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hayandforage.com

January 2018

Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

Sorghum shows promise in the North pg 6 Extreme forages pg 11 Crimson conviction pg 18 What do your bales weigh? pg 22


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THE MARK OF PROGRESS. S:10.375”

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January 2018 · VOL. 33 · No. 1 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

8 It works for them

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

This unique southern Indiana farm values high-quality forages and diversification. Marketing keys their success.

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Sorghum shows promise in the North Wisconsin research is showing that the right sorghum might have a place in the North.

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Adding grass-finished to a cow-calf operation Adding a grass fed enterprise to an existing cow-calf operation demands careful planning.

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DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 11 Forage Analysis 12 Pasture Ponderings 16 Forage Shop Talk 20 Dairy Feedbunk 22 Beef Feedbunk

EXTREME FORAGE CAN BLUR THE LINES

ALFALFA CROWN ROT AND DITCH HAY RESEARCH

BOOST FROSTSEEDING SUCCESS

NEW FORAGE TOOLS FOR 2018

BETH NELSON TALKS NAFA INITIATIVES

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YOU CAN MANIPULATE SILAGE FIBER DIGESTIBILITY

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Forage Gearhead Research Round-up Machine Shed Forage IQ Hay Market Update

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Crimson conviction Baleage or grazing, crimson clover is a staple on this Texas ranch.

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WHAT DO YOUR HAY BALES WEIGH?

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EQUIPMENT VALUES ON THE RISE

ON THE COVER Crimson clover makes its presence known last spring in the pastures at Woodland Ranch, Alba, Texas. Managed by the Scott Williams, the ranch is home to 270 beef cows. Learn more about how crimson clover helps to anchor their forage program on page 18. Photo by Mike Rankin

HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2018 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

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Mike Rankin Managing Editor

Bailing out of baling

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ECENTLY, I was asked to judge a grazing management essay contest. The entrants ranged from ages 14 to 22. While impressed by the quality of writing and knowledge conveyed by many of the entrants, I found it interesting that several of these young minds noted the economic terror inherent with baling hay for winter feed. Apparently, the word is out. The students have been paying attention in their agricultural economics classes, reading the popular press, and/or attending grazing field days where the evils of baling are often conveyed. But is baling really that bad? The answer, as is often the case, depends on the situation. There is no denying that grazed forage is cheaper than feeding stored forage. It’s also true that whether a cattleman makes his own bales or buys them, that fact alone doesn’t define profitability. Perhaps the most relevant point to be made is that maximizing grazing days for the year has greater economic implications than whether you buy or bale hay. The list of tools to accomplish this is well known to most cattle producers: rotational grazing, strip grazing, nitrogen fertilizer, stockpiling, and the strategic use of summer and winter annuals. This is where to start. Most economic analyses that support the purchase of hay over baling assume that there is a dependable supplier who can deliver what you want and when you want it. Where this situation exists, buying hay may be an easy choice, especially in the South where supplemental forage is needed for 60 days or less. It’s also safe to say that cash flowing a line of hay equipment is easier on a large operation than a small one. Ultimately, it’s the pastures and cows that will make the money. If making

hay compromises the time and management needed for the cattle and their forage, then stay as far away from the baler as possible and find someone else willing and able to supply hay. If you feed growing and finishing cattle during the nongrazing months, just any hay won’t do. This is one of the reasons I’m often given by operations that make their own hay. More and more, hay is being stored as baleage to further enhance forage quality. With a growing number of grass-fed beef operations, legume-packed baleage is the winter feed of choice. This makes the list of capable hay suppliers much shorter. Getting burned by the hay supplier or a custom baler in a manner that costs significant dollars to remedy, or results in lost animal performance, is usually something that only happens once. That’s often when I see fire insurance purchased in the form of haymaking equipment. These situations are also never accounted for in an economic analysis. Most grazing operations have their own acreage that will need to be baled, especially in the spring. Hiring a custom baler to harvest hay from your own land is something of a hybrid approach and may actually be the lowest cost option of the buy or bale discussion. Again, this assumes the custom baler can be depended on to be there when you need them. The buy or bale decision will continue to be debated, but I believe the right answer is very situation specific. Still, let’s not forget that minimizing nongrazing days will reduce the amount of hay needed no matter how the hay gets to the feeder. •

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


T:8.375 in S:7.875 in

Roundup Ready ® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready ® Technology and Roundup Ready ® Alfalfa are subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit www.ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products. America’s Alfalfa, America’s Alfalfa logo, Traffic Tested alfalfa seed and Traffic Tested logo are registered trademarks of Forage Genetics, LLC. © 2018 Forage Genetics International, LLC.

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Comparison of forage growth of multi-cut (left) and single-cut (right) harvest sorghum plots in late September.

Sorghum shows promise in the North by Matt Akins and Liz Remick

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ORAGE production on dairies often focuses on optimizing forage quality and yield for lactating cows; however, this can cause a shortage of moderate-quality forage for dairy heifers, especially bred heifers. Dairy heifers are often fed high-forage diets with corn, alfalfa, or grass silages. Corn silage is high energy (70 to 75 percent total digestible nutrients [TDN] on a dry matter [DM] basis), which exceeds the needs of 900 to 1,200pound heifers that require 60 to 62 percent TDN. These high-quality forages are also lower in fiber and cause higher feed intakes. Sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids are forage options that have a moderate nutritive quality (higher fiber, lower energy) and could control feed intake and weight gain. Also, sorghums have a lower cost of production, reduced seed costs, and lower nutrient and irrigation needs, which help reduce heifer-raising costs. New sorghum types (photoperiod sensitive) are now available as forage options. These are being utilized in the

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southern United States but also have potential in the North. Photoperiod-sensitive hybrids stay vegetative until daylight shortens to 12 hours and 20 minutes, allowing the plant to accumulate greater yields and have lower energy due to their lack of grain production. The potential to grow this forage using similar management to corn (direct chopping at desired moisture) makes it easier to incorporate the crop into current production systems. Research we are conducting is looking at photoperiod sensitive, conventional, and brown midrib (BMR) types of sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass. This article will provide an overview of our completed research on planting date optimization and harvest strategies along with recommendations for growing sorghums in cooler climates.

Better single-harvest yields We established plots at the Marshfield and Hancock Agricultural Research Stations as these locations have stark differences in soil types and management. At Marshfield, the

clay-based soil is heavier, which makes growing sorghums more challenging. Hancock is in the Central Sands region and a more ideal soil because sorghum is better able to deal with lower soil moisture. We evaluated two planting dates (early and mid-June) and harvest schedules (one or two harvests) with the two harvests taken in early August and after a killing frost in the fall (usually early October). The single harvest was taken according to forage maturity or after a killing frost for the photoperiod-sensitive hybrids. Overall, later planting had a negative impact on yield with 1 to 2 tons of DM per acre lower yields. The exception was

MATT AKINS AND LIZ REMICK Akins (pictured) is an extension dairy scientist with the University of Wisconsin based at the Marshfield Agricultural Research Center. Remick is a graduate research assistant.


at Marshfield where heavy rains and soil crusting delayed emergence of the early planting. Coupled with wet conditions, our planting depth of approximately 1.5 inches also delayed and reduced germination and yields on the heavier soils. The planting depth had less impact on Hancock’s sandy soils. Harvest strategy looks to impact yield more significantly than planting date with single-harvest forages having 1.5 to two times greater yields than multiple cuts. The graph shows how sorghum type and harvest strategy affected yields. The single-harvest, photoperiod-sensitive hybrids and conventional sorghum-sudangrass had greater yields (9 to 11 tons of DM per acre) than the BMR hybrids, while corn and forage sorghum were intermediate. The photoperiod-sensitive and conventional sorghum-sudangrass both had the highest yields using two harvests (6 tons of DM per acre). Sorghum-sudangrass and sudangrass had more similar yields using either one or two harvests than other sorghum types due to greater tiller production than the forage sorghums. In addition, the single harvest yields at Hancock were 3 to 4 tons of DM per acre greater than at Marshfield; this was likely due to faster emergence and better soil conditions. Overall, compared to corn, sorghum forages generally produced similar or greater yields of moderate-quality forage using a single-cut system.

fall using a single harvest caused lower fiber digestibility (42 to 58 percent NDF digestibility), especially for sorghum hybrids with higher yields. Brown midrib hybrids using a two-harvest system would be a better fit for young, prebreeding heifers while the conventional and photoperiod-sensitive cultivars would help control feed and energy intakes for pregnant dairy heifers. Nitrates can be a major concern with sorghums. During periods of stress and slow growth such as drought, cool temperatures, or after a frost, the conversion of nitrogen to protein is slowed, causing a buildup of nitrates in the plant. In our studies, plant nitrate concentration was dependent on both location and harvest strategy. At Hancock, nitrates remained at low levels due to the sandy soil not holding as much of the soil nitrogen. Single-harvest sorghums at Marshfield also had nitrate levels below the recommended threshold of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) of nitrate-nitrogen. However, using two harvests at Marshfield resulted in nitrate levels above 1,000 ppm, especially for the second harvest in fall after a frost. Waiting a few days after a frost before ensiling and using a higher cutting height can reduce nitrate concentrations. Testing is always advised when harvesting sorghums to monitor this

risk. Grazing or green chopping is not recommended soon after a frost.

What we’ve learned From our experiences, here are some pointers that may improve sorghum success in the Northern: • Wait for soil temperatures to reach 60°F to 65°F to ensure fast seed germination. • Plant in early to mid-June to ensure forage reaches maturity (soft to hard dough for fall harvest) if using a single harvest strategy. Later planting may result in immature forage and lack of dry down. • Planting depth is very important; in heavy soils, aim for 0.5 to 1 inch and 1 to 1.5 inch for sandy soils. • In heavy soils, avoid planting prior to a forecasted significant rainfall as soil crusting drastically reduces emergence. • Dry down for a fall harvest is slow for photoperiod-sensitive cultivars, even after a frost; wider row spacings (15 to 30 inches) may help improve drying, but research is needed. Forage may need to be cut and wilted to dry prior to harvest. • Use of conventional or photoperiod-sensitive sorghums is suggested for pregnant heifers, while BMR types may offer some flexibility in feeding to lactating cows or young heifers. •

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Forage quality was as expected with lower energy for conventional and photoperiod-sensitive sorghums compared to corn (67 percent TDN). The TDN levels for sorghums were between 55 to 62 percent using a single harvest and 63 to 67 percent using two harvests. The BMR hybrids had 3 to 4 percentage units greater TDN than nonBMR sorghum hybrids and were more similar to corn. Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentrations were greater for sorghums than corn silage (48 percent NDF) using a single harvest; this was especially true for the photoperiod-sensitive hybrids. Sorghums ranged in NDF from 52 to 62 percent for a single harvest and 60 to 65 percent using multiple harvests. Fiber digestibility was higher using multiple harvests ranging from 62 to 70 percent with BMR hybrids having higher NDF digestibility. Harvesting in

Forage cultivar *Corn was only harvested once for the multiple harvest strategy due to no regrowth.

January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 7


Steve Carr, Depauw, Ind., looks over a portion of his grass-fed beef herd. Carr learned the value of forage quality after being in the stocker business for many years

Lauren Peterson

It works for them by Lauren Peterson

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E’RE different in every respect.” The phrase seemed only fitting coming from Steve Carr, owner of 3D Valley Farms in Depauw, Ind., as he tended to the draft horse team he still uses around the farm. Sure enough, it does work for him. Carr and his wife, Jane, have been very successful in direct marketing their naturally raised and grass-fed Angus beef herd. Carr, who started out with 240 acres and his own brood cows around 1980, entered into the stocker business to boost his income. For the next 25 years, he fed about 2,000 stocker cattle a year on 750 acres. It was during this time that Carr really gained an appreciation for quality forage, after looking at the in and out weights of the growing cattle. When their daughters left for college, the Carrs found that diversifica-

8 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

tion allowed them to cut down on the farmwork. It was Jane’s idea to get back into backgrounding and owning their own cattle to have more control of the source. Now with 890 acres, the Carrs are grazing 200 brood cows and have 500 animals on the farm at all times.

Grass-fed, naturally raised With diversification came the opportunity to add value by marketing a portion of the herd as grass-finished beef. Carr likes to keep the operation simple, stating that the herd can go both ways — he can either bring them in and feed them non-GMO grain or finish them out on grass. Grass-finished cattle are brought up to 1,200 pounds on alfalfa pastures and processed at 22 months. “Our grass-finished cattle come right out of our replacement heifers. We’ll pregnancy test and anything that’s

open goes right into what we process,” Carr said. “The disadvantage is a lot of times I’m only hauling one or two grass-finished animals to the processor. We’re rounding up 100 head in order to get one.” Although Carr remarked that he would love to put 200 to 300 head of strictly grass-finished cattle together and ship them all out at once, the demand simply isn’t there for the premium that he is currently getting through staggering finished animals to LAUREN PETERSON The author was the 2017 Hay & Forage Grower summer editorial intern.


meet demand. Carr is confident that he is on the right track as his grass-finished business grows each year. While the hanging weight and dressing percentage are lower on grass-fed animals, the premium for this value-added product gives room for expanding the operation as they see fit.

Focus on forages

store-bought protein. Though bloat is a concern with his alfalfa pastures, Carr is able to alleviate this simply by managing how his cattle graze. In addition to the first cutting coming off the field as hay, his pastures are subdivided into smaller paddocks that the cattle are rotated through daily. Furthermore, he turns his cattle out in the early afternoon when the dew is off and makes sure they don’t go in hungry. “I want to see a little bit left out there. That tells me that the cattle are full and getting everything they need, but I want it to look pretty much like a cut hayfield — I don’t want hungry cattle,” Carr added.

Challenged by tall fescue Raising cattle in the foothills of southern Indiana has one notorious limiting factor — an abundance of Kentucky 31 tall fescue. “We went to a fall calving herd,” Carr said. “We’re utilizing Kentucky 31 during its best time of the year and that’s stockpiling and winter grazing.” Carr turns bulls out in December and January in order to enhance conception rate and also ensure that the calves are off of the cow by summer, lowering continued on the next page >>>

Lauren Peterson

While grass-finished cattle only represent 10 percent of his business, the grain-finished cattle are also spending 85 to 90 percent of their lives on pasture. Although he hopes to eventually graze year-round, last year Carr only had to provide stored feed for 90 days. He knows that quality forages make quality beef. “We’ve been doing grass finishing for the past six years, maybe seven, but what we’ve learned is we’ve got to keep these cattle on a higher quality diet,” Carr said. For this, Carr relies on alfalfa to get him through the summer. Calling it his drought insurance plan, Carr notes that he is able to graze while neighbors affected by drought will be feeding hay. Carr has around 100 acres of alfalfa that is made into a first cutting of hay, then it is rotationally or strip grazed the remainder of the year. He credits

his quality alfalfa pastures for the added palatability of his products. “I’ve had some grass-finished beef that just didn’t taste good — it was too tough,” Carr explained. “So I went into this knowing that the grass-finished beef would probably never be as tender or have the marbling that grain-finished beef will have, but it doesn’t have to be that big of a gap.” Carr has also found success in no-till drilling cereal rye into his alfalfa, providing early spring forage. After early spring rains prevented his herd from grazing the first year, he ended up baling the rye in late April. He has found that making a first cutting and wrapping it as baleage works better as it is often too hard getting cattle on the fields after wet weather, and the rye would end up smothering the alfalfa if not taken off early. Thirty days after harvesting the rye, the alfalfa is ready to start grazing, which is generally about June 1. These alfalfa fields are grazed until September 15, when more rye is no-tilled into the alfalfa for fall grazing. The cattle return November 1 to graze rye until they are put on baleage for the winter. Carr remarked that after using this stockpiled baleage, his cattle came through the winter in their best shape yet with no

“There doesn’t have to be a big gap between grass- and grain-finished beef, said Steve Carr. His key to success: “Keep cattle on high-quality pastures during the growing phase.”

Carr still uses and cares for a team of draft horses. It’s just one of the many unique aspects of 3D Valley Farms

January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 9


Jane Carr

Lauren Peterson

Steve and his wife, Jane, operate an on-farm store at 3D Valley Farms. It’s just one of many ways that their beef makes its way to the consumer’s plate.

Carr works his Angus herd, ensuring that good pasture is always available. He no-tills cereal rye into his alfalfa pastures for both fall grazing and to cut for baleage in the spring.

>>> continued from the previous page its nutritional requirements. He also shared that maintaining a 50 percent stand of clover in his fescue pastures has helped tremendously. He rotationally grazes the cow portion of his herd on this mix of fescue, clover, and orchardgrass year-round, while his weaned calves and replacement heifers strip graze alfalfa pastures. “I like to move cows once a day, and when they get ready to leave that area, I like to see the tall grass flat on the ground,” stated Carr, who won the Indiana Forage Council’s Forage Spokesperson contest in 2016. Calling that philosophy another portion of his drought management plan, Carr maintains that this is actively adding organic matter back into the soil and retains moisture by shading the ground. Through this method, he has seen better quality forages develop and different species of grasses growing in his fescue fields.

Marketing at the market Carr credits the farm’s success with direct marketing to Jane’s understanding of consumer needs. They started by selling their products at a farmers’ market. Although skeptical at first, they were met with positive reactions and a very loyal customer base. “I told Steve ‘Hey, that’s your thing,’” 10 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

Jane recalled. “Then I went with him a couple times and saw that there was interest in this. When a customer comes back and buys a second time, that’s the biggest compliment you can get,” she added. Customers now can find the Carrs’ products at two farmers’ markets, three smaller grocery stores, restaurants, online, or by coming to the farm’s own on-site store. That said, most of their business still relies on attending the farmers’ markets every Friday and Saturday. “I think it’s a good way to add income to an existing farm operation, but it’s not for everybody,” warned Carr of the year-round trips. “Our customers expect us there.” “We would love to have a break,” added Jane. “You give up a lot, but we’ve always been kind of tied down to the farm.” Jane admits that it is well worth the hard work when the product is able to sell itself. The two explained that they really fell into this niche market by being able to address consumer needs. After listening to the consumer, the Carrs started producing a product that is certified humane, hormone free, and without antibiotics. “We promote our product but don’t want to do it in a way that makes the

consumer feel like what they get in the grocery store is an inferior product,” Carr clarified. “The guys out there at the big feedlots do a tremendous job of supplying the country with a good, wholesome, healthy product, and I’m not going to promote my meat as being healthier than what they’re doing.” Although the Carrs draw most of their income from cattle, their business also markets additional naturally sourced products. They tap their own maple trees for syrup and market pork products from a nearby farmer with the same production guidelines as their own. Their daughter also raises free-range chickens that forage among the cattle and their eggs are a customer favorite. “People comment about what a difference that bright, rich yellow yolk is compared to other eggs they’ve bought,” said Jane of their alfalfa-fed chickens, noting that they do receive very limited amounts of non-GMO grain. While Carr and his wife are currently the only full-time employees, their goal is to pass the farm on to the next generation. The operation has brought two daughters back to the farm to work part time as they raise families. With the next generation preparing to take over, the future of 3D Valley Farms looks sustainable — to say the least. •


FEED ANALYSIS

by John Goeser energy to the diet. Beyond the added grain, cutting higher off the ground can bring more energy per ton via the fiber. The stalk is less digestible in the region closer to the roots because the plant is anchored via a strong root structure and must lignify to hold the plant upright. Much like a flagpole, the base of the plant must be strong to support the upper mass. Thus, cutting the plant further from the ground leaves less digestible (woody) stalk in the field and means the fiber that’s harvested is more digestible per pound.

A case study

Extreme forage can blur the lines

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N TODAY’S society, many times we focus on the norm and the average. Think about the number of times you’ve read my or others’ work discussing what “average” forage looks like or how averages have trended from one cutting or crop year to the next. Averages can be meaningful, but in some cases, they can mask opportunities. Several years back a trusted colleague of mine, Neil Michael, D.V.M., taught me when consulting for a dairy herd and walking cows to worry less about averages and look more for outliers or extremes. For example, counting the number of outlier body condition scores or fecal scores from week to week can be more meaningful than monitoring the average. In that context, Michael was teaching me to observe extreme cases as indicators of nutrition program opportunities. The topic here is not a transition cow program but rather forage management. We can apply the extreme concept to forage varieties and forage management to find profitable opportunities.

Extreme may make sense Consider extreme forages as interesting but also case studies as to what is possible. What we think of as extreme forage may actually not be that extreme at all and might make sense for your farm. Extreme forages can often be defined by maximizing energy content per ton of feed. Improving milk or meat gain per ton of forage usually comes by way of lessening fiber content in forage and also

maximizing fiber and starch digestibility. Fiber is always the least desirable nutrient within feeds, and less fiber equates to more energy per ton. Fiber is less desirable because the digestibility per pound is roughly half that of starch or protein. With corn silage, there are a number of management and genetic options to minimize fiber’s impact on energy value. In the August 2016 Hay & Forage Grower, I authored an article “Taking corn silage to new heights” and discussed how fiber content could be lowered by chopping corn higher off the ground. This has been a sound management strategy where forage inventory allows leaving some yield and stalk (or stover) out in the field. The high-cut theory centered on a modest decline in fiber content and gain in digestibility. However, some have taken high cutting to extreme heights (24 inches off the ground), thus yielding an extreme forage that blurs the line between corn silage and snaplage. This extreme corn silage ends up being 40 to 45 percent starch, whereas snaplage is typically 50 to 55 percent. There is not much difference between the two feeds at these starch levels. Could this extreme silage make nutritional and economic sense? For the sake of the discussion here, let’s call this extreme forage “high-starch corn silage.” Remember, the more starch (grain), the more energy per pound. So, in this sense, high-starch silage brings more

So, what can this all mean for dairy or feedlot performance? With one recent example in the Midwest, a several thousand-cow dairy farm combined topnotch seed genetics and fertility with a great growing season and aggressive high cutting to harvest 44 percent starch corn silage. When feeding the resulting silage, the dairy was able to pull nearly all of their corn grain out of the diet (8 pounds per cow), drastically boost the forage ratio, and maintain 25 percent diet starch with adequate fiber for rumen function. The dairy and nutritionist managed the diet accordingly and cows continued to produce 85 pounds of milk per cow while maintaining herd health. The extreme forage had a substantial economic impact for this farm. Reflecting back on how my friend taught me to look for outlier observations, work with your seed or crop consultants and harvest crew to find extreme silage options for your farm. Check starch to fiber ratios at harvest and monitor fields, fertility, and management impact on silage energy value. When options are identified, consider if extreme corn silage is not so extreme after all and may make sense for your farm. In conjunction with the harvest team, discuss what impact high-starch corn silage might have on your dairy or feedlot diets with your consulting team and nutritionist to project if this feed could add to your bottom line. • JOHN GOESER The author is the director of nutrition research and innovation with Rock River Lab Inc, and adjunct assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dairy Science Department.

January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 11


PASTURE PONDERINGS

by Jesse Bussard

Boost frost-seeding success

P

RODUCERS interested in improving forage quality and pasture productivity should consider frost-seeding clovers into existing stands as an inexpensive option to reach their goals. This long-standing practice, which involves broadcasting seed onto the soil surface during freeze-thaw periods in winter, can improve poor-producing or grass-dominated pastures. “Frost-seeding is fast and a lot less expensive than tilling into an existing stand,” said Marvin Hall, professor of forage management at Penn State University. “Not only do you help the grass plants by providing more nitrogen through nitrogen fixation, but forage protein levels get a slight boost, too, which in turn increases animal productivity.” Forage quality of most grass pastures averages somewhere between 15 to 20 percent crude protein, explained Hall. Introducing a legume like red or white clover into the mix can easily raise that percentage by 3 to 4 percentage units. Additionally, Hall noted, pastures containing at least 35 percent or more legumes in the stand will not require annual nitrogen fertilizer application. Research has shown red and white clover varieties can contribute anywhere from 50 to 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre yearly. “The legumes produce enough nitrogen to support the grasses,” Hall said. For a typical grass pasture yielding approximately 3 tons per acre, Hall said, a single annual nitrogen application of 150 pounds per acre would be common. At today’s fertilizer prices ($290 to $412 per ton), the addition of legumes into their pastures could potentially save farmers $22 to $31 per acre annually. “Multiply that savings by the number of pasture acres you’re managing and you can see pretty quickly that planting some clover provides some nice returns, especially given the inexpensive seed cost,” Hall said.

Preplanning helps Typically, Hall noted, red or white clover are the legumes of choice when it comes to frost-seeding. They’re common, easy to attain, and have proven success establishing with this planting method. Clover species such as arrowleaf, ber12 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

seem, balansa, and subterranean clover can also be used. Legumes like alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil do not usually result in the same degree of success. Whatever specific clover species pasture managers choose, Hall explained, it should be a type that meets the goals for their pastures. In general, red clover with its larger leaves and taller height works best for hayfields. In pasture situations, a more prostrate-growing species like white clover is ideal. Consult your local extension agent or seed sales representative to determine which varieties are best suited to your region.

weather and timing. “You need that freezing and thawing cycle where it freezes at night and then thaws during the day,” Hall said. “This freeze-thaw cycle causes little ice crystals to form in a sort of honeycomb in the soil and gives seeds a place to fall into and enhance seed-soil contact.” In Hall’s state of Pennsylvania, this period usually falls sometime in February. Depending on how far north or south producers live, he says, this ideal window could occur earlier or later in the year. “We usually have a period where it warms up and the snow melts, then,

“Pastures containing at least 35 percent or more legumes in the stand will not require annual nitrogen fertilizer application.” Like any new seeding, end results can be variable. To improve establishment success, Hall offered a few key strategies to better the likelihood of getting a good clover stand. While there is not much that needs to be done ahead of time, Hall said, producers may want to graze pastures tightly the fall before they plan to frostseed clover. In addition, he pointed out, it’s best to wait until pastures have gone fully dormant before grazing. This will open up the plant canopy and allow seeds to have better seed-to-soil contact when it comes time to plant, while also not weakening the stand. Hall recommended graziers calibrate their broadcast seeder ahead of time so pastures will not be under- or overseeded. Overseeding, in particular, adds to the cost. Typical frost-seeding rates for both red and white clover range from 2 to 6 pounds per acre. Along with equipment calibration, determine the throw width of the seeder. Small-seeded forages such as clovers do not spread as wide as people expect. This can result in uneven seeding.

Freeze-thaw cycle needed Lastly, the forage specialist noted that the biggest factor to get a successful clover stand lies in having the right

later on, we get the freezing and thawing happening,” Hall said. “That’s perfect if you can hit a period like that. Keep in mind though that some years you just won’t get that, it just thaws and the window is not there.” Another timing-related tip is to make sure seed is broadcast while the ground is still frozen. “If you wait until 10 a.m., you’re too late and the soil will start to get slimy and slippery,” Hall said. “Get out there at daylight, do the frost-seeding, and then come in and have breakfast.” In Hall’s experience, it is the farmers who are also successful graziers who will reap the full benefits of frost-seeding clovers. Through proper management, clovers can boost pasture forage production and quality for several years. When pastures reach a point the clover starts to thin out, just frost-seed again. • JESSE BUSSARD The author is a freelance writer from Bozeman, Mont., and has her own communications business, Cowpunch Creative.


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estimating percent cover. To estimate percent stand cover, look down into the forage from above to get a feel for how much area is covered by vegetation. Record measured leaf heights and estimated stand conditions from across the pasture and average the resulting numbers. Assume the vegetation is native warm-season forage, its average height is 15 inches, and the average stand condition is between good and excellent. The table shows that available forage on this site is 200 pounds per inch or 3,000 pounds per acre (15 x 200 = 3,000).

How many cattle?

Adding grass-finished to a cow-calf operation by Robert Fears

T

HIS article is the third and last in a series discussing the grassfed beef enterprise. The information comes from a presentation made by Bruce Carpenter, livestock specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, during the May 2017 Grass-Fed Beef Conference at Texas A&M University. Successful cow-calf operators who want to enter the grass-fed market should transition into the new enterprise slowly. A slow transition can provide an opportunity to learn the new business and work through initial problems, while retaining a portion of the cow-calf operation for calf production. The first item to address prior to initiation of a grass-fed program is the forage management plan. A well-designed forage management plan will maintain enough good-quality forage to support the grass-fed enterprise. Before the enterprise is initiated, determine the number of animals your pastures will support and how animal numbers will be managed.

Available forage Suggestions for year-round pasture programs were presented in the August 2017 Hay & Forage Grower issue (page 18). Estimated pounds of production from various forage species are available through Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS) conservationists or state extension specialists and are suitable for planning purposes. Once the management plan is imple14 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

mented, however, it is wise to monitor forage production on a continual basis. There are various methods of estimating forage production, but the simplest and quickest way is to use the NRCS grazing stick. Pete Bauman, South Dakota State University Extension Service, explained the use of the grazing stick in a publication posted on the internet at bit.ly/HFG-stick. “The grazing stick is designed to measure average leaf height of the vegetation in grassland by providing a simple yardstick style ruler on one side,” Bauman said. “To accurately determine overall forage availability with the grazing stick, measure leaf height in the upright position. You may need to hold trampled grass in a vertical position in order to get an accurate leaf measurement. Stems and seedheads are not included in the measurements. Take measurements at no less than 15 to 20 locations within a grassland area and select plants that are a fair representation of the overall vegetation complex,” he added. On most grazing sticks, there is an “Estimated Air-dry Weight” table that provides vegetation quantities in pounds per inch of height for various forage types. Grazing sticks are regionalized and contain only information applicable to the geographical area for which they are designed. The author’s measuring stick, designed for East Texas, contains the information shown in the table. In using this table, one must determine the vegetation stand condition by

Once the amount of available forage is determined, then stocking rate is calculated by the following formula: Lbs. Forage/Ac x Acres x Grazing Efficiency Animal Wt. x Forage Intake x Days Grazed

Carrying capacity is the average number of animals a pasture can support over time. Stocking rate is the number of animals grazed on a pasture for a given amount of time and ideally should be adjusted for current conditions. When stocking rate exceeds the carrying capacity, pasture condition and its ability to produce forage declines. The rule of thumb for grazing native vegetation is to “take half – leave half.” Fifty percent of the vegetation is left ungrazed with enough foliage and roots for regrowth. Twenty-five percent is lost to trampling, urination, and defecation, so the cow is allowed to consume 25 percent of the forage. A cow will eat approximately 3 percent of its body weight daily. Our example ranch has 2,000 acres of grazing land that is continuously grazed with cows weighing an average of 1,300 pounds. Calves are sold shortly after weaning. Using the formula, stocking rate is calculated as follows: 3,000 lbs./acre x 2,000 acres x 0.25 1,300 lbs./cow x .03 x 365 days

= 105 animals

“Carrying capacity is expressed in animal unit years (AUYs), months ROBERT FEARS The author is a freelance writer based in Georgetown, Texas.


(AUMs), or days (AUDs),” explained Carpenter. “An animal unit (AU) is equal to a 1,000-pound cow-calf pair, whereas a 1,300-pound pair is 1.3 AUs.” The total AUY for 105 cows weighing approximately 1,300 pounds each is 136.5 (105 x 1.3). A herd of this size requires at least four bulls. If it is assumed that the bulls weigh an average of 1,800 pounds, they add 7.2 AUYs (1.8 AUYs each) or the equivalent of six 1,300-pound cows, which brings the carrying capacity of our ranch down to 99 cow-calf pairs and four bulls.

Estimated forage (pounds of dry matter per acre inch) Stand condition (percent cover) Forage species

Fair

Good

Excellent

Native warm season

50-100

100-200

200-300

Ryegrass

100-150

150-250

250-350

Small grains

50-100

100-200

200-300

Legumes

75-125

125-175

200-275

Common bermudagrass

100-200

200-300

300-400

Hybrid bermudagrass

200-300

300-400

400-500

Bahiagrass

100-200

200-300

300-400

Carpetgrass

75-150

150-250

250-350

Converting to grass-fed The rancher decides to retain the entire calf crop to sell into the grassfed market. From our 99-cow herd, we assume an 85 percent calving rate resulting in 42 heifers and 42 steers. Calves are weaned at an average of 500 pounds and are expected to gain 1.5 pounds per day for 333 days. Taking the midpoint weaning weight of 250 pounds and projecting that forward to a 1,000-pound finish weight, Carpenter figured AUs at 0.75 (750 pounds divided by 1,000 pounds per AU). Carpenter multiplied 0.75 AU by 333 grazing days to obtain 250 AUDs. Two hundred and fifty divided by 365 days in a year equals 0.7 AUY. Eightyfour stockers (grass-fed calves) at 0.7 AUY each equates to a total of 59 AUYs. If grass-fed calves will add 59 AUYs to the grazing pressure, a reduction of 45 cows is required to avoid overuse of the pasture (59 divided by 1.3). The remaining herd of 54 cows delivers 46 calves at 85 percent calving rate. The rancher decides to use 11 of the heifers as herd replacements and grass-feed the remaining 35. Thirty-five calves times 0.7 AUY gives a total of 25 AUYs. Total AUYs for the ranch are now: 70 AUYs (54 cows) + 7 (4 bulls) + 25 (35 stockers) = 102. Since the cow herd is now 54 cows, only two bulls are needed, which reduces stocking rate by 3.6 AUYs. After selling two bulls, the stocking rate is 98 AUYs with a carrying capacity of 105 AUYs. Available carrying capacity allows the addition of 7 AUYs. The above calculations are presented as examples of the thought process required to develop a business plan for a grass-feeding enterprise. Animals must be managed in a manner to promote optimum forage growth; otherwise, the business will not succeed. Monitor forage supply regularly and adjust AUs to the available supply. • January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 15


FORAGE SHOP TALK

Beth Nelson

Q&A

Owner and president of Beth Nelson & Associates, St. Paul, Minn.

HFG: How did your career lead you to direct and represent agricultural organizations, which include the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) and the Midwest Forage Association? BN: I don’t have an agricultural background — my closest tie to agriculture was visiting my dad’s cousin’s swine farm in Iowa every summer. When I graduated with my business degree, I was hired as a bookkeeper for the Minnesota Egg Council and after a few months was promoted to executive director. While I didn’t have an agricultural background, I fell in love with the industry and the terrific people involved — farmers, industry reps, and researchers alike. In 1986, I started Beth Nelson & Associates Inc., which specializes in agricultural association management. We now work with alfalfa and forages, canola, poultry, and wild rice. HFG: How many staff members comprise Beth Nelson & Associates? BN: We have five full-time and two part-time staff members, each of whom have various responsibilities; however, when it’s crunch time, we all chip in to get things done. We do our best to be like ducks — appearing calm and unruffled on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath. HFG: In your experience, what are the key elements to the success of an agricultural organization? BN: I think it all boils down to serving the members of the organization and being responsive to needs and goals. If the organization isn’t benefiting the farmer in some way, it will fail. I wasn’t raised on a farm, nor did I ever think I’d be an executive responsible for managing agricultural organizations. But I listen to the people I serve, educate myself on the issues that are important to them, and then go out and do my very best to serve as their advocate. HFG: What components of the forage industry comprise NAFA, and what is the organization’s mission? BN: The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance is actually an umbrella organization of state and regional alfalfa seed and hay associations, genetic suppliers, seed marketers, and allied industry members. The organization is “dedicated to promoting the interests of the nation’s alfalfa, alfalfa seed, and forage producers through education, research, promotion, and advocacy.” Our primary focus is issue advocacy and policy development/implementation in any area affecting the

alfalfa seed and forage industry. We work on issues such as public research funding, farm policy, agricultural coexistence, crop insurance, and environmental regulation, just to name a few. NAFA also offers educational activities. For example, each year we host the highly popular Alfalfa Intensive Training Seminar (AITS) that features some of the nation’s foremost experts in the field of alfalfa production and management. We’ve also hosted a biofuels summit, which looked at the potential role for alfalfa in the production of cellulosic ethanol. A coexistence meeting was also offered to create a strategy for harmony among producers of genetically engineered, conventional, and organic alfalfa. HFG: The DC Fly-In has been a staple NAFA-sponsored event for a number of years. How important has it been to have a “forage voice” in Washington? BN: Critically important! Immeasurably important! Without a voice in Washington we wouldn’t have the Alfalfa Seed and Alfalfa Forage Systems Research Program (AFRP). We also wouldn’t have been recognized in the farm bill, and we wouldn’t have the Risk Management Agency (RMA) developing a forage quality/revenue insurance program for alfalfa producers. When we began our DC Fly-In, I can’t tell how many times we heard a congressional staffer say something like, “Forage? I thought you said 4-H. What’s forage?” or “We’ve never heard from the alfalfa industry before.” Congressional offices knew almost nothing about the nation’s fourth most valuable field crop. Now, after having established relationships with key congressional offices, the industry’s voice is finally being heard. HFG: Also in the fledgling stages has been the recent initiation of the U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (often called the Alfalfa Checkoff Program). What prompted the need for this program, and was it difficult to get “buy-in” from the industry? BN: Even with the creation of the AFRP, public research at the federal level for forages is very small compared to allocations to the “Big 5” (corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, and cotton). This particularly ruffles my feathers — alfalfa and forages (all hay) have more total value than three of these other crops, and alfalfa alone is bigger than rice and cotton. The Alfalfa Checkoff Program supports the industry by providing additional funding for research in areas farmers deem a priority. Additionally, it

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

16 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018


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demonstrates to congressional offices that alfalfa farmers have some “skin in the game” and are not just asking for a handout without investing in research themselves. We currently have an online survey asking farmers to help identify priorities for the second call for checkoff proposals. Visit alfalfa.org and give us your input. Our website also has the list of participating alfalfa seed brands supporting the new alfalfa checkoff. Most major brands are now facilitating the collection of the $1 per bag checkoff and 100 percent of the funds support public research. HFG: Creating a workable forage crop insurance program has been another goal of NAFA. What is currently being done to reach this goal? What have been the hurdles? BN: We’re continuing to work with RMA to develop a feasible forage quality and/or revenue program for alfalfa farmers to put another risk management option in their toolbox. Current forage insurance options just aren’t meeting farmer needs. One of the biggest hurdles in this process has been developing an accurate and acceptable method for placing a fair “market” value on alfalfa. Alfalfa is not traded on exchanges like other commodities, which makes it more difficult to value. Prices need to be gleaned from other sources such as contract pricing or prices received at local hay auctions. There can be significant discrepancies in those numbers, so we need to come up with an acceptable method to value alfalfa that often never leaves the farm. HFG: What do you view as the major challenges ahead for the forage industry? BN: Even though the process is moving forward, developing an insurance program alfalfa farmers can rely on is still a major challenge. However, the biggest one for me is parity with other major crops in public research. We’re making progress, but we’ve got a ways to go. While the AFRP is addressing some of our industry’s biggest research needs, the future of any federal research program is tenuous at best. We need to make sure lawmakers continue to understand the challenges the industry faces and how public policy and research investments can significantly impact one of the most sustainable crops on the American landscape. HFG: Favorite food? BN: Cheetos. •

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The Angus herd at Woodland Ranch begins rotationally grazing crimson clover pastures in January. The legume pastures are limit-grazed, being utilized as a supplement.

Lori Williams

Crimson conviction by Mike Rankin

P

ERHAPS no flowering legume catches the eye more than crimson clover. Native to southern Europe, farmers and ranchers in the southern United States noted its value as a green manure and grazing crop by the mid-1850s. Since that time, the species with the distinct red flowering seedhead has proved its worth both in photographs and as a valued forage resource. One rancher who continues to be sold on the value that crimson clover offers for a beef operation is Scott Williams, who manages Woodland Ranch near Alba, Texas. In the rolling hills of East Texas, Williams seeds nearly 300 acres of crimson clover each year. The annual legume is grazed through the winter and then cut and harvested as baleage in the spring. The Woodland Ranch beef herd consists of 270 cows, evenly split between fall and spring calvers. They also raise a portion of their young stock, including bulls, for the seedstock 18 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

market. Registered Angus comprise about 60 percent of the herd, with the remaining animals being commercial. A small Belted Galloway herd is also maintained. Williams’ wife, Lori, assumes the duties of administration and operations manager. “During the summer, we rely pretty heavily on common bermudagrass, which is native to this area,” Williams said. “We’ve also established about 80 acres of Tifton 85 bermudagrass and another 50 acres of Coastal bermudagrass.” The ranch manager places bahiagrass in the weed category. Williams really likes Tifton 85 and hopes to establish some additional acreage. “It’s almost like a different species, but it’s important to get it fertilized with nitrogen,” he said. To meet the needs of the bermudagrass, Williams uses both chicken litter and purchased urea. He also soil tests each year. The Tifton 85 pastures are sprayed with a pre-emergence herbicide each spring for crabgrass control.

Woodland Ranch stockpiles several hundred acres of bermudagrass each fall for winter feeding, but that’s not enough to meet the nutritional needs of growing calves and lactating cows. That’s where crimson clover comes into play.

Crimson rules Though arrowleaf clover is native to the ranch’s pastures, Williams seeds about 200 acres of crimson clover into his nonstockpiled bermudagrass pastures each fall around September 20. He first gives the fields a light disking, then broadcasts 15 pounds per acre of crimson clover seed. Finally, pastures are lightly dragged to enhance good seed-to-soil contact. “We begin rotationally grazing the crimson clover in January,” Williams said. “We use it like a supplement, allowing cattle access to the pastures for about two to three hours; then we move them back to the stockpiled bermudagrass or feed them dry hay.”


Lori Williams

Mike Rankin

Scott Williams uses crimson clover pastures, stockpiled bermudagrass, and dry hay to overwinter the cow herd.

“It’s been a real game changer,“ Williams said, referring to his in-line baleage wrapper. Baleage is made from both bermudgrass and crimson clover. Baleage has drastically reduced the amount of supplement being fed on the ranch.

Williams makes about 1,400 bales of dry bermudagrass hay each year, and what Woodland doesn’t use is sold to neighboring ranches. Many ranchers are concerned with the bloat risk that is associated with succulent legumes such as crimson clover. “We’ve only had two animals in five years that showed symptoms of bloat,” Williams said. “It’s really important to also feed dry hay,” he added. Williams has given thought to also trying Blackhawk arrowleaf clover, a variety developed at Texas A&M University, but he’s concerned that it might continue to grow too late in the spring and compete with the bermudagrass. Crimson clover, on the other hand, is known for its exceptional seedling vigor, prolific winter growth, and an early departure in spring, which matches perfectly for overseeding warm-season perennial pastures. “By mid-April, the crimson clover usually plays out,” Williams noted. During that last breath of life, the picturesque legume grows back about 6 inches and sets hard seed. It’s this seed that helps populate pastures with new plants come fall. Finally, Williams sprays his pastures with metsulfuron and 2,4-D to suppress weed competition as the bermudagrass comes out of winter dormancy.

liams said of his in-line bale wrapper, which is used for both crimson clover and bermudagrass baleage. The spring-made crimson clover baleage is fed in the same way a supplement would be beginning in early November. Williams likes to make his clover baleage at about 65 percent moisture; seven layers of wrap are used. The bermudagrass is wrapped at 45 percent moisture. All of the bales are net wrapped after being rolled to about 60 inches in diameter. His dry hay bales are slightly larger at 66 inches.

Williams noted that his crimson clover baleage has tested between 15 and 24 percent crude protein and 54 to 67 percent total digestible nutrients. “The baleage has drastically reduced the amount of supplement that we have had to purchase,” Williams noted. “Our liquid feed supplement needs dropped from about 75 tons to 35 tons,” he added. •

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DAIRY FEEDBUNK

by Luiz Ferraretto A boost in fiber digestibility can improve passage rates and forage intake. The end result is more milk produced.

Changes in chewing behavior also play a major role. Several studies indicate that cows fed silage with less digestible fiber spend more time eating to consume similar or lower amounts of diet. This extra time eating is often at the expense of resting time and may impair production.

These limit fiber digestibility

You can manipulate silage fiber digestibility

C

ORN silage is the predominant forage source used in dairy cattle diets to supply adequate levels of energy and physically effective fiber to high-producing cows. Meanwhile, starch and fiber are the main sources of energy for dairy cows fed corn silage-based diets and, therefore, improvements in digestibility of these nutrients may boost milk production or reduce feed costs through enhanced feed efficiency. Here we will provide an overview of the benefits of improving fiber digestibility in corn silage and to discuss strategies to make it happen.

Digestible fiber matters Greater fiber digestibility is associated with a chain reaction that begins with a greater rumen passage rate and ends with higher milk production. Feed particles have to sink and reach a specific size threshold to cross the rumen exit door, the reticular-omasal orifice.

In another words, it requires particle reduction, which is achieved by mastication and digestion. Overall, forages with greater fiber digestibility are more fragile and undergo greater particle size reduction. This greater flow of particles leaving the rumen allows for enhanced intake of dry matter (DM) and energy, thereby boosting milk production. For example, a review from University of Wisconsin observed that cows fed corn hybrids selected for greater fiber digestibility had 2 pounds per day greater intake of DM and 2.7 pounds per day more milk production. Furthermore, data from Michigan State University suggests that for each percentage-unit rise in ruminal in vitro fiber digestibility, there is an expected gain of 0.4 and 0.6 pound in intake of DM and 4 percent fat-corrected milk production, respectively. Greater energy intake is not solely responsible for higher milk production.

Effect of cutting height on corn silage nutrient composition and yield1 Item

Cutting height, inches

Low

High

6

24

NDF, % of DM

37.7

33.8

Starch, % of DM

37.5

41.7

ivNDFD2, % of NDF

49.6

52.7

Yield, ton/acre

8.9

8.1

Milk, lbs./ton

2,224

2,378

Milk, lbs./acre

24,009

23,498

Adapted from Ferraretto et al. (2017). 2 Ruminal in vitro NDF digestibility at 30 hours. 1

20 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

Physical and chemical factors may affect fiber digestibility in the rumen of dairy cows. In theory, shorter particles have more surface area for bacterial attachment and fiber digestibility. Thus, many attempts to alter the physical aspect of the fiber fraction in corn silage were through reduction of chop length at harvest. However, results from most studies do not support this concept. Perhaps these smaller particles are not retained in the rumen with sufficient time to allow for improved fiber digestibility. In addition, shorter particles provide less physically effective fiber. It is well established that sufficient physically effective fiber is required to maximize rumen function and milkfat synthesis. From a chemical perspective, fibrous components in silage are cross-linked to lignin, which is indigestible and inhibits digestion of these components. Thus, technologies and practices that either reduce lignin content or its connection to other fibrous components are desired. Various factors are thought to affect the lignin content and bonding to other fiber fractions, including maturity at harvest, chop height, and hybrid types.

What can you do? Delayed harvest with the purpose of obtaining greater yields of starch may sound advantageous; however, like other forage crops, fiber digestibility of corn plants is reduced due to greater stover lignification during maturation. Therefore, targeting delayed maturity at harvest for greater concentrations of starch may come at the expense of stover digestibility. LUIZ FERRARETTO The author is an assistant professor of livestock nutrition in the University of Florida Department of Animal Sciences.


Another factor to consider with the harvesting of drier corn silage (greater than 40 percent DM) are potential packing issues and poor aerobic stability. These issues elevate mold and yeast counts, and data from the University of Delaware demonstrated that yeasts from spoiled silage reduce the capacity of rumen bugs to digest fiber. Another harvest option to reduce lignin concentration is chop height. Lignin is an important structural component concentrated in the bottom part of the cornstalk. With enhanced chop height, more lignin is left with the portion that remains in the field and, thus, digestibility of the harvested material is greater. Results from a recent industry-university collaborative study from our group are presented in the table. Although our study compared 6 versus 24 inches, these results are similar to other trials comparing 6 versus 18 inches of chop height.

Yield-quality tradeoff Briefly, DM yield is reduced as the row-crop head is raised. This result is

consistent across several studies. However, lower DM yields are offset by an increase in the milk-per-ton estimates at the higher chop height. Greater milk estimate is a response to the greater fiber digestibility and starch concentration of the harvested material. In addition, most studies reported that estimated milk per acre is reduced by only 1 to 3 percent with high chop. Also, more of the high-chop silage could be included in the diet, lowering the amount of corn grain being added. This provides an added economic benefit to high-chopping corn. A farm team discussion with your nutritionist and crop consultant is advised to determine individual farm priorities for maximum yield versus higher quality prior to the establishment of new chop-height guidelines. Those needs may vary in different years, depending upon the yield and quality of the crop and existing on-farm inventories. Hybrid selection is a reliable strategy to improve fiber digestibility in corn silage. Brown midrib hybrids, for

example, show year after year greater fiber digestibility than other hybrids. However, yield and nutritive value of hybrids varies from year to year and in different regions. Therefore, going through hybrid performance trial results near your farm and across several years is advised prior to selecting new hybrids. Efficacy of specific practices may vary when using different hybrids. For example, a study from Cornell University compared the use of enhanced chop height on different hybrid types. Results implied the needs to raise chop height on leafy corn hybrids, but no benefits existed for brown midrib hybrids. Greater fiber digestibility improves DM intake, resting time, and milk production by dairy cows. Alternatives to reduce lignin and its connection to other fibrous components are very likely the best options, but team discussions with farm advisers and decision-makers are recommended prior to the establishment of these alternatives. •

B:7.5” T:7.5” S:7.5”

Roundup Ready® Alfalfa trait provides unsurpassed weed control for thicker stands with greater yield potential. Learn more at roundupreadyalfalfa.com Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. Roundup Ready® Alfalfa is subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit www.ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products. © 2018 Forage Genetics International, LLC

January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 21

T:4.875”

When nothing’s in between, there’s room for more.

S:4.875”

alfalfalfalfalfalfalfalfa alfalfalfalfalfalfalfalfa alfalfalfalfalfalfalfalfa alfalfalfalfalfalfalfa


BEEF FEEDBUNK

by Jason Banta

What do your hay bales weigh?

H

OW many round bales of hay will your cows consume in a week? The answer will vary depending on the size and stage of production of your cows, the quality of the hay, and, most importantly, the weight of the bales. It is better to think in terms of how many pounds of hay the cows will consume instead of how many bales they will consume. Bale weight can vary tremendously. Bale weight affects not only the number of bales that should be fed but also the cost of feeding and transporting them. Round bales are described as bale width by bale diameter, or bale height. For example, a 5 x 6 bale would be 5 feet wide and 6 feet in diameter, and a 4 x 5 bale would be 4 feet wide and 5 feet in diameter.

Density matters The table shows the effect that bale size has on weight by using a 5 × 5 bale that weighs 1,100 pounds for comparison. If all bales had the same density, those of varying sizes would range in weight from 563 to 1,584 pounds. In addition to size, bale density also has a major impact on bale weight. Density, as influenced by tightness of wrap or bale compression, can vary considerably depending on operator preference and the equipment being used. Most balers have a range of settings that allow the operator to increase or reduce wrap tightness and bale compression. Also, some balers can compress more tightly than can standard equipment; these types of balers are

generally used for baling low-density forages like wheat straw. Whenever possible, hay should be bought and sold by the ton instead of the bale. The importance of pricing hay by the ton is illustrated in the table. The fifth column shows what the price per ton would be, if all bales — regardless of weight — were priced at $45 each. The 1,100-pound bales would cost $81.82 per ton ($45 divided by 1,100 pounds equals $0.04091 per pound; 2,000 pounds multiplied by $0.04091 per pound equals $81.82 per ton). In comparison, the 880pound bales would cost $102.27 per ton.

Sample for nutrients In addition to cost per ton, also calculate the cost per pound of energy (for example, total digestible nutrients [TDN]) and protein. To determine nutrient content, sample each load or cutting of hay and send it to a reputable lab for testing. The most appropriate analysis will depend on forage species, intended use, and laboratory experience, so consult with a nutritionist for specific testing recommendations. The cost per pound of nutrient can be determined with the following equations: a) 2,000 pounds multiplied by percent nutrient on an as-fed basis equals pounds of nutrient per ton b) Cost per ton of hay divided by pounds of nutrient per ton equals cost per pound of nutrient For example, if a load of hay cost $90 per ton and contained 52.2 percent TDN on an as-fed basis, the cost per pound of TDN would be $0.125 as shown below:

Width Diameter

Knowing exact bale weights is advantageous when buying or selling hay and also when determining on-farm inventories.

a) 2,000 pounds multiplied by 52 percent TDN equals 1,040 pounds of TDN b) $90 divided by 1,040 pounds of TDN equals $0.087 per pound of TDN These equations can be used to calculate the cost per unit of TDN, protein, or any nutrients found in hay as well as other feedstuffs and supplements. Bale weight also affects how long it takes to feed and how frequently hay is put out. For example, a 1,300-pound cow eating 2.5 percent of its body weight would consume 32.5 pounds of hay per day. The last column in the table illustrates how many bales would be consumed by 30 cows per week. Would you rather feed 5.0 or 9.1 bales per week? Unfortunately, many areas of the U.S. are currently abnormally dry or in a drought, and long-term forecasts are predicting below average rainfall for the next three to six months. Now is a good time to evaluate hay reserves and make plans if additional hay is needed. •

Effect of round bale size on bale weight, price per ton, and feeding needs Bale width, ft.

Bale diameter, ft.

Bale volume, ft3

Estimated bale weight, lbs.

Price per ton if $45 is paid for each bale1

Bales needed per week for 30 cows2

4 4 4 5 5

4 5 6 5 6

50 79 113 98 141

563 880 1,267 1,100 1,584

$159.80 $102.27 $71.02 $81.82 $56.82

14.2 9.1 6.3 7.3 5.0

Price per ton assuming $45 is paid for each bale regardless of size or weight. Assumes a 1,300-pound cow eating 2.5 percent of its body weight. Also assumes a 10 percent storage loss and a 5 percent feeding loss; depending on the situation, losses could be lower or much higher.

1 2

22 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

JASON BANTA The author is a beef cattle specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension based in Overton, Texas.


T:8.375” S:7.875”

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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HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology and Roundup Ready® Alfalfa are subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit www.ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products. W-L Alfalfas is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. © 2018 Forage Genetics International, LLC

T:10.875”

S:10.375”

Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC.


FORAGE GEARHEAD

by Adam Verner prices, leasing programs, multi-unit discounts, and farmers getting into the habit of trading yearly.

Not just tractors

Equipment values on the rise

N

OW that the new year is underway, we can look back and see what happened in the previous year. One farm item that saw an uptick in value was farm equipment. Pretty much across the board dealers were able to move some of their stale inventory of both new and used equipment. Some manufacturers chose to help their dealers sell some of this aged inventory, and it really changed the market. The used tractor market was good for most dealers with small utility tractors having met the previously predicted strong sales. The 100 to 200 horsepower (hp) tractor market was better than expected, and the largest improvement was on sales of 200-plus hp tractors.

Holding value One interesting observation from looking at tractor prices over the past year was the fact that older, pre-emission standard models have not seen the normal decline in value as they age. Some of the older generation tractors from John Deere, Case IH, New Holland, and Massey Ferguson have even gained value in some cases. The 30-, 40-, and 50-series Case IH tractors are still worth over $50,000 even with over 6,000 hours of operational use. I looked back and found that a 1996 Case IH 7250’s original list price was only $112,000. Doing a little math to figure value-based cost, that figures to a shade over $10 per hour for a nearly 250-hp tractor. Similarly, 55-, 60-, 00-, 10-, and 24 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

20-series Deere tractors also maintained strong values. The 235 PTO (power takeoff) hp John Deere 8410 has been extremely sought after for its simplicity and durability. A 2000 model with 6,000plus hours can easily be found for around $75,000, and the original list price for this tractor was $146,362, according to Farm Equipment Guide. This calculates to a reasonable value-based cost of $11.89 per running hour. When you compare to the values of late-model tractors, operation rates are higher. For example, a 2010 John Deere 8320R with over 4,000 hours, a standard power shift, and front duals currently lists between $100,000 and $160,000. Its manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) when new was $249,349. So, if we took the average of the current advertised prices at $130,000 and assumed 4,000 hours, it depreciated at a rate of $29.84 per hour. If we look at a late-model Case IH Magnum 340 tractor, a similar outcome occurs, assuming 4,000-plus hours of use, power shift, and front duals. The current advertised price on the three main market search engines are from $70,000 to $135,500. The bulk of the units are in the $110,000 to $125,000 range with the 2012 models having an MSRP of $247,390. This hourly operation comes to $32.47, without considering normal service work and maintenance. I know that these numbers are not perfect, but the main point is the difference in depreciation from over 10-yearold tractors compared to late model units. This is in part due to commodity

These numbers make it extremely easy to get upside down on your tractors. Your dealer can get on the wrong side just as easy. Just as it has always been, the safest and cheapest cost of owning a piece of equipment is to do just that — own it and run it. Don’t bet on trading every few years, and do your homework before purchasing. These numbers don’t just apply to tractors. Probably the worst hit market in terms of lower residual values for used equipment is the forage harvester market. Some would argue the combine and sprayer markets are more volatile, but these are much larger total markets and some loss can be absorbed by volume. The forage harvester market is a serious concern for manufacturers, dealers, and customers. These high-value machines have been sold at half of their original price in just two or three years of use. I went through several examples of value-based ownership costs and found them to be in the $170 to $180 per-hour range for just the base unit. No other piece of farm equipment can stand that much depreciation, but these are unique machines. There are only four major manufacturers, the market is relatively small, and there are no other alternatives available to do what a forage harvester can accomplish. Further, breakdowns generally have a high-value consequence. Deciding when to trade a piece of equipment has always been a gentle balance. Unfortunately, current market dynamics make always being able to operate new machines a more difficult economic reality. Even so, with a little maintenance and effort, older equipment can still be very functional. I hope to see you at the U.S. Custom Harvesters Convention in Grand Island, Neb., on January 25 through 28. •

ADAM VERNER The author is a managing partner in Elite Ag LLC, Leesburg, Ga. He also is active in the family farm in Rutledge.


RESEARCH ROUND-UP

Minimize alfalfa crown rot with potassium USDA-ARS and University of Minnesota researchers teamed up in an effort to assess the impact of potassium fertility on crown rot disease in alfalfa. Along with being alfalfa’s most common deficiency, lack of the nutrient is also one of the most recognizable. Lower leaflets develop yellow or white spots around margins, which then grow together and eventually cause total necrosis. Potassium deficiency can result in stand loss, winterkill, and extensive weed growth. While potassium has been linked to disease resistance, there have been no direct indications that it alone is a solution. Two experiments were performed to measure potassium’s effect on crown rot disease and forage yield. The first experiment used five cultivars seeded at four diverse Minnesota locations. Potash (K 2O) was applied annually at 0, 125, or 350 pounds per acre, and plants were rated for the amount of crown rot after the third production year. Results across all cultivars and locations indicated a clear reduction in

crown rot symptoms with potassium fertilization. There was also a significantly greater number of plants with no symptoms. Potassium fertilization also drew different responses from the five varieties evaluated. Results indicated that potassium fertility at a higher level (350 pounds per acre) stimulated the genetic potential for additional disease resistance in two of the varieties. The researchers indicated that one reason potassium fertility enhances alfalfa winter survival and stand life is because of the reduction in crown rot disease. In a secondary ongoing experiment, a single cultivar was studied on a clay loam soil in Waseca, Minn. Researchers tested yield responses of potassium treatments at 200 and 400 pounds of K 2O per acre against an unfertilized control. To date, no treatment yield differences have been observed throughout 18 harvests; however, potassium fertilization has resulted in a lower incidence of crown rot symptoms, which may prove beneficial for long-term persistence.

Ditch hay quality varies During the summer of 2015, North Dakota State University extension agents collected 182 samples of harvested ditch hay from 36 counties across the state to quantify forage quality. They also collected peripheral information about each sample such as the cutting date, type of binding material, how the hay was going to be fed, and to what type of livestock. The results were reported in the 2016 North Dakota Beef Report. As might be expected, forage quality of the ditch hay samples exhibited a wide range (see table). Getting the hay dry enough to bale didn’t appear to be a problem as the wettest hay was still only 16.3 percent. Most of the hay consisted of cool-season grass species with smooth bromegrass being the most common. Though the average ash content of the samples was 10.8 percent, some samples contained over one-third of their total dry matter as ash. The ash component essentially consists of soil particles that are harvested along with the hay. The researchers noted that heavy oil field activity on unpaved roads contributed to at least some of the high-ash samples. Ash is an important consideration when contemplating the harvest of road ditch hay, especially along unpaved roads. Crude protein percent ranged from 5.9 to 17 percent and was largely influenced by cutting date. Harvest dates spanned from June 10 to September 10. Hay cut after mid-August averaged 7.3 percent crude protein, while hay cut July 1 to July 15 averaged 8.8 percent crude protein.

Other factors that characterized the ditch hay included: • Plastic twine (40.6 percent) and net wrap (40 percent) were the most common binding materials. Sisal twine was used to bind the remaining bales. • Most (90 percent) of the hay was harvested to feed cattle. • Feeding methods included bale feeders (63.9 percent), ground feeding (36.8 percent), and through a total mixed ration (11.6 percent). • About 25 percent of the samples came from hay that had been rained on during the interval from cutting to baling. Rained-on samples were positively correlated with higher ash content and lower total digestible nutrients (TDN). To obtain the best combination of yield and quality from ditch hay, the researchers recommended cutting the forage during early July if local ordinances allow. They also suggested sampling and testing any ditch hay to ensure livestock are receiving adequate nutrition. Nutrient content of road ditch hay samples (n=182) Average

Minimum

Maximum

Dry matter (DM)

Item

91.4

83.7

95.6

Ash Crude protein (CP) Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) Total digestible nutrients (TDN)

10.8 8.5 65.1 52.0

6.8 5.9 35.2 34.8

37.0 17.0 53.6 58.5

January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 25


MACHINE SHED

New Deere large square balers premiered

AGCO launches ultra high-density baler

John Deere recently announced the introduction of the model L331 and L341 large square balers. Both models feature a new MegaWide pickup with or without precutter and numerous other haymaking options that fit a variety of operations. These two new large square balers, which will replace the previous L300 Series, are a perfect fit for commercial hay producers, as well as larger dairy and beef producers. The balers tout a new wider and more robust standard 2.2meter pickup or optional 2.5-meter pickup; a new inline, undershot rotor; and heavy-duty roller baffles and gauge wheels. In addition, there are two configurations of precutter, depending on model, 13-knife or 21-knife, with drop floor and slide-out tray for easier cleanout. Another new option customers can select from is BalerAssist, which allows the operator to more quickly and easily clear plugs without leaving the cab and makes it easier to access service points. For twine tying, there’s a new electronic knotter trip option that improves bale length consistency. John Deere also has a new, more accurate moisture sensor and bale-weighing options for the large square balers to give operators immediate visibility to crop conditions and bale densities. The bale-weighing system allows flake-by-flake monitoring of bale weight to help the operator create more uniform-sized bales across the field. The L331 model, which produces a 3- by 3-foot bale, and the L341 baler, which makes a 3- by 4-foot bale, can be used for many types of hay and forage crops, and offers improved performance when baling straw and cornstalks. For more information, visit JohnDeere.com/ag.

AGCO Corporation premiers its Hesston by Massey Ferguson 2370 ultra high-density (UHD) baler in 2018. The 2370 UHD baler has been created to meet the needs of large commercial hay growers, operations that export hay and biomass material, and businesses harvesting biomass for the North American biofuels and livestock feed industries. The model 2370 UHD makes 3- by 4-foot bales with 20 percent greater density than the company’s 2270XD baler. The new baler has a faster, 15 percent heavier, more powerful plunger that operates at 50 strokes per minute. It packs a maximum load capacity of 760 kilonewtons (kN) — 63 percent greater than the 2270XD baler. To complement the packing capacity, it also has a heavy-duty main chassis frame. The new OptiFlow pickup assembly system has five tine bars and 80 double tines on the pickup assembly to deliver 25 percent greater pickup capacity compared to previous Hesston balers. Further, the bale chamber is 28 inches longer for greater capacity and is equipped with dual-acting, 7-inch-diameter density cylinders to create maximum bale density and a consistent bale shape. The 2370UHD baler is equipped with greater twine capacity and new shielding that makes service fast and easy. Full details on the baler will be available when it’s officially introduced in February at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. For more information, visit Hesston.com or Challenger-ag.com.

New Holland updates DuraCracker processor New Holland Agriculture debuts their new DuraCracker crop processor in 2018 that promises more capacity and durability. It weighs 40 percent more than the standard crop processor, and the new seven-rib belt drive handles higher loads of processing crop at longer lengths of cut. New Holland will now offer the choice of conventional or spiral cut rolls, so operators can determine which is the best solution for their needs. New features of the processor include heavier tie bolts, springs for 50 percent more clamping force on the rolls, and a cam system for roll gap adjustment that has cylinders on both sides for positive spacing. The DuraCracker touts easy serviceability and less cleaning time with improved shredding of cornstalks and cobs. It has smaller roll end-to-frame gaps to

reduce passage of small kernels and a new belt tensioner mechanism and spring. The heavy-duty crop processor is available in three configurations, including 100/130 straight saw teeth, 110/138 saw teeth with a spiral groove, or complete crop processor without rolls to allow installation of aftermarket rolls for customers with special requirements. The DuraCracker comes standard on model year 2018 FR850s, and it is optional on the FR650 and FR780. For more information, visit www.newholland.com.

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

26 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018


Vermeer adds three bale wrappers Vermeer announces the addition of three new bale wrappers to their hay tool product line. The SBW4000, SBW8000, and SBW8500 are built to fill the need for making individually wrapped bales. The SBW4000 is for small operations looking to be able to wrap their hay in a static location near where they are storing their bales. The two hand controls on the wrapper turn the table to wrap the film around the bale and lift the table to discharge the bale. The SBW8000 and SBW8500 offer additional features. Both models have a durable loading arm for picking up and wrapping

bales in the field as well as a new in-cab electronic control system with a 4.3-inch color touchscreen and keypad to manage the automatic wrapping process. In addition, the SBW8500 has a bale discharge system that helps gently move the bale off the wrapper to preserve wrapping integrity and tip the bale on end. For more details, visit vermeer.com.

New Kuhn VB 3100 Series Round Balers Kuhn is offering a new VB 3100 series, offering a wide range of variable chamber round balers to match individual needs. The VB 3155 and 3185 models are ideal for baling of dry materials such as cornstalks and hay, but can also handle alfalfa and some silage. The VB 3160 and 3190 premium balers are ISOBUS balers designed for a wide range of forage materials, including silage. The VB 3165 and 3195 are premium balers designed to work in the heaviest conditions across the world and are also available as baler-wrapper combinations (VBP 3165). Higher bale pressure settings on the VB 3165 and 3195 can provide up to 10 percent more bale weight in drier crops. The wide, hybrid pickup on all Kuhn VB balers provides maximum ground adaptation during baling. The pendulum capabilities of the pickup keep the pickup wheels in constant

contact with the field surface providing more stability in all swaths. There are four different intake options available on the Kuhn VB 3100 round balers. You can select from an OptiFlow open throat intake design, an OptiFeed noncutting rotor, or a 14- or 23-knife OptiCut integral rotor. A new user interface and monitor provides a clear view of what your machine is doing at any time. For more details, visit www.KuhnNorthAmerica.com.

Claas announces baler and hay tool additions Claas recently announced several updates to their baler and hay tool lines. Disco 3600RC Contour Mower/Roller Conditioner: Claas has taken one of its largest and most reliable front mower/roller conditioners — the Disco 3600FRC — and given it a three-point hitch. The result is a rear mower/roller conditioner with a working width of 11 feet 2 inches. When the two are paired together, the front/rear combination of the Disco 3600FRC and Disco 3600RC Contour cover as much ground as many self-propelled windrowers. The Disco 3600RC Contour features the Claas patented Max Cut cutterbar for strength and cut quality. Its hydro-pneumatic suspension provides excellent ground following. And for added safety, break-back protection is also incorporated. Liner 1700 Twin, 1800 Twin, and 1900 Rakes: The North American offering of Liner rakes receives an update for 2018, with three new models replacing two existing models. The Liner 1700 Twin (22-feet working width) replaces the Liner 1650 Twin, while the Liner 1800 Twin is a new size for the line with a wider working width of 24 feet 5 inches. Both rakes can easily transition between single and double windrow production.

The Liner 1900 replaces the Liner 1750. Like its predecessor, the Liner 1900 will produce a single windrow and offers a working width of 26 feet 5 inches. Additional refinements to all models include improved ground following on uneven terrain and refined rotor lifting on headlands. Rollant 620 Round Baler: Last year, Claas introduced the Rollant 620FR fixed chamber 4x5 round baler — an upgraded version of the Rollant 260 with a new design, larger rollers, a feed rotor designed to force crop into the baler, and some beefed-up components. This year, the company will be replacing the Rollant 260 with a feed rake version of the Rollant 620. The new Rollant 620 benefits from all of the updates of the Rollant 620FR, minus the feed rotor option. For more information, visit www.claas.com. January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 27


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16 & 18 Wheel Rubber Mounted Tooth V-Rake Using the same great features of our standard V-Rake we have added the rubber mounted tooth wheels from our Ultimate Rake for a cost effective rake that will rake 6 different crops. From Cornstalks to Green Chop to Dry Hay. 84504 HWY 11 • BURWELL, NEBRASKA (800) 445-9202 www.rowserakes.com

January 2018 | hayandforage.com | 33


FORAGE IQ 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 Driftless Region Beef Conference January 25 and 26, Dubuque, Iowa Details: www.aep.iastate.edu/beef/ 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 Cattle Industry Convention NCBA Trade Show January 31 to February 2, Phoenix, Ariz. Details: www.beefusa.org World Ag Expo February 13 to 15, Tulare, Calif. Details: www.worldagexpo.com Midwest Forage Symposium February 19 to 21, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Details: www.midwestforage.org Alfalfa & Stored Forage Conference February 22, Cave City, Ky. Details: www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/ 34 | Hay & Forage Grower | January 2018

HAY MARKET UPDATE

Mixed outlook for 2018 hay prices Hay prices leveled toward the end of 2017 but remained well above a year earlier. Looking through 2018, strong exports and growing cattle herds for both beef and dairy offer some market stability. Depressed milk prices and relatively strong forage inventories will

likely keep the upside in check unless there is a significant weather event such as a widespread drought. The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of late December. Prices are FOB barn/stack unless otherwise noted.•

For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com Oregon (eastern) (d) Pennsylvania (southeast) (d) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb (d) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb Texas (Panhandle) Utah (central) Wisconsin (Lancaster)-lrb Fair-quality hay California (northern SJV) Colorado (San Luis Valley) Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Kansas (southeast) Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri (d) Montana (d) New Mexico (southeastern) Pennsylvania (southeast) (d) South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb South Dakota (East River)-lrb Texas (west) Utah (northern) (d) Utah (Uintah Basin) Washington (Columbia Basin) Wisconsin (Lancaster) Bermudagrass hay Alabama-Premium lrb California (southeast)-Premium Texas (south)-Good/Premium lrb Orchardgrass hay California (Intermountain)-Premium Colorado (southwest)-Premium ssb Nebraska (western) Premium Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb (d) Oregon (Lake)-Premium ssb

Supreme-quality hay California (central SJV) California (Sacramento Valley) Colorado (northeast) Kansas (southwest) Kansas (north central/east) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri Montana Montana-ssb Nebraska (eastern/central) New Mexico (eastern) Oklahoma (central) Oregon (Klamath Basin) Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (East River)-ssb Texas (Panhandle) Texas (north,central, east) Utah (southern) Washington (Columbia Basin) Wyoming (central/western)-ssb Premium-quality hay California (Intermountain) California (northern SJV) California (southeast) Idaho Iowa-lrb Kansas (south central) Montana Nebraska (eastern/central) Nebraska (panhandle) Oklahoma (western) Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-ssb Pennsylvania (southeast) South Dakota (East River) Texas (north,central, east)

Price $/ton 300 305 200 155-175 175-195 170-215 180-250 145-155 200-250 160-180 175-200 150 225 280 220 190-240 235-250 120-150 175 200 Price $/ton 225-230 240 200-205 165-170 175 150-160 140-155 155-175 160-180 130-140 225-230 215-235 170 195-235

Texas (west) Utah (northern) Utah (Uintah Basin) Wisconsin (Lancaster) Good-quality hay California (central SJV)

170-190 100-120 90-100 180-210 Price $/ton 225-260 (d)

California (southeast) Colorado (northeast)-lrb Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Kansas (southwest) Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Missouri Nebraska (eastern/central) Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb New Mexico (southern) Oklahoma (eastern) Oregon (Crook-Wasco)

170-180 130-140 130-150 135-155 115-125 160-190 120-160 120-135 85-95 135-155 100-120 150

Texas (Panhandle) Timothy hay Montana-Premium ssb Pennsylvania-Premium Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good ssb Oat hay California (central SJV) Kansas (southeast) Texas (Panhandle) Straw Idaho Iowa (Rock Valley) Kansas (north central/east) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Montana Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb South Dakota (East River) Washington (Columbia Basin)

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

125 165-190 185-220 108-118 180-190 (d) 80-90 95-105 Price $/ton 200 (d) 110 100-105 118-128 90-100 80-95 145-180 100-120 110-135 120-145 (d) 115-120 90-105 125-135 135-140 60-80 50-70 165 113-120 Price $/ton 133 165 100-140 Price $/ton 220-300 290 145 230 185 160 (d) Price $/ton 210-240 170-235 140-240 Price $/ton 245 (d) 120-130 80-150 Price $/ton 55 110 75-85 85-120 35-40 110-145 100 58


DOUBLE DOWN ON PRODUCTIVITY

MM 700 MERGE MAXX® MERGER • Durable, yet gentle crop handling provided by high-capacity pickups • Floating windguard is automatically optimized for differing crop volumes • Leaf loss is substantially reduced with standard crop netting • Multiple options for flexibility to merge left, right, split or with either wing raised High-Capacity Pickups Masterdrive GII Gearbox

23' 10" pickup working width

GA TRAILED TWIN-ROTOR ROTARY RAKES • Masterdrive GIII gearbox is designed to handle the heaviest of forages • Double curved tine arms provide clean raking and increased forward speed • Swing frame design provides adjustability for single or large windrow creation • Parallelogram drawbar hitch allows for easy hook-up and high ground clearance 11'6" – 28'10" raking widths

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Profile for Hay & Forage Grower

Hay & Forage Grower Jan 2018  

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

Hay & Forage Grower Jan 2018  

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

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