the certification proa low-carb alternative for these more gram, she said, hay growers will be able sensitive equines. to make a premium, up to an additional “I heard about teff and understood $20 to $30 per ton, versus regular right away it would fill this niche but market prices. pretty quickly realized along with For hay to qualify for LCHH certifieveryone else, it’s super hard to find,” cation, the forage must be sampled and Shaw said. a forage quality analysis conducted to Connect owners and growers measure NSC values. In addition, Shaw made clear, the LCHH certification is To solve this scarcity, Shaw sought out open to all hay crops, not just teff. answers. Her research led her to Steve Hay samples are sent to Equi-AnaFransen, a forage crops specialist at lytical, a forage and feed testing lab in Washington State University, and evenIthaca, N.Y., for analysis. Once results tually, her current pursuit of a Master of are obtained, low-carb hay products are Agriculture degree under his tutelage. categorized into three NSC levels (less Shaw’s graduate research, which is now than 10 percent, 13 percent, and 16 in its second year, seeks to understand
Currently, Shaw has about a dozen hay growers in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region certified through her program. For other PNW hay producers interested in signing on, Shaw explained enrollment into the LCHH platform is free for producers in 2017. Growers are required to create a basic account on the LCHH website. Afterward, Shaw contacts the grower via phone to ask a few questions about their farm, forage types, and any past hay analyses they may have conducted. Once the hay is harvested, Shaw visits the farm to core and sample lots from each field and cutting. Each analysis is kept separate for quality control. Each potential hay lot for sale is then categorized by NSC level on the directory. Lastly, Shaw helps producers complete their LCHH account with farm photos and descriptions to make their listings more attractive to the horse community. In time, Shaw plans to also open up membership in the LCHH program to more hay producers, and eventually, retailers such as feed stores and mills. For now, though, LCHH’s focus remains solely on the Pacific Northwest for the foreseeable future. Shaw says she hopes to expand her company’s services to a more national focus in the coming years once the program is more established. In due course, Shaw said, “I really hope that LCHH will become the gold standard for certification and trusted source for low-carb horse hay.” •
Hay growers can learn more and sign up for Shaw’s Low Carb Horse Hay certification program at www.lowcarbhorsehay.com.
JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.
August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 23
by Gonzalo Ferreira
Grasses and legumes possess important differences
HE decision to purchase forage can be easy when stocks are low and forage availability is scarce. Under this scenario, the decision relies on purchasing whatever is available. When not so urgent, or when we have options to choose from, more opportunities exist to be selective and choose the forage that best meets our needs. One of the first decision forks in the road is between grasses and legumes. To compare grasses and legumes, we need to understand the distinction between cell contents and cell walls. Cell contents are nonfibrous components of the plant cells and include proteins, sugars, starches, lipids, and some minerals. Conversely, cell walls are fibrous components of the plant cells and mainly include pectin, hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin. As they protect and give support to plant cells, these fibrous components contain very stable structures. The stability of these structures depends on the composition of the cell wall, mainly the degree and type of lignification. Cell contents are typically completely and uniformly digested, while the digestion of cell walls is typically incomplete and nonuniform. Think about the digestibility of 1 ounce of sugar and the digestibility of 1 ounce of wheat straw. In both cases, there is the same mass. Despite this, you probably already know that more energy will be obtained from the sugar than from the wheat straw. The reason is simple — sugar is mainly a cell content component of almost complete and uniform digestibility (let’s say 98 percent digestibility), and wheat straw
is mainly a fibrous cell wall component of incomplete and nonuniform digestibility (let’s say 30 percent digestibility). So, as the forage contains more cell contents, the digestibility will trend toward 98 percent, and as the forage contains more cell walls, or fiber, the digestibility will trend toward 30 percent.
Maturity matters With this background information in mind, we are now ready to understand that, on a percent dry matter basis, legumes typically have more cell contents and less cell walls than grasses (see table). This means that the dry matter digestibility of legumes such as alfalfa is typically greater than the dry matter digestibility of the grasses. One concept that frequently generates confusion is the quality of the cell walls, which is commonly described by the degree of lignification. In general terms, the cell walls of legumes are more lignified, on a percent of cell wall basis, than the cell walls of grasses (see table). For this reason, certain grasses, such as ryegrass at vegetative stages, can have very high dry matter and cell wall digestibilities. Obviously, a greater lignification of the cell wall will lower the digestibility of the fiber. However, a greater lignification of the cell wall does not necessarily mean the digestibility of the forage, on a percent dry matter basis, will be lower, too. Remember, legumes can still have much greater cell contents of complete and uniform digestibility than grasses, making the forage more digestible.
Composition and digestibility of grass and legume forages Immature grasses
Cell contents, % DM
Cell wall, % DM
Dry matter digestibility, % DM
Lignin, % CW Lignin, % DM Cell wall digestibility, % CW
Data from Buxton and Russell (1988).
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Another concept to consider when comparing grasses and legumes is the drop of quality with maturity. As mentioned before, grasses can have very high dry matter and cell wall digestibility at vegetative stages. However, as maturity advances, the digestibility of the cell wall declines very fast. This reduced cell wall digestibility is much faster for grasses than for legumes (see table). For this reason, managing grasses can be more challenging than managing legumes when climatic conditions, such as frequent rainfall, are not optimum for harvesting hay. Pasture grasses that are grazed in a vegetative state can be extremely high in digestibility. When comparing forages, do not just look at the cell wall or fiber digestibility. Even though cell wall lignification is very important, look at other aspects of forage quality as well, including cell contents or fiber. When comparing grasses to legumes, some general conclusions are: 1) legumes typically have lower concentrations of cell wall than grasses, on a percent dry matter basis, therefore being more digestible, 2) the cell walls of legumes are typically more lignified, on a percent of cell wall basis, than the cell walls of grasses, which translates in lower cell wall or fiber digestibilities, and 3) the decline in cell wall digestibility, on a percent of cell wall basis, with advancing maturity is much greater for grasses than for legumes. I emphasized several times whether we are referring to a percent dry matter basis or a percent of cell wall basis. Similar to comparing pears to apples, understanding that these terms are different is critical when comparing forages. • GONZALO FERREIRA The author is assistant professor, department of dairy science, Virginia Tech.
ADVANCED ALFALFA SEED VARIETIES NEXGROW is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. © 2017 Forage Genetics International, LLC.
Donâ€™t coast through the summer slump by Hugh Aljoe
Tâ€™S the middle of the summer. For most of the United States, August is the warmest month of the year and typically one of the driest months except for the Southwestern and Coastal states. By this time of the growing season, 80 to 90 percent of the annual warm-season perennial forage production has been achieved. Very little new growth is expected from the warm-season grasses even if an anomaly in the weather occurs. With fall moisture, cool-season forages will begin a new growing season; however, most of the cool-season forage production will occur in the spring of the new year. With the growing season mostly behind us, what management options should producers be considering during the summer slump? There are several items such as water availability in the pastures where cattle will be grazing, forage reserves, residual management, overall balance between forage supply and stocking rate, potential fall and winter pasture alternatives, and preparations for the coming growing season.
Livestock water availability. Water is a daily requirement for livestock, and requirements grow drastically with the high temperatures of summer. Having access to adequate water quantity and quality makes a difference in livestock performance and grazing accessibility of pastures. If you know some pastures are prone to water issues later in the season, graze them early while water is available. Consider strategies to enhance water availability and distribution in pastures where water is a routine summertime issue. Forage reserves. An updated forage inventory can be estimated at this time. This includes all stored forages such as hay, haylage, and silage reserves, as well as an estimate of what will be produced in the next month. If production is behind schedule or if you purchase your reserve needs, now is the time to backfill the projected needs. It is important to know the quality of forages on hand and that which is to be considered for purchase. Ideally, your reserve forages will either exceed or be close to meeting livestock require-
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ments for nutrient quality to minimize supplemental feed needs. Residual management. It is also important to take into account the residual that needs to be left at the end of the year to ensure the vitality and integrity of perennial forages into the next growing season. For most perennial pasture forage types, a residue height of greater than 4 inches is needed to protect the plants from winter damage; native tall grasses would respond better to a 6- to 8-inch residue height. Managing the grazing so that adequate residues are maintained through the winter is often the difference between a healthy forage resource and a degraded resource, which will HUGH ALJOE The author is director of producer relations at the Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, Okla.
be reflected in the following growing season or seasons if repeatedly grazed too severely. It certainly can reduce or eliminate the need for weed control in grazing pastures next year. Forage supply and stocking rate balance. Now is a good time for producers to assess their forage supply and measure it against the anticipated forage demand for the entire year. To date, we have a good understanding of the growing season, how the forages responded, and how the livestock have fared. With most of the growing season behind us, we need enough standing forage and reserves to carry the livestock from now through winter. If pastures are grazed shorter than desired for this time of year, contingency plans need consideration as only a small percentage of pasture is expected to be grown between now and first frost. Early weaning can relieve some demand. Destocking to some degree might be necessary, but that does not always mean the extra cattle have to be sold. They can be relocated to areas that have excess forage. Although this comes with an extra cost, it may be less expensive than either liquidating a portion of the herd or trying to feed through a forage slump. That is why contingency plans need to be thought through while there is time to truly evaluate the options. Potential fall and winter pasture. Some cool-season forage production can be expected and needs to be included in the planned forage supply. The options for fall and winter pasture in the Northern states are more limited, but even lightly grazed native grass pastures deferred from grazing from now until frost can provide grazeable pasture for much of the winter season. Unless you are in the Deep South, spring green up is at least six months away. However, if you are in the milder climates, there are opportunities to grow additional pasture with adequate moisture, especially with introduced forages and annual crops. Cool-season forages, perennials, and annuals grown this fall can often allow grazing through the winter, and stockpiled warm-season grasses (fall fertilized and deferred from grazing until after frost) can provide grazing often through the end of the year. The key is to apply fertilizer with the early fall rains to allow for maximum production before winter sets in. Of course, cool-season annual forages need to be planted early in the fall as well.
Preparations for next season. Working through the management considerations now during the summer slump also prepares you for the next growing season. If pasture and forage demand exceeds carrying capacity of the land resource, adjusting the stocking rate to a more comfortable quantity of livestock is warranted. Soil tests can be analyzed for introduced pastures so that more accurate
fertilizer recommendations can be made the following season. Pasture management plans and grazing plans from the past seasons can be reviewed, evaluated, and adjusted for the next growing season. It is to your advantage to review this yearâ€™s management practices and outcomes while it is fresh on your mind. The midsummer slump is the perfect time to gain a head start to next yearâ€™s plans. â€˘
August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 27
by John Goeser
Processing knowledge continues to evolve
ORN silage kernel processing score (KPS) continues along with brown midrib (BMR) corn silage and politics as the most heated topics discussed among forage growers, dairy producers, and consultants. During the KPS analysis, your forage lab checks what percentage of corn silage starch (within the grain and kernels) is smaller than 4.75 millimeters (mm) in size, which is roughly the diameter of a .22 caliber bullet. Or more simply put, KPS determines how crushed up the kernels are. The aim in corn silage processing is for near complete kernel destruction, or a KPS greater than 70 to 75. Ultimately, starch digestion, animal performance, and dairy or feedlot profitability are related to grain particle size. Just nicking or breaking the kernel is no longer adequate because researchers have determined that rumen bacteria cannot access starch if the kernel is not completely opened up.
Strive for kernel breakage In the equipment world, implement manufacturers advance at a rapid pace, developing kernel processors that are dramatically different from those of years past. Randy Shaver with the University of Wisconsin has recently used the term “contemporary processors” to identify alternative kernel processors that operate with a greater roll speed differential and different rolls relative to conventional kernel processors. With the advent of contemporary processors, KPS has re-emerged as a focal point to assess processor efficacy. Further, many
are taking KPS measures during harvest and using the results to make decisions relating to roll gap or differential speed. In using KPS with freshly chopped forage, understand that the KPS value will elevate 5 to 10 units over time once it is ensiled, so set your goals accordingly. If your feedout goal is 70 or better KPS, a realistic fresh-chopped forage KPS goal may be 60 to 65. In the research community, Shaver has suggested that the main benefit to contemporary processing is improved kernel breakage and starch digestion. Luiz Ferraretto, University of Florida dairy scientist, has also recently addressed the popular question from the field, “Do contemporary processed corn silages pack and store as well as conventional?” Ferraretto has found that contemporary processors were associated with a better kernel processing score but also found equivalent fermentation results in research conducted with Keith Bryan (Chr. Hansen) and our team at Rock River Labs. Future research may continue investigating the KPS relationship with rumen starch digestion or evaluate seed corn genetics relationship with KPS.
Berry Processing Score Beyond corn silage KPS, another silage grain processing score has been developed for sorghum and other tropical grasses that yield berries (or grain). Sorghum or milo may contain 25 to 30 percent starch in the berries, potentially contributing substantial energy to the forage for milk production or gains. The energy available in sorghum
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starch is often not recognized because the grain in these silages is very hard and poorly digested if not processed. Screening manure from cattle consuming sorghum silage often uncovers many whole berries that the animal wasn’t able to digest. Hence, understanding processing is important to maximize forage energy value; however, the corn silage KPS is not appropriate. Kansas State University’s Jared Johnson and Mike Brouk recognized that the 4.75 mm threshold for KPS is far too large for sorghum and other small grain silages with small berries. They have worked to develop an alternative — the Berry Processing Score (BPS). The researchers recently shared their initial research findings during the 2017 American Dairy Science Association annual meeting in Pittsburgh. Johnson’s research found that a 1.7 mm threshold could differentiate acceptable from poor-quality sorghum processing. Johnson suggested the BPS goal should be 50, meaning that 50 percent of the starch is smaller than 1.7mm. Further, Johnson found that BPS was significantly related to rumen in situ starch digestion, with greater BPS corresponding to better rumen starch digestion. The unprocessed sorghum silage had 50 percent starch digestion, whereas the silage that reached over 50 percent BPS had 80 percent starch digestion. These BPS and starch digestion results could mean 2 pounds of milk per cow or more if sorghum silage is fed in equal amounts to corn silage in a high-forage diet. Consider benchmarking your sorghum to understand the potential production gains. For both corn silage or sorghum and other small grain silages, strive for greater than 70 or 50 with KPS or BPS, respectively. Work with your nutritionist and harvest decision-making team in using the newly understood KPS and BPS relationships to determine if processor adjustments, or a contemporary processor, would be an economically sound decision for your business. • 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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7/26/17 3:08 PM
They’re not your grandpa’s oats by Stan Smith
URING the ‘60s, it seemed the highlight of early spring for a farm boy in small town Ohio was planting oats. I know that may not sound exciting these days, but consider that as early as soil conditions would permit, I got at least one day — and probably two — out of school in order to plow and work ground for planting oats. The goal then was to get the oats planted as early as possible so that they would outgrow the annual weeds. We planted a small field of oats every year for several reasons. Foremost, we used oats in the feed rations for the dairy, the sow’s ration, the beef feedlot, and the henhouse. Back then, we didn’t buy it if we could grow it. Oats also made nice bright straw. Most of the time we were also starting a new hayfield by underseeding our perennial forage at the same time we planted oats. Today, I’m hard pressed to find a spring-seeded oat field anywhere in central Ohio. I suspect it’s the same across the Midwest. Oats don’t produce enough volume of grain today to compete on a profit basis with feed grains like corn. And since much of the straw these days is used by landscapers, seeding contractors, or as dairy feed, wheat or rye straw yields more and works very nicely. All that said, oats still own a place in the rotation for those who appreciate them solely as a forage crop. Around the turn of this century, cover crops were gaining attention at about the same time intensified grazing management was growing quickly in popularity. For many of us in Ohio, that’s about the time when the oats Grandpa used to grow became a forage crop. Here’s what has been most surprising: When planting oats after the summer solstice, we’ve discovered that with only a modest amount of management, oats provide more total tonnage than we often get from our perennial mixed forage hayfields. Further, we also find that oats can be utilized very nicely in a managed grazing system. Oats can be planted following a wheat harvest or perhaps on failed corn or
soybean acres. If there’s a need for additional forage, oats are a low-cost yet high-quality feed alternative that can be either mechanically harvested or grazed. In fact, if planted most any time in July or August, we know there’s an opportunity to produce anywhere from 2 to 5 tons of forage on a dry matter basis, investing little more than the cost of 80 to 100 pounds of spring oats seed and 40 pounds of nitrogen.
No hurry to plant Over the years, we’ve found it’s not important to rush to get the oats planted as soon as possible after wheat harvest. In fact, our experience in central Ohio has been that we get a greater yield and higher quality feed if we wait until the end of July or very early August. Oats prefer the cooler average daily temperatures we typically experience beginning in August, plus they are more likely not to push out a seedhead but remain vegetative until extremely cold temperatures shut them down completely sometime in December. Not only does an August 1 planting date seem to offer more yield and higher quality oat forage, but it also allows ample time to complete wheat harvest, haul manure, and control any perennial weeds and volunteer wheat that might be present. Considering the concerns throughout our state for marestail, the time and effort spent post wheat harvest and before oat planting is valuable for controlling this and other biennial weeds, too. Regardless of the planting date, or oat variety, no-till seeding rates from 80 to 100 pounds of spring oats have consistently resulted in optimum forage yields. Our optimum nitrogen application rate has been 40 to 50 pounds per acre. Higher rates of nitrogen have actually depressed yields in some of our demonstration plots. The optimum combination of productivity and quality of August-planted oats typically arrives 60 to 75 days after planting. Apparently due to the heat, oats planted in July mature more quickly and in most years have rap-
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idly declined in quality beginning 50 to 60 days after planting. We’ve also found that oats harvested 50 to 60 days after planting and while still in the boot stage of maturity may offer some regrowth that could be grazed.
Harvest options For a forage oat harvest beginning in November, grazing provides the most effective and affordable option. We’ve had a local grower strip-graze oats all winter and actually begin the calving season on them before he ran out of oats in mid-March. Dry baling oats in the fall has been done, but it’s a challenge considering that once cut, oats will dry slower than mixed grass hay. Cut in November, it typically means at least two weeks or likely more of drying time will be required to make dry hay. Wet wrapping is an effective yet expensive alternative. Oats won’t die until temperatures have been in the mid-20s for several hours. That means they’ll still be green and alive most years in December throughout central and southern Ohio. If grazing the standing oats is not an option, chopping and ensiling oats is another alternative for harvest. Chopped forages are more digestible than long-stem forages and fit easily into a variety of ration types. An additional advantage observed when using oats for an annual forage crop is the opportunity to capture the total tonnage produced with a single harvest. Oats planted beyond early July won’t get a young farmer out of the classroom, but these aren’t your grandpa’s oats . . . they’ve now become a high-quality and very productive forage crop! •
STAN SMITH The author is an agriculture and natural resources program assistant for Ohio State University Extension in Fairfield County.
When cold, glyphosate, and alfalfa don’t mix During the past several years, some alfalfa growers in northern California have experienced various levels of crop injury following a spring application of glyphosate to their Roundup Ready alfalfa fields. Steve Orloff, the extension farm advisor in Siskiyou County, Calif., was first introduced to the issue during the spring of 2014 while on a farm visit to investigate the damage. In a small area that hadn’t been sprayed, alfalfa was 8 to 12 inches taller than where glyphosate had been applied. It also didn’t exhibit the yellowing and necrosis found in the sprayed area. Orloff eliminated typical causes such as spray tank contamination, contaminated product, and other nonherbicide-related management practices. In search of answers, Orloff established field plots in the unaffected area, comparing several glyphosate treatments to see if he could duplicate the damage. No detrimental effect was noted from any of the treatments. He concluded the damage exhibited that spring was just an unexplained, single-year aberration, but that theory blew up when similar alfalfa damage occurred during the following spring (2015) in a different grower’s field. “We developed the theory that cold temperatures after an application of glyphosate might be related to the observed injury,” said Orloff at the Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium in Reno, Nev. Orloff measured the first-cut yield differences to be about 0.75 ton per acre in two different fields that had suffered the glyphosate damage. Next, Orloff put out replicated field plots in Tulelake, a cooler region, where he was hoping to duplicate the injury. He compared two rates of glyphosate (22 and 44 ounces per acre of Roundup PowerMAX) with and without ammonium sulfate (AMS). He found that compared to the untreated control, the 22-ounce rate of glyphosate reduced yield by 0.3 ton and 0.4 ton per acre for the 44-ounce rate. The addition of AMS made no difference. During the fall of 2015, Orloff then established field trials at four locations, knowing that colder temperatures would eventually come. Weekly applications (mid-September to November 1) of two rates of glyphosate were made and compared against the untreated control. This time the plant damage symptoms were replicated, and there was a significant rate response.
2016 trials In spring 2016 and with the help of extension colleagues, Orloff established 16 trials at various locations. He evaluated both glyphosate rate and application timing. Though early April was characterized by warmer temperatures and more
rainfall than 2015, cooler temperatures prevailed at some locations later in the month. Injury symptoms were observed in all but one of the 16 trials. The trial with no injury was a new seeding field from the previous fall. Orloff said that the injury has been found to be more dramatic on older, more established stands. Additionally, this was the warmest of all the sites. In total, Orloff made the following conclusions based on the spring trials: • Injury was not as severe as what was seen in the previous two years. • Injury was variable with more damage being seen at colder sites and where applications were made to taller (8 to 10 inches) versus shorter (4 to 5 inches) alfalfa. • Where short alfalfa was sprayed (2 inches), no treatment effects were observed. • Higher application rates (44 ounces per acre) resulted in more stunting than lower application rates (22 ounces per acre). • First-cut yield decline was typically 0.3 to 0.4 ton per acre for the 44 ounces per-acre rate compared to 0.1 to 0.3 ton per acre for the 22 ounces per-acre rate. • No yield differences were seen at any location for the second cutting. Specific to glyphosate, the injury is characterized as plants having wilted shoots initially appearing 10 days to two weeks after application. At two to three weeks, Orloff said plants start to become chlorotic and eventually necrotic; there is also shepherd’s crooking of stems. The exact reason for the plant injury is not known. It could be that the postapplication cold weather is affecting the tolerance of Roundup Ready alfalfa to glyphosate, but Orloff doesn’t think that’s the case. Alternatively, it might be that the glyphosate is affecting the cold tolerance of alfalfa directly or indirectly, or perhaps it could be something else entirely. In summary, Orloff recommends that glyphosate be applied in the spring when alfalfa growth is 2 inches tall or less, assuming there is a risk of cold weather following the application. This is similar to other postemergence herbicides with spring-growth restrictions. Early applications also help to ensure effective control because weeds are smaller. As for how long the interval has to be between the glyphosate application and a frost event such that crop damage is avoided, Orloff just doesn’t have the answer to that question at this time. He emphasized that this injury development does not negate the value of Roundup Ready alfalfa or the use of glyphosate. “We just need to be cautious if spraying in a region where cold temperatures are still possible after application,” he said. • August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 31
by Adam Verner rig. New generation used models can be found from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on the boom width, tank size, and model. These pull-type units are the bargain of the sprayer market right now and they can do everything you ask of them.
Good time for a sprayer upgrade
S BENJAMIN Franklin once said, “There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.” This statement still rings true today, but on most farms I think we could also add two more items: inconsistent weather and weeds. Weeds and other crop pests seem to persist regardless of the weather, or at least change with the weather. Though weed control can be accomplished in a variety of ways, one of the primary methods on many farms is by using an herbicide applied with a sprayer. With resistant weeds and new disease and insect pests arriving on what seems to be an annual basis, the sprayer has become one of the most important tools in a farmer’s shed. Sprayers can now fit any budget or farm size, and with a large number of used sprayers on the market this year, this might be a good time to upgrade. Sprayers can vary in price from $1,000 to $400,000 and there are several types and many options to consider. Let’s break them down and see which one might work best for a given type of operation.
Three-point For the smaller operations, threepoint sprayers are still the most versatile and affordable. With all of the new sprayer tips, you can apply 10 to 12 gallons per acre and cover a significant acreage with a 400-gallon, three-point attached tank. Boomless models are handy for any size farming operation for spraying ditches, fence rows, and along trees lines where weeds
can escape normal sprayers equipped with booms. They also work well for spot spraying hayfields and pastures. Boomless sprayers generally have a smaller tank and lighter duty pumps and components. With the small three-point attached sprayers, fertilizers tend to require higher application rates and are very corrosive on sprayer parts. Being in close proximity to the tractor, you need to take extra care when cleaning up after spraying fertilizers such as nitrogen, which can cause damage to the tractor’s finish or its components. As long as you take some precautions, a three-point sprayer can be a big asset for any size farming operation.
Pull-type The models that have been the hardest hit in terms of resale value are pull-type sprayers. With the growing interest in self-propelled models, many farmers have traded in their pull-type sprayer for the self-contained units. However, pull-type sprayers still provide many benefits to the user with exceptional tank capacity (if needed) and wide boom widths. Any hay producer or livestock farmer could really benefit from the rate controllers, multispray tip nozzle bodies, and a chemical educator that can be found on most models. Though these options are also found on self-propelled models, the pull-type sprayer comes with a lower price tag. If you add a light bar or small guidance system, you have a really inexpensive, accurate, spray
32 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
The big trend over the last 10 years has been toward larger, faster, and more accurate self-propelled sprayers. Some of these units can easily cover over 150 acres per hour. They have changed the spraying industry as a whole. The massive high-boy sprayers can have individual nozzle shutoff and work very accurately at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. This market segment has exploded in both the total number of units sold and their operational technology. When looking at purchasing a self-propelled sprayer, there are quite a few things to consider. The booms and their integrity should be toward the top of your list, as well as the metering system and valve controls. All of these can be abused over time and be cause for breakdowns and delays. With the sheer number of used self-propelled sprayers on the market today, simply take your time and do your homework. It shouldn’t be hard to find the right sprayer with all of the options that you need to make your operation more efficient. From a 600-gallon tank with a 60-foot boom for spraying pastures to a 1,100-gallon, 100-foot boom with section control to spray a couple thousand acres of alfalfa, there is a wide range of options available in the used machinery market. Older models can be priced as low as $30,000, while larger spray rigs may be over $300,000. It is important to know what components and options you will need that will both do the desired jobs and fit your budget. Don’t be afraid to add guidance, section control, or to upgrade rate controllers. Each can offer a one-year payback and make it easier on the operator, too. Spray safe this summer! • ADAM VERNER The author is a managing partner in Elite Ag LLC, Leesburg, Ga. He also is active in the family farm in Rutledge.
DISCOVER the EXPERIENCE and RELIABILITY OF AG-BAG WHEN IT COUNTS THE MOST!
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August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 33
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34 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
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When it comes to ground preparation no one can come close to the level of dedication and experience than Northwest Tillers. With over 60 years in business and many more in collective experience the Northwest line has become something that farms have come to rely on for years on end. Available in a range of sizes from 10' to 20' the Hay & Forage unit is capable of having a seed bed ready floor in as little as one pass. All this is achieved by placing additional blades and rotors on the shaft allowing for a much finer cut; in turn resulting in a better seed bed in a fraction of the time.
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August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 35
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36 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
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SteffenSystems.com // 1.888.STEFFEN or 503.399.9941 August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 37 “No one gets hurt” print ad for Steffen Systems 503-399-9941 One-sixth page horizontal — 4.875” x 2.375” THIS ARTWORK SUPERSEDES ANY OTHER PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED
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10-Wheel Windrow Turner: Capable of merging 12, 14 or even 16’ windrows together with a hinge in the frame to help follow the contour of the ground.
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, Missing back issues? Visit: hayandforage.com/issues to view previous issues online. 38 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
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August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 39 Buyer's Mart .indd 1
7/18/16 8:13 AM
Mid-America Forage Expo
November 28 & 29, 2017
Scott’s Bluff County Fairgrounds Mitchell, Nebraska
Can’t depend on mother nature for your moisture requirements?
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Trade show featuring everything forage! • Excellent speaker programs both days • Fundraising Auction – Tuesday, November 28 at 4:00 p.m. • Hay Contest
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It ’s Fre e
WESTERN ALFALFA & FORAGE
SYMPOSIUM Producing Quality Forages in the West
Registration now open!
NOVEMBER 28‐30, 2017 GRAND SIERRA RESORT, RENO, NV Now in its 47th year, the Symposium is a comprehensive and educa�onal program for anyone with an interest in important issues related to alfalfa and forages. Economics and Markets, Alfalfa Yield and Quality, Yield �ap, �ene�c �nnova�ons, Alfalfa �roduc�on, �est Management, Exports, Water Management & �rriga�on are �ust a few of the topics that will be covered in this year�s Symposium. An op�onal Alfalfa �ay Quality Workshop will also be oﬀered, combining lectures and hands‐on demonstra�ons of �uality. EXHIBITOR & SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE DISCOUNTED EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION THROUGH SEPT. 15 FOR A COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS, EXHIBITOR/ SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION, AND SYMPOSIUM REGISTRATION, VISIT OUR WEBSITE calhay.org/symposium/ Co���ui�g E�uca�o� Cr��i�s �ill �� o��r�� Hos��� �y �h� Cali�or�ia Al�al�a � Forag� Associa�o� Contact us at (916)441‐0635 or email@example.com
40 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
The best show of the year just keeps
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August/September 2017 | hayandforage.com | 41 eHay Weekly 1.indd 1
6/20/16 11:10 AM
FORAGE IQ MSU Ag Innovation Day: Focus on Forages and the Future August 24, Lake City, Mich. Details: bit.ly/HFG-MSU Texas Grazingland Conference August 29 to 31, Waco, Texas Details: regonline.com/txgrazland2017 Georgia Grazing School September 19 and 20, Athens, Ga. Details: georgiaforages.com/events.html Kentucky Grazing School September 27 and 28, Versailles, Ky. Details: www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/ National Hay Association Convention September 27 to 30, Canandaigua, N.Y. Details: nationalhay.org Grassfed Exchange Conference September 27 to 29, Albany, N.Y. Details: grassfedexchange.com World Dairy Expo World Forage Analysis Superbowl Dairy Forage Seminars October 3 to 7, Madison, Wis. Hay crop entries due Sept. 7 Details: bit.ly/HFG-WFAS17 Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Hay Contest October 17 to 19, Moultrie, Ga. Hay contest entries due September 21 Details: blog.caes.uga.edu/sehaycontest/ Alfalfa Intensive Training Seminar November 14 to 16, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio Details: www.alfalfa.org/training.html Mid-America Alfalfa Expo November 28 and 29, Mitchell, Neb. Details: alfalfaexpo.com Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium November 28 to 30, Reno, Nev. Details: http://calhay.org/symposium/ American Forage & Grassland Conference January 14 to 17, 2018, Louisville, Ky. Details: afgc.org
HAY MARKET UPDATE
Alfalfa prices hold, timothy strong Alfalfa prices have managed to stay stronger than a year ago with hefty export demand and regional weather issues. Average prices remain $10 to $20 per ton above 2016 levels. The timothy hay export market has been exceptionally good and is providing
considerable price strength. Timothy seed for planting this fall is in tight supply in the Pacific Northwest. The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of the beginning of August. Prices are FOB barn/ stack unless otherwise noted. •
For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com Supreme-quality alfalfa
California (Intermountain) 180-200 Washington (Columbia Basin) California (northern SJV) 260 (d) Wisconsin (Lancaster) California (southern) 200-220 Wisconsin (Lancaster)-lrb Colorado (San Luis Valley) 175-180 Wyoming (eastern)-lrb Colorado (southwest)-ssb 245 Fair-quality alfalfa Kansas (southwest) 140-160 California (southeast) Kansas (north central/east) 150-200 Colorado (northeast) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 100-145 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Missouri 170-220 Kansas (northwest) New Mexico (south/southwest) 165-180 Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb Oklahoma (central) 140-150 Missouri Oregon (Klamath Basin)-ssb 170-180 Montana Oregon (Lake) 195-215 Nebraska (eastern/central) South Dakota (East River) 145-165 New Mexico (southeastern) Texas (west) 250 Oklahoma (central)-lrb Texas (north,central, east) 215-230 (d) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb Utah (southern) 120-150 South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb Utah (southern) Premium-quality alfalfa Price $/ton California (Sacramento Valley) 205 Washington (Columbia Basin) California (northern SJV) 200-225 Wisconsin (Lancaster) Idaho 130 Wyoming (eastern)-lrb Iowa (Rock Valley) 115-140 Bermudagrass Kansas (south central) 130-140 Alabama-Premium lrb Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 120-145 California (southeast)-Good Montana-ssb 180 (d) Texas (Panhandle)-Good/Premium lrb Nebraska (eastern/central/western) 180 Texas (south)-Good/Premium ssb Oklahoma (western) 125-130 Orchardgrass hay Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-ssb Oregon (Lake) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (East River) Utah (central) Washington (Columbia Basin) Washington (Columbia Basin)-ssb Wyoming (central/western) Good-quality alfalfa California (central SJV) California (southeast) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Kansas (north central/east) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Montana Nebraska (eastern/central) Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb New Mexico (eastern) Oklahoma (western) Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-ssb Oregon (Klamath Basin) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb Texas (north,central, east) Texas (Panhandle)
42 | Hay & Forage Grower | August/September 2017
230 190-200 200-225 130-150 100-110 160-187 215 165 Price $/ton
80-95 135-160 125-145 70-73 165 Price $/ton 105-125 115 (d) 85-90 80-95 85 100-120 120-135 105-110 125-140 (d) 80-90 140-160 95-100 60-80 125-145 90 120 Price $/ton 133 155 125-180 231-265 Price $/ton
California (Intermountain)-Premium 200-290 Colorado (southwest)-Premium ssb 285 Idaho-Good 165 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb 230-250 Washington (Columbia Basin)-Good ssb 180 Timothy hay Price $/ton Idaho-Premium 235-280 Idaho-Good 200-230 Montana-Premium ssb 240
170 Oregon (eastern)-Premium 125-130 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium 120 Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good ssb 105-113 Washington (Columbia Basin)-Premium 130-140 Oat hay 85-150 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb 130-150 Kansas (south central)-lrb 150 South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb 80-85 Texas (Panhandle) 165 Straw 90-100 California 210 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb 165 Kansas (north central/east) 150-160 Minnesota (Sauk Centre)-lrb 110-138 Pennsylvania (southeast) 200 (d) South Dakota (East River) 175 (d) Texas (Panhandle)
Abbreviations: d=delivered, lrb=large round bales, ssb=small square bales, o=organic
280-305 255 160-240 250-295 Price $/ton 85 85-95 (d) 85-90 80 Price $/ton 75-135 85-98 75-85 90-100 100-125 100 75 (d)
KEEP ADDING SERVICES, AND YOU KEEP ADDING TO YOUR OUTPUT. I DON’T THINK THAT’S A COINCIDENCE.”
Gaylen Guyer DuPont Pioneer Dairy Account Manager
Ken Hein Dairy Producer Vince Tichy Encirca Certiﬁed Services Agent
Chad Erickson Pioneer Sales Professional
The Silage Zone® resource combines proven products, unmatched support and forage management solutions to help you achieve success. See more at pioneer.com/silagestories.
PIONEER® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents. ® TM SM , , Trademarks and service marks of DuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners. © 2017 PHII.DUPPFO17035_VAR1_080117_HFG
7/19/17 3:02 PM
To keep innovating, growing and succeeding. This is why I do it. M6S Series
Work with unmatched performance, control and maneuverability in Kubota’s M6S Series mid-sized utility tractors. Featuring cleaner-running Kubota diesel engines, these powerful machines are designed to take your day-to-day productivity to the next level. Depend on Kubota farm-and-field engineering to help you accomplish more.
0 Down and 0% Financing for 48 Months*
See your local Kubota dealer for details. Offer ends 9/30/2017.
*$0 down, 0% A.P.R. financing for up to 48 months on purchases of select new Kubota M6S Series equipment from participating dealers’ in-stock inventory is available to qualified purchasers through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A.; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Example: 48 monthly payments of $20.83 per $1,000 financed. Offer expires 9/30/17. See your Kubota dealer or go to www.KubotaUSA.com for more information. Optional equipment may be shown.
002812 – 2017 National M6S – Hay & Forage Grower (Aug/Sept 2017) – 8.375 x 10.875
© Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2017
Hay & Forage Grower provides the newest production and marketing information in print, online and in person for large-acreage forage produce...
Published on Nov 10, 2017
Hay & Forage Grower provides the newest production and marketing information in print, online and in person for large-acreage forage produce...