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hayandforage.com

November 2017

Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

Breeding alfalfa for low pH pg 6 Goma goes green pg 22 NAFA 2017 alfalfa variety guide center insert Decode grazing data pg 32


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SINCE 1958

WE’VE BEEN PLANTING FOR THE FUTURE SINCE OUR FIRST BAG OF SEED. In 1958, the founders of W-L Alfalfas saw something no one else did: the future of the industry. Throughout the six decades since, we have been focused on one thing, bringing you the highest producing, highest-quality alfalfa seed in the world.

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W-L Alfalfas is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. ©2017 Forage Genetics International, LLC.


November 2017 · VOL. 32 · No. 6 MANAGING EDITOR Michael C. Rankin ART DIRECTOR Ryan D. Ebert ONLINE MANAGER Patti J. Hurtgen DIRECTOR OF MARKETING John R. Mansavage ADVERTISING SALES Jan C. Ford jford@hoards.com Kim E. Zilverberg kzilverberg@hayandforage.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Patti J. Kressin pkressin@hayandforage.com W.D. HOARD & SONS PRESIDENT Brian V. Knox VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING Gary L. Vorpahl

6 Breeding alfalfa for low pH soils

Overcoming aluminum toxicity in low pH soils has always been a challenge for alfalfa. Breeding efforts in Georgia are yielding some positive results.

10

Feed analysis — A look at variability Research at Utah State University explored the variability seen in different forage lab results.

Six changes for the better

38

Forage specialist Dan Undersander has retired, but he notes some positive changes from his long tenure.

High school students are put to the test in this forage triathlon.

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8

12

16

29

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DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 14 Dairy Feedbunk 20 Feed Analysis 32 Pasture Ponderings 34 Research Round-up

THERE’S A DOWNSIDE TO DELAYED WRAPPING

FINDING AN ALFALFA DANCE PARTNER

ATTRACTING THE MILLENNIAL EMPLOYEE

SELECT AND HANDLE GRASS-FED CATTLE WISELY

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

LITTLE GOOD COMES FROM FLOODED PASTURES

22

GOMA GOES GREEN

36 40 42 54 54

Beef Feedbunk Forage Gearhead Machine Shed Forage IQ Hay Market Update

Drinking from the World Forage Management Cup

24

COEXISTING IN A DIVERGENT ALFALFA SEED MARKET

27

SILAGE PILE CONSTRUCTION: A LIFE AND DEATH MATTER

ON THE COVER Nick Braunschweig seeds alfalfa at Senland Farm, a dairy owned and operated by Jim and Debbie Senn along with their son, Ted. Located in Campbellsport, Wis., the Senn family milks 350 Holstein cows and harvests alfalfa, corn silage, corn, and wheat on 700 owned and rented acres. Photo by Mike Rankin

HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2017 W. D. Hoard & Sons Company. All rights reserved. Published six times annually in January, February, March, April/May, August/September and November by W. D. Hoard & Sons Co., 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Tel: 920-563-5551. Fax: 920-563-7298. Email: info@hayandforage.com. Website: www.hayandforage. com. Periodicals Postage paid at Fort Atkinson, Wis., and additional mail offices. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscribers may subscribe at: USA: 1 year $20 U.S.; Outside USA: Canada & Mexico, 1 year $80 U.S.; All other countries, 1 year $120 U.S. For Subscriber Services contact: Hay & Forage Grower, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 USA; call: 920-563-5551, email: info@hayandforage.com or visit: www.hayandforage.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HAY & FORAGE GROWER, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Subscribers who have provided a valid email address may receive the Hay & Forage Grower email newsletter eHay Weekly.

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FIRST CUT

Mike Rankin

Elusive yield

U

SING a front-end loader, Ray lifted the two tires filled with concrete into the back of his two-wheel drive pickup truck. This would help with traction while pulling the forage wagon uphill on the road. As I was soon to find out, the added weight offered little value going downhill. Many years ago, before the days of portable or drive-over scales, the only way to accurately calculate on-farm alfalfa yield was to harvest a premeasured field area and then pull the wagon of bales or haylage to the nearest gravel pit or grain elevator scale. In Ray’s situation, it was haylage, specifically a forage box full of wet, chopped alfalfa. Pickup trucks in those days were generally not the four-wheel drive beasts common on many farms today. No, most farm owners were still recovering from the early ‘80s economic farm crisis and considered functional exhaust systems and solid floorboards as optional equipment. Still, we needed to pull a loaded forage box from Point A to Point B. Between those two dots was Hill C with a slope approaching that of a big boy’s waterslide — only much longer. There was also one further obstacle . . . a stop sign sat at the bottom of the hill where the road ended at a state highway. It was going to be a bit dicey, but this was back forty forage research at its finest. As we descended the hill, I watched the road run beneath us through the rusted floorboards. Ray pumped the brakes, keeping our speed to below the legal limit. Nearing the bottom and approaching the stop sign, Ray asked, “Do you see anything coming from your direction?” My eyes lifted from the floorboard, but before I could say anything Ray retracted his inquiry, “It doesn’t matter . . . we can’t stop anyway.”

Managing Editor

He was right; several laws of physics and a well-worn truck were working against us. We didn’t stop and somehow managed to make the turn with forage box still in tow. It was either pure luck or divine intervention that cross-traffic timing was in our favor on that day. Documenting forage yield per acre of the accurate ilk has always been an elusive number outside of small-plot research. Yield, however, remains a key profitability metric. Typically, it costs as much to harvest a low-yielding crop as it does a high-yielding one. That means your unit margin is significantly greater for the latter. It’s unfortunate that it’s such a hard thing to measure. Of even greater consequence is the fact that forage yield can’t stand alone. Feed quality must also be considered. The yield-quality trade-off has long haunted the forage grower. Even our company’s founder, W.D. Hoard, recognized the need to cut alfalfa before the point of maximum yield. That was more than a century ago. Slowly, but surely, this problem is getting fixed. From a yield-measuring perspective, on-board monitors are now available for choppers and balers. More farms also have their own drive-over scales. From a yield enhancement perspective, we look to our forage breeding industry. There we see not just higher yielding varieties than days gone by, but also ones with much less of a quality trade-off at more impressive and profitable yield levels. My days of hauling loads of forage to the nearest scale are over, but always striving for added forage yield with high quality remains a deserving goal of every forage grower’s attention. •

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

4 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017


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DAIRY FARMER.

ADVANCED ALFALFA SEED VARIETIES NEXGROW is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. © 2017 Forage Genetics International, LLC.

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BULL MENTALITY


Breeding alfalfa for low pH soils by Ali M. Missaoui

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HE southeastern United States offers the biggest opportunity for expanding alfalfa acreage nationally, whether as a pure crop or as a companion in bermudagrass pastures and hayfields. Alfalfa offers producers a significant profit potential through selling hay, or by grazing or conserving the surplus as haylage. A growing number of bermudagrass producers across the Southeast have started incorporating alfalfa into suppressed or closely clipped bermudagrass pastures. They harvest nearly pure alfalfa early in spring and later in fall, and during midsummer, when bermudagrass is actively growing, they harvest a near 50 percent grass-legume mixture. Most of these growers were attracted to alfalfa because they have seen enormous improvement in the quality of their hay (190 relative forage quality [RFQ] for an alfalfa-bemudagrass mixture versus 90 RFQ for bermudagrass hay), and they were able to save on

6 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

the application of nitrogen fertilizer. Development of grazing-tolerant varieties adapted to the Southeast was another factor raising interest in growing alfalfa on the Coastal Plains. Studies evaluating the sustainability of production of alfalfa interseeded in bermudagrass showed that alfalfa competes well with bermudagrass, even in drought conditions.

Challenges to overcome The major challenges to alfalfa production in the Southeast are low pH soils and aluminum (Al) toxicity. The most prevailing soils in the region are the highly weathered Ultisols, spreading across the entire region. These soils tend to have low pH and are, therefore, poorly suited to alfalfa production without lime and fertilizer amendments. One of our breeding goals is to develop varieties that will tolerate low pH soils and reduce the likelihood for Al toxicity. Low soil pH reduces the availability of macro- and micronutrients, reduces

beneficial microbial activity in the rhizosphere, and enhances the solubility of phytotoxic metals such as Al, manganese (Mn), and iron (Fe). Plants readily absorb soluble Al, which in high amounts will inhibit root growth and development, making the root system inefficient for water and nutrient uptake. Alfalfa requires a soil pH between 6.5 and 7.5 for optimal production. Productivity and persistence of alfalfa is affected by Al toxicity in acid soils because of the reduction in root growth and inhibition of nitrogen fixation. Optimum growth and production of alfalfa on the acid soils of the Southeast ALI M. MISSAOUI The author is an assistant professor and forage breeder with the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.


is contingent on the addition of lime. Lime corrects soil acidity, supplying calcium and possibly magnesium, depending upon the liming material used. Current recommendations involve the application of lime six to 12 months prior to seeding with thorough incorporation. With no-till planting, surface applications should be made one to two years before planting to allow for the movement of lime into the soil profile. Research has shown that alfalfa yield during the seeding year is greater with incorporated than with surface-applied lime, but in succeeding years annual yields were not different between liming methods. Evaluations on the effect of liming on alfalfa production showed that without applied lime on low pH soils, most alfalfa died within two years of planting. The addition of lime raises the establishment costs and also does not reduce soil acidity in the subsoil, which can substantially lower alfalfa yields. Alfalfa has the potential to develop a deep root system in unrestricted soils, which benefits the plant in times of drought. But the deep roots will eventually encounter acid soil zones even when the upper soil layers are correctly limed. Therefore, the most effective option to improve alfalfa production is the development of varieties with improved tolerance to Al in acid soils.

A complex problem Improving alfalfa cultivars for tolerance to low pH soils and aluminum toxicity would have a great impact on

the sustainability of livestock operations in the Southeast. The high rainfall and mild winters in these environments would allow growing nondormant alfalfa year-round. Based on the bermudagrass acreage in the region, there is a potential of over 20 million acres for the production of alfalfa across the Southeast. Despite the efforts made over the past decades in studying the mechanisms and genetic factors underlying low pH and Al stress in alfalfa, nothing has translated into varieties with acceptable yield under field conditions. The lack of progress is most likely due to the limitations of the procedures used to identify germplasms with tolerance to Al and low pH. Previously, attempts to evaluate Al tolerance in alfalfa were based on greenhouse or lab conditions rather than field conditions and real production environments. Most of the past tests focused on one aspect of the plant, root length, which may not necessarily translate in high yield and persistence. Even though Al toxicity occurs in acid soils, the genetic factors underlying tolerance to each of these stress conditions may not be the same. Yield and persistence under low pH are much more complex than just root length. The remarkable physiological and biochemical changes the plant undergoes when under Al stress implies that a large array of genes are involved in Al toxicity tolerance. Therefore, a more comprehensive and holistic approach needs to be done under field growing conditions to identify and

Alfalfa accessions are first screened for performance in a low pH soil with a high aluminum content. Selections are then transferred to more normal growing conditions where they are assessed for forage yield, fall dormancy, and persistence compared to commercially grown check varieties.

improve alfalfa germplasm tolerant for low pH and toxic levels of Al in the soil.

Taking it to the field Because of the limited success of greenhouse and lab screening approaches in identifying alfalfa germplasm with acceptable biomass yield under field conditions, we shifted our focus in the forage breeding program at the University of Georgia (UGA) to direct field evaluation and selection in low pH and high Al soils. We evaluated 1,570 alfalfa accessions from the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) collection, originating mostly from world regions known for their low pH soils. The accessions were planted at Tifton, Ga., in a Tifton loamy sand soil with a pH of 4.7 and aluminum content of 297 pounds per acre. The average annual rainfall in the region is 53 inches. The seed was directly planted in 5-foot rows and the accessions were evaluated for three years. In spring 2016, the most vigorous of the surviving plants were dug and transplanted at the UGA J. Phil Campbell Research and Education Center near Watkinsville in a normal pH soil. A total of 1,260 plants tracing back to 112 origins were selected based on plant vigor and plant architecture. They were evaluated for yield against the common check varieties grown in the region. The top 116 entries that were equal or better than the checks in biomass (100 to 137 percent of yield) were selected for crossing in bee cages. Replicated half-sib progeny evaluation was then done at the UGA Iron Horse Plant Sciences Farm (Watkinsville, Ga.) in a soil with a pH of 4.6 and Al content of 152 parts per million (ppm). Recurrent selection for yield and persistence under grazing will be imposed on this germplasm to develop and release elite cultivars adapted to low pH and high Al environments. Even though this work is still ongoing, the preliminary performance of the selected genotypes points out clearly that it is possible to make progress in selection for low pH tolerance under field conditions. It is our ultimate goal to make low soil pH tolerant alfalfa varieties a reality for growers in the future. • November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 7


Though it’s impractical to always wrap bales immediately after baling, leaving bales unwrapped for more than 24 hours may have significant forage quality consequences.

There’s a downside to delayed wrapping by Wayne Coblentz and Matt Akins

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RAPPING moist, large round or square bales in plastic to create an anaerobic environment for silage fermentation has gained steadily in popularity, particularly for small and midsized dairy or beef producers. Most harvest principles for baleage are similar to those of traditional chopped silages; among these, the exclusion of oxygen is paramount. For baled silages, oxygen elimination is critical because silage fermentation is inherently restricted by three key factors: 1) moisture concentrations (45 to 55 percent) are typically drier than most chopped silages; 2) most baled silages are packaged in long-stem form, which restricts access of fermentation substrates (sugars) to lactic acid-producing bacteria; and 3) baled silages are often less dense than well-packed chopped silages. From a practical standpoint, the primary mode of preservation for baled silages is by excluding air, with less stability obtained from the formation of desirable fermentation products and

a low (acidic) final pH. The effects of failing to exclude oxygen can be further subdivided on the basis of oxygen permeability before or after wrapping the bale in plastic, both of which will affect silage quality negatively. Sometimes there is a delay between the time a bale is made and when it is wrapped. This can occur because of inclement weather or when your custom bale wrapper is delayed and arrives late to the farm.

Bales heat quickly Whenever there are delays associated with the application of plastic wraps to unfermented silage bales, the response is similar to that exhibited by wet hays. Plant sugars are respired as carbon dioxide, water, and heat; this causes internal bale temperatures to rise in a phenomenon referred to commonly as “spontaneous heating.” The consequences of spontaneous heating affect both silage fermentation and silage quality. Silage bales heat quickly after baling

and can reach temperatures of approximately 150°F within three days; this was demonstrated in one of our recent experiments with alfalfa baled at about 60 percent moisture. We delayed the application of silage plastic by zero, one, two, or three days. In that study, the internal bale temperature at the time plastic was applied rose from 95°F to 147°F over the three-day wrapping delay. After being wrapped, bales heated an additional 6°F and then temperatures declined quickly once oxygen was eliminated from the bales. No internal bale temperature exceeded 86°F after 23 days. It is important to emphasize that each management situation is different, but other studies using grass species also suggest that internal bale temperatures of about 120°F may be fairly common if the application of plastic is delayed by about 24 hours.

Fermentation impacted Two key changes occur within unwrapped bales during spontaneous heating that complicate subsequent fermentation. First, the respiration of plant sugars to carbon dioxide, water, and heat depletes the available pool of substrate required for silage fermentation. The hotter the bale gets, the more substrate loss occurs. Secondly, buffering capacity (the inherent or natural resistance to pH change) elevates in association with wrapping delays. Both of these factors create barriers to silage fermentation, ultimately limiting the production of fermentation acids and inhibiting a drop in final silage pH. When wrapping is delayed, the total production of fermentation acids declines sharply. In addition, the proportions of various fermentation acids also change. In our experiment, following a wrapping delay of one day,

Heating caused by delayed wrapping Forage component: Water-soluble carbohydrates (sugars) Beneficial fermentation acids Total digestible nutrients (TDN) Silage pH Structural fiber (NDF, ADF, lignin) Heat-damaged protein

8 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

Effect:

Ð Í

WAYNE COBLENTZ AND MATT AKINS Coblentz (pictured) is a USDA-ARS research dairy scientist/agronomist at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Marshfield, Wis. Akins is an extension dairy management specialist, UW-Madison.


lactic acid comprised about 51 percent of all fermentation acids. The ratio of lactic to acetic acid was 2.1. After a wrapping delay of three days, lactic acid comprised only 32 percent of all fermentation acids, and the ratio of lactic to acetic acid fell to 0.74. Lactic acid is the most desirable fermentation acid, and is most capable of driving down the final silage pH. Research also suggests that forages compromised by delayed wrapping may be susceptible to clostridial activity that produces ammonia and butyric acid as end products, which are both undesirable. Wrapping delays that lead to spontaneous heating will create the same type of losses in nutritive value that are observed in hay that is baled too wet. Generally, the respiratory loss of sugar acts indirectly to boost the concentrations of more inert, less digestible forage components. Structural fiber (neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin) and ash levels both rise in response to heating. Crude protein (CP) concentration also tends to elevate slightly when bale heating occurs; however, that can be deceiving because protein digestibility also may decline. Heat damage to protein is actually more likely to occur with baleage than with lower moisture hay bales. The overall effects of spontaneous heating on the energy density, or total digestible nutrients (TDN), of baled silages are decidedly negative beyond what is considered a normal loss with excellent harvest practices (1 to 2 percentage units of TDN). All hay-crop silages lose some energy during fermentation, but excessive heating amplifies those losses.

At Alforex, we think you should expect more from your alfalfa and forage crops. Varieties with Hi-Gest® technology elevate alfalfa to a whole new level, bringing improved fiber digestibility without sacrificing yield, persistence or resistance to pests.

What’s too long? Extension recommendations for an appropriate, but reasonable time interval between baling and wrapping can vary widely, ranging from two to 48 hours. Based on our research, the effects of a 24-hour wrapping delay on silage fermentation and forage quality of baled alfalfa silages were relatively minor. While producers should strive to apply plastic wraps as quickly as possible, a 24-hour marker may serve as a good “rule of thumb” as the outside limit for maximum acceptable delay. Longer delays will likely produce more discernible negative effects. This 24-hour marker should not be applied blindly to other crops ensiled under different conditions for which there is no supporting research. •

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November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 9


Feed analysis — A look at variability by Jerry Severe and Allen Young

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maximizing the productivity and health of those animals in their care. However, the numbers that come out of that ration balancing program are only as good as those that are entered. Because of that, it is not uncommon for the livestock ration to not perform as expected. Many nutritionists put in “fudge” factors based on their experience or how the animals are actually performing.

VER the years, many nutritionists and forage experts have advocated for the testing of feeds by a commercial laboratory and the use of that data as a basis for ration balancing to meet the nutritional needs of animals. We have watched as commercial producers have adopted these recommendations and now see very few producers who have not sampled and tested at least once and usually multiple times each year. We are firm believers that this is the correct procedure for maximizing the use of available feeds, as well as

Good samples needed Ration balancing programs use the most current technologies available, so

Dry matter and NDF differences among forage laboratories for prebloom alfalfa Lab

Mean DM percent deviation

DM percent range (max-min)

SD (DM percent)

Mean NDF percent deviation

NDF percent range (max-min)

SD (NDF percent)

1 2 3

-0.5 -1.3 -1.4

4.9 2.9 1.0

1.8 1.2 0.4

3.0 1.5 3.7

5.4 8.0 1.1

2.13 3.43 0.44

0 -0.7 -2.5 -2.2 -4.6 -2.8 0.7 2.1 -0.4 --0.5 -1.2

2.1 4.1 2.5 2.3 2.0 3.5 4.3 2.4 4.6 -2.8 3.0

0.7 1.5 1.1 0.9 0.8 1.3 1.5 0.9 1.8 -1.1 1.15

0 3.6 2.3 3.7 7.7 1.1 3.1 2.2 0.8 11.2 4.3 3.7

2.7 5.8 4.4 3.9 12.2 1.2 5.9 4.4 7.2 5.9 4.7 5.2

0.87 1.97 1.50 1.50 4.43 0.46 2.16 1.44 2.56 2.10 2.00 1.93

4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Average

Labs 3 and 4 were the reference labs. Calculations are based on Lab 4 results.

10 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

why are there so many discrepancies? The most obvious variable is whether or not the collected sample submitted to the laboratory typifies the feed in question. The very nature of the process is that you will analyze a sample that represents the average. The problem is that this is harder than it may appear. Not all feeds within or between a field, a crop, and a year are the same. They may be close, but there is inherent variation around that “representative” sample. An example of that from one of our Utah State fields is shown in the graph. As you can see in this example, even if the sample is truly representative with an average neutral detergent fiber (NDF) percent, there is still a lot of variation between bales. You may not see it as you prepare the ration, but the cows can tell and this could account for daily variations in performance. One suggestion is to group bales of similar composition so that you can reduce the daily bale-to-bale variation. That technology is now starting to come onto the market with “on-the-go” forage analysis. Another suggestion, and it’s a good idea anyway, is to sample more often. The big problem for some large

JERRY SEVERE AND ALLEN YOUNG Severe is a program quality manager for agriculture and natural resources at Idaho Career & Technical Education. Young is an extension dairy specialist with Utah State University in Logan.


operations is that they feed at such a high rate that they may be past that forage before the lab results are available. In this case, someone needs to be thinking ahead on what will be fed in the future. Once the sample is taken, it needs to be analyzed. There is a widely held perception in the industry that there is great variability between feed laboratories. There are a lot of popular press articles, but surprisingly very few are based on research. Because of the number of large animal operations in the West, and also the large number of export operations for alfalfa, we were interested in determining how much variation there was within and between feed laboratories and forage types.

Put to the test Twelve laboratories were selected for a blind test to analyze three hay types: mixed grass, prebloom alfalfa, and prebud alfalfa. Samples from a single source of each forage type were sent in duplicate, three times, and one month apart. The samples were analyzed for dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), NDF, acid detergent fiber (ADF), and other measures. We were primarily interested in the variation between samples, but we also looked at mean deviations from what we called our “reference” lab. The deviation from the mean, range between high and low results, and standard deviation for only the prebloom alfalfa hay is shown in the table. On average, the deviation of the laboratory DM percent from the reference mean was pretty close. The interesting thing is that most of the numbers are negative (wetter than the reference). Before laboratory submissions, DM percent was determined for all samples by drying for 72 hours at 131°F. Out of all the submissions (n = 216), 49 percent produced negative differences when

subtracted from our DM, indicating that samples gained moisture after mailing. Labs in areas with higher humidity than our area took on more moisture; this could affect ration balancing. Our interest was in the range between the maximum and minimum value reported by an individual lab. Results ranged from 2 to 5 percentage units. For example, a lab with a 5 percentage unit range might span from 90 to 95 percent DM. The higher quality alfalfa had an average mean deviation of -3.0; the highest deviation was -6.8. Surprisingly, one lab did not provide a DM percent as part of the analysis. Other than absorbing water, we don’t know why there should be more than a 2 percentage unit difference. All the samples should have been the same. The table also shows variability in NDF percent because it is the basis for many calculations in ration balancing programs. The average range between the maximum and minimum value, across all labs, for the three hay types, ranged from 3.9 to 5.2; the highest range from the table is 12.2. For our example hay, the average NDF percent mean was 41.7 percent. If you assume equal distribution, the lab results for the same sample could have read from 35.6 to 47.8 percent. This magnitude of range creates serious problems when balancing rations or selling hay. Acid detergent fiber percent also showed variability but not to the extent that NDF percent varied.

Out with RFV This leads to one of the issues we saw that can affect the export business and many buyers or sellers of hay — relative feed value (RFV). We saw huge deviations, across all labs, in the reported value for RFV (data not shown). This is a calculation based on ADF and NDF. The primary influencer of RFV vari-

NDF variation of hay bales from the same field and cutting 55

NDF percent

50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10

1

43

85

127 169 211 Sample Number

253

295

337

ability was NDF percent, being much more variable than ADF. The prebloom alfalfa had a standard deviation of 9.2 points and an average range from maximum to minimum of 75 points; the prebud alfalfa range averaged 132 points. Ten of the 13 labs had a range of 20 or more points within the same hay type; USDA hay quality grades span 20 points. It’s no wonder there are fights over analysis. We did almost everything we could to send the same sample to all labs every time. So, do we think labs are doing a bad job? No, in general they are trying hard to give the best analysis possible. We saw many labs that were fairly consistent. In a related paper, we reported that the trend is toward using NIR more than wet chemical analysis. Turnaround time was ranked higher than accuracy and cost (both equal) in why producers chose NIR.

Don’t stop testing We think that because of the volume of samples that go through many labs, coupled with the desire to have low turnaround times, errors may creep in that might not typically occur. This may be especially true on days with an unusual amount of samples. Our suggestion is to send duplicate, separate samples and average the two values, especially for samples that may have a high impact in a feed ration. Our data surprised us when we looked at the RFV. We would not want to make a business decision based on what we saw. In fact, in our survey, 50 percent of the respondents reported losing money because of a business deal involving the analysis from a laboratory. Seven out of the 55 who responded to this question stated they had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. While this may be extreme, we think it’s time to consider doing away with RFV and develop a pricing system based on NDF percent, use RFQ as the standard, or develop something different where small changes in analysis don’t result in large derived end values. The additive impact of two analyses that may both be off a little can have too large of an effect on this value. In summary, there can be variations between the “real” forage analysis results and the laboratory result. Sampling more often, sorting hay of similar composition, and sending duplicate samples to a laboratory can help reduce the variability of analysis and improve the accuracy of forage analysis. At the end of the day, we still recommend testing. • November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 11


Attracting the millennial employee by Whitney Baehr

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INDING and retaining employees is one of the many challenges agricultural employers face. In some cases, this means a lack of people in general, and in others, it’s a lack of young people who have interest in available jobs. Millennials — or people born between 1982 and 2004 — have much different expectations when it comes to their ideal job. To attract young, educated people, employers must step up their game and offer better pay, benefits, training, and quality of life. One such employer is Meyer Manufacturing in Dorchester, Wis. The company manufactures an extensive line of forage and manure handling equipment. It also has taken proactive measures to recruit employees by boosting entry-level wages along with offering more vacation days, while also allowing employees to accumulate vacation days from year to year. However, even with the revamped benefits, Meyer Manufacturing still struggles to recruit new employees. So, the critical question is: What can agricultural employers do to make their job opportunities more attractive, especially to the younger generation?

Nontraditional backgrounds Even in rural areas, many millennials do not come from a farm or have traditional agriculture experiences. “Having limited or no farm experience, young people are not accustomed to the prospect of potentially working 12- to 16-hour days, seven days a week, and working until the job gets done,” said Randy Tenpas, agriculture department chair for Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis. When employees are hired to work for custom operators and other agricultural employers, they are often surprised by the long hours and demanding schedule. Larry Meyer, vice president of Meyer Manufacturing, commented that they have had several employees resign after working just a few weeks on the job. To reduce miscommunication, employers need to help potential employees understand what is expected. This can 12 | Hay & Forage Grower |November 2017

be accomplished by creating detailed job descriptions that fully explain and document the job requirements and expectations. Young people coming out of school are very focused on “job fit,” and by listing the expectations, potential employees can better understand the job and what would be required of them. New employees also need to be trained to achieve success in their job. If they aren’t fully trained, there is a higher chance that they will become discouraged and ultimately leave the job. “We can’t put new employees into the workplace without proper training,”

Travis Erickson (right) values his employees by implementing flexible schedules and split shifts. Ryan Shaw (left) is one of Erickson’s long-term employees.

Tenpas said. “Agricultural employers need to help employees understand what needs to be accomplished.”

Different expectations In addition to the changed demographics of the young employee pool, there have also been major changes in the types of jobs they find attractive. Millennials value quality of life more than any other generation. This concept can be hard for the agriculture community to grasp because the agriculture mindset is often to work until the job gets done. Recent college graduates are looking for employment opportunities that provide a good salary with benefits and an opportunity for career growth. Tenpas added that the median annual salary for Wisconsin Technical College System graduates with an associate degree is $37,440. Many graduates are also looking for benefits that include health insurance, 401(k) plans, and paid time off.

Some custom forage operators have found their own approaches to keeping reliable employees. “We have an exceptional group of employees working for us right now,” said Travis Erickson, an owner of Four Star Ag LLC, which is a custom harvest business located in Neillsville, Wis. “We’ve had many of the same employees for several years now, and I couldn’t be more pleased with them. It takes a lot of good help to keep ahead of the game in farming. I can’t thank my employees enough because without them this operation wouldn’t be possible.” So what’s the secret to keeping an exceptional group of employees? Erickson mentions that he allows his employees to keep a flexible schedule. “Many of our employees have young families, and if they want to leave early to go to their children’s event, I’m okay with that. Kids only grow up once, and I want my employees to enjoy family time,” he said. “We are also trying to improve the quality of life on our operation,” Erickson said. “We do a lot more split shifts during our busy seasons. I’m also a big believer that if we can get enough work done during the week, we don’t need to work on the weekends.” During their busiest times, Erickson noted that they may have to work weekends to get the crops harvested, but that might only entail working six or seven weekends throughout the year. Tenpas suggested that employers work with high school counselors and staff. For example, Meyer Manufacturing visits local high schools to help promote careers in welding. Employers should also continue to work with technical colleges and university agriculture programs to sponsor and/or provide education scholarships for students. “There are good paying jobs in our small town of Dorchester,” Meyer said. “We encourage students who are interested in welding and technical programs to attend a technical college and work locally. We let students know that there are many jobs available in rural communities and they don’t need to move to bigger cities to find work.” • WHITNEY BAEHR The author is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and writes content for Wisconsin Custom Operators Inc., which is based in DeForest, Wis.


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DAIRY FEEDBUNK

by Randy Shaver

FORAGE PARTICLE LENGTH:

Is longer really better?

P

HYSICALLY effective fiber (peNDF) is important for maintaining good rumination activity, rumen function, milkfat content and yield, and cow health. Particle length has long been thought to be the major factor influencing forage peNDF, while NDF and lignin contents are now understood to be important factors also. Fine chopping reduces forage particle length, and thus can reduce dietary peNDF. Forages are relied upon to provide most of the dietary peNDF, since other than whole cottonseed, high-fiber by-products are usually finely ground. Forage chop length guidelines have historically been targeted for the minimum theoretical length of cut (TLOC) setting on the chopper necessary to provide adequate forage particle length and peNDF for the cow. This was largely because of concern that chopping at too great a TLOC could reduce silo packing density and kernel processing, adversely affect silage fermentation, elevate silo losses, extend eating time, and promote sorting in the feedbunk. So, TLOC guidelines remain a balancing act between forage, silo, feedbunk, and cow considerations. In recent years, there has been interest in increasing TLOC to lengths greater than traditionally accepted norms; for example, 26 versus 19 millimeters (mm; 1 versus 3/4 inch) for processed corn silage. Farms feeding

14 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

most of their forage as corn silage, desiring more peNDF in the silage to displace dry hay or straw from the total mixed ration (TMR), expressed the most interest. But is the longer chop to lengthen forage particle size really better for the cow? Many years ago we published results from a UW-Madison feeding trial comparing long versus chopped dry alfalfa hay. At various times during the experiment, we emptied rumens, fed the treatment hays, and manually collected the masticated boluses of ingested hays as they passed from the esophagus to the reticulo-rumen. Particle length of the ingested masticates and the rumen digesta were similar for the long and chopped hay treatments. Also, there was little difference in particle length between the chopped hay and its ingested masticate. Dry matter contents of the ingested masticates were similar for the long and chopped hay treatments at only 23 percent, on average, resulting from saliva flow.

Length limit The initial chewing during eating reduced particle length and raised the moisture content to where the bolus could be easily swallowed. Rather than particle length of the forage fed, this critical particle length needed for swallowing the masticated bolus determined the length

of particles that actually entered the rumen to be available for maintaining rumination activity and consistency of the fiber mat. Results of that experiment suggested that above the particle length necessary for swallowing the masticated bolus by the cow, there might be little added benefit to increasing forage or TMR particle length. More recently, researchers from Italy, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School collaborated on a research publication that confirmed and expanded these observations in a more detailed experiment. Methods for feeding and collection of masticated boluses were similar across experiments. Feed treatments were as follows: six different particle length ryegrass hays, one grass silage, one corn silage, and one TMR. Results are in the table. Length of particles entering the rumen in the masticated bolus was not closely related to feed particle length. The critical mean particle length for swallowing the masticated bolus was 10 to 11 mm. While greater forage particle lengths may extend eating time, rumination time and fiber mat formation would not be affected since particles entering the rumen are of similar size due to the initial mastication during eating. Eating time in lactating dairy cows is only three to four hours per day, while the normal time spent ruminating is about eight hours per day. Time spent ruminating is the major chewing activity contributor to peNDF. Fine chopping forages to lengths at or below the critical size for swallowing the bolus, however, would reduce both eating and rumination times and thus peNDF. Results from these experiments raise questions about the practice of longer chopping of forages. We conducted two feeding trials with lactating dairy cows comparing 26 or 30 mm TLOC in processed corn silage to the more conventional 19 mm TLOC. While the as-fed percentages of corn silage and resulting TMR on the top screen of the Penn State Particle Separator (PSPS) were greater for the longer chop corn RANDY SHAVER The author is a professor and extension dairy nutritionist in the department of dairy science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


silage treatments, the percentages on the PSPS top two screens combined were similar.

No long-chop advantage Field nutritionists often use the PSPS combined top two screen proportions as their forage- or TMR-based indicator of peNDF. We observed no improvements in milkfat content or rumination time, the cow-based indicators of peNDF, for the longer chop treatments. More research is needed on longer chopping if the practice continues to be of interest to dairy managers and their consultants. The major potential pitfalls of chopping at too great a TLOC include poor packing in the silo and more sorting in the feedbunk and, in the case of corn silage, poor kernel processing. These were all assessed in our studies and were unaffected by the long-chop treatments. Whether or not issues in these areas emerge for long-chop silages most likely depends on silage and TMR moisture contents (drier forage is more challenging), harvest equipment type and setup, and management of the silo packing and

Comparison of feed particle and bolus length Feed sample

Feed

Masticated bolus

Mean particle length (mm)

Ryegrass hay Long form Cut at 50 mm length Chopped and retained on 19 mm screen1 Chopped and retained on 8 mm screen1 Chopped and retained on 1.18 mm screen1 Grass silage Corn silage TMR

-42.2 43.5 25.1 9.7 13.8 12.0 13.1

10.3 9.9 10.7 10.8 8.1 11.8 11.2 12.5

Source: Schadt and co-workers, J. Dairy Science, 2012. 1 Penn State Particle Separator (PSPS) screens.

TMR mixing/delivery processes. Consider these factors when fine-tuning TLOC settings on choppers. Also, keep in mind that silo baggers and defacers and TMR mixers may reduce silage particle size post-chopping, depending on equipment type and how they are used. Many research trials indicate that cows can sort against long particles. From his research on feed sorting, UW-Madison

Professor Lou Armentano suggests that cows most easily sort particles wider than half the width of their muzzle or particles that are about 3 inches or more in length. Staying below this particle length threshold is especially important when processing dry hay or straw into a TMR. Feed sorting is an important monitoring check, especially for a TMR with a high proportion of long particles. •

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November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 15

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Do not export Roundup Ready ® Alfalfa seed or crop, including hay or hay products, to China pending import approval. In addition, due to the unique cropping practices do not plant Roundup Ready ® Alfalfa in Imperial County, California, pending import approvals 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.

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Univ. of Arkansas

Many acres of pasture land were flooded in 2017. The extent of damage depends on many variables.

Little good comes from flooded pastures by Melissa Beck

M

Y MAMA always taught me that good things come from adversity if we put our faith in the Lord.
 We couldn’t see much good in the flood waters when they were causing us to have to leave home,
 but when the water went down, we found that it had washed a load of rich black bottom dirt across our land. The following year we had the best cotton crop we’d ever had.” —Arkansas native, Johnny Cash, with his narration before his singing, “Five Feet High and Rising.” In 1990, I had to leave college early to help my family load all of our belongings onto hay trucks and gooseneck trailers because the Army Corps of Engineers warned us the Red River was going to crest at a level that would have flooded our home. Our belongings were stored in neighbors’ barns around the county. My dad drove our fishing boat over pasture fences, past our flooded center pivot towers to the main channel of the river where we watched as large hardwood trees were swept by in the current, tumbling end over end. First you’d see the enormous rootball, then after a few seconds the top of the tree. During that flood, the river cut into our farm and we lost acres. Farmers and ranchers with bottomland understand the river is a blessing and a curse. The soil is deep and rich, but on occasion the river will turn on you. In May of this year, almost 1 million 16 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

acres of farmland were under water in Arkansas; 21 of 75 counties were listed as suffering storm damage. The loss to cropland was devastating and was the focus of most of the media attention. But it stands to reason that pastures were flooded, too; however, the number of pasture and hay acres that were flooded and the economic impact of those is nearly impossible to calculate based on lack of available data.

Many factors involved The extent of flood damage to pastures is dependent on several variables: forage species, season of flooding, and duration of submersion. Dormant plants suffer less damage from flooding, and survivability improves when temperatures are lower. Grasses have reportedly survived 60 days of submersion with cooler temperatures, whereas the same plants can be killed within 24 hours of submersion with water temperatures over 85°F. Alfalfa can be submerged for seven to 10 days when dormant, however only three to four days when actively growing. Forage species also contributes to survivability. According to John Jennings, forage specialist for the University of Arkansas, “Bermudagrass has been reported to survive after submersion of 55 days and tall fescue survived after 35 days of flooding. Bahiagrass survived in a greenhouse trial after 84

days of submersion.” Mike Andrews, University of Arkansas Extension agricultural agent in Randolf County said, “Depending on how much erosion we have in the particular fields, it usually takes a week to 10 days for the forage to start to regrow. Where there is complete removal of vegetation and some soil, it can take up to a year to get the forage back to original condition.” Forages that are most likely to die when flooded include annual ryegrass and forage legumes, and those less likely to die from flooding include switchgrass, eastern gamagrass, and dallisgrass. After pastures have been flooded and the water recedes, here are the initial steps to take: 1. Check fields and remove debris that could cause harm to livestock or damage equipment. 2. Assess silt, gravel, and sand deposits. 3. Repair damage to fences, gates, and other infrastructure. 4. Assess forage condition by checking plants for root damage. Andrews said damage was astounding when the Black River flooded over its banks in northeast Arkansas during May 2017. “Damage was fairly heavy in a lot of our fields, lots of debris and trees left when the flood went down. We also have to be concerned with the wire that was left behind from damaged fences.” Andrews said, “Overall, it just takes MELISSA BECK The author is a freelance writer and stocker-cattle operator from Hope, Ark.


considerable time to remove debris and contend with the weed pressure after a flood. When the topsoil is removed, it may take several years to get the ground back as productive as it was before the flood. I have a few producers who have ground along the Black River that stayed under water for several weeks; they will have to start from scratch to get their pastures back in shape. Fortunately, the majority of our creeks and rivers go down fairly quickly and we do not see the total loss of the forage. However, the ones that are located near the Black River suffer considerably.”

With the loss of grazeable acres, Wren had to ship yearlings out to the feedyard at lighter weights. This proved to be a major inconvenience as the ground was too wet for semis. They had to use goosenecks to move the calves to the headquarters and then load them onto the semitrailers. Wren said, from his point of view, he was luckier than most as the river didn’t leave him with beach sand, which can cut a farm in two. He knows of one ranch near Foreman, Ark., where 300

to 400 acres are now in the middle of the river where it cut them off from the rest of the ranch. Producers along rivers know it’s not a question of if the river will flood them, but more a question of when. Experienced producers know when to move equipment and livestock to protect them from the flood and what to expect after the waters recede; but they also know the river is unpredictable and can still surprise them given the right weather conditions. •

Firsthand experience Jim Alford, a cattleman in southwest Arkansas, owns land along the Red River and is well versed in recovering pastures after flooding. In 2015, the Red River left its banks twice, once in May and again in December. Alford said, “There’s always lots of sedimentation, fences wiped out, and big timber deposited in pastures. We usually get sand dumped on us, it can be 2 to 5 feet deep in places and in the beginning nothing will grow. Eventually, bermudagrass will come. We feed cattle in those spots to increase organic matter. “One advantage to the sand is it doesn’t get muddy and you can drive on it. We also move excess sand into our lots or areas where it’s needed. Ideally, you could sell the extra sand, but nobody has come along and offered to buy it off me yet,” Alford said with a chuckle. Alford has put in levies and culverts with f laps in low areas, but in 2015 all of those got washed away in the f loodwaters. Brandon Wren has 800 acres along the Red River in Miller County in southwest Arkansas. Because of the way his ranch is situated some of his land was under water for six weeks, most was under water for two weeks, and the backwaters of the flood left him with a muddy sediment about 3 inches deep. Wren explained, “Some people got sand dumped on them, I just got a slimy mud. Even a month after the flood waters receded we had to have our vehicles in 4-wheel drive to get across pastures.” Wren had damaged fences, but the worst part of flood recovery for him was removal of debris. Once he had the debris cleaned up and the soil dried out enough, he disked the sediment into the soil. Eventually, Wren actually had a good cool-season annual crop for his rotational grazing system. November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 17


Six changes for the better by Dan Undersander

I

HAVE been a forage agronomist for 30 years here at the University of Wisconsin during which time milk production of dairy cows has doubled, due largely to improved nutrition with high-quality forage. We have met the nutritional needs with better alfalfa production practices. The following are six major changes producers have made in the last 30 years to help capture high yields of high-quality forage. Soil fertility management Thirty years ago, less than half the recommended lime was applied to acid soils. Alfalfa needs a soil pH of at least 6.8 for optimum growth. Additionally, on all soils, the nutrient needs have increased with higher yields. Soil testing and applying recommended phosphorus and potassium are common on well-managed fields. Tissue testing periodically is used to determine sulfur and trace mineral needs (both of which are occurring more commonly). Lastly, we now have the capability to determine yield continuously across the field when baling or chopping. Such will allow precision fertilizer and lime applications. Improved alfalfa varieties/seed Alfalfa breeders have tremendously improved alfalfa over the last 30 years. Alfalfa varieties have much more winterhardiness, which affects winter survival and yield for first cutting the next year. Breeders have broken the relationship between winterhardiness and fall dormancy so that winterhardy varieties with less fall dormancy are available. Less fall dormant types green up earlier in spring, recover quicker after harvest, and have increased late fall yield. The combination of more winterhardiness and less fall dormancy has also made a late fall cutting more feasible than in the past. New alfalfa varieties also have more disease and insect resistance (particularly for the multiple races of aphanomyces, nematodes, and potato leafhopper). Genetic modification for increased fiber digestibility will have great impact on forage yield and quality. High-quality seed is also coated with two fungicides: Apron for protection from phytophthora and pythium and Stamina for protection from aphanomyces and rhizoctonia. Protection from these seedling diseases 18 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

Triple mowers enable forage to be cut in a wide swath, allowing for more rapid drying and fewer harvest losses.

has greatly enhanced the ability to get a good stand. Taking first cutting by quality As shown in the graph, a given forage quality can vary annually for first cutting. Additionally, flowering does not relate well to forage quality on first cutting so cutting at the bud stage will result in variable quality from year to year. Many farmers used to take first cutting of alfalfa by a calendar date. We would recommend cutting at a relative forage quality (RFV) of 180 or higher to end with a RFV 150 or better in the bale or bunker. Note in the graph that in 2002 and 2003 one could cut at June 1 to get RFV 180 forage, while in 1999 to 2001 one had to cut nearly three weeks earlier to get the same quality forage. Research has shown that plant height (amount of stem) more closely relates to forage quality and forage quality sticks were developed to determine when to take first cutting. Thus, we have learned to take first cutting by height (28 inches for dairy, 32 for beef) or the bud stage, whichever comes first, to more consistently produce high-quality forage. Better forage analysis For many years we relied on two fiber determinations, acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF), to estimate forage quality. Research has shown that not all fiber is equal in digestibility or value to the animal. About 20 years ago, fiber digestibility became commercially and rapidly available through the use of NIRS (near infrared reflectance spectroscopy).

Relative forage quality (RFQ) as an index of energy intake was developed to more accurately assess the value of forage to animals using digestibility of fiber and other fractions. This has helped farmers better allocate hay to livestock and to buy and sell hay based on value to the animal. However, a 30- or 48-hour fiber digestibility is a snapshot and only indicates that this hay is better than that one; it does not necessarily predict how milk production will be affected. More recent tests, such as total tract NDF digestibility (TTNDFD), use rate of digestion and rate of passage, better estimating actual animal performance. Wide swath drying When conditioners became available for hay making 50 to 60 years ago, many farmers thought they could put hay immediately into a windrow instead of beginning the drying process in a wide swath. However, this was wrong. Research has shown that conditioning is for drying the stems and a wide swath for drying the leaves; the two processes are totally different. A wide swath is crucial to rapidly dry leaves to minimize respiratory loss. DAN UNDERSANDER The author is an extension forage agronomist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Spring forage quality change 280 260

2003 2002 2001 2000 1999

240 220 RFV

This reduction of starch and sugar is both a dry matter and quality loss. Thus, the first benchmark in drying hay is how long it takes to dry off the first 15 percent moisture to minimize respiration and associated losses. With a wide swath, one can often harvest haylage the same day as cutting and it can be baled in three days or less. When hay is left on the field for five to seven days, yield is lost from reduced regrowth under the windrow and wheel traffic damage to regrowth. The longer drying time also delays irrigation for the next crop. Wheel traffic damage Fields must be driven over to be harvested, however wheel traffic causes damage reducing future yield. In fields sufficiently dry not to leave ruts during harvest, damage is caused primarily by breaking off the regrowth stems. The general principles are: 1) traffic sooner after cutting causes less damage and 2) a higher percentage of field covered with wheel traffic results in greater yield loss. The first point is why haylage fields harvested in one day yield more than hay fields harvested in three to seven days. It’s also

200 180 160 140 120 100

5/3

5/13

5/23 Date

why slow hay drying causes greater yield loss. Regarding the second point, we have found that a bigger mower cutterbar reduced wheel traffic and boosted yield; this is also a reason we should merge windrows for harvesting. Less wheel traffic will result when using bale accumulators since traffic is reduced when removing bales from the field. Wheel traffic damage losses have likely increased as we have gone to quick recovery alfalfa varieties (less fall dor-

6/2

6/12

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mant) unless we have also accelerated haymaking speed. Much has changed in the last 30 years to aid in production of high yields of high-quality forage. I expect that many changes will continue to occur to match the changes in the dairy industry. • Editor’s note: Dan Undersander recently retired as the forage extension specialist at the University of Wisconsin. He plans to stay involved in the forage industry in a more limited capacity.

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November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 19


FEED ANALYSIS

by John Goeser

Capture energy per acre with alternative forages

L

EADING growers, for dairy or feedlot forage, think in terms of energy harvested per acre instead of tons. This sounds complex, but with alternative forages such as sorghum, we can work toward estimating energy by quantifying total digestible tons harvested as opposed to raw tons per acre. Energy and digestible tons (with corn, sorghum, sudangrass, milo, millet, and other cereal forages) are largely digestible carbohydrates from fiber, starch, and sugar. I’ve recently worked through this effort with two leading dairy consultants and their clients, who work in the southern and western United States. Across these areas, and most of the U.S., dairy and feedlot margins are tight. Class III milk value balanced against labor, feed, and other fixed costs is hovering around or below breakeven for much of the next 12 months. Further adding to economic hardship, water costs can be extreme in the South and West. The topic in these conversations has been investigating value per acre with brown midrib (BMR) or conventional cereal silages such as sorghum, sudangrass, milo, and millet. Our aim needs to be squeezing more milk or meat out of each ton of feed and acre.

Digestion is complex Quantifying tons per acre and moisture is straightforward, hence many growers, farm owners, and managers take the easy road and get excited about big yields. However, quantifying and understanding digestible tons is where your dairy or feedlot profitability potential exists. So, why don’t many move toward this yield measure? This is a complex proposition because total tons need to be balanced against rumen and total tract carbohydrate digestion. Quantifying digestion is difficult to grasp and build into projections. Nutrition experts have been working in this area though, and newer research is helping us better understand digestibility. So, let’s explore how we can assess fiber and starch’s true value. With fiber, David Combs, dairy scien20 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

ing starch digestion can be paired with tist with the University of Wisconsin, TTNDFD on a forage analysis to help has developed a research backed and project carbohydrate digestibility. validated forage test measure that forecasts total tract fiber digestion Figure energy per acre (TTNDFD). The beauty in the Combs’ model is that several measures are With both fiber and starch digestion combined into a single measure, which measures better quantified, then your is easy to interpret across all forages advisory team can more easily balance — 42 percent TTNDFD is average, these values against nutrient and yield and the aim is 48 percent or better for measures to estimate digestible carbooptimal milk production or hydrate yield per acre. weight gains. A 42 percent Fiber (neutral detergent TTNDFD means that 4.2 fiber [aNDF]) and starch pounds of every 10 pounds contents can be multiplied of fiber fed is digested and by TTNDFD (percent of used by the cow. Many conaNDF) and rumen in situ sider TTNDFD to be “RFQ starch digestion (isSD7, on steroids” in terms of percent of starch) to yield forecasting fiber potential digestible fiber and starch in dairy cows. content (percent of dry With starch, the indusmatter [DM]). try still has much to Next, the yield (DM learn. Grain and starch Alternative forages may be profitable, tons) can be multiplied by but digestible energy per acre is key to the sum of digestible fiber digestibility is a functheir true value. tion of genetics, growing and starch to quantify conditions, fermentation, digestible DM carbohyand processing. With the drates per acre. This focus here being berry-yielding forages, value then represents what cows or the berries are known to be hard. The cattle can actually utilize per acre. This starch value in many cases is comis a much more accurate tonnage value pletely discounted to zero by consulto use in economic projections when tants because the grains are not easily balancing against input costs per acre processed or digested. such as seed, water, and fertilizer. Harvesters can help unlock additional Profitable opportunities may exist energy per acre, though, by using spefor your fields with alternative forages; cial berry processors on self-propelled however, consider advancing your underchoppers and break the berries for standing of the energy quantity harvested better starch digestion. Researchers at per acre. Collaborate with your seed Kansas State University have given us consultant, crop adviser, harvest crew, a tool to benchmark berry processing and nutrition consultants in estimating (berry processing score, BPS); the goal your alternative crop’s true value per acre. is a score of better than 50 percent. Measuring digestible carbohydrate yield The BPS has been shown to correlate per acre rather than raw tonnage will with starch digestion, with adequate be the best indicator of dairy or feedlot processing leading to 80 percent rumen economic return per acre. • starch digestion, which is the goal. This means that for every 10 pounds of JOHN GOESER grain in the diet, 8 pounds are digested The author is the in the rumen. Further, forage testing director of nutrition laboratories can directly assess starch research and innovation digestibility using either rumen in situ with Rock River Lab Inc, and adjunct assistant starch digestion or fecal starch content professor, University of techniques, both of which have been Wisconsin-Madison’s Dairy shown related to cattle performance. Science Department. So, using either BPS or directly assess-


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Goma goes green by Mike Rankin

T

HERE was a time when greenchopping was a common occurrence on many U.S. dairy farms. It was a part of the daily routine to hook up the flail chopper and feeder wagon, make a few rounds in the field, unhook the chopper, then rehook the wagon to the tractor and pull it to the awaiting livestock. Twelve or 24 hours later, the routine was repeated after manually cleaning out any leftover feed in the wagon. As farms grew in size, greenchopping was slowly but surely replaced by either stored, fermented feed or managed grazing. These days, it’s rare to visit a dairy farm with a flail chopper that’s located somewhere other than a tree line in the back 40. Greenchopping, however, hasn’t been left behind by advances in technology and remains a popular means of harvesting and feeding hay crops in Europe. Some U.S. farmers are also embracing the practice with the availability of self-loading forage wagons. “It takes a lot of management, but our feed ration calculations tell us we’re saving 80 cents to $1 per cow per day by including green feed in the TMR (total mixed ration),” said Geert van den Goor, who began greenchopping

in 2016. He and his wife, Gertie, own and operate Goma Dairy in Michigan’s Thumb region near Marlette.

Greenchop roots The van den Goors moved their dairy operation from the Netherlands to Michigan in 1999 after purchasing an existing 350-acre farm. At that time, they milked about 300 cows. Over the years, the farm has grown and now has 2,900 milking cows plus dry cows and young stock. “We greenchopped in the Netherlands for years,” van den Goor said. “Two factors got us thinking about starting to do this here. First, we were acquiring more land, and we had to think of a way to maximize its value. At the same time, our milk price was dropping rapidly in Michigan, and we needed to make milk more efficiently.” The van den Goors own 1,850 acres, which provides most of the alfalfa and corn silage needed for feeding the milking herd and young stock. About 900 of the owned acres are rented to a neighboring farmer, and the feed is purchased back as haylage and corn silage. The remaining owned acres,

Geert van den Goor calculates that his direct-cut alfalfa saves 80 cents to $1 per cow per day in feed costs. The Michigan dairyman feeds about 8 pounds per head per day (dry matter) of the green feed through a totally mixed ration.

22 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

except for those being greenchopped, are custom harvested. Van den Goor also buys standing hay from neighbors. The Goma Dairy milking herd receives a 60 percent forage ration that includes about 8 pounds of greenchopped alfalfa (dry matter basis), 9 pounds of haylage, 15 pounds of corn silage, and 3 pounds of dry hay. “You have to really watch the dry matter on the greenchop because it changes with maturity,” van den Goor said. “We routinely test the feed and adjust the amount of green feed to keep the ration nutrient intake consistent. Generally, 8 pounds of greenchop replaces 5 pounds of grain and 3 pounds of haylage in the ration,” added van den Goor.

Cost advantage “Greenchop is very cost effective when grain prices are high, but it works now, too,” van den Goor


said, referring to the current low grain markets. “My cost to get greenchop into the ration is lower than that of conventionally harvested haylage. Greenchop forage quality is always high, providing additional plant sugars and protein that I lose when alfalfa is stored and fermented. I also don’t have any storage costs or shrink with the fresh green forage.” He added, however, “There is time and labor involved with greenchopping, and you have to harvest every day.” There is a lot of forethought and planning that must take place when meshing a greenchop harvest with conventionally harvested haylage. Essentially, there must be alfalfa that is within a harvestable greenchopping range every day during the growing season. “Normally, we start greenchopping about a week to 10 days before our other alfalfa is cut in the spring,” said van den Goor of his alfalfa fields that are typically harvested five and sometimes six times per year. “In 2017, we got going the first week of May on a neighbor’s grassy alfalfa field that he wanted to till and plant to soybeans.” Once a rotation is established in the spring, plant maturity becomes staggered for future harvests. Van den Goor noted that they usually have to bring additional alfalfa acreage into the

greenchopping rotation during the summer when forage yields begin to wane.

Capacity upgrade When van den Goor made the jump to greenchopping in 2016, he purchased a used Pottinger self-loading forage wagon. Though it worked fine, a larger unit was needed to efficiently harvest enough feed on a daily basis. After conferring with his brother in the Netherlands and talking to others, van den Goor settled on a Krone ZX 560 GL wagon, which he pulls with a Fendt 828, 280-horsepower tractor. On the front of the tractor is mounted a PTO-driven Krone disc mower. “This was the first Krone self-loading forage wagon sold in the United States,” van den Goor said. “They had to ship it here from Germany, though we worked through the dealership that is nearby.” Van den Goor doesn’t see getting parts for the machine as a problem, though if he needs something fast, it might be more costly. “Some of the major components are similar or the same as what Krone has on other machines. For example, the pickup header is the same as what is on a baler,” he noted. The self-loading forage wagon has a capacity of 73 cubic yards and carries 30 tons of wet greenchop. Van den Goor also uses it as a traditional silage wagon for conventional harvest activities to expand

its utility. The forage is cut and then brought into the wagon with a standard pickup head. The feed rotor moves the forage between a series of knives, which can be removed as desired to adjust for length of cut. A dual-slatted floor chain and pivoting headboard assist in loading and unloading the wagon. During his first full year of greenchopping in 2016, van den Goor only missed two days of harvesting because the soil conditions were too wet for machine traffic. “It wouldn’t be fun to get that thing stuck,” van den Goor surmised. “This year, we also had a sacrifice field that we would go to when our good fields were wet.” It’s yet to be seen how the greenchopping field activities will impact alfalfa stand longevity. Van den Goor has been getting four to five years of production out of his fields before being rotated to corn. “That’s something we’ll have to monitor in the future,” he said. Though greenchopping has waned in popularity through the years for U.S. dairy farmers, European technology advances might begin to make it more appealing in some situations. “I wasn’t the first one in our area to greenchop,” van den Goor said. “There are several others who had been greenchopping before me and a few who started after me. I’m told it’s also popular in the Pacific Northwest.” Hay & Forage Grower columnist Adam Verner discussed self-loading silage wagons in the February 2017 issue on page 32. He thought that the units might have the most utility on smaller farm operations. Regardless of farm size, one thing is for sure . . . today’s modern greenchopper bears little resemblance to those of years gone by. •

November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 23


Mike Rankin

Coexisting in a divergent alfalfa seed market by Sandya Kesoju

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HE outcrossing nature of alfalfa and dependence on insects for pollination makes gene flow a common phenomenon. The situation became even more complicated with the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa in 2011. The first GE trait was resistance to glyphosate. A second GE trait with reduced lignin was marketed in 2014. Even before GE alfalfa was deregulated in 2011, the alfalfa industry had been developing and refining coexistence strategies facilitated by the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance (NAFA). For this article, we use the coexistence definition put forward by Dan Putnam, forage specialist at the University of California-Davis: “Successful coexistence is the ability of GE, organic, and non-GE to thrive without undue influence of neighbors or resorting to extraordinary protection measures.�

Grower adoption needed NAFA worked hard to foster the coexistence of GE, conventional, and organic alfalfa production by developing a set of best management practices that aimed at limiting the adventitious presence of GE traits in conventional seed. Adventitious presence refers to the uninten24 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

tional incidence (contamination) of a particular GE trait in seed lots. The main objectives were to minimize gene movement by controlling inadvertent admixture or gene flow using practices that ensure seed is pure, sanitation is prioritized, spillage is minimized, and cross-pollination is prevented. NAFA facilitated the development of Grower Opportunity Zones, areas where the production of GE or adventitious presence-sensitive alfalfa seed is concentrated. Genetically engineered Grower Opportunity Zones allow the production of GE and conventional, adventitious presence tolerant seed lots, while adventitious presence-sensitive Grower Opportunity Zones support the production of adventitious presence sensitive seed lots, since GE seed production is not allowed. However, the success of coexistence is dependent upon grower adoption, which had not been monitored. To assess adoption, Stephanie Greene (USDA-ARS scientist with the Plant and Animal Genetic Resources Preservation Research Unit at Fort Collins, Colo.) and myself surveyed 530 alfalfa hay and seed producers in three major alfalfa production areas (Fresno

County, Calif.; Canyon County, Idaho; and Walla Walla County, Wash.) in the western United States in 2013.

The survey says Based on a 33 percent response rate, we found that although many respondents reported practices that supported coexistence, the survey identified differences in grower perception and practices in the three states surveyed that may undermine coexistence. An important industry coexistence practice is to test seed before planting. We found only 4 percent of growers tested their seed before planting. Though 35 percent of growers in Washington reported they export alfalfa, no respondents indicated they tested their seed. Contamination can readily occur when GE seed is advertently mixed SANDYA KESOJU The author is the director for agriculture education, research, and development at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash.


remains at a level low enough to avoid a negative impact. Alfalfa pollen is moved by native bees or commercial pollinators used to produce alfalfa seed. Different pollinators have different foraging ranges and best management practices suggest isolation distance based on the specific pollinator used. Our survey confirmed that seed producers relied upon different pollinators in different counties. In California, 86 percent of growers used a combination of leafcutter and honeybees; in Idaho, 75 percent of growers used only leafcutters; while in Washington, 100 percent of growers used a combination of leafcutter and alkali bees. Native pollinators were observed occasionally by 42 percent of respondents in California, 68 percent in Idaho, and 67 percent in Washington. Moving leafcutter bee domiciles disorient most nesting females and enhance gene flow. Fifty-eight percent of California respondents reported that they moved hives from field to field, while only 8 percent and 14 percent moved pollinators in Idaho and Washington, respectively.

We can do better The results of our grower survey suggested that further efforts are needed to educate hay and seed growers, both large and small farm holders, about gene flow and coexistence practices. This is especially important in areas where alfalfa is exported or where adventitious presence-sensitive alfalfa seed is produced. Successful coexistence depends upon the widespread implementation of practices that reduce the gene flow by either seed or pollen. These practices will help ensure alfalfa producers can continue to target GE and adventitious presence-sensitive markets.

In adventitious presence-sensitive Grower Opportunity Zones, where GE hay can be produced in proximity to adventitious presence-sensitive seed, further research is needed to determine if stricter hay management strategies may need to be deployed to minimize the occurrence of adventitious presence and also to determine if the harvest flexibility of GE reduced-lignin alfalfa hay inadvertently contributes to adventitious presence, since hayfields may be cut at a later date, when plants are flowering. Additional efforts may be necessary to educate growers about the value of testing adventitious presence levels in conventional seed in areas that export hay. Seed companies are routinely testing their seed lots to monitor the efficiency of best management practices for GE seed production. They are labeling seed as GE nondetect (less than 0.1 percent adventitious presence). This strategy would support coexistence, especially if adopted by all seed suppliers so grower choice is not impeded. Coexistence would be further supported if GE nondetect seed lots are available for the same cost as unlabeled seed. To foster coexistence, growers must request nondetect alfalfa seed; control gene flow through distance; control and remove feral plants; avoid glyphosate application in adventitious presence-sensitive areas; clean their equipment before and after planting and harvesting; use sealed bins to avoid spillage while transporting; and harvest hayfields before they flower. • For additional information on alfalfa coexistence, visit the following websites: NAFA: bit.ly/HFG-NAFA-docs Alfalfa Seed Stewardship Program: bit.ly/ HFG-ASSP-AOSCA

Sandya Kesoju

iStock/bigemrg

with conventional seed when planted or harvested. Seed escape can aid as an avenue for the establishment of glyphosate-tolerant feral plants. GE seed that escapes during planting and harvesting can result in GE plants that can contribute to gene flow. When growers were asked how likely it was for seed to escape during planting or harvesting, 87 percent reported seed escape was not likely or was impossible during planting, while 65 percent reported it was not likely during harvesting. The distance that a combine travels also influences seed dispersal. Nearly 20 percent of growers reported their combine traveled more than 3 miles. Overall, growers underestimated the risk of seed spillage during planting, seed harvest, and transport. Contamination can occur if machinery is not cleaned thoroughly after seeding and harvest. Most growers appeared to diligently practice sanitation since only seven out of 88 growers replied they do not take any special measures for planting equipment. Sixty-six percent of respondents harvested conventional seed first and cleaned their combine between harvests to keep GE and conventional seed separate during combining. Most respondents controlled feral plants, but control was limited to their own property. Growers tended to use herbicides and crop rotation to control alfalfa volunteers. Though herbicide use differed among counties, glyphosate was used by respondents in all three counties to control volunteer roadside plants. Use of glyphosate to control volunteer or roadside plants should be avoided in areas where glyphosate-resistant crops are grown. In Fresno County, a high number of transgenic feral plants have been found along roadways. Gene flow from GE seed and hayfields to conventional hayfields have a very low probability of causing adventitious presence in hay since the forage is generally harvested before seeds mature. However, it depends on how hayfields are managed by growers. Harvest practices for hayfields varied in all three counties in terms of cutting time, frequency of delayed cutting, and occurrence of field obstructions that prevented cutting. Gene flow issues are mainly a concern in alfalfa seed production since it is cross-pollinated by bees. Coexistence strategies were developed to curtail gene flow from GE fields to conventional fields so that adventitious presence

Leafcutter bees (left) are widely used by alfalfa seed producers to pollinate their crop. Alfalfa plants flowering along a field boarder (right) provide an unintentional risk for pollen movement from GE alfalfa fields to conventional seed fields.

November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 25


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Silage needs to be packed in thin 4- to 6-inch layers. When delivery rates to the pile outpace packing capacity, it’s easy for packing tractor operators to revert to “survival mode.”

SILAGE PILE CONSTRUCTION:

a life and death matter by Chris Wacek-Driver

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ORAGE quality and consistency rank near the top of every dairy producer’s list as key influences on farm profitability. As herds have grown in size, correspondingly so has the use and size of bunkers and piles to store forage. Indisputably, harvesting larger quantities of forage puts multiple stresses throughout the forage system — from cropping to feeding. Forage density and pile construction not only are critical to ensuring optimal forage quality and consistency but also can play a substantial role in silage safety by minimizing the risk of avalanching. Much has been written on the need for a high forage density to minimize oxygen infiltration throughout the forage mass during filling, storage, and feedout. Limiting oxygen infiltration controls plant and microbial processes, thus enhancing fermentation and reducing spoilage. Numerous studies have identified key factors influencing forage density. These factors include the number and weights of tractors, the time the tractors are on the pile, initial forage spreading thickness, delivery rate of the forage to the bunker or pile, and forage dry matter content. The final component of forage density is pile depth and forage location relative to the top of the pile. As pile or bunker height climbs to 10 feet, 20 feet, or greater in height, the sheer weight of the forage

above will ensure higher densities the closer forage is to the bottom of the pile.

Think snow Although high forage densities will benefit fermentation efficiency and consistency, what hasn’t been discussed extensively is the very real effect proper packing and pile formation has on silage safety. As piles and bunkers climbed in height, so has the potential for silage to avalanche. At the very least, these avalanches can result in several days of feed being exposed to oxygen, resulting in the loss of valuable nutrients and dry matter. The documented outcome is reduced milk production and spoiled forage that is often implicated in cow health issues. More alarming is the elevated risk of human injury and death caused by forage piles caving or avalanching. Such occurrences have certainly been noticed by entities such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and insurance companies. While any large pile is at risk for avalanching, there are some preventative methods that can be taken to reduce avalanche occurrences. The study of how avalanches form and what triggers them has been extensively studied in areas where large amounts of snow are deposited on steep mountain slopes. In general, any slope greater than 30 degrees has an enhanced danger of avalanching. Two

other factors making snow prone to avalanching include a lack of cohesiveness between layers of snow and differences in “snow packing.” Imagine a light dry snow layer covered by a dense, icy layer of snow. The two very different properties of the snow result in an area of weakness. It is this area of weakness that is one of the risk factors that can trigger a snow avalanche. So how does this play into silage density?

Keep layers thin A key factor necessary to reach an optimal density goal is spreading and packing forage in thin layers. Recommendations based on several studies advise to push and pack silage in 4- to 6-inch layers. Admittedly, this requires a great deal of skill, patience, and practice on the part of the push and pack tractor operator. Larger and more powerful forage choppers have resulted in extremely high forage delivery rates to the pile during harvest, particularly for corn CHRIS WACEK-DRIVER The author owns and operates a forage consulting business, Forage Innovations LLC, in Bay City, Wis.

November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 27


silage. With high delivery rates, it is not uncommon for the push tractor operator to revert to “survival mode” and begin pushing large amounts of forage onto the pile. Simply put, thin layers are sacrificed to keep up with the chopping crew. Forage spread at higher layer depths, often a foot or more, can create a similar scenario to our snow avalanche. Less dense forage under more densely packed forage creates an area of weakness. This potentially leads to a lack of cohesiveness, but unlike snow there are other more serious ramifications in silage with an escalating risk of avalanching over time. As discussed earlier, oxygen is our enemy from the time the forage enters the pile continuing throughout storage and feedout. If a portion of the pile is not properly packed, a delayed or inefficient fermentation can result that initiates the spoilage process. This leads to a loss of dry matter sometimes noticed by excessive heating of the forage. This loss of dry matter reduces density. While it may be difficult to “see” forage loss, imagine forage heating or spoiling similar to burning a piece of paper. Burning the paper results in less mass and lost dry matter, creating an area of weakness. Additional spoilage changes the properties of the forage, which can lead to less cohesiveness, magnifying the area of weakness. Unfortunately, additional stress is placed upon opening the pile. Exposing a forage face allows protective gases, formed during fermentation, to leave the spaces between forage particles. Oxygen is then drawn into the silage through the process of diffusion. The less dense a forage is packed, the more

and further oxygen can infiltrate, perpetuating the area of weakness. Eventually the forage may succumb to the effects of gravity and fall. This may be evidenced as a “slab” avalanche down the side of a pile, or silage simply tumbling off the feeding face.

Cohesiveness needed Understanding the principles of how spoilage can initiate and contribute to avalanching gives valuable insight into one of the more common observations of falling forage: It often occurs at the interface between different crops or years of forage within a pile or bunker. Optimal feedout rates are recommended to try to keep ahead of this destructive process. While feedout rates can mitigate the nutritive losses during feeding, it will not prevent some spoilage from happening when fresh forage is piled against the previous fermented crop. No matter how quickly the forage is covered by the incoming crop, some degree of spoilage does happen. The introduction of air leads to dry matter loss in the fermented feed. Add in a lack of bonding and cohesiveness or “tying in” to the old forage and the problem is intensified. That lack of cohesiveness and loss of dry matter elevates the risk of avalanching. On large piles or bunkers, it nearly guarantees silage to break off once the feeding face approaches the split. Operators have tried to minimize the risk of avalanching by facing the older forage at a 45-degree angle prior to bringing in the new forage. Usually, this simply prolongs the area susceptible to avalanching as the same principles are at work, albeit with a reduced angle.

Forage cohesiveness is an important key to silage pile construction. Poorly packed layers can lead to areas of weakness that enhance the likelihood of an avalanche occurring during feedout.

Poorly packed area

To try to minimize the air exposure on the fermented face some have tried quickly covering the exposed face. However, pushing large amounts of silage in a small area often violates laying forage in thin layers and it simply compounds the problem. The only viable solution to the above problem is to put different crops into separate piles or bunkers. For corn silage, different crop years are put in separate piles. This has successfully been implemented on several farms. A strong case can be made for the merits of separating crops based on cow productivity and health benefits alone. Certainly, there is expense in expanding the footprint of the storage structure, and careful planning is needed when evaluating forage inventories and incoming forage. However, the upside of a safer feed center outweighs the expense and has been the deciding factor for farms that have implemented such a practice.

Check cover integrity Occasionally, a pile will suddenly avalanche for no apparent reason. Careful examination will sometimes reveal a seam in the plastic cover that has either pulled apart or was placed counter to water flow, allowing rain and oxygen to infiltrate and spoil the forage over time. Proper instruction to allow for several feet of overlap on seams and making sure seams don’t catch and allow water into the pile is imperative to proper pile covering and storage. Regularly checking for holes and damage to plastic, particularly after severe wind, storms, or hail should be a part of the farm’s routine. Forage safety is a value everyone needs to be invested and committed to. Renewed focus needs to be put on proper pile construction and packing density, particularly as it pertains to laying forage in thin layers. With silage depth playing a role in large piles, adding additional weight or another pack tractor operator toward the top 10 feet of the pile can help concentrate efforts where the pile is most vulnerable to avalanching. Underscoring the importance of pile construction and packing density has a very real influence on the safety of people working around them all year long. •

Densely packed area

The author wishes to thank Bob Headrick, a custom forage operator in California, for his insights that were included in this article. 28 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017


Seeded with alfalfa, grasses offer nutritional benefits and the opportunity to extend stand life.

September if soil moisture is adequate. It’s during this time that alfalfa growth is slowing, which provides less competition for the grass seedlings, and temperatures are beginning to moderate. Orchardgrass is often the grass of choice when interseeding into alfalfa, but Anderson also suggested species such as novel endophyte tall fescue, meadow bromegrass, and festulolium.

Does it work?

Finding an alfalfa dance partner by Mike Rankin

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ROM contacting colleagues in other U.S. regions, Dennis Cherney estimates that alfalfa-grass mixtures are something less than 10 percent of all seeded alfalfa. The Cornell University forage specialist said that’s quite a bit different than the 85 percent mixed stands found in New York. “The most important reason that we do more alfalfa-grass is suboptimal soil drainage,” Cherney explained. “Our winter weather is another issue. About every other year it’s common for alfalfa to break dormancy in the middle of January and this adds stress to our stands,” he added. Both farmers and nutritionists in New York have a comfort level with feeding alfalfa-grass mixtures. “Our feeding trials, as well as those from the University of Wisconsin, indicate that we can get the same or better milk production with mixtures,” Cherney said. Cherney had been telling producers for the past 10 years that the best grass to seed with alfalfa was improved tall fescue. Always seeking a better mousetrap, Cherney currently recommends meadow fescue based on numerous research trials. “Meadow fescue is consistently higher in quality than tall fescue,” the forage specialist said, referring to performance research completed in multiple states. In assessing other grass options for alfalfa mixtures, Cherney noted that he and Mike Casler, a grass breeder at USDA’s Dairy Forage

Research Center in Madison, Wis., have been working the past 10 years on a sparse-heading orchardgrass variety. One of the problems with orchardgrass is that it heads out long before the alfalfa is ready to harvest and the quality of the mixture suffers. “Orchardgrass loves the Northeast,” Cherney said. “We’re now down to seeding 1 pound of seed per acre and still often get way too much orchardgrass in our mixtures. I guess we’re going to have to go down to 1/2 pound per acre for a seeding rate,” he chided.

Extending stand life In many parts of the United States, alfalfa is cut three to five times per year for three to five years; then the stand begins to lose productivity and it is rotated to another crop. For operations that only want to intensively manage and feed pure alfalfa, three- to four-year rotations generally make good economic sense. There is, however, another road to take. “As an alfalfa stand begins to thin, consider interseeding grasses into it,” said Bruce Anderson, extension forage agronomist with the University of Nebraska. “Not only might you extend the useful life of your alfalfa field by several years, you will develop an excellent hay or grazing source for livestock,” he added. In his area, Anderson recommended seeding cool-season grasses into thinning alfalfa fields from mid-August to early

This practice has been put into place on farms as a routine, foundational strategy for extending the useful life of an alfalfa stand. Clayton Geralds, a Munfordville, Ky., hay farmer, was highlighted in the January 2017 issue of Hay & Forage Grower. Geralds, along with his son Christopher, grow and harvest 720 acres of hay for the horse market. Over 500 of those acres are alfalfa-orchardgrass fields that began their life as pure alfalfa. Geralds no-tills 8 pounds of orchardgrass seed in his alfalfa fields after two or three years. This is usually done in September and extends the life of the fields by five to six years. He uses a late-maturing orchardgrass variety that better complements the maturity of alfalfa. “We start cutting our alfalfa-orchardgrass stands first, usually when we get a weather window after midApril,” Geralds said. “Once the pure alfalfa stands reach late-bud stage, then we switch to them.” At Hedgeapple Farm in Buckeystown, Md., they finish 150 head of grass-fed beef per year. To get the desired 1.8 to 2.2 pounds of gain per day from weaning to finish, they rely heavily on alfalfa as a grazing and hay crop. Pure stands of alfalfa are established and grazed by the growing and finishing cattle. After two or three years, orchardgrass is interseeded to extend alfalfa stand life by three or four additional years. Those mixed stands are grazed but also harvested and wrapped as baleage for winter feeding. Dry bales are also made for maintaining mother cows during the nongrazing months. Alfalfa may come to the dance alone, but there is opportunity to find it a partner in the form of a cool-season grass and keep fields producing for an extended time. • November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 29


Select and handle grass-fed cattle wisely by Robert Fears

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N THIS second article of a threepart series on producing grass-fed beef, we discuss selecting the right cattle and then managing them in a manner to produce a tasty and appealing product. Most of the information was taken from a presentation made by Joe Paschal, livestock specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, during the May 2017 Grass-fed Beef Conference at Texas A&M.

Desirable traits Before selecting cattle for a grass-fed operation, list traits associated with the ideal grass-fed beef animal. For instance, early-maturing calves are desirable because they will begin building muscle (meat) more quickly than later-maturing animals. In addition to early maturing, they should gain quickly so they can reach weights of 800 to 1,000 pounds at ages between 16 and 24 months. Animals that have mature weights under 1,000 pounds will probably finish at the proper time to produce good carcass quality. High cutability and moderate marbling are desirable traits for grass-fed animals. Cutability is the lean yield of a carcass. The carcass with the highest cutability or yield has the largest proportion of lean meat within its grade. Marbling is intramuscular fat and is responsible for juiciness, tenderness, and flavor; however, too much marbling can give meat a fatty appearance. Small to moderate-sized cattle, in both weight and height, work well 30 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

in grass-fed beef operations because they require less forage to reach finish weights than large cattle. Breeds like Angus, Hereford, and other British origin cattle are usually good choices, but it depends on the genetics. The ideal cow probably doesn’t exist, but the prepared list of desirable traits can help select animals that have the greatest potential for economically producing grass-fed beef with good carcass qualities. In addition to selection of the right cattle, a breeding system needs to be adopted. Straight breeding is the system where only cattle of the same breed are used in the herd. When initiating a straight breeding program, select the breed with the most desirable traits for grass-fed beef. Remember, however, that no breed has every wanted trait. Straight breeding is an easy system to manage and the herd produces its own replacements. The disadvantages for straight breeding are that there is no hybrid vigor and the cattle may be less adaptable to environmental conditions and system changes. The other option, crossbreeding, allows blending characteristics from different breeds to complement one another. Keep crossbreeding simple by using no more than three breeds. For a successful program, animals of the different breeds must be similar in size and maturing rate. Crossbreeding allows for hybrid vigor, which can improve both fertility and maternal traits by 10 to 20 percent and growth by 5 to 10 percent. Crossbred cattle are

also more adaptable to changes in the environment than straight-bred. The disadvantage is that a source is needed for herd replacements.

Keep them healthy The next step is managing the herd in a manner to produce tasty beef. Genetics, health, and nutrition are the three primary requirements for producing good beef. Putting the right genetics into the herd is accomplished through animal selection. Cattle are kept well by designing and implementing a herd health plan with the help of a large animal veterinarian. Sample grass and other forages for nutrient content to ensure that it contains what the animals need. Cattle may need supplementation with hay or silage when soil moisture stress occurs and grass productivity wanes from dormancy. Using proper injection sites for vaccines and medications avoids bruising the muscle, which causes that area of the carcass to be unusable. Regardless of the animal’s age, administer all intramuscular and subcutaneous injections in the neck region, never in the rump ROBERT FEARS The author is a freelance writer based in Georgetown, Texas.


or back leg. When administering more than one injection on the same side of the neck, place the sites at least 4 inches apart (one hand width between the two sites). Spacing medications and vaccines in this manner allows better absorption and less interaction between products. Animal stress can lower meat quality, so handle cattle in a low-stress manner. Low-stress livestock handling means the animal does not see the handler as a predator forcing them to move. Force is replaced by using actions or pressure that allow cattle handlers to get a desired response. Once handlers get their desired response, the coaxing action is stopped or released. When livestock see that human application of pressure is always accompanied by release of pressure when the animal responds, the cattle relax and comply with what the handlers want. A large amount of bruising can occur during cattle transport and this is prevented by close attention to details. Balance the cattle weight in the trailer to get the best towing performance and smoothest ride. Drive in a manner to prevent cattle from jostling or slipping and avoid sudden

accelerations, stops, and turns. Don’t overload trailers, leaving enough space between animals to allow them to balance their weight on all four legs. Safe transportation of cattle starts with proper maintenance of the truck and trailer.

End product options “Postmortem handling methods also have an effect on meat quality,” Paschal said. “Large beef processing facilities electrically stimulate carcass muscles soon after slaughter, primarily to improve tenderness.” Paschal added, “There are three schools of thought on why the process is effective. The most accepted theory is that muscle contraction, caused by electrical simulation, burns up the source of energy for the muscle fibers. This causes the animal to pass through rigor mortis more quickly, and the fibers are relaxed rather than bunched.” Another benefit of electrical stimulation is the lowering of pH, which enhances flavor. Color and appearance of the meat is improved, but there is more cooking loss or shrink. An option for small processors is blade or needle tenderization. A set of nee-

dles or blades are utilized to pierce the meat cutting through muscle fibers and connective tissue. Blade tenderization is often used on wholesale cuts. “Some beef is aged by one of two methods — wet or dry. Wet aging is putting the meat in a refrigerated vacuum sealed bag,” Paschal said. “Shrink loss is reduced because of the meat drying, but wet aging often gives meat an off color in the bag until its contents are subjected to oxygen. “Dry aging allows the meat to dry, causing weight loss and some reduction of mold and bacteria. This aging process tends to give meat a metallic taste, according to some people. Wet aging is the best process to use, if tenderness is an issue,” he added. Proper temperature, relative humidity, and air movement are essential for successful aging of beef. Maintain temperature of the aging room at 34°F to 36°F, relative humidity at 85 to 90 percent, and airflow at 15 to 20 linear feet per minute at the product surface. Proper cattle selection and management are essential for producing a grass-fed product that consumers will continue to purchase and enjoy. •

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November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 31


PASTURE PONDERINGS

by Jesse Bussard

Decoding data for better grazing

C

HRISTINE Su, co-founder of PastureMap, a mobile cloudbased grazing app for ranchers, said it’s her company’s mission to help farmers and ranchers be more profitable while building healthy grasslands. “No matter where they are, PastureMap is a tool that puts data back in their hands so they can use that data to make better decisions,” Su said. Going deeper, Su explained, “We are trying to help build the regenerative ranching movement and get more dollars back from the food system and into the hands of producers who are stewarding our lands and building soil health. PastureMap is not just a piece of tech to make life easier, it’s about making operations more profitable and changing how producers are rewarded for the work they do.” Su started her mobile app company along with her co-founders back in 2014. For its first two years in operation, the team spent the majority of their time fine-tuning the grazing app with the help of ranchers’ input during its prototyping phase. “What we found is ranchers don’t have a lack of data,” Su said. “Plenty of ranchers have 10 years of rainfall data or 20 years of grazing records. What they really need is a tool to help them make sense of all that data in order to actually do something specific in their business.” In 2016, the group publicly launched

32 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

PastureMap. While it’s only been on the market for one grazing season, Su noted growth in PastureMap users keeps picking up steam. User numbers have gone from approximately 1,400 in late 2016 to over 7,000 in 36 countries at the time of this interview (July 2017). “The majority of them are in the U.S. and Canada,” Su explained. “But we also have quite a lot of interest from South America and South Africa.”

Flexible interface Another surprising fact, Su pointed out, is PastureMap’s typical user doesn’t fit any particular operation size. “It is folks with five pigs up to those with 25,000 animals,” Su said. “What we do see is the ones using PastureMap to its full potential are the operations that tend to be larger, have teams of staff, and are focused on making their ranch as profitable as possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are the biggest.” Using a combination of data analytics, mobile technology, and a cloud database, Su explained, PastureMap empowers ranchers to make better management decisions and drive their profitability. Users can take their records with them wherever they go on their phone or iPad. When they’re ready to dig into the data, they can easily pull up analytics tools to figure out important decision points like where to move animals, when to move, what pasture

they were in last, and more. For example, said Su, Kansas cattle rancher Brian Alexander uses the grazing app on his approximately 7,000-acre stocker operation to take pasture inventories and records in the field. “For him, being able to keep track of what his forage inventories are in the field, along with having photos and a map of where he’s grazed, helps him make better decisions and improve the forage quality of his pastures,” Su said. Additionally, producers can input grazing moves and herd data like weights and health records. PastureMap has also incorporated USDA’s soil maps and rainfall data allowing the information to be easily viewed within the app itself. “In the near future, probably 2018, you’ll also be able to overlay soil organic matter data and then view how it’s improving in different pastures,” Su said. “Essentially, you’ll be able to see how your management is affecting the soil carbon over time.” When recruiting new users, the first JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.


thing her team does is ask producers what their challenges and goals are for their operations. “Each operation is so different,” Su noted. “That’s why it’s important to have teams that are regional and understand the local context.” Along with her main team in the San Francisco Bay area, PastureMap currently has salespeople in Montana, Colorado, Texas, and California. Farmers and ranchers interested in using PastureMap to assist them in their grazing management can sign up for a user account at www.pasturemap. com, then download the app on their phone or mobile device. Currently, PastureMap features three starter plans and three standard subscription packages ranging in price from $25 to $445 per month. Su noted the “Sole Producer” package is their most common subscription among graziers to date and allows users to keep records on up to 1,000 animals. In addition, under the Sole Producer plan, users can add unlimited pastures and

PastureMap, a cloud-based grazing app, is designed to help ranchers make better decisions based on existing data. Further enhancements are forthcoming, according to app co-founder Christine Su.

photos, conduct rest day and animal days per acre calculations, and export files to Excel. As PastureMap continues to gain users and grow, Su said her team would continue adding value to their existing

product. “Product development and design is a never ending process,” Su said. “We’re always looking for ways to improve our user interface and make it easier and more fun for producers to analyze data.” •

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RESEARCH ROUND-UP

Feedlot performance influenced by tall fescue endophyte type While past tall fescue research has focused on livestock weight gains on pasture, a recent study examined the subsequent feedlot performance and carcass quality of steers that grazed tall fescue with different endophyte types. The results were reported in the electronic journal, Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management. In the experiment, researchers replicated tall fescue monocultures in six 2-acre pastures in Eatonton, Ga., (one year) and Calhoun, Ga. (two years). At each location, tall fescue pastures contained one of three endophyte types: a nontoxic novel endophyte (MaxQ), endophyte-free (E-), or toxic endophyte infected (E+). The three groups of cattle used were Angus x Hereford steers, Angus heifers, and Angus x Hereford steers (in year two). The cattle grazed pastures from 89 to 116 days, depending on location and year. Animal weights were collected at 28-day intervals throughout the study. Average daily gains (ADG) were 1.1 pounds per day greater for cattle grazing the MaxQ than for those grazing the toxic endophyte pastures. This was nearly a 50 percent improvement. Performance did not differ between the MaxQ and the endophyte-free fescue pastures. There were no interactions

between cattle type and gender. At the end of the grazing period, final weights were taken following a 16-hour fast. The E- and MaxQ-grazed cattle weighed 130 pounds more than those that had grazed the toxic fescue. The cattle were shipped to the Willard Sparks Feedlot at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. There was no difference in transit shrink between the groups of cattle regardless of fescue variety grazed. There was also no difference in ADG at the feedlot (about 4.4 pounds per day). Throughout the feedlot period, dry matter intake as a percentage of body weight was similar for the treatment groups, but feed efficiency (feed:gain) was significantly higher for the cattle that had grazed the toxic fescue. Cattle groups were slaughtered when the average fat thickness reached around 0.5 inch. All cattle were slaughtered at a similar time to facilitate transport to the packing plant. Carcass traits were similar among fescue types, but hot carcass weight was 77 pounds heavier for the MaxQ-grazed cattle than those that grazed the toxic endophyte-infected grass, resulting in a greater carcass value (+$99.70 per carcass).

Horse pasture options evaluated University of Minnesota researchers conducted an experiment to compare the yield and forage nutritive value of three diverse pasture species. While each forage possesses its own measurable strengths and weaknesses, the study was unique as it examined them in a pasture setting with rotational grazing. The forages, teff (a warm-season annual), perennial ryegrass (a cool-season perennial), and alfalfa (a perennial legume), were assessed throughout the 2016 grazing season in St. Paul, Minn. Forage yield and nutritive values were evaluated prior to grazing, which was initiated when perennial ryegrass and teff were between 8 and 10 inches or when alfalfa reached bud stage. The pastures were grazed for about six hours a day for three consecutive days each month by six adult horses. Alfalfa and perennial ryegrass were grazed from May to October (excluding September) and teff was grazed from July to September. After grazing, pastures were cleared of manure, alfalfa was mowed to 3 inches, and perennial ryegrass and teff were mowed to 4 inches to allow for regrowth. The study found that alfalfa had the highest yield at 6.9 tons per acre, while perennial ryegrass and teff yielded 3.2 and 2.8 tons per acre, respectively. The researchers noted that teff could be a productive annual pasture option, although it was only grazed three times throughout this grazing season compared to the perennial ryegrass that was grazed five times. The ability of alfalfa to withstand long-term grazing needs to be explored. 34 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

Alfalfa was highest in both crude protein (CP) and equine digestible energy (DE). Perennial ryegrass and teff followed in ranking, with all species exceeding the DE requirements, and the 12 percent CP recommended for adult horses at maintenance (see table). Compared to alfalfa and teff, perennial ryegrass had a notably higher level of nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC). The researchers cautioned against feeding above 10 to 12 percent NSC for horses diagnosed with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), laminitis, polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM), obesity, and/or pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID). Teff had the highest acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF), while alfalfa had the lowest. There are no official guidelines for these components in equine diets, though most experts recommend that horse-quality hay be less than or equal to 65 percent NDF and 45 percent ADF. All the species tested meet the requirements of adult horses at maintenance for DE and CP based on the daily consumption of 2.5 percent body weight of dry matter. Yield and forage nutritive values Species

Yield

CP

Tons/acre

Alfalfa

NDF

ADF

NSC

% Dry matter

6.9

28

Perennial ryegrass

3.2

Teff

2.8

DE Mcal/lb.

39

29

8.4

1.15

21

51

30

11.7

1.08

18

63

36

8.2

0.93


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9/22/17 2:30 PM


BEEF FEEDBUNK

by Matt Poore conference targets a diverse audience including consumers, farmers, meat processors, chefs, governmental agencies, and allied industry.

iStock/ Milkos

No firm definition

Is it feedlot, grass-fed, or something in between?

I

N RECENT years, there has been a broader choice in finished beef available to consumers. The supply of “grass-fed beef” has risen, and it always raises some controversy within the industry because it gives consumers a clear choice in the kind of production system the beef comes from. Some consumers simply don’t like the idea of feedlots, and whether we like it or not, they can vote with their food dollars. There are large population centers throughout the country where affluent consumers are looking for locally sourced foods. Meat is part of that . . . not just beef, but poultry, pork, lamb, and others are all experiencing expanded demand. The problem with grass-fed beef is that the production systems are quite variable, and that results in a great deal of variation in the product. This is much less the case with conventional feedlot beef. The variability from farm to farm in production systems of grassfed beef works for small-scale direct sales, but it creates a situation where it is very difficult for a commercial meat purveyor to provide a consistent product to wholesale customers, driving many of them to source their grass-fed beef from other countries. 36 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

Many of the consumers of grass-fed beef are also interested in local, smallscale production systems. These contradictory values lead to confusion in the marketplace and a lot of discussion about where beef comes from and how it is produced. In our North Carolina market, beef products available to consumers include conventional feedlot beef, “all natural” conventional feedlot beef, local feedlot beef, pasture-raised and finished beef, and grass-fed beef. For me, I love all beef, but there are clear differences in what I prefer. Our family raises our own beef using a pasture-based system with concentrates along the way to improve quality grade and to keep the animals younger at finish than would be possible for me with a 100 percent grass-fed program. I prefer that beef because it is what I am used to, but in general it seems to have more flavor and less fat trim than feedlot beef. Our target endpoint is at least Mid-Choice in quality grade. Several weeks ago, we held the fifth biennial “NC Choices Carolina Meat Conference” in Winston-Salem, N.C., and it is amazing to see how much the niche meat industry has developed in our region since we started. The

One thing that continues to come up is that there is no clear definition of “grass-fed beef,” and many farmers, consumers, processors, and chefs think that an animal born and raised locally on pastures for its entire life is “grassfed.” Of course, that is not the case, and as I mentioned, we have a lot of producers who do some supplemental feeding, especially in the finishing stage. As you dig down and discuss the details of these production systems, most local beef customers are very accepting of a product that is produced using limited supplementation as long as it was produced and processed locally, stayed on pasture its entire life, and had the majority of its diet from forages. Many consumers and chefs say they don’t like grass-fed beef; this is probably because their early experiences with grass-fed were with animals that were not well finished. In our region, the base forages are bermudagrass in the sandy Coastal Plain and infected tall fescue in the Piedmont and mountains. Neither of these forages can produce the level of performance necessary for finishing an animal, so extensive use of specialty forages such as nontoxic fescue and annuals are needed for 100 percent grass-fed beef. Even with those forages, droughts and other production challenges make it hard to consistently produce a Choice product for delivery on a prearranged date. This is the reason that the pasture-raised and pasture-finished beef has been very popular in our area. Farmers can do their best to provide good-quality forages through using a good forage system and good grazing management, but they also have the flexibility to reach their desired endpoint in a timely way by using some supplementation. This makes it much MATT POORE The author is an extension ruminant nutrition specialist at North Carolina State University.


T:3.625” S:3.625”

easier to deal with the environmental fluctuations we see and also makes it easier for a wholesaler to provide a more consistent product from a producer network with variation in production systems.

Labeling expectations

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TRAIT. Add the HarvXtra® Alfalfa trait to your preferred seed for more flexibility in your stand. Talk to your seed supplier today.

As we move ahead with these alternative beef products, it is critical to keep several things in mind. First, most of our beef will continue to be produced in feedlots using a lot of modern technology. This is critical for the overall food supply as it allows us to be more efficient so it is more available for people without a high level of disposable income. There will also be good-quality grass-fed beef, both imported and that raised by producers who have developed a production system that results in “finished” animals at a reasonable age. Finally, we believe we will see a boost in the pasture-raised and pasture-finished products for all the reasons previously discussed. As niche meat systems continue to evolve, it is important that producers don’t disparage other production systems to try to get market share. We all need to be honest and transparent about how we produce our beef, and to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of all beef production systems. It is a lot more complex than just feedlot versus grass-fed. If you are considering adding a finishing enterprise, study your options carefully and develop a system that meets the demand of your customers and fits your production environment. • For more information about the Carolina Meat Conference, visit www.ncchoices.com, and for the NC State Local Beef Production Guidelines, go to https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/catalog/series/207/ or simply search for “NC State Local Beef Production Guidelines.”

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

November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 37

B:10”

Room for everyone

T:10”

S:10”

One topic at the conference that always leads to a lot of discussion is labeling requirements for niche meat products. If there are production claims on the label or marketing materials, such as “produced without growth promoting hormones” or “grass-fed,” then there has to be a paper trail so those claims can be substantiated. There are well-established labels that can be used such as “Animal Welfare Approved” or “American Grass-Fed” that require third-party certification, and those are encouraged when it makes sense for you. At the minimum, you need a written production protocol and a signed affidavit that you followed your established protocol in the production of your product. That approach has worked well for small independent producers. To that end, we recently published example production guidelines (protocols) for three distinct types of local beef products, including “Local Beef,” “Pasture-Raised and Pasture-Finished Beef,” and “Grass-Fed Beef.” Producers can either adopt one of these protocols, or they can download editable versions that can be custom fit to their production system. In recent years, we have done a number of studies with locally finished beef, and it is clear that there is a lot of fertile ground between the feedlot-beef product and grass-fed beef. Attributes such as the fatty acid content (omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and conjugated linoleic acid or CLA) for pasture-raised beef (produced under the NC State guidelines) is more in line with 100 percent grass-fed as compared to feedlot beef. It is also important to note that the differences between grass-fed and feedlot beef are quite small in comparison to other meats (poultry and pork), regardless of the production system.


Six forage classes of four samples each are placed in ranking order by participants in the forage contest.

Drinking from the World Forage Management Cup by Mike Rankin

I

T’S A hard contest.” That’s Chris Baxter’s summary of the World Forage Management Cup competition held each year at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., for competing three-person teams, which are mostly from FFA chapters. Baxter’s assessment wasn’t as a participant in the contest. Rather, he’s a professor in soil and crop science at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and assumes superintendent duties for the event. It’s a duty he’s held since 2003. “I pull some of the questions for the written test directly from our college exams,” Baxter said. “It’s tough.” To be sure, walking into the area where the contest takes place is a bit intimidating, even for the most grizzled forage-producing veteran. There’s table after table designated for test taking. Walking on the other side of a set of room dividers unveils rows of tables with plates of seeds and plant mounts. The final area is lined with classes of dry hay, haylage, and corn silage waiting to be properly placed from first through fourth. Last month, nearly 40 teams and 144 total participants vied for the title of World Forage Management Cup champion. Give these kids credit; taking the equivalent of a forage management ACT test is not what many would

38 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

choose to do on a day off from school. Most of the participating teams are from Expo’s home state of Wisconsin, but there are also out-of-state contenders. This year, teams from Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa made appearances and each of these states had a team that finished in the top 10 overall.

Something for everyone The two-hour-long World Forage Management Cup challenges a person’s “book” knowledge as well as their aptitude for practical application. Participants have 40 minutes to complete each challenge of the forage triathlon. The written test is 60 multiple choice questions with inquiries spanning a wide range of forage management topics. Prior to the event, FFA advisors are sent a list of about 100 forage species and weeds from which participants will need to be able to identify both the plant and seed. Sixty total plant, weed, and seed specimens comprise the identification portion of the contest. The participants are given the full list of species to choose from as they mark their answers. Next comes forage judging. Here, participants are asked to place six classes of forage comprised of four different samples each. The students can feel and smell the forage and are also given

the laboratory forage analysis of each sample. As a result, the ability to assess a forage quality test and determine the test metrics’ relative importance is paramount for receiving a competitive score.

Competition has value Having taught at two different high schools in his career, Paul Marshall currently acts as the FFA advisor at Riverdale High School in Riverdale, Wis. He explained, “I’ve had a lot of kids who participated in this contest who have gone on to be leaders in the industry and very successful in their lives.” Marshall said that they push hard in agronomy and soils, practicing for the contest three weeks in advance. “We collect plant mounts and the kids bring in hay samples that we use for practice judging. Forage quality makes or breaks the industry,” he added. The advisor’s tutelage has paid off. Riverdale won the contest in 2016 and placed second the three previous years. This year, his team of three female students again finished second overall. Linda Sattler has been bringing teams to the contest for 18 years. She’s the FFA advisor at Laconia High School in Rosendale, Wis., and brought an experienced group to the event in 2017. Earlier in the year, Laconia had won the state FFA-sponsored agronomy competition.


Brady Madigan, a senior at Laconia, has participated in the contest for the past three years. It’s in Madigan’s blood as his dad is an agronomy specialist and sales manager with a large co-op. He plans to attend college and major in agronomy. Though Madigan told me prior to this year’s event that he likes the forage judging and plant identification portions of the contest, it was the written exam where he really excelled, achieving a contest high of 96 percent. He finished as eighth-high individual in the contest. One of Madigan’s teammates, Keegan Bruins, works on a dairy farm and was a member of his chapter’s winning agronomy contest team earlier in the year. He finished as the fourth-high individual overall and was in the top 10 for both the written exam and the forage judging. As a team, Laconia finished third overall in the contest. Shea Esser is the FFA advisor for River Ridge High School located in southwest Wisconsin. “I competed in the World Forage Management Cup when I was a student,” he noted. This year, River Ridge’s Blake Wegmuller finished second overall and first in the forage judging, while the team nailed down a very respectable fourth-place final placing. “I participated on our team last year and learned a lot about different crop pests and forage quality,” said Wegmuller, who lives on a small beef and crop farm. One of his teammates, Matt

Walz, finished 16th overall. Walz has his own custom harvesting business for corn and soybeans, while his brother does custom forage harvesting.

They showed everyone While meandering around the students prior to the contest, I sought out the group that had driven the farthest to compete. That distinction went to the team from Halfway, Mo. The town of Halfway is located north of Springfield and “halfway” between Bolivar and Buffalo; its population is listed as 173. I found the team sitting against the wall. The unofficial captain, senior Andrew Covert, is from a beef operation where his family also harvests and sells hay. The soft-spoken Covert said that he planned to attend the College of the Ozarks and major in agronomy. “Forages are a big part of what we do,” Covert added. Another member of the Halfway FFA team was senior Michaela Higgenbotham. She had previous experience participating in their state’s FFA agronomy contest and lives on a beef farm where they also make hay. Rounding out the team from the Show-Me State was sophomore Carli Cable, a first-time competitor. “I like plants,” said Cable, whose family has a beef feedlot and also produces hay. Once the dust settled and the final tallies were known following the con-

2017 World Forage Management Cup team standings 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Halfway FFA (Mo.) Riverdale FFA (Wis.) Laconia FFA (Wis.) River Ridge FFA (Wis.) Pulaski FFA (Wis.)

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Arcadia FFA (Wis.) Rio FFA (Wis.) New London FFA (Wis.) Marengo FFA (Ill.) Western Dubuque FFA (Iowa)

test, it was this trio from Halfway FFA that rose to the top, and they did it by a fairly wide margin. Covert was the top individual, while Higgenbotham placed third overall. Cable, the newcomer, placed a very respectable 12th. As a team, Halfway won both the forage judging and identification portions of the contest, while finishing fourth overall on the written exam. Covert and Higgenbotham finished one-two in plant/seed identification. In placing the forage classes, Covert finished third among all contestants, while Cable came in eighth.

A unique event Forage crops and their management are often viewed as a secondary enterprise both on the farm and in the classroom, especially to high school students who are understandably more enamored by big combines and first-place heifers. However, the World Forage Management Cup contest is singular in its ability to bring the complexities of forage production front and center to the future agricultural leaders who participate. The corporate sponsors and organizers of this event, including the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Agronomy Soil Conservation Chapter, World Dairy Expo, and Dairyland Laboratories Inc., are to be commended for their efforts. Though most of the participants are entered as FFA teams, the contest is open to any agricultural youth group (for example, 4-H) with students in the seventh through 12th grades. •

For more information about the World Forage Management Cup contest, visit bit.ly/HFG-WFMC.

Andrew Covert (left photo), Halfway FFA (Mo.), thinks through a question on the written test. Covert finished as high individual in the contest leading his team to first place overall. Brady Madigan (right photo), Laconia FFA (Wis.), ponders the identification of a seed type. Madigan would go on to finish eighth overall in the contest. His team finished third.

November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 39


FORAGE GEARHEAD

by Adam Verner points before it reaches the injectors. Stock up on fuel filters at your shop because no one is immune to fuel-related breakdowns. For those with tractors or other self-propelled machines that are still under warranty, make sure you purchase filters that are approved by the machine manufacturer. Choosing a “bargain” brand may turn out not to be such a bargain if problems occur. Often, major manufacturers put maintenance items such as fuel filters on sale during the off-season. Fill your shop shelves and take advantage of these savings.

Biofuel is here to stay

Fuel for thought

D

ON’T look now, but harvest season is wrapping up and this year, like most in recent memory, has brought its fair share of unpredictability. As always, some areas fared better than others. Many farmers in the Northeast and Midwest were simply hoping for a late freeze to get their crops to maturity but got something even better in the form of a balmy September with temperatures that easily pushed the crop to the finish line. Here in the South, we have been at work since June chopping silage. The corn grain harvest just finished up before Hurricane Irma hit. Picking peanuts and cotton are now in full swing as I’m writing this. Most of our crops have been above average this year, but one factor has held several farms back, and that is fuel! This year, it’s not price or supply that’s been a problem but rather the quality and/or the lack of our engines to tolerate it. Lots of farmers and dealerships, including mine, have been fighting this battle for several years now, but as Tier 4 Final engine mandates roll out at the end of this calendar year, the fuel gremlins are rearing their ugly heads. We have seen a slight uptick in used equipment values this year. Most of the stronger prices didn’t occur with the nice, late-model, low-hour units, but rather with the more aged, Tier 3 engine units that are older than seven years. This just drives home the fact that some farmers would still prefer simple rather 40 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

than complicated and familiar rather than cutting-edge technology.

Change the filters It is common practice at our dealership to change all fuel filters on new machines in the first 30 hours of operation and some before then. The tiny bit of diesel in a new plastic tank off the assembly line can sometimes contain small particles that can potentially cause fuel system problems. We have even gone so far as changing filters every 10 hours to head off any problems. New or not, routine changing of fuel filters is a cheap and effective means of keeping your engine operating at peak performance. As choppers, balers, and tractors begin to finish up this fall, make sure that you change not only the engine fuel filter, but also the filter on your diesel storage tanks, or add a filtering system to your pump if you don’t already have one. We had several customers experience injector problems this summer, and these involved several different colors of tractors ranging from new to old. When this happens, be aware that some manufacturers will be asking for fuel samples. We’ve also seen problems with filters, injectors, metering valves, high pressure pumps, and fuel lines that have caused more than the usual number of issues this year with late-model equipment. Though you can’t always control how “clean” your incoming fuel supply might be, you can eliminate a lot of fuel-related problems by filtering the fuel at several

Biodiesel is widely used in Europe, and now some U.S. states are starting to mandate higher percentages for fuel being sold. This will be a great thing for the agriculture industry in general but I believe will probably lead to a few fuel-related consequences and some needed adjustments along the way. Make no mistake about it, biofuels are here to stay and it appears that engine emission rules will be as well. I sometimes get asked if fuel additives are a good investment. Some people have gone to using additives in their bulk tanks or with each fill-up. Some are extremely effective, but take caution as some do not mix well with others. Certain additives can impact the lubricity of the fuel itself and cause your engine to run irregular. The only way to fix such a problem is to drain your fuel tank. That would definitely not be on my top 10 favorite things to do. Do your homework on fuel additives before you purchase and use them. Diesel fuel quality will be a battle that will be ongoing as engine manufacturers and fuel companies try to keep up with emission regulations. All we can hope for as farmers is that they work together and test both engines and fuel together. The situation is always changing; seemingly, by the day. Hopefully, we can start to see some light at the end of the fuel tunnel where all fuels and engines play nicely together, but for now that fuel picture is pretty dirty! • ADAM VERNER The author is a managing partner in Elite Ag LLC, Leesburg, Ga. He also is active in the family farm in Rutledge.


R E T BET ITY L A U Q CU T Y R E V E

Chris Britton DuPont Pioneer Account Manager

Stephen Hawk Grower

Pioneer® brand alfalfa varieties with HarvXtra® technology deliver higher-quality hay and forage, no matter when you cut.

The answer is

Pioneer.com/HarvXtra

HarvXtra is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready technology is enabled with technology from The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark used under license from Monsanto Company. Do not export Pioneer ® brand alfalfa seed or crops containing Genuity® Roundup Ready® technology, including hay or hay products, to China pending import approval. In addition, due to the unique cropping practices, do not plant this product in Imperial County, California. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Alfalfa with the Genuity® Roundup Ready ® technology provides crop safety for overthe-top applications of labeled glyphosate herbicides when applied according to label directions. Glyphosate agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. ACCIDENTAL APPLICATION OF INCOMPATIBLE HERBICIDES TO THIS VARIETY COULD RESULT IN TOTAL CROP LOSS. Pioneer ® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents. ® TM SM , , Trademarks and service marks of DuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners. © 2017 PHII. DUPPFO17044_VA_110117_HFG ®

DUPPFO17044_VA_110117_HFG.indd 1

®

®

10/26/17 3:22 PM


MACHINE SHED

New Holland adds Discbine models

Vermeer completes 504R baler platform

New Holland’s new Discbine models 310 and 312 offer a 10-foot 4-inch and 11-foot 6-inch cutting width, respectively. Each offers a low-profile cutterbar and a choice of conditioning systems. The new Discbine models are designed to mow cleanly and maneuver quickly. Unlike traditional, side-pull mower-conditioners, the versatile center-pivot machines with swivel hitch design have the ability to mow right, left, or even in line with the accompanying tractor. This allows the operator to alternate mowing positions with every other pass. The new low-profile disc cutterbar works at a shallow angle to aid crop flow over the cutterbar and into the conditioner, providing even conditioning. Simple and convenient adjustments can be made while working and the responsive mower suspension precisely follows field contours. Equipped with the QuickMax knife change system, the special knife release tool easily frees the blade from the disc so knife maintenance is fast and cut quality is ensured. For more information on Discbine 310 and 312 models, visit www.newholland.com or contact your local New Holland dealer.

Vermeer has introduced two new 5-foot by 4-foot balers, the 504R Classic and the 504R Premium. These will complete the brand’s 504R baler platform by adding an economical, entry-level option. While all of the 504R Series balers are built around the same design and come with a three-year pickup warranty, the Classic and the Premium balers offer distinct features for different customers. The 504R Classic is designed for the part-time operator. With low horsepower requirements, this baler comes with a 4-bar camless wide pickup and the Atlas control system that includes a 4.3-inch color touchscreen. Additionally, the radial pin clutch, windguard roller, and optional bale shape indicators make baling easier for the operator. The 504R Premium baler is a first-class baler designed with the versatility to handle wet or dry hay. This baler is equipped with heavy-duty components, including premium “rock” belts designed to handle more bale weight with added strength, optional flotation tires, and a standard hydraulic pickup. With a faster pickup speed and tie cycle, the 504R Premium is designed to handle more capacity. For more information on the 504R Classic and 504R Premium, visit vermeer.com.

Deere premiers new round balers and bale accumulators With the introduction of the 0 Series round balers for the 2018 haying season, John Deere is offering its first North American-built round baler precutter and the industry’s first 5-foot precutter baler. The eight models that comprise the new 0 Series round balers build upon the popular 9 Series balers and include several new features. The eight new 0 Series Balers include: 440E and 450E, two economy models for dry hay baling; 450M, 460M, 550M and 560M with dry hay, silage, or precutter options; 460R and 560R, two premium models with dry hay or precutter options. A new feature is the MegaWideHC2 feed system that delivers faster hay intake and processing, which increases bale-making capacity per hour compared to previous models. It also helps operators handle a wide variety of forage material and swath sizes with ease by offering a 2.2-meter pickup on both 4-foot and 5-foot bale models. The MegaWide HC2 feed system has a larger diameter roller baffle system; twin-rotor feed system for more uniform hay intake and processing; a self-cleaning drop floor that allows the operator to remove plugs from the cab; and a third drive roll that eliminates belt slippage when baling heavy, wet silage bales, and reduces premature wear on belts and drive rolls.

New Plus2 round bale accumulator: In addition to the new 0 Series round balers, John Deere is introducing two models of round bale accumulators that have the ability to carry up to two round bales behind the baler while making a third bale in the chamber. The new John Deere A520R and A420R Plus2 accumulators are fully integrated into the design of the balers and can be used with 6-foot diameter John Deere 7, 8, 9, and 0 Series round balers. These machines will allow the operator to strategically place the bales where it is the most efficient for bale removal, while dramatically reducing the damage to crop regrowth from excessive field travel. One or two bales can be dumped from the cart at the operator’s preferred location while the machine is baling. The new 0 Series round balers and Plus2 round bale accumulators will be available in time for the 2018 haying season. For more information on these new hay tools, visit JohnDeere.com/ag.

The Machine Shed column will provide an opportunity to share information with readers on new equipment to enhance hay and forage production. Contact Managing Editor Mike Rankin at mrankin@hayandforage.com.

42 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017


Hesston debuts WR9900 series SP windrowers Hesston by Massey Ferguson recently introduced the company’s next generation of self-propelled windrowers. Designed to deliver more horsepower and throughput capacity, the Hesston by Massey Ferguson WR9900 Series offers four new models, all with the power and capability to operate 9200 Series auger and disc headers and the new 5400 Series draper headers. The WR9900 Series includes the WR9950 (160 HP), WR9960 (197 HP), WR9970 (235 HP), and WR9980 (265 HP) models. The engines are optimized specifically for use in these windrowers. The WR9950 and WR9960 are equipped with the AGCO Power 4.9L four-cylinder diesel engines, while the WR9970 and WR9980 are powered by the AGCO Power 7.4L six-cylinder diesel engines. All models are capable of operating draper, auger, or rotary headers. The WR9950 is designed to operate a 13-foot disc header, and the remaining three models can be equipped with either a 13- or 16-foot header. Providing the power for cutting the crop is a new hydraulic system that delivers a 20 percent boost in available flow to 16-foot headers, increasing performance and throughput in heavy crop conditions. A new, larger tandem hydraulic pump delivers additional hydraulic flow to the header, and larger hydraulic motors on the 16-foot disc header deliver that power to the cutterbar and conditioner rolls. In addition, the hydraulic oil cooler is now larger to accommodate the higher hydraulic capabilities of the new WR9900 series. The WR9900 series feature AGCO’s exclusive VisionCab that delivers improved visibility, greater comfort, and a

smoother ride. Overall, the cab has a 130-square-foot interior; 77 total square feet of glass; and 33 square feet of glass in the curved windshield. Operators also will appreciate an air conditioning system with 50 percent greater cooling performance than AGCO’s previous windrowers, foot pegs for greater comfort, and Bluetooth capability with a USB plug-in to charge phones or other handheld devices. The new series is also equipped with the V-Cool system and an auto-reverse fan that eliminates the need for rotary screen cleaners to remove dust and chaff from the radiator screen. Operators have the option to select a simple, easy-to-use icon-based monitor, or a 12.1-inch full touchscreen monitor that allows operators to view both the machine functions and the guidance settings on the same screen. Several other optional features are also available on WR9900 series, including Hesston’s exclusive TwinMax advanced conditioning system that double-crimps the stems. The four new windrower models also are available from Challenger. For more information, visit masseyferguson.us or challenger-ag.com.

Vermeer introduces world’s first SP round baler Vermeer recently debuted a prototype of the ZR5 self-propelled round baler, which they promise will make quick work of any field while offering exceptional ride quality and maneuverability. The patent-pending suspension technology will allow operators to better handle the bumps and jostling that naturally come with baling hay. Taking a page from the lawn care industry, Vermeer has applied zero-radius turning to the steering system in the self-propelled machine. This feature allows operators to gain better maneuverability and driving efficiency than a conventional tractor-baler combination. The zero-radius turning can eliminate skipping a windrow to make the turn or swinging out wide to get into the next windrow. When it’s time to head to the next field, zero-radius turning can be disengaged. The operator steers the ZR5 using the front wheels for a smooth, confident ride. While still a prototype, automating the baling process as well as providing the ability to automatically make real-time adjustments based on field, crop, and operator inputs are

just a couple of the goals Vermeer has for the ZR5. Integrated quarter-turn technology is part of the ZR5 baling automation process. During the tie-cycle, the machine can automatically rotate to the left or right, positioning the bale parallel to the windrow upon ejection. When placing bales parallel to the windrow, the picking up process can be completed up to 35 percent faster, according to the company. The bale chamber can be removed for maintenance in a matter of minutes, helping to ensure producers are spending time productively in the field. To learn more about Vermeer products, visit vermeer.com.

November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 43


MACHINE SHED

Pöttinger expands mower lineup The NOVACAT A10 mower combination from Pöttinger is now joined by the NOVACAT A9. Together with a front mower, it covers a working width from 29.3 to 30.1 feet and is packed with the same technical highlights. The NOVACAT A9 can be used as a front/rear combination and is extremely versatile for adjustable working widths. The mower combination is available with swath formers without conditioners, with tine-type conditioners, or with roller-type conditioners. Hydraulic cutterbar weight alleviation is included on all models. The special Y-drive input gearbox with bevel cut gears features an output shaft on the opposite side. This means that longer standard PTO shafts can be used with less angle. The constant velocity joint in the inside mower drum provides a stress-free link between the angular gearbox and the cutterbar. The result is a smooth running system that offers a higher output, even in tough conditions and in the headland position. This also extends service life significantly. Nonstop Lift is an innovative technology that ideally protects the cutterbar. Fitted to both ends, the collision safety device enables the cutterbar to avoid obstructions efficiently. When triggered, the boom folds backward on the triangular frame and is also raised at the front by the gimbals — a three-di-

44 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

mensional collision safety system. The mower avoids impact with the obstruction so that damage to the cutterbar is prevented at higher driving speeds. The heart of the mower combination is the NOVACAT cutterbar with its standard quick-change blade system. Tapered disc surfaces, optimized counter-chop zone, and generous overlap of the blade paths ensure a quality cut and perfect crop flow. For road transport, the mower hydraulically folds upward and is compact, locking securely in the transport position. The mower combination is equipped with the Select Control terminal as a standard feature. It allows preselection of the mower units, control of the folding side guards, the hydraulic transport interlock as well as setting weight alleviation using shut-off valves. The control terminal also has an integrated maintenance management feature. Dependent on the operating time of the mower driveshaft, the control terminal displays which maintenance steps need to be performed on the machine. For more information, visit www.poettinger.at.


BUYERS MART

SCHERER PROCESSORS

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> Vertical system >Bales Bales can be ofany type Vertical system 80 hpand tractorstraw minimum can be any type hay and strawof hay Makes 20-30 bales per hour Automatic continuous 14 bales per bundle > 80 hp tractor minimum > Automatic continuous > Makes 20–30 bales per hour > 14 bales per bundle

Simple design - Easy to operate

www.arcusin.com

Dane Hanson Jamestown, KS 785-243-0037 hansondane@nckcn.com

Dane Hanson Jamestown, KS 785-243-0037 hansondane@nckcn.com November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 45


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Find us on Facebook and view products in action on our YouTube channel!

Mid-America Forage Expo

November 28 & 29, 2017

Scott’s Bluff County Fairgrounds Mitchell, Nebraska

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

Trade show featuring everything forage! • Excellent speaker programs both days • Fundraising Auction – Tuesday, November 28 at 4:00 p.m. • Hay Contest

• Photo Contest

• Unlimited networking with forage producers and industry representatives from across the nation

Serving hay growers since 1978! www.hoelscherinc.com 620-562-3575 46 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

* Co-sponsored with UNL Panhandle Research & Extension Center

Event details online at:

800-743-1649 www.AlfalfaExpo.com


BUYERS MART

AFGC 2018 ANNUAL CONFERENCE & EXPO

“Forages: Opportunities for the Next Generation” hosted by the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council

January 14–17 Crowne Plaza Louisville, KY

www.afgc.org WORKSHOPS INCLUDE: • Opportunities for Grassland Agriculture: Thinking Outside the Box • Producing Quality Hay in a Humid Environment • New Technology in Grassland Agriculture • Clover Management in the 21st Century • Taking the Guesswork out of Horse Pasture Management • Fescue Toxicosis in Grazing Livestock: Impacts and Solutions

Quit your pitchin’ If youʼre pitchinʼ off the pile, youʼre wasting time, labor, seed, water, fertilizer, and everything else that goes into growing crops or buying feed. And itʻs unsafe. Find a solution to your pitchinʼ problem and save feed dollars with our custom-made silage barrier film options.

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559-779-5961 November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 47


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BUILT FOR RESULTS OVERBUILT TO LAST SINCE

INCREASE YOUR YIELDS GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FORAGE

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STEFFEN SYSTEMS

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SteffenSystems.com // 1.888.STEFFEN or 503.399.9941 48 Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017 “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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Try BaleSkiis® Baler Liners at no risk to: * Extend the life of your baler * Make uniform bales in weight, length & density * Decrease repairs & their costs * Decrease fuel usage of power source * Run baler more smoothly & efficiently * Increase RFV & forage quality

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NO Explosions! NO Poison Bait!

Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Controller PERC® • The most effective and safe way to control burrowing rodents. • Saves time, gopher mounds are probed, not dug out. • Control ground squirrels-gophers-prairie dogs. • Low operating cost and simple to use. • Preserves turf and landscaping. Gopher Control Manufacturing & Sales 855-667-5181 • 530-667-5181 or cell# 530-640-3981 www.hmgophercontrol.com November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 49


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HIGH QUALITY CROP PACKAGING PRODUCTS NET WRAP • High UV stabilization • Maximized bale coverage • Heavier build offers added strength and longevity • Will work well in any properly adjusted baler • Red warning stripes towards end of each roll

BALER TWINE

• High quality twine • High UV Stabilization • Consistency and Strength Our line of products also include: Bunker Covers / 2 in 1 Forager Silage Film Crusher Hay Conditioning Rolls Nurturite Forage Treatments

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50 Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017


BUYERS MART

Make Better Forage Faster R1 MERGER ATTACHMENT

186M MERGER Wider merger for your toughest conditions.

Merger attachment for John Deere R450 and W200 Series Windrowers to save passes in the field.

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Walking Beam Suspension • Rolling Rack ❖ Industrial Grade Cylinders ❖ Premium Parts and • Walking Beam Suspension Auto To Manual Heavy Duty Frame • Simple Automation System by Farmers for Farmers ❖ Rolling ❖ Rack BuiltGrade Walking Beam Suspension • Industrial Cylinders ❖ Simple Automation System ❖ Industrial Grade Cylinders • Easy Transition from Auto to Manual ❖ Easy Transition From ❖ Premium Parts and Auto To Manual Parts and Heavy Heavy Duty Frame • Premium Duty Frame ❖

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Knoll Dr. RCI products your local For more information, visit208 us River at www.RCIengineering.com, call usareatavailable (888) through 472-4552. Mayville, WI 53050 John Deere dealer or call RCI Toll Free at 888-472-4552 Fax: 920-387-9806 RCI products are also available through your local John Deere dealer. © 2013 RCI Engineering LLC. All rights reserved.

A John Deere Allied Supplier

©2015 RCI Engineering LLC. All rights reserved.

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541-602-9595 • nwagkarl@gmail.com

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WESTERN ALFALFA & FORAGE

SYMPOSIUM Producing Quality Forages in the West

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 jane@agamsi.com

November 2017 | hayandforage.com | 51


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Rakes

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52 Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017 Buyer's Mart .indd 1

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BUYERS MART U.S. Postal Service STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

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17. 18.

Publication Title: Hay & Forage Grower Publication No.: 021-713 Filing Date: September 29, 2017 Issue Frequency: January, February, March, April/May, August/September and November No. of Issues Published Annually: 6 Annual Subscription Price: $0 Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, WI 53538-0801. Contact Person: Brian V. Knox, Telephone: 920-563-5551. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, WI 53538-0801. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor: Publisher: W. D. Hoard & Sons Company, Brian V. Knox, 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0801. Editor: Managing Editor: Michael C. Rankin, 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, P.O. Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0801 Owner: Hay & Forage LLC, 28 Milwaukee Ave. W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Paris M Knox 1990 Educational Trust, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Gillian V. Knox 1990 Educational Trust, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Brian V. Knox II 1992 Educational Trust, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Gregory J. Mode, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Gina L. Mode, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities: None Tax Status (for completion by non-profit organizations authorized to mail at non-profit rates: N/A Publication Title: Hay & Forage Grower Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: August/September 2017 Extent and Nature of Circulation: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: a. Total Number of Copies (Net Press Run): 64,077 b. Legitimate Paid and/or Requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail): 1. Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 32,982 2. In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS From 3541.(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 0 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS®: 0 4. Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail®): 0 c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 32,982 d. Non-requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail) 1. Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, builk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources): 29,578 2. In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other resources): 0 3. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g. First-Class Mail, nonrequestor copies mailed in excess of 10% limit mailed at Standard Mail® or Package Services rates): 0 4. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include pickup stands, trade shows, showrooms, and other sources): 475 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution (Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 30,053 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and e): 63,035 g. Copies not Distributed (See Instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3): 1,042 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g): 64,077 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100): 52.32% Extent and Nature of Circulation: No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: a. Total Number of Copies (Net Press Run): 64,940 b.Legitimate Paid and/or Requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail): 1. Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 43,024 2. In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS From 3541.(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 0 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS®: 0 4. Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail®): 0 c.Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 43,024 d. Non-requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail) 1. Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, builk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources): 19,411 2. In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources): 0 3. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g. First-Class Mail, nonrequestor copies mailed in excess of 10% limit mailed at Standard Mail® or Package Services rates): 0 4. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include pickup stands, trade shows, showrooms, and other sources): 500 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution (Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 19,911 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and e): 62,935 g. Copies not Distributed (See Instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3): 2,005 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g): 64,940 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100): 68.36% Electronic Copy Circulation: Hay & Forage Grower. Average No. Copies Each Issue During Previous 12 Months: a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: 0 b. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15C) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 c. Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 d. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c X 100): 0%. Electronic Copy Circulation Hay & Forage Grower. No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: 0 b. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15C) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 c. Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 d. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c X 100): 0%. I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic & print) are legitimate requests or paid copies. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the November 2017 issue of this publication. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). Brian V. Knox, Publisher September 29, 2017

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FORAGE IQ Alabama Forage Conference November 28 and 29, Eufaula, Ala. Details: www.aces.edu/anr/forages/ 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/ Grassfed Beef in the Southeast December 7 and 8, Purvis, Miss. Details: http://forages.pss.msstate.edu Kansas Forage and Grassland Conference Annual Meeting December 12, Salina, Kan. Details: https://ksfgc.org/wkfc American Forage & Grassland Conference January 14 to 17, Louisville, Ky. Details: afgc.org Northwest Hay Expo January 17 and 18, Kennewick, Wash. Details: www.wa-hay.org Iowa Forage and Grassland Conference January 18, Ames, Iowa Details: http://iowaforage.org Southwest Hay & Forage Conference January 18 and 19, Ruidoso, N.M. Details: www.nmhay.com Vermont Grazing & Livestock Conference January 19 and 20, Fairlee, Vt. Details: http://bit.ly/HFG-VGLC17 U.S. Custom Harvesters Convention January 25 to 27, Grand Island, Neb. Details: www.uschi.com Western Alfalfa Seed Growers Assn. Winter Seed Conference January 28 to 30, San Antonio, Texas Details: www.wasga.org Virginia Winter Forage Conferences January 29 to February 1, various locations Details: vaforages.org GrassWorks Grazing Conference January 30 to February 1 Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Details: http://grassworks.org 54 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2017

HAY MARKET UPDATE

Prices keep pace as exports soften Although alfalfa exports have realized monthly declines since April, year-todate volumes are still ahead of last year. Hay prices have held steady or exhibited slight increases during the fall with quantities of Supreme-quality hay becoming much tighter. Forage quality

is likely to become a much bigger issue than quantity through winter, especially in dairy regions. 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 hay California (Intermountain) California (northern SJV) California (Sacramento Valley) Colorado (northeast) Colorado (southwest)-ssb Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (southwest) Kansas (north central/east) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri Montana-ssb Nebraska (eastern/central) New Mexico (eastern) Oregon (eastern) Oregon (Lake)

Price $/ton

South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb

230-248 South Dakota (East River) 240-285 (d) Texas (west) 240 Utah (central) 180 Washington (Columbia Basin)-ssb 250 Wisconsin (Lancaster) 200-208 Wyoming (eastern) 150 Fair-quality hay 150-165 California (southeast) 185-210 Colorado (San Luis Valley) 150-175 Idaho 170-250 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb 200-250 Kansas (southeast) 160-200 Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb 175-200 Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 175 Montana 200-230 Nebraska (panhandle)

100-115 150-160 140-160 80-90 170 123-158 120-125 Price $/ton 125 115 110 100-105 75-90 70 125-130 120-150 110-115

Texas (Panhandle) Texas (north,central, east) Utah (southern) Washington (Columbia Basin) Premium-quality hay California (northern SJV) California (southeast) Colorado (San Luis Valley) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (south central)

180-235 (d) New Mexico (southeastern) 225-240 (d) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb 120-150 South Dakota (East River)-lrb 180 Texas (west) Utah (Uintah Basin) Price $/ton 265 (d) Wisconsin (Lancaster)-lrb 180 Bermudagrass hay 180 Alabama-Premium lrb 140-150 California (southeast) 120-140 Texas (north,central, east)-Premium ssb 130-145 Texas (south)-Good/Premium lrb

120-145 (d) 80-95 125 135-140 50-70 50 Price $/ton 87-133 190 231-265 100-140

Montana Nebraska (eastern/central) Nebraska (panhandle) Oklahoma (western) Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-ssb Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (East River) Texas (north,central, east) Utah (northern) Washington (Columbia Basin) Good-quality hay California (Sacramento Valley) Colorado (northeast) Iowa (Rock Valley) Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Kansas (southwest) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri Nebraska (eastern/central) Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb New Mexico (southern) Oklahoma (central) Oregon (Crook-Wasco) Oregon (Lake) Pennsylvania (southeast) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb

140-155 150-175 160 120-130 200 170-240 185 210-225 100-120 195 Price $/ton 150 130-140 108 110-115 125-145 135-155 120-160 150 80-85 135-155 100-110 140 160 150-215 235

Price $/ton 290-300 285 225-250 Price $/ton 210-240 220 210-220 200-250 200 Price $/ton 80 120-130 125 130 (d) 125 80 (d) Price $/ton 60 93-103 75-85 60-90 38-40 60-70 190-210 100-115

Orchardgrass hay California (Intermountain)-Premium Colorado (southwest)-Premium ssb Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb Timothy hay Montana-Premium ssb Oregon (Lake)-Premium Pennsylvania-Premium Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good ssb Washington (Columbia Basin)-Good ssb Oat hay Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Kansas (southeast) Nebraska (western)-lrb New Mexico (eastern) Oregon (Lake) Texas (Panhandle) Straw California (Intermountain) Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Kansas (north central/east) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Montana Nebraska (panhandle) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb South Dakota (East River)

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


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HARVESTING MANAGER FOR CAPSTONE RANCH • MADERA, CA

We ran Krone, went to John Deere, now we’re back to Krone. The Krone does a really good job with kernel processing. That’s so important!

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Alfalfa Variety Ratings

20 18

Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties This National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance publication is intended for use by Extension and agri-business personnel to satisfy a need for information on characteristics of certified-eligible alfalfa varieties. NAFA updates this publication annually.

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WINTER SURVIVAL, FALL DORMANCY & PEST RESISTANCE RATINGS FOR ALFALFA VARIETIES % Resistant Plants 0-5% 6-14% 15-30% 31-50% >50%

RESISTANCE RATINGS Resistance Class Susceptible Low Resistance Moderate Resistance Resistance High Resistance

FD Rating 1 2 3 4 5

FALL DORMANCY (FD) RATING DESCRIPTIONS Description FD Rating Description Very Dormant 6 7 Semi-Dormant Dormant 8 9 Non-Dormant Moderately Dormant 10 11 Very Non-Dormant

FD is the degree of fall alfalfa growth, as a response to temperature and day length. Lower dormancy ratings exhibit less fall growth, while higher dormancy ratings indicate greater fall growth. FD ratings are indices assigned by comparing the height of fall growth with standard check varieties, and tested across locations and years to accurately represent dormancy response across environments.

WINTER SURVIVAL RATINGS Category Check Variety Extremely Winterhardy ZG 9830 Very Winterhardy 5262 Winterhardy WL325HQ Moderately Winterhardy G-2852 Slightly Winterhardy Archer Non-Winterhardy CUF 101

Class Abbreviations S LR MR R HR

Score 1 2 3 4 5 6

FD 3 - DORMANT

FD 2 - VERY DORMANT

2 HR HR HR HR HR R

Ladak II

Allied

PGI 212

R HR

R

M

MR

R

HR

2 HR MR HR MR R

R

R

HR

Alforex Seeds

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

Spredor 5

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

Spyder

BrettYoung

6305Q

Nexgrow Alfalfa

AFX 429

Alforex Seeds

AmeriStand 433T RR America's Alfalfa

HR R HR R

R

R

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR

G

HR M G

MR R HR

HR HR HR HR HR HR R 2 HR R

R

R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid

Farm Science

R

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

FSG 229CR

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

BrettYoung

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

Foothold

R

Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low)

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR

Northern Root Knot Nematode

BrettYoung

Southern Root Knot Nematode

3010

Stem Nematode

2 HR HR HR HR HR R

Potato Leafhopper

BrettYoung

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

2010

Pea Aphid

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Information is obtained from the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) and the National Alfalfa Variety Review Board (NAVRB) report. Blank spaces indicate the variety has no approved rating through AOSCA.

R

R

H

R

L

R HR HR HR

R

R

R

R

R

R

R

HR

Concept

BrettYoung

HR HR HR HR HR HR

ForeGrazer V

Legacy Seeds

HR R HR HR HR HR R

FSG 329

Farm Science

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Graze N Hay 3.10RR

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Hi-Gest 360

Alforex Seeds

Lariat

J.R. Simplot

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

R

LegenDairy XHD

Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R HR

R

HR L

R

R

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

M R

G

H H

G

2018 VL - 2 2018 Variety Leaflet.indd 2

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S&W

HR R

RR Presteez

Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Rugged

Alforex Seeds

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR

Survivor

BrettYoung

HR R

54HVX42

Pioneer

54Q14

R

R

R

R HR

HR

L

R MR

HR

MR

R

R

HR HR HR HR R HR MR R

R

R

Pioneer

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

54Q29

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR R

R HR

54VR10

Pioneer

HR HR MR HR HR HR HR R HR

54VR70

Pioneer

428RR

Farm Science

430RRLH

R HR R

R

H

R HR

R

G

HR R HR

MR

R

R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid

Rhino

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

MR MR MR R MR S

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

Allied

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

Ranger II

Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low)

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

Northern Root Knot Nematode

BrettYoung

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Octane

R LR

Stem Nematode

HR R HR R

MR

Potato Leafhopper

S&W

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Multi775

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

Pea Aphid

Dairyland

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

MagnaGraze II

FD 3

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

H Y

G

R RX R

HR R

R

MR

HR

R

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

MR

H

Farm Science

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

HR MR

H

R

440HVXRR

Farm Science

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

H

RX

4010BR

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HR R HR

4020MF

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HR MR HR

4030

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R MR HR

4040HY

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

6401N

Nexgrow Alfalfa

6409HVXR

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

6422Q

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

6424R

R

R

R

R HR HR R

R

R

H

HR

HR MR

R

H

R

R

H

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

R

H

R

6427R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

H

R

6472A

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

R

H

G

6497R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

H

G

Adrenalin

BrettYoung

HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

HR H

AFX 457

Alforex Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

L

G

AFX 469

Alforex Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

L

G

AmeriStand 409LH

America's Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

AmeriStand 415NT RR America's Alfalfa

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

HR H

G

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

HR

H

G

HR R

HR

HR M

R

HR H

America's Alfalfa

AmeriStand 445NT

America's Alfalfa

AmeriStand 455TQ RR America's Alfalfa

HR R HR HR HR R 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR R

R

R

R

HR M

G RX

FD 4 - DORMANT

HR MR HR

R

R HR

AmeriStand 427TQ

HR HR HR HR HR R

R

G

R

HR R

G

R

R

2018 VL - 3 2018 Variety Leaflet.indd 3

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FD 4 - DORMANT

R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low)

Northern Root Knot Nematode

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Stem Nematode

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

AmeriStand 457TQ RR America's Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

R

H

R

AmeriStand 480 HVXRR America's Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

H

RX

R

M

R

Barricade SLT

BrettYoung

HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR HR HR

Camas

AgReliant

HR R HR HR HR HR

HR R

Denali 4.10RR

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

DG 4210

Dyna-Gro

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR R

DKA40-16

Dekalb

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

DKA40-51RR

Dekalb

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

DKA43-13

Dekalb

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

DKA44-16RR

Dekalb

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

FSG 403LR

Farm Science

FSG 408DP

Farm Science

FSG 420LH

HR HR

HR M R

H

R

H

HR

H

R G

R R

R

R

R

R

R

R

R

2 HR R HR HR HR R

R

R

Farm Science

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

HR R

FSG 423ST

Farm Science

2 HR HR HR R HR R

R

R

FSG 426

Farm Science

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR HR

GA-409

Preferred

GrandStand II

Dyna-Gro

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R HR

HVX Driver

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

HVX HarvaTron HybriForce-2400

HR HR R HR HR HR R

G/F

R R

H H

G

R

R HR L R HR

G/F H

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

M

R

R

H

RX

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

R

H

RX

Dairyland

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HybriForce-2420/Wet Dairyland

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HybriForce-3400

Dairyland

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR

Integra 8420

Wilbur-Ellis

HR HR HR HR HR HR

Integra 8444R

Wilbur-Ellis

R HR HR HR HR R

L-446RR

Legacy Seeds

L-449Aph2

Legacy Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

L-455HD

Legacy Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR

LG4R300

AgReliant

HR HR HR HR HR HR

Magnitude

Growmark/Allied

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Magnum 7

Dairyland

Magnum 7-Wet

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R R

HR R HR

F

H

HR R HR

H

HR R HR

H

HR R

HR

HR

HR

HR M R

M

G/F R

R HR

R

H

R

HR HR

HR

M

R

R

HR

H

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR R HR

Dairyland

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR HR HR

Magnum Salt

Dairyland

2 HR HR HR R HR R

R

HR R HR

Magnum V

Dairyland

2 HR R HR R HR MR

Mariner IV

Growmark/Allied

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

Medalist

Union

3 HR HR HR HR HR R

HR R

Optimus

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR HR R

R

R

R MR R

R

G

G/F

MR

HR HR HR HR R

HR M R

M

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Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

RR Stratica

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR R

RR VaMoose

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR R

RRALF 4R200

AgReliant

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR

Scimitar

Growmark/Allied

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

SGS 47M

J.R. Simplot

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Shockwave BR

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

MR

HR R HR

Stockpile

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR R HR

SW4107

S&W

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

R

55H94

Pioneer

HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R

HR R

55Q27

Pioneer

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

HR

55Q28

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR R

R

R

HR

HR

55V50

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR HR R

R

R

HR

55VR08

Pioneer

5010

BrettYoung

HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR HR R

6516R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

HR

HR HR

6547R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

HR R HR HR HR HR

6585Q

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

505005 AFX 579

H

HR

R

H

R

H

HR MR R

G

R

G

R

H

R

HR R

R

H

R

R R

R R

L

HR M

R

HR

HR H

R

HR

H

S&W

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HR MR

Alforex Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR

L

R HR R HR HR HR

HR HR

HR

HR M

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

HR H

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

H

HR

R

G

R

G/F R

G R

Archer III

America's Alfalfa

DG 5315

Dyna-Gro

DKA50-17

Dekalb

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Evermore

Allied/SS/TFC

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR R

R

MR L

FSG 524

Farm Science

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

H

GA-535

Preferred

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

R

GUNNER

Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

HR H

L-450RR

Legacy Seeds

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR HR

R

M

R

L-504HD

Legacy Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR

LG5R300

AgReliant

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR HR

HR

M

R

MasterPiece II

J.R. Simplot

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

Nimbus

Croplan

HR R HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

PGI 529

Alforex Seeds

HR R HR HR HR HR

MR R MR

R

PGI 557

Alforex Seeds

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

HR

R

R

R

H

FD 5 - MODERATELY DORMANT

HR

AmeriStand 545NT RR America's Alfalfa

R

FD 4

HR

R HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR HR HR HR HR

R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid

RR AphaTron 2XT

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

Croplan

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

Rebound 6XT

Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low)

Northern Root Knot Nematode

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Stem Nematode

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

H

HR M

F

L HR L

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FD 5 FD 6 - SEMI-DORMANT FD 7 FD 8 - NON-DORMANT

RR Tonnica

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Slingshot

BrettYoung

2

SW 5213

S&W

6010

BrettYoung

6610N

Nexgrow Alfalfa

Alfagraze 600 RR

America's Alfalfa

Arriba II

America's Alfalfa

Cisco II

Alforex Seeds

2 HR HR HR R HR MR

HR

FSG 639ST

Farm Science

3 HR R HR R HR MR

R

Hi-Gest 660

Alforex Seeds

R MR HR HR R

HybriForce-2600

Dairyland

Integra 8600

Wilbur-Ellis

Revolt

Nexgrow Alfalfa

HR R HR HR HR

RR Six Shooter

Croplan

HR HR HR HR HR

RRALF 6R200

AgReliant

R

SW 6330

S&W

R LR R

Tango

AgReliant

6829R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

AmeriStand 618NT

America's Alfalfa

R HR HR HR HR HR

R

HR

H

R

HR

R

R

HR HR

HR

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

HR

2 HR HR HR HR HR R HR

HR HR HR R HR R

HR

R

HR HR HR

R HR HR

MR R

R

R MR

R HR HR R R

R

MR HR HR HR HR R

R

R HR HR

MR MR HR R HR

HR HR

HR R R

R

R

HR

R

R

HR HR R

HR R

HR HR R

HR

R HR MR

H H

G

HR M

R R

G

R

G

R

MR R

HR HR R

MR

HR HR R

HR

HR HR HR

HR

R M

HR HR R

Magna 715

Dairyland

R

R HR HR R

HR

SW 7410

S&W

R

HR MR R

AmeriStand 803T

America's Alfalfa

MR

HR MR HR

R

M

G/F R

R HR HR R

MR R LR

R HR HR

HR

HR HR

AmeriStand 835NTS RR America's Alfalfa

R MR HR LR R

HR HR HR

HR

GrandSlam

Dyna-Gro

R

HR HR HR

R

Integra 8800

Wilbur-Ellis

LaJolla

Imperial Valley

Magna 801FQ

Dairyland

Pacifico

AgReliant

PGI 801

Alforex Seeds

RRALF 8R100

AgReliant

SW 8421S

S&W

R HR

HR

R

MR

HR

R

R MR HR MR HR

HR R

R

R MR HR R HR

HR HR HR

MR R HR HR HR

HR HR HR

HR HR HR

HR

MR R HR R

R

HR H

HR R

HR R

G/F

H

HR HR HR

R

G

HR R HR

HR HR HR

HR R

R

G

R HR HR HR

HR

G

HR

R

HR

R

F

Alforex Seeds

R HR

G

HR R HR

CW 704

R

H

R HR

HR

R

R

HR H

HR HR

R

G

MR HR HR

R HR HR HR

MR LR HR

M

HR H

R

HR R HR

G/F R

R HR

AmeriStand 715NT RR America's Alfalfa

R HR R HR

G

HR H

HR

R

2 HR R HR HR HR R

R

R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

Croplan

HR H

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

RR NemaStar

HR HR HR HR

HR

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

HR

Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low)

Channel

Northern Root Knot Nematode

RR501

HR R

Southern Root Knot Nematode

HR HR HR R HR HR

Stem Nematode

Union

Potato Leafhopper

Premium

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

M

R HR HR R

R

R

R F

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6906N

Nexgrow Alfalfa

MR

R

HR HR HR

HR

G

AFX 960

Alforex Seeds

LR MR HR HR R

HR

HR

G

AmeriStand 901TS

America's Alfalfa

R MR HR R HR

AmeriStand 915TS RR America's Alfalfa

HR R

R MR R

R HR

HR

HR HR HR

R

HR

G

R

HR

G

MR

DG 9212

Dyna-Gro

LR R HR HR HR

HR HR HR

HR

Magna 995

Dairyland

LR LR HR MR HR

HR R

HR R HR

PGI 908-S

Alforex Seeds

R

R HR HR HR

HR HR HR

R HR HR

RR Desert Rose

Croplan

R

R HR HR HR

HR HR HR

R

RR902

Channel

HR HR

R

G

R

RRALF 9R100

AgReliant

HR

G

R

SALTANA

Imperial Valley

HR

HR

Sun Quest

Croplan

MR

R

SW 9215

S&W

R

HR

SW 9628

S&W

LR

SW 9720

S&W

MR

6015R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

A-1086

Alforex Seeds

MR R HR R HR

AFX 1060

Alforex Seeds

LR R

R

SW 10

S&W

MR

R

R

R HR R HR R R HR

HR R HR HR HR HR

H G/F R

HR HR

G

HR R HR

HR

R LR R

HR R

R

HR

R

R

HR HR R

MR HR

R

HR HR HR

HR

HR

G

HR R

R

HR HR HR

G

R

HR

G

R MR R

R

HR HR HR

HR

R

R R

HR HR HR

F F R

FD 10

R

FD 9 - NON-DORMANT

Imperial Valley

R LR HR

HR R MR

R

Catalina

MR R

R

HR R

R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low)

Northern Root Knot Nematode

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Stem Nematode

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

R

This publication provides ratings of alfalfa varieties eligible for certification by seed certifying agencies. It does not list all important characteristics to be considered in the selection of alfalfa varieties. With the exception of some varieties listed as checks, all varieties listed can be purchased in the United States.

NAFA HEADQUARTERS OFFICE

4630 Churchill Street, #1 St. Paul, MN 55126 Phone: (651) 484-3888 • Fax: (651) 638-0756 nafa@alfalfa.org

NAFA WESTERN OFFICE

100 N. Fruitland, Suite B Kennewick, WA 99336 Phone: (509) 585-5460 • Fax: (509) 585-2671 agmgt@agmgt.com

VISIT NAFA AT WWW.ALFALFA.ORG

2018 VL - 7 2018 Variety Leaflet.indd 7

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MARKETERS

Varieties are submitted by marketers and listing does not imply NAFA endorsement. Variety information in this publication is that which is submitted for certification.

AgReliant Genetics, LLC

Dairyland Seed Co., Inc.

NEXGROW Alfalfa Seeds

Leaflet Listing: AgReliant

Leaflet Listing: Dairyland

Leaflet Listing: Nexgrow Alfalfa

Westfield, IN 46074 317-896-5556

West Bend, WI 53095 800-236-0163

Pocahontas, IA 50574 855-4NEXGROW

www.lgseeds.com

www.dairylandseed.com

www.plantnexgrow.com

Alforex Seeds

DEKALB

Preferred Alfalfa Genetics

Leaflet Listing: Alforex Seeds

Leaflet Listing: Dekalb

Leaflet Listing: Preferred

Jordan, MN 55352 877-560-5181

St. Louis, MO 63167 314-694-0431

Story City, IA 50248 515-733-2203

www.alforexseeds.com

www.dekalb.com

brendale@outlook.com

Allied Seed, LLC

DuPont Pioneer

S&W Seed Co.

Leaflet Listing: Allied

Leaflet Listing: Pioneer

Leaflet Listing: S&W

Nampa, ID 83686 888-252-7573

Johnston, IA 50131 715-223-7390

Five Points, CA 93624 916-554-5480

www.alliedseed.com

www.pioneer.com

www.swseedco.com

America’s Alfalfa

Farm Science Genetics

Southern States Coop

Leaflet Listing: America’s Alfalfa

Leaflet Listing: Farm Science

Leaflet Listing: SS

Nampa, ID 83653 800-873-2532

Nampa, ID 83686 888-252-7573

Richmond, VA 23230 804-281-1000

www.americasalfalfa.com

www.farmsciencegenetics.com

www.southernstates.com

BrettYoung Seeds

GROWMARK FS

Tennessee Farmers Coop

Leaflet Listing: BrettYoung

Leaflet Listing: Growmark

Leaflet Listing: TFC

Winnipeg, MB R3V 1L5 800-665-5015

York, PA 17402 717-854-3818

LaVergne, TN 37086 615-793-8011

www.brettyoung.ca

www.fsseed.com

www.ourcoop.com

Channel

Imperial Valley Seeds, Inc.

Union Seed

Leaflet Listing: Channel

Leaflet Listing: Imperial Valley

Leaflet Listing: Union

St. Louis, MO 63167 314-694-0431

Sacramento, CA 95814 916-554-5480

Nampa, ID 83653 608-786-2121

www.channel.com

www.imperialvalleyseeds.com

dwhalen@foragegenetics.com

Crop Production Services

J.R. Simplot Company

Wilbur-Ellis Company

Leaflet Listing: Dyna-Gro

Leaflet Listing: J.R. Simplot

Leaflet Listing: Wilbur-Ellis

Chaska, MN 55318 612-419-5274

Boise, ID 83707 208-780-2728

Ames, IA 50014 515-292-1300

www.dynagroseed.com

www.simplot.com

www.integraseed.com

CROPLAN by WinField United

Legacy Seeds, Inc.

Leaflet Listing: Croplan

Leaflet Listing: Legacy Seeds

St. Paul, MN 55164 800-426-8109

Scandinavia, WI 54977 715-467-2555

www.croplan.com

www.legacyseeds.com

NAFA is proud to collaborate with Hay & Forage Grower on the distribution of its “Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” 2018 Edition.

“Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” 2018 Edition is a publication of the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance and cannot be reproduced without prior written permission from NAFA.

VISIT NAFA AT WWW.ALFALFA.ORG 2018 Variety Leaflet.indd 8

10/6/2017 9:31:57 AM

Hay & Forage Grower November 2017  

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

Hay & Forage Grower November 2017  

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

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