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hayandforage.com

March 2018

Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

Alfalfa anchors this grass-fed farm pg 6 Orchardgrass maturity matters pg 10 Alfalfa yield gap pg 16 Twelve steps to Amazing Grazing pg 34


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March 2018 · VOL. 33 · No. 3 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

6 Alfalfa anchors this unique grass-fed farm

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

Hedgeapple Farm is within 50 miles of 1 million people. Ironically, that has proven to be both their biggest advantage and obstacle.

10

Orchardgrass maturity: Why it matters Research is confirming that location matters when selecting orchardgrass varieties.

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The alfalfa yield gap: What’s holding us back? The march toward higher alfalfa yields continues, but there’s still work to be done.

8

12

18

32

34

DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 14 Pasture Ponderings 18 Dairy Feedbunk 28 Research Round-up 30 Feed Analysis 32 Forage Gearhead

PLAN FOR DROUGHT . . . NOW

FARM SHOP FIXES MAY NOT BE AN OPTION

HAY EXPORTS HIT RECORD HIGH

A 12-STEP PLAN TO AMAZING GRAZING

DOUBLING DOWN ON REDUCED LIGNIN

22

CROP PRICES MAY FAVOR ALFALFA IN 2018

34 36 46 46

Beef Feedbunk Machine Shed Forage IQ Hay Market Update

20

Built from the ground up Voogt Farms places a high value on cattle, pastures, and environmental stewardship.

24

CHANGING IT UP

26

TAKE A DIVERSE APPROACH TO BRUSH CONTROL

ON THE COVER This mother cow was enjoying her spring pasture last April at Lyon Red Angus, Toledo, Iowa. Cousins Eric and Stuart Lyon, along with Eric’s father, Joe, operate the farm, which is best known for its elite dairy herd of Jerseys. Sixty-two cows will calve in the beef herd this spring. Photo by Ryan Ebert

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.

March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 3


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4 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

Just don’t do it

F

OR over 20 years, our family lived in a large, century-old farmhouse, held together with state-of-the-art 1950s “knob and tube” wiring. It was there that I honed my home improvement skills; this was done out of necessity, forced upon me by a never-ending onslaught of fix-it jobs and a checkbook that didn’t accommodate hired labor. For direction, I often referred to home improvement books during the early years and Google in the later ones. Carpentry, construction, and electrical work were all accomplished with reasonable success. But then there was plumbing. Pipes in that house weren’t held together by threads, but rather an unbreakable bond of rust and grime that hardened through the ages. Those connections would have rivaled the strength of any on the space shuttle. A pipe wrench was worthless; a reciprocating saw and sledgehammer were my plumbing weapons of choice. Time after time, I would attempt to tackle whatever new plumbing calamity was presented. Each and every time resulted in at best — drips or streams — but more often Old Faithful-like geysers or an unabated indoor swimming pool. Google had never encountered pipes like this place had. Checkbook aside, I knew that the smart play was to call a professional. Yet, again and again I would give it the old college try. The results never differed. I believe there’s an old saying that defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That was me and plumbing projects. Through the years, I’ve also learned that forage production offers many opportunities to repeat similar “Don’t do it” practices that we know are destined to fail or cause harm, but they still are done every year. A few examples . . . Seeding alfalfa after or into

Mike Rankin Managing Editor

alfalfa: Following a terminated alfalfa stand with a new one is often desired. Unfortunately, the autotoxic effects of alfalfa make this a losing proposition every time unless there’s at least a year between stands. Even if there’s a full winter in between, research tells us that productivity of that new stand will be 30 to 40 percent less. The same autotoxic principle applies when trying to interseed alfalfa into a thin alfalfa stand. Overgrazing: The practice of overgrazing is repeated every year when a lack of moisture and warm temperatures stifle pasture growth. The effects are usually long lasting, cutting production during the fall and into the next year. Keep 3 to 4 inches of growth on pastures even if it means having to feed some hay during summer. Overgrazing never works for the better. Raking legume hay too dry: Another practice that is repeated each and every year. Perhaps sometimes it’s the best choice of two evils, but that’s still no reason to expect leaves to stay on the stem. If leaf percentage accounts for 70 percent of forage quality, it’s easy to see how this practice can just kill hay feeding and marketing value. Baling too wet: Who among us hasn’t pushed this envelope (probably more than once)? Who among us hasn’t spent sleepless nights wondering what the temperature in the haystack happens to be? The list can no doubt go on, but the point is that repeating proven undesirable practices rarely brings about desirable results. A few years ago, my wife and I relocated to a newer, smaller home. Somehow, my reciprocating saw got lost in the move. •

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


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Scott Barao oversees Hedgeapple Farm, which markets beef from about 150 grass-fed and finished head per year. Profitability and environmental stewardship drive the farm’s operational model.

Alfalfa anchors this unique grass-fed farm by Mike Rankin

S

OMETIMES you have to break from standard procedures to take advantage of an uncontrollable situation or location. Hedgeapple Farm sits just north of Buckeystown, Md., and is an easy drive from the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metro area. It is unlike most beef operations in many ways. From their forage program to Angus genetics to their log cabin direct-market store, the farm also aims to serve as a model for sustainable beef production and environmental stewardship. It has a one-mile border with the Monocacy River, which flows to the Potomac River and then to the Chesapeake Bay. Hedgeapple Farm also places a high priority on demonstrating profitability and is eager to share its reams of production and marketing data. That’s where Scott Barao comes into the picture. Barao, who served as the University of Maryland’s extension beef specialist for 20 years and directed the beef cattle

6 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

research facility on the state’s Eastern Shore, retired in 2006 to work for the Jorgenson Family Foundation as executive director and oversee the beef operation. One of the primary missions is to conduct research and educational outreach. Once operated as a dairy farm, the Jorgenson family had owned Hedgeapple’s land and buildings since the 1960s. These days, Barao, along with farm manager Jay Fulmer, oversee the 100cow Angus herd that is 100 percent forage-fed. The farm direct-markets all of the beef it produces on a per-cut, perpound basis, about 150 grass-fed and finished head per year. Given the environmentally sensitive land base of Hedgeapple Farm, having a business model that was totally forage based made good sense. “Our overarching goal was to build a model operation that was profitable and environmentally sound in a moderate-sized beef operation typical of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of

the country,” Barao said. “We felt that we had to control the marketing of the end product. Investing so much time and effort in breeding, genetics, and forage management, then giving the product away at weaning or as yearlings didn’t make much sense for us. We felt that too much profit was lost by not direct marketing, especially given our location,” he explained.

Alfalfa drives gain The farm currently consists of about 500 acres of pasture and hayfields with 150 of those acres being rented. The registered Angus cows graze either alfalfa-orchardgrass or tall fescue-clover mixed pastures. During the winter, they are supplemented with dry hay. “We’re usually grazing by April 15 and, on average, graze into February on stockpiled fescue for the cow herd,” Barao said. Growing and finishing cattle are rotationally grazed on pure alfalfa or alfalfa-orchardgrass mixed pastures for


the entire growing season. “To accomplish what we want to do here from a finished carcass perspective, our cattle have to gain 1.8 to 2.2 pounds every day from weaning to finish. The only way to do that is with high-quality forages and a high percentage of legumes,” Barao said. During the winter, the growing and finishing cattle get baleage that is made from the alfalfa-based pastures and hayfields. The farm begins a rotation by seeding pure stands of Roundup Ready alfalfa. In Year 2 or 3, orchardgrass is interseeded into the stand to extend usable stand life to six or seven years. Once the decision is made to terminate the forage stand, the field is sprayed and sorghum-sudangrass is used as a rotational crop and provides midsummer grazing. Winter rye is then seeded in the fall and left over winter. Come spring, the pasture is seeded back to alfalfa.

Bred for the system The cow herd is split into spring (February 15 to April 1) and fall (September 1 to October 15) calvers. Barao prefers using Wye Angus genetics as the foundation for much of the breeding program. Wye Angus is a well-known and proven forage-based herd at the University of Maryland. “Cows have to calve within our two 45-day windows,” Barao said. “The bulls go in for a specific amount of time and if a cow isn’t bred, it leaves the herd . . . there’s no tolerance here.” In addition to Hedgeapple’s own calves, the farm works with three other cooperating cow-calf operations to obtain additional stockers. “We set them up with our breeding program and then the calves come back here at weaning,” Barao said. “We don’t have the pasture base to take on any more cows. For every cow-calf pair that we keep, that’s three growing-finishing head that we can’t support.” Once calves are weaned, they are split into either a heifer group or steer group. They stay in those groups until they’re

within 60 days of finishing, then are combined. About 20 percent of the heifer crop is kept as herd replacements. “Heifers work way better in this system than steers,” Barao said. “Our steers average 22 to 23 months to finish, whereas the heifers take 18 to 20 months. The heifers just get fatter faster. We never have a USDA Select grade heifer at harvest, but we occasionally get a Select Plus steer,” said Barao, who also oversees his own family’s beef herd that produces certified kosher meat. Barao is passionate about keeping financial and production records. He can tell you to the penny what it costs to raise cattle on the farm and what it costs to put a pound of meat in the cooler. Complete carcass data is kept on every animal that is processed. He also tracks performance metrics, and one of his favorites is percent of maternal body weight weaned. This is simply the calf weight divided by the maternal cow weight at weaning. “We like to see it in the low to mid-50s,” Barao noted. “It’s the best measure of cow efficiency in a forage-based system.” Barao shares his numbers and how the farm operates at many educational events held on the farm and throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Everything sold on-farm The signature building on Hedgeapple Farm is the circa 1700s log cabin that houses the retail market. All traditional cuts of beef are sold along with some gourmet cuts that are unique to the operation. Every pound of meat that is produced on the farm is sold through the store. “Our number one appeal is locally produced; grass-fed is secondary,” Barao said. “There are over a million people who live within 50 miles of this farm, but it’s also a mixed blessing. Keeping our land base and overdevelopment are our biggest challenges here. We’ve lost some of our rental land to development and there’s simply no more land on the market to purchase,” Barao explained. The farm market and farm opera-

Alfalfa and grassalfalfa mixes are grazed and made into baleage for winter feeding. All of the meat at Hedgeapple Farm is direct marketed from a retail store located on the farm.

tion are viewed as separate financial enterprises with the market purchasing cattle from the farm. Both need a black bottom line on their own merit. “This place is packed on the weekends,” Barao said. “I tell our customers that they can go out and see where their steak came from, but they usually take a pass. Nevertheless, knowing the meat is produced locally seems to be a huge factor for most of our customers,” he added. Though production location may be a calling card, the product also has to look and taste good. A quick gaze into the Hedgeapple cooler display tells customers that their beef is not of the lean and tough grass-fed realm, but rather it is well marbled with more than acceptable fat cover.

Good neighbor and good soil Environmental stewardship remains a high priority at Hedgeapple Farm. Named a Certified Agricultural Conservation Steward by the Maryland Farm Stewardship and Certification Program, a fenced buffer is kept along the 1-mile length of the Monocacy River that borders the farm. Hedgeapple operates under the guidance of a nutrient management plan with a goal to leave the land in better condition for future generations. The farm is already seeing significant improvements in soil quality. In 2010, most of the fields had soils that were 2 to 3 percent organic matter. Those same fields are now in the 5 to 6 percent organic matter range after six years of forage production and intensive rotational grazing. “We get people here from the surrounding region and all over the U.S.,” Barao said. “The one comment we always get is that this is a really difficult system to operate . . . and they’re right. You’re moving cattle daily and renovating forage species every five to seven years. You’re combining intensive genetic management of the herd with intensive pasture management of the forages with intensive management of the whole system. “You can’t just turn cattle out in the spring, round them up in the fall, and call it grass-fed beef. The consistent production of high-quality grass-fed and finished beef is possible, but it’s very difficult to do it right; however, if done correctly, it’s one of the most sustainable and lowest cost beef production systems that you’ll find because your gains are high and it maximizes the animal harvest from forage across the farm,” he concluded. • March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 7


Drought is often not a question of “if” but rather “when.” Having a plan in place to get through it can keep both cattle and pastures productive.

Plan for drought . . . now by Gary Bates

T

HIS time of the year most of us are waiting for winter to end, looking forward to warmer temperatures and greener pastures. Very few people woke up this morning thinking about drought. That topic won’t enter our minds for another few months. By that time, however, drought might become one of the dominant topics on everyone’s mind. The problem is that if we wait until June or July to start thinking about how to deal with a drought, we have missed out on several management tools to reduce its impact. A drought during the summer will always be a threat. In fact, I could argue that summer drought is normal. The only variation will be in the length and intensity of the drought. In order to reduce the impact of these droughts, there are several things we can focus on over the next few months. Correct soil fertility issues: In order to survive periods of limited moisture, plants need to be vigorous with a healthy root system. If plant nutrients are limiting, or soil pH is low, there is the potential for plant growth to be reduced, limiting the plant’s ability to survive drought. Often producers think that hayfield stands last longer because they aren’t grazed. That is partially true, but it is often also due to higher soil fertility in hayfields versus pastures. Go ahead and soil test your fields now so that you can have results in time to fertilize. If

8 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

the results don’t arrive in time, it provides information needed to topdress with additional nutrients if needed. Improve grazing management: Often we think about our grazing management during the drought, trying to not overgraze and kill the plants. We have all seen fields that have to be replanted because they were grazed too hard during a drought. But preventing overgrazing during the spring when plant growth is good is just as important for drought survival. As mentioned above, root growth is important in a plant’s ability to survive drought. Research has shown that overgrazing has a dramatic impact on grass root development. If you graze a plant, root growth will stop for a few days. The more and longer you overgraze, the more dramatic the impact. In fact, if you continuously overgraze a pasture, root growth will essentially stop until you let the plants have a chance to regrow and restore some of their reserve carbohydrates. The best way to graze a field is to remove all of the forage, then rotate cattle to another field and let the forage regrow. This will create a situation in which the plants can recover both above and below ground. How fast to remove the forage and how long to let the field regrow will depend on your resources and goals. But during spring, a goal should be to graze a field for four to seven days, then allow 21 to 28 days to recover. If you have to graze a field

longer or have fewer days for regrowth, it doesn’t mean all is lost. Anything you can do to allow more days for rest will help root regrowth and reduce summer drought impact. Plant warm-season species to supplement cool-season pastures: Let’s say you have tall fescue pastures that you have tried to manage well during the spring. But a drought hits and you’re in a no-win situation. You don’t want to overgraze during the drought, but you don’t have any pasture growth, so there is no way to prevent overgrazing. How can you manage this? One solution is planting a few acres of some warm-season forage species. It might be bermudagrass, crabgrass, sorghum-sudangrass, or one of the native grasses. But the point is to plant a forage species that is more adapted to summer temperatures and more efficient with its water use. These species have a photosynthetic pathway that allows them to conserve water while maintaining productivity. You should be able to continue to graze much longer into a drought using one of these species compared to using tall fescue. The appropriate species will depend on several things, such as your location, soils, and goals. We are not able to list the pros and cons of each of the various warm-season grasses in this article, but we can say to plan now and determine which species you want to use to provide grazing during the summer. Conclusion: Oftentimes we act as if droughts are unusual and abnormal. In reality, droughts should be expected and planned for. We can’t particularly eliminate droughts, but we can reduce their impact. Don’t wait until the drought hits to start the planning. Now is the time to develop your drought strategy. •

GARY BATES The author is the director of the University of Tennessee Beef and Forage Center.


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Christopher Geralds

ORCHARDGRASS MATURITY:

Why it matters by Ray Smith

E

VERY forage producer knows that maturity is the most important factor in determining forage quality. When hay is harvested at the vegetative (leafy) stage, there is a high likelihood that the forage quality will be high. Grass stands harvested at the boot stage (before seedhead emergence) will have increased yield over vegetative stands, but the quality is lower. Usually though, boot stage harvests provide a good compromise between yield and quality. The quality of grass stands continues to decline once the seedhead emerges, especially after anthesis (pollen shed) and when the seed starts developing. Most of this is common knowledge, but the issue becomes more complicated when grasses are mixed with legumes. A preferred mixture in many high-value hay markets is alfalfa-orchardgrass, especially with horse customers. Hay buyers want a high-quality leafy mixture, but it can be difficult to determine when to cut, especially at first cutting. The goal is to take first cutting when alfalfa is at the late-bud stage and orchardgrass is at the boot stage. Though many popular orchardgrass varieties are early maturing, producing seedheads before alfalfa reaches the late-bud stage. The simple solution is to choose late-maturing orchardgrass varieties, 10 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

“The most important finding from this research is that maturity is highly dependent on location.” but this can be easier said than done. Many companies sell late-maturing varieties, but it is often hard to determine what is meant by “late maturing” from a company advertisement. A recent journal paper published in Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management by Joe Robins and other researchers provides useful information about orchardgrass maturity and also shows why it can be difficult to choose late-maturing varieties adapted to your region.

Maturity varies by region In the study, 13 orchardgrass varieties were tested across four years at university and USDA research sites in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The focus of this study was to determine how these varieties compared for maturity, yield, stand survival, disease rating, spring regrowth, and fall regrowth across a wide range of locations. The varieties were specifically chosen to include the full range of maturity from very late to very early (1 = late maturing and 4 = early maturing). At first glance (Table 1), you may notice that some varieties are con-

sistently later maturing than others. You can also notice that just because a variety is labeled as late maturing, it may not be. Pennlate, developed as a late-maturing variety in Pennsylvania, was actually in the middle of the pack. Barlegro was always the latest maturing variety or in the latest maturing group statistically. Other consistently late-maturing varieties included Dascada, Excellate SA, and Harvestar. Where each variety ranked for maturity varied from state to state. Interestingly, in Wisconsin there was only a 0.7 out of 4.0 spread from the earliest to the latest maturing variety. Since maturity is influenced by day length and temperature, Northern states often have a compressed spread for maturity because the days can be fairly long RAY SMITH The author is a forage extension specialist with the University of Kentucky in Lexington.


by the time temperatures are warm enough for growth. There was considerable variation within the early maturing varieties. Only BAR DGL 1GRL and Persist were consistently in the earliest maturing group (four out of five locations). Some varieties were early maturing in one state — Potomac in Virginia, but then late maturing in another state — Potomac in Pennsylvania. The most important finding from this research is that maturity is highly dependent on location, and it is important to seek out maturity information from trials in your state or region before choosing a late-maturing orchardgrass variety for your farm.

to grass maturity ratings in the U.S., the American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) has recently appointed a Cool Season Grass Maturity Committee. This committee is comprised of seed company and university representatives who have collected seed for a number of varieties of orchardgrass, tall fescue, timothy, Kentucky bluegrass, smooth bromegrass, and annual and perennial ryegrass. Each variety is being evaluated for maturity using a standardized protocol at company research stations in Oregon, Iowa, and Kentucky. The goal of this AFGC-sponsored project is to develop a standard grass variety maturity rating scale, similar

to the fall dormancy rating system with alfalfa. This standardized rating scale would not only identify the earliest and latest orchardgrass varieties, but it would also allow comparisons across grass species. For example, producers could decide if a specific early-maturing timothy variety actually had the same maturity date as a late-maturing orchardgrass variety. Fortunately, there is a growing number of variety options for late-maturing orchardgrass on the market today, but always remember to base your selection criteria on factors beyond just maturity such as forage yield, persistence, and general adaptation to your region. •

Study committee formed An example of local information is the variety testing program at the University of Kentucky. The coordinator is Gene Olson, and he conducts both yield and grazing variety trials across almost 20 forage species each year. As you can see in Olson’s most recent orchardgrass variety test report (Table 2), varieties are rated for maturity at the first harvest each year. Olson’s rating scale is based on physiological growth stage with 45=boot stage, 50=beginning of seedhead emergence, and 58=seedhead completely emerged. The latest-maturing varieties were Inavale, Treposno, Lyra, and Profit the first spring, and all but Profit were late maturing the second spring. The shift in maturity rating for Profit brings up an important point. Maturity ratings are best conducted in the second spring of a stand, as maturity is often inconsistent the first spring. In an effort to bring more consistency

Table 1. Regional orchardgrass maturity comparison Maturity rating Variety

KY

PA

UT

VA

WI

1-4*

BAR DGL 1GRL

3.3

3.0

3.3

3.6

2.3

Barlegro

1.0

1.5

1.7

1.0

2.2

Benchmark Plus

3.1

2.7

2.7

3.2

2.4

Crown Royale

2.9

2.6

3.1

1.5

2.2

Dascada

1.6

2.3

2.3

1.1

2.6

Excellate SA

1.7

2.1

1.8

1.1

2.0

Harvestar

2.1

2.1

2.2

1.2

2.1

Pennlate

3.0

2.6

2.6

1.2

2.2

Persist

3.3

2.9

3.2

2.2

2.7

Potomac

2.4

3.2

2.7

1.2

2.6

Prairie

3.0

2.6

3.1

1.7

2.6

Profit

2.9

2.5

3.0

1.3

2.3

Quickdraw

3.1

3.1

2.7

2.6

2.4

LSD

0.4

0.4

0.5

0.9

0.3

Location means for maturity measured from 2011 to 2014 at Lexington, Ky.; Rock Spring, Pa.; Millville, Utah; Blackstone, Va.; and Arlington, Wis. (Robins, et al., 2017, Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management ). *1 = very late; 4 = very early

Table 2. Seedling vigor and maturity of orchardgrass varieties Maturity2 Variety

Seedling vigor1 Oct. 15, 2015

2016 May 11

2017 May 10

Commercial varieties — Available for farm use

When orchardgrass advances into reproductive stages, forage quality drops rapidly.

Persist

4.4

50.3

59.0

Olathe

4.4

52.0

55.5

SS-0708OGDT

4.9

54.5

56.5

Prairie

4.5

53.5

56.5

Potomac

4.9

51.8

59.0

Inavale

4.4

47.5

49.8

Treposno

5.0

46.3

48.5

Lyra

4.9

45.0

49.3

Profit

4.8

45.0

55.3

Sown September 4, 2015, at the University of Kentucky research farm in Lexington, Ky. (Olson, et al., 2017). 1 Vigor score based on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most vigorous seedling growth. 2 Maturity scale: 45 = boot swollen, 50 = beginning of seedhead emergence, 58 = seedhead completely emerged, and 62 = beginning of pollen shed. 

March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 11


Hay exports hit record high by Mike Rankin

T

HE USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has posted U.S. hay export totals for 2017 and the news on the export front continues to be largely positive. Total exports of alfalfa and other hay (think grass) hit 4.2 million metric tons (MT). That exceeds 2016’s exports by 6.3 percent and marks the first time that the total of alfalfa and other hay exports have exceeded 4 million MT, based on USDA-FAS data.

Alfalfa Alfalfa hay exports in 2017 totaled a record 2.7 million MT, up 7.2 percent from 2016 and the third consecutive year of alfalfa export year-over-year growth. When speaking of alfalfa hay exports, China remains the 800-pound gorilla in the room. They purchased 1.17 million MT of U.S. alfalfa during 2017,

4,500,000 4,000,000

Metric tons

3,500,000

more than double the amount bought by Japan, the second-place importer of U.S. alfalfa (see graph below). Exports to China were 6.8 percent more than 2016. This percentage bump was less than during the previous two years, perhaps indicating that we’re moving toward the end of the huge growth in that export market. During the past five years, alfalfa hay exports to China have risen a whopping 226 percent. Japan’s alfalfa hay import total of 0.56 million MT was 14.6 percent higher than 2016 and was that country’s largest amount of U.S. alfalfa purchased since 2011. The past year marked the third consecutive year of higher U.S. alfalfa exports to Japan. Vaulting into third place as an export partner for U.S. alfalfa was Saudi Arabia. The Saudis imported 0.36 million

U.S. hay exports, 2011 to 2017 Other hay Alfalfa

3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Source: USDA-FAS

1,400,000

Metric tons

1,200,000 1,000,000 800,000

U.S. alfalfa exports, 2011 to 2017 China Japan United Arab Emirates South Korea Saudi Arabia

600,000 400,000 200,000 0

2011

2012

2013

Source: USDA-FAS

12 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

2014

2015

2016

2017

MT in 2017, 40 percent more than the previous year’s total. As recently as 2014, Saudi Arabia was essentially a nonplayer in the export market. The reasons for their meteoric rise as an alfalfa buyer relates to that country’s well-documented phase out of domestic alfalfa production to conserve water while still sustaining their domestic dairy industry. Of the top five leading alfalfa haytrade partners in 2017, United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the only one that imported less U.S. alfalfa than in 2016. Their import total of 0.25 million MT was down 22 percent from the previous year. In 2013, the UAE had imported 0.66 million MT, which is their historical high-water mark. South Korea imported 3.2 percent more U.S. alfalfa in 2017 than 2016. Exports to the Winter Olympics host country have remained rather stable in recent years, nearing 0.2 million MT.

Other hay USDA-FAS reported 1.53 million MT of hay other than alfalfa was exported from the U.S. in 2017. That was 5 percent more than in 2016 and a similar amount to what was exported in 2015. Japan leads all export partners for nonalfalfa hay. They imported 0.76 million MT in 2017, 5 percent more than the previous year. South Korea raised their import total of U.S. hay other than alfalfa by 20 percent in 2017 with a finishing tally of 0.54 MT. Rounding out the top 5 export trade partners for other hay were Taiwan (0.10 million MT), UAE (0.06 million MT), and China (0.02 million MT). China’s total was down 63 percent from 2016.

Summary Total U.S. hay exports continued to rise in 2017, eclipsing 4 million MT. Hay exports still remain a small portion of total U.S. hay production. Based on USDA production data for 2017, only 3.5 percent of all hay produced enters the export market and about 5.3 percent of U.S. alfalfa does the same. In the seven Western states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, hay exports play a much larger role in impacting markets and prices. According to Dan Putnam, University of California forage extension specialist, hay exports make up about 51 percent of the grass hay production and 15 percent of the total alfalfa production in those Western states. •


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BULL MENTALITY


PASTURE PONDERINGS

by Jesse Bussard country, Gerrish pointed out. In the West, a majority of a ranch’s grazing plan will also be a drought plan. Concurrently, in the eastern U.S., graziers can allot a smaller portion of forage for reserves and maintain a less flexible stock policy thanks to the region’s higher annual moisture levels and abundant market opportunities. No matter the region, however, it’s still good policy to maintain both drought and destocking plans as part of a greater grazing plan, said Gerrish. With these measures in place, when dry conditions do arise, producers know immediately what to do and both pastures and the bottom line are in better shape in the long run because of it.

Have a plan

W

ITH spring soon upon us, March is the perfect time to revisit or begin a grazing plan and develop strategies to manage new forage growth. In my discussions with Idaho grazing consultant Jim Gerrish over the years, he has always emphasized a grazing plan as a vital necessity to managing the complexities of the soil-plant-animal relationship and the ups and downs of the forage growing season. “Grass doesn’t grow at the same rate year-round, nor does livestock consumption stay the same,” Gerrish said. “We know forage is produced over a limited period of time, but we have to stretch that over 12 months.” A grazing plan helps bring the forage supply and livestock’s demand into balance. Without this balance, inefficiencies can arise leading to greater farm expenses. The key to keeping the scales in check, Gerrish noted, is to use a variable stocking rate throughout the year. In other words, don’t graze the same number of animals in one place continuously. In addition, give pastures subsequent rest periods based on forage growth throughout the season. While many pasture managers claim they already maintain a grazing plan, Gerrish said his observations have shown it’s more often an afterthought.

Where to begin? Getting started with the grazing planning process starts with being organized, Gerrish said. Cultivate a habit of taking notes. This can be done via a pen and small pocket-sized notebook or through a note-taking app on a smartphone. Next, graziers need to determine the carrying capacity of their operation. 14 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

Gerrish said for pasture managers new to the practice, this will take some research. He recommended using Web Soil Survey (WSS), a comprehensive source for soil and plant information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. Additionally, consult and document past weather and rainfall records, such as those found on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Data website. Together, this information and the soil survey data will assist pasture managers in predicting which months forage growth and dormancy occur, as well as the timing of when peaks and declines are possible. After the forage growth cycle has been determined, consider the class and number of animals on the farm on a month-to-month basis. Carrying capacity and, in turn, variable stocking rate will be determined by fitting livestock demand to expected forage production throughout the year.

Stay flexible It’s important to remember, however, these numbers are based on data from what’s considered average or “normal” conditions. Producers need to incorporate a degree of flexibility into their stocking policy so that adjustments for unexpected forage growth changes can be made. This can be accomplished by grazing different classes or species of livestock at different times throughout the year. “The goal is to have the ability to increase animal numbers to capture available forage when it’s on hand,” Gerrish said, “but then be able to easily liquidate or sell off a set number of animals when it’s not available.” Grazing plans will differ across the

Looking ahead As the grazing season progresses, Gerrish stresses pasture managers should take time to develop a pasture inventory. This practice provides an overview of how much forage is available in a pasture at a set point in time. To conduct a pasture inventory, individual pastures are periodically inspected to determine an estimate of available forage in each. Gerrish suggested pasture inventories be conducted every two weeks on irrigated fields or high-moisture areas and monthly on drier rangeland areas during the growing season. This data can later be used to compare to the forage supply estimates calculated earlier in the year from historical records and soil surveys; it can then be used to make adjustments to the overall grazing plan. No matter the size of an operation, producers will find benefit from implementing a grazing plan, Gerrish said. Pasture managers will have a better understanding of what their land is capable of producing and when the forage will be available. “It also makes life a lot less complicated,” Gerrish said. • Find more grazing insight from Gerrish on his website: http://americangrazinglands.com.

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


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Finding answers to significantly improve alfalfa yields has long been on the wish list of forage researchers and producers alike. Yield enhancement opportunities exist, but involve multiple factors.

The alfalfa yield gap:

What’s holding us back? by Charlie Brummer and Dan Putnam

O

N-FARM alfalfa hay yields as reported by the USDA have been flat for the past 20 to 30 years, whether considered nationally or in the major alfalfa growing states (see figures from U.S. and California). This is of major concern to alfalfa and dairy producers who struggle with profitability, but also of concern to scientists and policy makers envisioning a heavily populated world demanding even greater food production. There is a critical need to improve yields in alfalfa. Getting more yield per acre, and perhaps more importantly, more yield per gallon of water, is critical to keep alfalfa production economical. Why the yield stagnation, or more critically, what can be done about it? Here we look at five factors affecting yield that present possibilities for improvement. Cutting schedules: Perhaps one reason yields are not increasing is because cutting schedules continue to become more aggressive. A well-known yield penalty exists from earlier harvest schedules. We know forage quality of alfalfa hay has been improving since the 1970s, and one reason for this is harvesting alfalfa at earlier stages of maturity. Stated another way, the yield stagnation that we’ve seen could be a result of growers emphasizing quality

16 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

more than quantity. Newer, reduced-lignin varieties may be able to break this connection to a degree, allowing later harvest with high quality, though confirming this still needs more research. Breeding: Are new cultivars better or worse than older ones in terms of yield? This is a complicated question, partly because newer cultivars tend to have improved disease and insect resistance packages. Thus, a newer cultivar will outyield older ones in the presence of diseases and insects. However, in the absence of the pest or disease, yields may not be very different. The yield of the top variety in the first year of variety trials in Northern California — before diseases become an issue — has increased over the past couple decades, but this has not occurred either in Central or Southern California. In Southern California’s Imperial Valley, new varieties yield higher as a percentage of the old standard cultivar CUF101, demonstrating that even if yields aren’t improving, new cultivars are better adapted to the conditions facing producers today. In other words, like the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass,” what new varieties are doing is running faster and faster just to maintain yields at current levels. Fall dormancy: The yield-quality

trade-off is also associated with fall dormancy. Less fall dormant varieties tend to produce higher yield (provided they still have sufficient winter hardiness for the growing zone), but they also tend to be stemmier and have higher fiber content than more dormant varieties. Thus, a grower who weighs quality over quantity could grow a more dormant variety than optimal for the production region, thereby lowering yields but maximizing quality. Traffic: Driving hay equipment across fields multiple times per harvest and during multiple harvests per year damages an alfalfa stand. Based on some yield trial data from California, Wisconsin, and other states, yield losses of 20 percent could be ascribed to traffic damage, with some varieties losing more than 25 percent. Because the rapidity of regrowth is enhanced as dormancy declines, a shift to more nondormant cultivars would CHARLIE BRUMMER AND DAN PUTNAM Brummer (pictured) is a forage breeder at the University of CaliforniaDavis. Putnam is UC’s forage extension specialist.


Improvement opportunities Even within a region, the maximum yields possible are far less than the yields that growers actually receive. This is termed the “yield gap,” which Michael Russelle wrote about and presented at a recent Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium (bit.ly/HFG-WestAlfalfa). For example, we have measured yields at 16 tons per acre in California, and Arizona has reported 24 tons per acre in research trials, but average yields are less than half these amounts. Thus, we know that yield progress is possible using various approaches. What are some of these strategies? Genetics and breeding: Newer genomic technologies, particularly when linked with advances in remote sensing to predict yield and other traits, offer new ways to develop high-yielding cultivars. Continued effort to break the dormancy, quality, and yield relationships could further stimulate productivity. Finally, conducting breeding under new management systems, such as subsurface drip, should result in varieties tailored for those environments. Mechanization and harvest strategies: This was a major component

US alfalfa hay yield from 1919 to 2017

Dry matter yield (tons/acre)

4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 1900

1920

1940

1960

1980

2000

2020

2040

California alfalfa yield — USDA NASS 8

Yield (tons/acre)

likely result in additional wheel-traffic damage. Removing cut forage as soon as possible after harvest will reduce the damage to alfalfa regrowth and minimize yield losses due to traffic. Water and irrigation: Water management (insufficient or excess soil moisture) is likely to limit yields to a greater degree than any other factor. About 50 percent of the U.S. alfalfa crop is produced under irrigation. Drought is one factor, but even when irrigation water is available, poor water management can lower yields. The key limitations under irrigation are 1) lack of timeliness of irrigation to apply water when the crop needs it and 2) poor distribution uniformity across fields. Changes in irrigation methods, such as subsurface drip irrigation or improved overhead sprinkler systems, can better time water application to crop needs. Yield improvements of 20 to 35 percent are possible with high-level subsurface drip, overhead sprinkler, or even well-managed flood irrigation systems. At the other end of the water spectrum, alfalfa is highly sensitive to flooded conditions, and poor drainage or difficult soils limit yields in many environments at least as much as lack of water. As alfalfa is moved onto more difficult soils, this could also be a factor.

7 6 5 4 3 1910

1930

1950

of yield improvements from the 1920s through the 1980s. Further improvements are possible. Any effort to shorten dry-down time, such as hay in a day, reduce windrow effects and soil compaction, and to limit the amount of traffic is likely to substantially improve yields. Timing for harvests interacts with harvest scheduling and irrigation management in important ways. Can we envision harvesting equipment that has near zero influence on crop growth or soil compaction? There are tremendous engineering possibilities for improvements in yields. Irrigation technology: Here is another area where there are opportunities for improvement, by enhancing uniformity, scheduling, soil moisture monitoring, and timeliness. There are tremendous gains to be made here. Alfalfa is difficult to optimize in terms of irrigation, since harvest schedules interfere with irrigation. Growers often don’t apply the right amount of water due to limitations in watering technique and harvest schedule, and this is a critical limitation to yield improve-

1970

1990

2010

2030

ments in the West. Soil fertility and condition: Unfortunately, many alfalfa growers do not conduct soil tests or tissue tests to determine whether a nutrient is required. Often, what is going on below the surface is ignored. What about subsurface drainage and soil impediments? Alfalfa takes up substantial phosphorus, potassium, and sometimes sulfur. All of these can limit yields if ignored. The same is true where micronutrient deficiencies exist. Analysis of soil condition and fertility is certainly an area that provides opportunity for yield improvement on many farms. In summary, we all want to see yield improvements to keep alfalfa an economically viable crop. There are several critical areas that might be important, including harvesting schedules and techniques, plant genetics, irrigation management, and soil improvement. It’s important for alfalfa growers to communicate with researchers and industries what their needs are to set long-term yield goals for the industry. • March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 17


DAIRY FEEDBUNK

by Randy Shaver

With the introduction of reduced-lignin alfalfa, some users are asking if pairing the product with brown midrib corn will result in too much digestible fiber.

Doubling down on reduced lignin

B

able. Thus, questions are being raised as to whether or not total ration forage ivNDFD can become too high for dairy cows if both forage types comprise a major component of the dairy ration.

ROWN midrib (BMR) hybrid corn silages are known for their significant reductions in lignin content and coinciding higher in vitro NDF digestibility (ivNDFD) compared to conventional hybrid corn silages. In numerous controlled dairy feeding trials from multiple locations and years, these corn silage nutrient composition improvements have translated into greater dry matter intake and milk yield. Concerns remain about agronomic and yield drag challenges; even so, BMR corn silages have become the preferred hybrid choice for many high-producing dairy herds. More recently, reduced-lignin alfalfa varieties have become commercially avail-

Some lignin is needed Lignin is an important polymer in the plant cell wall for strength and rigidity to prevent lodging. It also is necessary for water transport within the plant. Thus, there is a built-in safety factor against forage lignin becoming too low, and hence NDF digestibility being too high, from an agronomic standpoint. Reduced-lignin alfalfa varieties developed from either conventional plant breeding or transgenic approaches are

Feeding both BMR corn silage and reduced-lignin alfalfa in a TMR* Type of reducedlignin alfalfa

Cutting schedule

Lignin drop

NDFD gain

Forage harvest and dietary considerations

Normal selection reduced-lignin alfalfa

Normal

-

+

Minimal with sound harvest and TMR management

Transgenic reduced-lignin alfalfa

Normal

--

++

Check and adjust chop length, diet peNDF, diet forage NDF%, and diet starch %

Delayed

0

0

None

*Nutrient composition and digestibility values vary – routine and accurate forage analysis with ration formulation as necessary is crucial for success.

18 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

being marketed by separate companies. Relative to normal-lignin varieties, 5 to 15 percent reductions in lignin content and up to a 15 percent improvement in ivNDFD and relative forage quality (RFQ) have been reported for the reduced-lignin alfalfas in research trials. The greatest differences have been found with the transgenic varieties. By contrast, ivNDFD is typically about 20 percent greater for BMR corn hybrids relative to nonBMR hybrids. The ivNDFD for by-product fiber sources, such as soyhulls or beet pulp, can be as much as 60 percent greater than the ivNDFD for normal-lignin forages. So, reduced-lignin forages possess ivNDFD values that are workable within dairy cattle feeding programs. Harvesting alfalfa at the mid- to late-bud stage of maturity, compared to

RANDY SHAVER The author is a professor and extension dairy nutritionist in the department of dairy science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


more mature stages, lowers NDF and lignin contents and boosts the percentage of crude protein (CP) and ivNDFD. This is mainly a function of harvesting plants with a greater leaf-to-stem ratio. Even prior to the release of reduced-lignin alfalfa, dairy farmers have had the experience of feeding early-cut, high-quality alfalfa haylage along with BMR corn silage.

More harvest options The downside to cutting at earlier plant maturities and imposing shorter intervals between cuttings has been reduced alfalfa dry matter yield per acre, more cuttings (and harvest costs) per year, and compromised stand longevity. Reduced-lignin alfalfa offers growers enhanced harvest flexibility. One option with reduced-lignin alfalfa is to simply capture higher quality forage through greater ivNDFD at your current harvest maturity and cutting frequency. Another option might be to widen the cutting interval to capture more yield per acre of similar quality alfalfa to that which is currently being obtained from normal-lignin varieties. Marketers of the transgenic varieties promote the latter approach as a means to eliminate a cutting and save the associated harvest costs. Expect lignin content and ivNDFD to vary for reduced-lignin alfalfa due to differences in the variety, harvest strategy, and the typical harvest time weather-induced variation in quality. Note that the latter of these also influences the variation in CP and NDF contents. Keep in mind, too, that it will take about three years for all acreage on a farm to be converted over to reduced-lignin alfalfa; this results in a mixture of both reduced- and normal-lignin alfalfas being harvested and fed during that time period. As with normal-lignin alfalfa, frequent sampling and accurate nutrient analysis of reduced-lignin alfalfa and also BMR corn silage are crucial to developing successful rations.

greater dietary forage and forage-NDF content, 2) reducing dietary starch content, and/or 3) lengthening silage chop settings. Reduced milkfat content and/or feed efficiency, measured as dry matter intake relative to level of milk production, can be good group or herd diagnostic indicators that these types of interventions are necessary. To date, I am unaware of controlled feeding trials in dairy cattle where

both reduced-lignin alfalfa haylage and BMR corn silage have been fed together in the same TMR for evaluation. This makes the practice at this point still a learn-as-you-go experience on the farm. So, work closely with your nutritionist to set the forage sampling and analysis protocols, interpret test reports, and take extra care to formulate feed rations when using both reduced-lignin alfalfa and BMR corn silage together in the TMR. •

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Ration adjustments Usage considerations for the reduced-lignin forages are listed in the chart. Only in situations with major lignin reductions and ivNDFD increases from the reduced-lignin alfalfa might significant extra attention to detail be necessary. Changes may include: 1) boosting TMR (total mixed ration) physically-effective NDF through

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Gary Voogt examines his herd of registered Angus. The 2009 NCBA president is passionate about his cattle, pastures, and the environment. He’s not shy about offering his opinions on any of the three.

Built from the ground up by Lauren Peterson

H

EY, Gary, we’re going to arrive about 20 minutes late.” “It’s a farm, not a date. Come whenever,” came the response from the subject of our next photo-farm tour stop. Candid, down-to-earth responses like this can be expected from Gary Voogt, past president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and owner of Voogt Farms in Marne, Mich. Voogt served as president for NCBA in 2009 and was the first Michigan producer to hold that distinguished position. In the previous seven years leading up to his election as president, he had served as an NCBA officer. Voogt has traveled all over the world, promoting beef and giving interviews, but spent most of his time as president in Denver and Washington, D.C., where he met with President George W. Bush and testified before Congress. This cattleman’s road to the Hill was atypical, to say the least. Voogt worked as a civil engineer for 41 years and created his farming legacy from scratch. He and his wife, Shirley, started out with just three calves and rented their pastures to a neighbor after purchasing the farm in 1967. Since that time, he has acquired a wealth of knowledge and opinions about cattle, forages, and enhancing the environment.

20 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

“We were not farmers and the farm wasn’t passed down to us,” Voogt recalled. “It turned out to be a second job, not a hobby job.” A purchase of three registered Hereford heifers for their young son and the decision to show purebred polled Herefords began the road to their current success. They started raising their own purebred cattle and switched to Angus, now owning one of the largest registered Angus herds in Michigan. Voogt’s success is rooted in his passion for producing quality seedstock. The farm is now made up of 170 acres of pasture and hay ground with an additional 30 rented acres. On this land, the Voogts have registered bulls, heifers, and around 70 cow-calf pairs that are rotationally grazed and supplemented with locally purchased grain. “In order to have yearling bulls ready for our customers to use at grass turnout time, and for the yearling heifers ready to breed ahead of the cows, we time the artificial breeding to calve at the worst time of the year in Michigan — January and February,” said the Michigan Cattlemen’s Association’s 2006 Purebred Breeder of the Year. “We think calving in the cold weather is healthier — everything’s frozen, and there’s no mud,” Voogt added.

To ensure that this challenging task goes smoothly, the Voogts tighten their calving interval through intensive synchronized estrous management. The cows are then bred using artificial insemination. Being primarily in the purebred Angus bull business, the farm uses the freshest genetics and retains only the best bull calves to clean up those cows that didn’t conceive. Calves are weaned at 5 to 6 months and sold on an internet auction in September. Voogt sells 60 percent of his heifers to feedlots, keeps 25 percent back as replacements, and the remaining 15 percent are kept for freezer beef.

Take half, leave half Raising quality stock takes quality pastures — a fact that Voogt knows all too well. Voogt rotationally grazes his cattle on 8- to 14-acre paddocks within his larger pastures. He ensures LAUREN PETERSON The author was the 2017 Hay & Forage Grower summer editorial intern.


pastures are uniform in growth to limit weed infestation. “I adhere to the rule ‘take half, leave half,’ in terms of when we move cattle to the next paddock,” Voogt stated. “A plant needs to maintain its solar panel. That’s the factory for future growth. If you graze too short, it weakens the roots and they die.” Not a fan of monocultures, Voogt’s cattle graze multi-specie grass pastures. His 170 acres have not been plowed for 30 years. While he does do some frost seeding of red clover in the spring, his pastures are made up of a variety of legume species, such as white clover and birdsfoot trefoil. In cases where pasture plants go to seed, Voogt will use the cattle to spread and trample the seed back into the ground. “I believe that each plant species provides unique nutritional characteristics to my cattle. I like to see a variety of plants going through my mower as I cut hay,” Voogt shared.

Watching out for the birds Cattle aren’t the only creatures on the property. An avid conservationist, Voogt closely monitors the bird population around his farm. To ensure an active wildlife presence, the property contains hawthorn thickets, woodlands, two small ponds, and a bird nesting trail of 23 bluebird boxes. In the spring of 2016, a comprehensive bird study was compiled on Voogt’s farm, showing the presence of 80 different species, with significant fledging success of the robust savannah sparrow, bobolink, and eastern meadowlark populations. The main goal of the study was to determine if Voogt’s mowing and grazing practices could explain the reproduction success rate of

1

the grassland bird species. The most common ground nesting hazard is the hay mowing machine. “The mower-conditioner takes no prisoners,” Voogt cautioned. “Once nests are built, there is no mowing pattern that will be successful. The adults can fly out, but they can’t take the nest with them.” Voogt learned that the bobolinks nest in colonies. Over the years, he has noted which fields the bobolinks favor most, and he mows them first before nesting starts, usually before the first of June, then not again until mid-July. Rather than building nests in the short stubble, the birds learn to use the adjoining rotationally grazed pastures. “We graze the ground bird nesting pastures last in the rotation,” Voogt said. “The birds and the cows seem to respect each other, and trampling of nests by the cows turned out to be only a mild concern.” Also, his “take half, leave half” method ensures that the birds are left taller residual plant matter that they prefer for cover and perching. Bobolinks winter in Argentina and summer in Michigan. But their numbers are declining. The Voogt family was thrilled to learn the study found a whopping 35 successful bobolink nests on the farm, and that earned them the Conservation Partners of the Year award from the Saving Birds Thru Habitat organization.

Working smarter, not harder Using his 41 years of experience as a civil engineer, Voogt gets creative around the farm to improve efficiency and solve problems. In order to ensure that his cattle are no more than 900 feet from water at all times, he created a wagon on skids that can be pulled from pasture to pasture and hooked

2

1: A quick coupler is available in every paddock, which Voogt uses to hook to a portable water/mineral wagon. 2: Voogt likes his multispecies pastures. Legumes such as white clover, red clover, and birdsfoot trefoil (pictured) are easy to find.

3

up by a quick coupler to underground water pipes that are accessible in each paddock. The wagon is easily movable, has a roof to keep water cool, holds minerals, and has fly control rubs attached. “The cattle will come up as individuals to get water. Any farther than 900 feet and it’s only the boss cow that decides when the herd will be watered,” said Voogt, showing his commitment to animal husbandry. With vast acreage devoted to feeding his herd, Voogt is also reluctant to buy hay. When it comes to winter feeding, he makes it clear that his cows are working for him and not the other way around. Voogt has designated a lot for winter feeding near where his cattle are kept to calve and cared for. Round bales are placed in rows within the lot before the snow hits and are adequately spaced to allow for a hot wire to divide rows. Cattle feed themselves throughout the winter as Voogt simply moves the wire from one row to the next when available feed dwindles. Surrounded by neighbors, Voogt also found a way to make his winter calving barns and holding area more environmentally friendly. He helped design a sloped catch basin system to collect runoff from the concrete lots. The retained nutrient-rich water and manure is then spread back on pastures to enhance growth. When it comes to success stories, few are more compelling than Gary Voogt building a cattleman’s legacy from scratch. Upon instilling his own brand of hard work and dedication, his children and grandchildren now play an active role in the daily operation of the farm. With the help of his guidance and the reputation that comes with such a successful seedstock operation, the continued legacy of Voogt Farms looks promising for years to come. •

4

3: Bird housing and habitat abound on Voogt Farms. Eighty different bird species have been identified on the property. 4: Voogt uses a bale grazing technique to feed cows during the winter. A hot wire limits access.

March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 21


Crop prices may favor alfalfa in 2018

by Dan Undersander

T

HE low futures prices for corn and soybeans have caused some farmers to consider alfalfa as a more profitable crop in 2018 than either grain. Current hay market prices in the Midwest are $197 for Prime quality (over 151 relative forage quality or RFQ) and $154 for Grade 1 (RFQ 125 to 150). Further, the market for hay looks good since December 1 U.S hay stocks, at 86 million tons, are the lowest since 2012, and before that the lowest since 1975. The Midwest is following the national

trend and is 10.5 percent lower for December hay stocks than 2016. Also, with the cold weather, the Midwest has had along with little or no snow cover, the likelihood is high that some winter injury and kill will occur to alfalfa stands.

Know your costs The decision of which crop to grow will depend in large part on the production costs compared to a yield expectation and sales price. Table 1 offers an estimate of production costs by category

Table 1. Production costs per acre for 2018 excluding land charge1 Expenses

Corn

Soybeans

Alfalfa hay

Seed

$115

$73

$602

Fertilizer

$130

$22

$145

Crop chemicals

$66

$29

$15

Crop insurance

$24

$16

$--

Machinery costs

$131

$108

$175

Other expenses3

$83

$64

$100

Total

$549

$312

$495

1 2 3

Values taken from 2017 Minnesota Crop Budgets and 2018 Iowa Crop Budgets excluding land charge. Seed and establishment costs assumed to be $240 prorated over four years. Other expenses include: drying fuels, operating interest, hired labor, utilities, building depreciation, and miscellaneous expenses.

22 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

from Minnesota and Iowa crop production budgets. It is important that you use these numbers as benchmarks and consider individual items will vary significantly across farms. I remember some years ago, when we were monitoring expenses on several farms, one farmer no-tilled alfalfa into a soybean residue field for a total establishment cost (including seed) of $97 per acre, and another farmer made eight tillage operations plus seeding and seed cost for a total establishment cost of $315 per acre! In that regard, if your numbers are significantly different from those in Table 1, you might want to evaluate why that is the case. In broad terms, Table 1 shows that corn has the highest production cost due to seed, fertilizer (nitrogen), and DAN UNDERSANDER The author is a forage agronomist (retired) with the University of Wisconsin in Madison.


inc

crop chemicals, while alfalfa production cost is somewhat less. However, alfalfa has high potassium fertilizer and harvesting costs (generally about $50 per acre per cutting for mowing, raking, and baling).

rea Now sed , w pro ith duc tivi ty

!

Capture quality premium The next step is to consider yield and value of the crop. Table 2 gives some return per acre estimates based on varying crop yields and prices. The middle yield in Table 2 is close to the national average yield. USDA-NASS reported 176.6 bushels per acre average corn yields (record high) and soybean average yields at 49.1 bushels per acre in 2017. NASS also reported alfalfa hay yields of 3.36 tons per acre, but remember that this does not include haylage, so a reasonable working alfalfa hay yield figure is 4.5 tons per acre. Average yields are from a broad range of conditions, so you must estimate what your yield potential is based on past history. The corn and soybean values in Table 2 are based on Chicago Board of Trade futures for 2018. The hay values are from the Midwest, derived from the UW Team Forage Hay Market Report for early February 2018. Table 2 shows that corn and soybeans are about breakeven when both the production costs and a land charge are sub1/2 page -per 4 color tracted from the value of crop produced acre unless the yield is significantly above average. Alfalfa has the potential 3.62� x 10� for a good return in 2018, especially if dairy quality hay is proHay & Forage Grower duced. Note also that many states have significant horse and beef cattle numbers that can use less than dairy-quality hay. Another consideration is that many regions of the country now have access to contract seeding and harvesting operations. Thus, farmers can contract these operations and do not need to own the equipment to seed or harvest alfalfa. This may be the year to consider expanding alfalfa acreage! •

Bale hay when you need to. Not just when you can find help. The versatile Model 1000 accumulator features the new telescopic push-over arm, for increased productivity. Preserve your hay quality by stacking the bales on edge, without bending or dragging them.

Table 2. Return per acres ($) at various yield and crop values* Corn

$ per bushel

Yield (bu/a)

3.60

3.80

4.00

150

540

570

600

170

612

646

680

190

684

722

760

Soybean

$ per bushel

Yield (bu/a)

9.80

10.00

10.20

40

392

400

408

50

490

500

510

60

588

600

612

Alfalfa

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

$ per ton

Yield (t/a)

200

150

100

4

800

600

400

5

1,000

750

500

6

1,200

900

600

*Chicago Board of Trade futures as of early February 2018: Corn $3.64 (March) to $3.94 (December); Soybeans $9.84 (March) to $10 (November).

Serving hay growers since 1978! www.hoelscherinc.com 620-562-3575 March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 23


Changing from a cool-season annual like oats to a warm-season annual like sorghum-sudangrass may provide more available forage.

Many small grain fields in this area do not make that much forage all winter. In fact, I work with several producers who now grow cover crops of multiple annual forage species in the summer between winter wheat pasture crops. They are having problems terminating forage that is 10 feet tall and in excess of 12,000 pounds per acre of dry matter production to get their winter pasture planted. Will the winter pasture produce that much forage? Maybe, but probably not.

Changing it up by Jim Johnson

F

ULL disclosure — I am not an economist. However, my premise is this: For various reasons, many growers would be economically better off growing a different forage than what they have always grown. Growers, myself included, often dedicate time and energy to selecting the right variety and best management practices for a particular forage. But we seldom seem to stop and think about if that forage is the right one to grow. We often rationalize this action with statements like “This is what we’ve always done” or “We grow (insert your forage) because we grow (insert your forage).” Let me take some time to address this. Like it or not, change is inevitable. Markets, input choices and prices, interest rates, farm programs and policies, labor resources, equipment, technology, weather patterns, soil fertility levels, varieties, and pests all change. So, why are we still growing what we have always grown?

Change is hard One reason is because we know how to grow it. Another reason is because most of us, including myself, don’t like change. Change is hard. It gets us out of our comfort zone. Even if we aren’t completely comfortable growing what we currently grow, it may seem better than the thought of making a change. There is 24 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

often uncertainty and perceived risk with making a change, and as with anything new, there will be a learning curve to address. It is probably easiest to make a change if you are growing annual forages. One of the easiest changes may be switching from wheat, a popular forage in the Southern Great Plains, to another small grain such as barley, oats, rye, or triticale. Depending on your goals and resources, one of these may be more agronomically and economically productive. Animal gains per pound of forage should be similar, but production of an alternative forage may outpace that of wheat. Similar changes may be possible in other parts of the country with other forages, such as switching from corn silage to a sorghum species silage. Another switch may be from a cool-season annual forage to a warm-season annual forage. I work with many producers who need fall forage for stocker cattle. Historically, they have planted small grains in September and hoped for pasture by Thanksgiving. Now, they are successfully experimenting with warm-season annual forages planted in the summer. We recently measured production on one of these pastures planted on August 24, 2017; it had 6,166 pounds of dry matter forage per acre on October 26, 2017.

Get the most from perennials Another change producers should look at is annual versus perennial forage. Would it be a better choice to allocate the dollars spent producing annual forage to enhance the yield of an existing perennial forage? Oftentimes, the answer is yes. In the Southern Great Plains, producers often raise a sudangrass crop for additional hay but do not address an existing low-producing bermudagrass field. Should the cost of sudangrass seed and planting be spent to boost soil fertility and subsequent production of the bermudagrass? The answer is “it depends,” but oftentimes we don’t even ask the question. Again, similar comparisons can be made in other parts of the country. My recommendation is to spend some time now to evaluate what forage you are growing. Think about your goals today and all the factors affecting your forage production that have changed since the last time you set goals. Start small, but try something different on at least a few, not all, of your acres. Be prepared to fail. Don’t give up the first year. It will take time and experience to get good at growing a different forage, but it may be better than doing “what we’ve always done.” •

JIM JOHNSON The author is a soils and crops consultant with the Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, Okla.


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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

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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.


Take a diverse approach to brush control by Robert Fears

W

HEN brush or woody plants become invasive and begin to ruin forage quality, an economical control program is warranted. There are many options for controlling brush and the selection of a method or a combination of methods should depend on the factors listed in the sidebar. Brush control methods are grouped as mechanical, chemical, cultural and biological.

Mechanical Choices of mechanical brush control methods are either entire plant removal or the cutting of the aboveground portions. Shredders, roller choppers, hydraulic shears, and various types of saws are used to remove aerial parts of plants. Entire plants are removed with grubbers, disks, and root plows. Brush shredders are actually flail mowers built strong enough to cut woody stems 3 inches or less in diameter. Flail mowers cut plant material with knives mounted vertically on a cylindrical drum that rotates. An advantage of using a shredder is that it mulches brush, leaving a good environ26 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

ment for grass and forb seed germination. A disadvantage is that it requires a high amount of maintenance. “Roller choppers are cylinders hung on a frame with blades welded on them in a longitudinal pattern,” said Robert Thomas, Marden Manufacturing Company. “The drums are pulled as single units, side by side in duplex or triplex, or one behind the other in tandem. Roller chopping provides moderate brush control through the crushing and cutting action of the drum and blades,” he explained. Saws are effective tools for removing plant top growth and the type used is dependent on amount and density of brush. Chainsaws are used for thinning and removing individual trees. Saws mounted on tractors or skid steers are usually more economical when there is an acre or more of woody plants to remove. Saws are especially useful for cutting large stems and trees. A disadvantage of using saws is that the limbs and stems are left lying on the ground and may need stacking. “Grubbing is the severing of tree roots below ground by a sharp, U-shaped blade mounted on a tractor,” said the

late Harold Wiedemann, former agricultural engineer with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Vernon, Texas. “Tractors used for grubbing include farm-type, crawlers, or skid steers, depending on the size of trees.” Many contractors use trackhoes (excavators) to grub brush. The machine is called a trackhoe because it moves on tracks and resembles a backhoe. Small to moderately sized woody plants are dug with one stroke of the bucket, which allows them to excavate a lot of brush per hour at an economical cost. A disadvantage of grubbers is that they leave holes in the ground where trees are extracted. Disks used for brush control are the heavy-duty offset style. Blade diameters ROBERT FEARS The author is a freelance writer based in Georgetown, Texas.


range from 30 to 36 inches and units are 8 to 12 feet in width. “Rootplows are heavy-duty V-shaped, horizontal blades, 10- to 16-feet-wide that are pulled by a large crawler tractor,” said Wiedemann. “The blade severs roots at a depth of 12 to 14 inches, preventing regrowth of nearly all brush species. Three to five fins, 20 to 30 inches long, mounted at a 28-degree angle on the cutting blade, help loosen the soil surface and destroy many of the shallow-rooted species that might otherwise survive.”

Chemical Several herbicide application options are available and selection of the method depends on the factors listed in the sidebar. Broadcast applications are appropriate for controlling susceptible brush species on large acreage and where unwanted plant populations are dense. Aerial broadcast sprays are applied with either helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft. Broadcast ground applications are done with sprayers mounted on tractors, trucks, or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Trailer-type sprayers are mounted on wheels and are towed. The two primary spray delivery systems on ground broadcast sprayers are nozzles mounted on a boom or boomless nozzles. On a small amount of acreage, it is often more economical to treat unwanted plants individually. Individual plant treatment (IPT) is the only way some plants like cedar or juniper are controlled with chemicals. Certain methods of IPT are an excellent way to control plant regrowth following broadcast sprays or mechanical treatments. Different application equipment such as small pump-up garden, backpack, and cattle sprayers are all suitable for IPT. Sprayers mounted on 4-wheel-drive ATVs are also commonly used. Garden sprayers are best for treating a few scattered plants, while backpack sprayers are usually more efficient for treating higher densities of plants on larger areas. ATV sprayers work well on large acreages or when plants are far apart. The leaf spray method is thoroughly wetting all leaves of each plant to the point of runoff. This application method is effective when plants are actively growing and works best on plants less than 3 feet tall. For leaf sprays, the herbicide is usually mixed in water.

Tree grubbing is just one of the approaches to removing brush. It involves severing the tree roots. The disadvantage is that a hole is left where the tree was removed.

Stem sprays were known in the past as low-volume basal applications and are suitable for low-density, large treetype plants. A mixture of herbicide and diesel fuel is sprayed lightly but evenly on the plant’s stem or trunk up to 12 inches from the ground. Stem sprays are effective at any time during the year, although best results occur when plants are treated during the growing season. Cut-stump sprays are effective in preventing woody vegetation from resprouting after its top growth has been removed by mechanical means such as with pruning shears, ax, chainsaw, or hydraulic shears. Stumps are effectively treated any time of the year, but the best results occur from applications during the growing season. Whenever using chemical brush control, always follow label directions and university application recommendations for best results.

Cultural and biological Cultural control methods include grazing management and prescribed fire. Proper grazing management promotes a healthy stand of forage that can help prevent growth of unwanted plants. Properly timed controlled fires eliminate some brush seedlings and remove accumulations of dead materials to provide a healthy environment for forage production. Biological control refers to any technique that involves use of the plant’s natural enemies to control its spread. Examples of biological control agents include arthropods (insects and mites), plant pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes) and ruminants (goats, sheep, cattle, and white-tail deer). Shinnery oak, blackjack oak, and post oak sprouts are controlled by goats.

They eat enough juniper to provide control as long as their browsing is followed by prescribed fire. Several people in the Western states have taught cattle to eat sagebrush, which is a plant they don’t normally consume. As a result of this training, the cattle become a sagebrush control alternative. Saltcedar is being controlled in Texas by a beetle introduced into the United States from northern China, Uzbekistan, Crete, and Tunisia. Beetle larvae and adults feed on the small, scale-like leaves of saltcedar causing them to turn brown and die. Larger larvae and adults may also feed on the bark of small twigs, causing the ends to die. A large infestation of larvae can quickly defoliate saltcedar trees. Although the trees can grow new leaves, they are not expected to be able to withstand repeated feeding by several generations of beetle larvae. Selected brush control methods should fit the management plan and provide a good return on the investment. Often a combination of brush control options provides the best mix of effective and economic results. • Factors to consider when selecting a brush control method: • Fits the overall land management plan • Thinning trees or removing all trees from an area • Brush density and size • Size of the area • Terrain • Soil type • Brush species • Distance from bodies of water and areas where people gather • Budget • Estimated return on investment March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 27


RESEARCH ROUND-UP

Orchardgrass nitrogen options examined The success for growing high yields of high-quality grass hay is largely dependent on the application of nitrogen fertilizer, though excessive nitrogen applications can have negative environmental consequences and lower economic returns. Studies conducted on irrigated orchardgrass in northeastern California tested the influence of nitrogen application time and rate on forage yield, quality, soil nitrate levels, and the economics. Both 2- and 3-cut systems were evaluated with total annual nitrogen rates ranging from 0 to 600 pounds per acre with various timings. Nitrogen was applied at spring green up, after first cutting, and/or after second cutting. The researchers found a benefit to making split applications rather than applying all of the nitrogen in one application. This was especially true for the 3-cut system where third-cut yields rose by at least 190 percent if some of the nitrogen was applied after the second cutting. Yield and net return reached a plateau when about 400 pounds of total nitrogen was applied annually as a split application in the 3-cut system.

Apparent nitrogen recovery generally declined with higher nitrogen rates. While soil nitrate levels varied across sites and cuttings, they were generally highest when nitrogen applications far exceeded removal rates for an individual cutting; for example, when 300 pounds of nitrogen per acre was applied before first cutting. Applying additional nitrogen always boosted crude protein concentrations in the harvested forage, but the researchers noted that elevated forage nitrate levels were sometimes measured. This generally occurred with the higher fertilizer rate treatments or when 300 pounds per acre was applied as a single application at spring green up. The researchers concluded that it is important to fertilize with nitrogen based on each cutting’s yield potential. Since first cutting offers the highest yield potential, 100 to 200 pounds of nitrogen was recommended prior to spring green up for maximizing yield. Based on summer growth rates, lower amounts of nitrogen (50 to 100 pounds per acre) were suggested following first and/or second cutting.

Brown midrib-floury corn hybrid evaluated Many dairy producers feed brown midrib (BMR) hybrids to boost fiber digestibility and feed intake. Silage hybrids with the BM3 mutation are often lower in starch digestibility than conventional hybrids. This may be related to either a faster rate of passage with the BM3 hybrids or greater kernel vitreousness. Corn hybrids with a floury endosperm have been found to improve starch digestion when corn grain is fed, but similar effects have rarely been noted in conventional silage corn hybrids with the floury endosperm. Researchers at the Miner Institute (Chazy, N.Y.) initiated a dairy cow feeding study comparing conventional (non-BM3), BM3, and BM3 with floury endosperm (BM3-FL) silage hybrids. They measured dry matter intake (DMI), milk yield and components, feeding behavior, and total tract nutrient digestibility after the hybrids were fed to Holstein cows. In the diets, the corn silage types were substituted on a 1 to 1 basis and comprised 49 percent of the total fed ration on a dry matter basis (89 percent of the forage fed). The results of the feeding trial were as follows: • As expected, the neutral detergent fiber (NDF) content was lower for the BM3 and BM3-FL hybrids compared to the non-BM3 hybrid. NDF intake was significantly greater for the two BM3 hybrids. • Using Fermentrics analysis, microbial biomass production favored the BM3-FL hybrid. • Dry matter intake was highest for the cows fed the BM3 hybrid (61.7 pounds), lowest for the non-BM3 treatment cows (59.1 pounds), and intermediate for cows fed the BM3-FL hybrid (60.8 pounds). • Milk yield per day was 96.6, 104.3, and 105.8 pounds for the non-BM3, BM3, and BM3-FL treatments, respectively. The 28 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

advantage for the two BM3 treatments held for fat-corrected milk (FCM) and solids-corrected milk (SCM) yields as well. • Milkfat percent was highest for the non-BM3 treatment cows, but fat yield was significantly greater for cows fed the BM3-FL hybrid. • Solids-not-fat (SNF) milk content and yield were significantly greater for cows on the two BM3 diets. • Milk urea nitrogen (MUN) concentration was greatest for cows fed the non-BM3 corn silage compared to the two BM3 diets. • Feed efficiency, measured as milk yield per pounds of DMI, was significantly greater for cows fed the BM3-FL silage compared to the non-BM3 cows. The BM3-FL cows also had greater efficiency of production for 3.5 percent FCM, SCM, and energy-corrected milk (ECM) compared to either of the other two silage treatments. The same was true for milk nitrogen efficiency. • Time spent eating, chewing, and ruminating were similar across all treatments, but chewing time per pound of NDF was greatest for the non-BM3-fed cows. • Apparent total-tract digestibility for all nutrients was unaffected by corn silage type. The same was true for potentially digestible NDF and total-tract starch digestibility. In summary, the researchers noted that this trial confirmed some of the previously proven nutritional advantages of feeding a BM3 hybrid. The greater feed efficiency obtained with the BM3-FL hybrid indicates improved energy utilization compared to either non-BM3 or standard BM3 hybrids. They further observed that improved milk nitrogen efficiency suggests that greater rumen degradability and greater carbohydrate fermentability can be achieved when feeding a BM3-FL hybrid.


“WE

KEEP ADDING SERVICES, AND YOU KEEP ADDING TO YOUR OUTPUT. I DON’T THINK THAT’S A COINCIDENCE.”

Gaylen Guyer DuPont Pioneer Dairy Account Manager

Ken Hein Dairy Producer Vince Tichy Encirca Certified Services Agent

Chad Erickson Pioneer Sales Professional

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PIONEER® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents. ® TM SM , , Trademarks and service marks of DuPont, Pioneer or their respective owners. © 2017 PHII.DUPPFO17035_VAR1_080117_HFG

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7/19/17 3:02 PM


FEED ANALYSIS

by John Goeser

Regional cultures vary — so does forage quality

M

UCH like culture varies widely from one region to another, forage quality is known to be strikingly different as well. Though regional management practices such as irrigation, double cropping, or available seed genetics contribute, it’s the growing environment that is usually the driving force behind regional forage quality differences. Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin corn specialist, using results from hybrid performance trials, has estimated that the environment contributes as much as seed genetics to how corn silage feeds. Farmers generally assess feed quality based on experience as well as science and learning. Experience helps us to recognize a “normal” feed quality within a region and tends to be the measuring stick against which we compare cropto-crop or year-to-year performance in terms of yield and quality.

Extreme environmental conditions can result in crops that feed far differently from what we normally experience and may result in forage that feeds similar to “normal” hay, haylage, or silage from other regions. Growers and nutritionists within regions often don’t recognize the substantial differences in their feed relative to those far away. Knowing these differences could be helpful when odd growing seasons occur.

Regions differ For those who have worked and traveled across the U.S., you’ll recognize growing conditions vary from the East to West Coasts. Southern and Western hay and silage growers tend to experience very warm temperatures (routinely 90°F to 100°F or greater) during growing their seasons. In the Midwest, growers may only experience a handful of 90°F to 100°F or warmer growing days. Recently,

Mean (aNDF) Mean (TTNDFD)

50

40

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.

Figure 2: Corn silage fiber (aNDF, % DM) and total tract aNDF digestibility* Mean (aNDF) Mean (TTNDFD)

50 aNDF and TTNDFD

aNDF and TTNDFD

Figure 1: Corn silage fiber (aNDF, % DM) and total tract aNDF digestibility*

I’ve been working closely with growers in the Northeast and learned that farms may not experience intense heat at any point during the growing season. What impact could growing conditions in these regions have on feeding quality? Working across the regions, we’ve recognized forages feed differently and hence the resulting diets must be formulated in different ways. A warm to hot growing environment, provided moisture is adequate,

40

30 30

East

Midwest

West

*Averages for silages submitted to Rock River Laboratory Eastern, Midwestern, and Western laboratories.

30 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

Northeast

Tri-state

*Averages for silages submitted to Rock River Laboratory Eastern region, divided into subregions of the Tri-state area and the Northeast.


is thought to depress forage quality. Plants may yield better with exceptional growing conditions (sun, heat, and moisture), but stalks tend to grow sturdier, with added lignification. We can visualize regional differences in corn silage feeding quality by comparing corn silage fiber quality between the western and eastern U.S. regions since 2016 (Figure 1). In the Western states, fiber digestibility is typically depressed by the plants growing in a sunny and hot climate relative to the East. Further, focusing on the Eastern region, we can separate out the TriState area (Indiana, Ohio, and areas of Pennsylvania) and compare that to the Northeast (New York, northern Pennsylvania, and Vermont) in Figure 2. Here, the Northeast showcases considerably greater fiber digestibility relative to the more southern, and the likely warmer Tri-State region. Because of what the cows tell us, I’ve learned that, in general, Northeastern dairies can feed considerably more forage because of better fiber digestibility

relative to the rest of the U.S. As such, our definitions of low- or high-forage rations in each region are different. “Low” forage diets in the Northeast are 50 to 55 percent forage whereas “low” forage diets in the Midwest or West are 35 to 40 percent forage.

Factor the environment What does all this mean to those feeding these forages in their respective regions, and what can we learn? Pay attention to heat units during the growing season. Fiber is a known bottleneck in dairy nutrition, and it’s influenced by growing conditions. In fact, follow heat units earlier in the season relative to historic trends. Fiber digestibility for corn is likely defined prior to the plant putting on an ear. If heat units accumulate early in the season and later yields are recognized to be strong, consider high-cut silage (12 to 18 inches higher than typical) to improve whole-plant digestibility and leave lignified stalk in the field. As the harvest wraps up and forage

quality is recognized, consider thinking like your neighbors from other regions. Midwestern growers can feed more forage like Northeastern farms if the growing season is cooler than normal, provided inventory allows. As we observed in 2017 in the Northeast, when growing conditions challenge forage quality with extremely hot temperatures or delayed planting, then dairy producers must back forage out of cow diets. Team up with your consulting agronomist and nutritionist to talk through how the environment may be better factored into your forage plans. There is much yet to learn about the environmental or regional impact on forage quality, but with diminishing dairy and feedlot margins, we need to find new avenues to improve cattle health and performance. Much like learning new ways to approach life from other cultures can benefit one’s self, learning about forage management or feeding practices from our neighbors in other regions may be one angle to recognize and feed forage for better performance. •

B:7.5” T:7.5” S:7.5”

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

March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 31

T:4.875”

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B:4.875”

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S:4.875”

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FORAGE GEARHEAD

by Adam Verner

tractor values and how the value of the older tractors are remaining strong while late-model tractors are experiencing more rapid value depreciation. Part of the reason for this is that newer models cost more to own and operate. I have seen this across the board, regardless of color.

Sensors drive the bus

Farm shop fixes may not be an option

A

S SPRING approaches, tractors are rolling into both farm shops and fields. Most farmers are putting the finishing touches on their winter shop work to get every piece of equipment ready to go. This has been a farm ritual for decades. There are some farmers who actually enjoy mechanical work and would prefer to spend more time turning a wrench than a steering wheel. Working on modern, late-model equipment has become more challenging each year. Not only because machines are becoming more complex, but also because end users are not able to work on certain components of their equipment. It has been brought up to me on more than one occasion about how complicated some of these late-model tractors have become, and I must agree with these comments. Some of this technology has resulted in tremendous operational efficiencies, while in other cases it has been the source of great consternation along with additional gray hairs.

Not your grandpa’s tractor Having equipment breakdowns is nothing new, and 15 years ago a farmer with a little common sense and a decently-stocked toolbox could fix their own problems. Now, with some current models, even if you wanted to attempt a fix yourself, you are not given the ability to work on your own machinery. 32 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

This has been the trend in the automotive industry for some time now. It seems as though the manufacturers have designed their late-model equipment to require service by the dealership or a trained technician. Being a partner in a dealership myself, we would love to help you service your equipment. Though we also believe that you should have a choice whether to bring it in or fix it yourself. There are some models of transmissions being currently used that even the dealerships are not allowed to fix. It is designed to be a complete replacement. This, I must say, is where I draw the line. In no way is this magnitude of expense feasible for a customer to include in their yearly service work budget. Every farmer cringes at the thought of having to replace an engine in a tractor. That has always been considered the worst-case scenario, now we can add the IVT/CVT transmission to this list. Older mechanical and powershift transmissions were always rebuildable for the most part. Transmissions also would last 7,000 to 10,000 hours before needing work. Just this year, we had a customer who had three tractors, each needing $20,000-plus worth of work to be completed. All of the tractors were under 3,500 hours and all had the same transmission. Talk about a budget buster! I wrote a column in the January 2018 issue of Hay & Forage Grower about

The 1990s and early 2000-model tractors are in high demand. This is in part stemming from the inability to work on the newer models. I do not see this trend coming to an end anytime soon, as new equipment prices keep escalating and the annual service costs follow right behind. With dealer consolidation continuing every day, the ability to negotiate and work with your dealer on service calls for items like a sensor shutting your tractor down are becoming more difficult. Today, more than ever, customers are becoming aggravated with the fact that breakdowns are no longer fixable on the farm. The trade-off, of course, is that some of these new technologies are highly beneficial from an operational perspective. With Tier 4 final emission controls in full effect, sensors now operate and monitor our engines. When working, they are great tools to have, but when the opposite is true, they can leave you dead in the water. This is another reason why older model machines will stay in high demand for 2018. Keep a close eye on all your equipment with regular, recommended maintenance, but especially don’t neglect your late-model units. If it ever comes a time when major surgery is needed — like many healthcare plans — you may not be able to choose the surgeon whom you want. Good luck with planting and spring chopping. •

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


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by Matt Poore and Johnny Rogers

Matt Poore

A 12-step plan to Amazing Grazing

A

DAPTIVE grazing is a term describing a management approach that includes many practices such as frequent rotation of cattle and stockpiling for winter grazing. It is not a recipe; it is a very flexible system that producers can modify to fit their needs and skills. In North Carolina, our educational program “Amazing Grazing” strives to teach principles and critical thinking skills, so producers can begin adaptive grazing. We have found that producers we work with are at varying points on the journey, so laying out our approach in a 12-step plan is helpful to communicating what we are trying to do. Here is a brief description of the steps. A longer version is available on the Amazing Grazing website. Step 1. Decide you are ready to become a critical thinker and use ecological principles. Most of us have grown up with a production system that uses a lot of hay and other purchased feeds, is based on continuous or very lax rotational grazing, and that has a focus on a single part of the system — the animal. When in a drought, we hold onto the animals, buy more hay, and overgraze pastures. In truth, if you spend a lot of time feeding hay in winter, making hay in summer, and worrying about running

34 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

out of grass during droughts, there is a better way. Once you see your farm as one system, you have a chance to observe and then guide the system in a direction that benefits your production and personal goals. Your cattle are part of a complex and fascinating ecosystem. Step 2. Surround yourself with like-minded graziers. A support network is needed. Your goals may not be that of your traditional friends, so the best way to succeed is to make a new peer group that has similar goals to your own. Finding them is easy; just attend an adaptive grazing educational program. Experienced adaptive graziers are very likely to attend these events, and you will find them willing to share their ideas and practices. Step 3. Do a preliminary analysis of your system resources. Start with aerial maps that you can obtain on the internet or from your Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Evaluate the acreage and condition in each pasture. The best way to evaluate your forage stand and pasture condition is to do a “point step” analysis, which involves randomly walking the pasture, periodically writing down the species of plants you are stepping on (or bare ground), and writing down a preliminary condition score from 1 to 5 (1 = bare with almost no productive forage, 5 = as good

as it gets with a diversity of strong and desirable forages and no bare ground). Do this on at least 100 points and get the average for the pasture. Take soil samples from each pasture to determine the pH and soil nutrient levels. This will help you identify where your weak and strong pastures are and forge a course of action. Step 4. Upgrade your electric fences and electric fencing skills. This is a critical step because in almost all cases adaptive grazing requires temporary electric fencing. You need to understand the theory of how electric fence works, and how to use a fault finder to find shorts and keep power on the fence high. Bluntly, if you don’t maintain power on electric fence, animals will not respect temporary fence and you will likely abandon the journey. Step 5. Train your animals to

MATT POORE AND JOHNNY ROGERS Poore (pictured) is an extension ruminant nutrition specialist at North Carolina State University. Rogers coordinates North Carolina State’s Amazing Grazing Program and has his own cattle operation in Roxboro, N.C.


respect a single strand of wire. Your animals must have a high level of respect for temporary electric fence. Electric fence is only a mental barrier, and that is played out to the extreme with a single strand of polywire. However, once animals are well trained to it, it opens up a whole new world. Those benefits include improved forage management, easier movement and gathering of animals, ability to flexibly exclude sensitive areas within a pasture, and to respond to perimeter fence damage resulting from natural disasters. To train the animals, set up a single strand of polywire on tread-in posts about 18 inches inside of a pen or a small pasture. It is probably better to use a small pasture because it is more the setting where the animals will first encounter polywire cross fences. The key to the training period is that there is plenty of power on the wire; we recommend a minimum of 5 kilovolts. It will take a few weeks for this preliminary training period, and then the training goes to the next level with a single strand cross fence. Step 6. Start cutting individual pastures in half with polywire. As a first step, divide each permanent pasture in half, with cattle entering the half with the water source whenever you rotate pastures. This change alone will double your stocking density and will start leading to improvements in your system. We recommend using some rigid fiberglass or plastic posts on the ends (and potentially within the line) in these initial temporary divisions because animals, especially wildlife, will still be in the training process. Now you will start to develop your skills at looking at a grazed sward and determining when to take down the division fence. Step 7. Stockpile forage in autumn and strip-graze during the winter. In early summer, determine one or more pastures to stockpile for late fall or winter grazing. This ideally will be tall fescue, but could be any other forage. When you start grazing, set up an initial grazing strip that includes the water source and an expected two to three days of grass. Once the forage has been consumed, you will need to move the fence to allocate enough grass to feed your cattle for the next one- to three-day grazing period. Moving cattle daily has many advantages but cannot be achieved in all situations. However, moving fence every three days is attainable and still

Sharing knowledge and passion for adaptive grazing with youth will ensure they are equipped and motivated when their decision-making days arrive.

Matt Poore

gives great forage utilization. Step 8. Start strip grazing with all pasture movements during the growing season. Once you are into spring, continue to use the strip grazing technique, flip-flopping two reels so that cows are always on a fresh strip, and keep another one- to three-day strip set up ahead of them. Having the next strip set up will help you save time and offer added security in case wildlife or cattle tear down the polywire. As long as you are not in an individual pasture more than 10 days, there is no need to set up a back fence to keep animals off the grazed areas. If you see animals grazing in the area they already grazed (back grazing), then you need to make your strips wider. You may also need to put up a back fence if your pastures are very large. Step 9. Develop a comprehensive grazing plan acceptable to governmental agencies. As you start to optimize the use of your current infrastructure, you will see opportunities to improve by adding additional perimeter fencing, watering points, and permanent cross fencing. To guide these efforts, develop a comprehensive forage and grazing plan that includes existing infrastructure, determines an animal/ forage balance, and will project needed infrastructure development to guide financial planning and application for agency cost-share funds. Step 10. Implement additional upgrades to infrastructure. As highlighted in your comprehensive plan, start to improve your watering system, upgrade perimeter fencing, and add cross fencing. This infrastructure improvement usually needs to be prioritized and done in stages so that you make major improvements in system function with each project. It also allows you have time to continue your good management while completing the projects in a timely manner.

Full implementation of the comprehensive plan will take many years or even decades, and the plan must be revisited and updated as you go through time. Step 11. Continue to refine your skills; be persistent and tenacious. It takes five to 10 years to really see the benefits of adaptive grazing management. The road to Amazing Grazing is challenging because you are dealing with a very dynamic system that is upset by many environmental factors. With time, your system will become more resilient to drought and flood, as a result of improved soil health, but that happens gradually. When the first drought hits, realize that the most critical principle in adaptive grazing is to avoid overgrazing at all costs. When pastures are all down to the stop-grazing height, pull cattle into a sacrifice area and feed hay. Don’t get discouraged and abandon what you have started. Also, understand that it is not uncommon for temporary fence to be torn down when you are early in the game. Don’t get frustrated and quit . . . observe, learn, and adapt. Step 12. Observe your system and continually improve your skills. One thing we love about adaptive grazing management is that it is a continual learning process over many years. Every mistake or environmental challenge is an opportunity to learn and improve your system. Continue to attend educational events and as you become more knowledgeable, share your experiences with other producers. Also share your grazing excitement with young people. Teaching adaptive grazing skills to the next generation ensures that it is not a new concept when they mature to become farm decision makers. We welcome you to join the many others on the journey to Amazing Grazing. Once on journey, stay on course by frequently reviewing this 12-step plan. • March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 35


MACHINE SHED

John Deere updates 5E series tractors

JCB unveils new track loaders

John Deere is updating its popular 3-cylinder 5E series utility tractors for model year 2018. Visibility to the tractor’s loader has been improved, and controls have been repositioned to further enhance operator comfort and reduce fatigue. The hoods on the new tractors are lowered 3.5 inches and are 4 inches narrower than previous models. The four updated models are the 5045E, 5055E, 5065E, and 5075E utility tractors, ranging from 50- to 73-engine horsepower. There are two-wheel drive, mechanical four-wheel drive, open operator station, and cab versions to choose from. Each is powered by a 3-cylinder, turbocharged John Deere PowerTech diesel engine. Many tractor controls were relocated. The hand throttle has been moved 12 inches closer to the operator seat, and the joystick is repositioned to make for 20 percent more legroom than previous models. A thicker seat and taller seatback is also provided. The operator station was widened 20 percent to create more foot room, and the tractor platform is flatter than previous models. This makes it easier to climb on and off of the tractor. The tractors come with a five-year powertrain warranty. For more information, visit JohnDeere.com/ag.

JCB recently launched its 210T and 215T compact track loaders, offering the power and performance of large-platform compact track loaders in small-platform, easily towable machines weighing less than 10,000 pounds. The 210T and the 215T are powered by a 74-horsepower diesel engine. The radial lift 210T model has a rated operating capacity (ROC) of 1,900 pounds at 35 percent tipping load and 2,650 pounds at 50 percent tipping load. The 215T vertical lift model has an ROC of 2,100 pounds at 35 percent tipping load and 3,000 pounds at 50 percent tipping load. The ROC of both models can be increased with an optional bolt-on chassis counterweight package, and both are capable of operating high-flow attachments up to 30 gallons per minute. Featuring JCB’s unique single-boom design, the 210T and 215T provide operators with 60 percent better visibility than conventional twin-arm skid steer designs, for safer operation, easier changing of attachments, and placing or loading material. Entry to the cab is also simplified and made safer by a wide-opening side door. For more information, visit www.jcb.com.

Bobcat touts new telehandler Bobcat Company has expanded its line of telescopic tool carriers (telehandlers) with the new V723 VersaHANDLER. The V723 is ideal for operators who need extended reach and greater lift capacity. The new telehandler is in the 7,000- to 8,000-pound size class, has a low profile, easy maneuverability, and provides enhanced comfort. The machine’s boom pivot has thick steel reinforcement and frame welds for extra reinforcement. For greater productivity, the V723 is designed with an enclosed engine compartment that helps keep out dust and debris. An automatic reversing fan helps keep the radiator area cleaner, reducing the immediate need to clean debris by hand. Just press a button to reverse the cooling fan or set it to automatically reverse at chosen intervals to purge the system of dust and debris. A turbo-charged, 100-horsepower Bobcat diesel engine is side mounted for better visibility and easier maintenance access. Both sides and the bottom of the engine are protected with a thick steel frame, while rubber-engine mounts reduce shock during all-terrain use. The V723 has three steering modes to give operators application-matched maneuverability. These include front-wheel steer for top-speed road travel, all-wheel steer for quick and tight turns, and crab steer for precise side-to-side positioning.

Operators can also select from three travel modes. A boom cushioning suspension system makes it easier to handle the load, providing a smoother motion as the attachment angles to its minimum or maximum pitch, or when the boom reaches full retraction. The patented asymmetric cab design has a wraparound rear window and a split door, providing 360-degree visibility. An enclosed cab with heat and air conditioning is standard for V723 telescopic tool carriers, minimizing dirt and dust inside the operating area. A joystick allows operators to control several functions, including travel direction, lift and tilt functions, boom extension, and auxiliary hydraulics from the cab. With the standard Power Quick-Tach system, V723 operators push a button to retract the pins and release to quickly secure the attachment. Operators can change nonhydraulic attachments, such as buckets and pallet forks, without even leaving the cab. For more information, visit Bobcat.com.

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

36 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018


Deere introduces heavy-duty Gator models John Deere debuts two new utility vehicles to its lineup. The gas-powered Gator HPX615E and the diesel-powered Gator HPX815E models offer four-wheel drive for improved terrain capability and superior payload, cargo capacity, towing, and overall stability. The cargo box has removable sides and tailgate, a one-handed, pickup style opening, and is designed to last with durable composite construction that makes it dent, rattle, and rust-resistant. These new models handle more cargo volume, up to 16.3 cubic feet. Plus, the cargo box’s transformative features allow it to transition to a flatbed for irregular-shaped cargo.

Both new models have sleek styling and an impressive 1,000-pound cargo capacity, 1,300-pound towing capacity, and 1,400-pound payload capacity. Optimal weight distribution, 6 inches of ground clearance, and four-wheel drive ensures the new models handle challenging terrain. For more information, visit www.JohnDeere.com/Gator.

Kubota debuts utility vehicle Kubota Tractor Corporation recently introduced its new RTVX1120 models, a well-equipped utility vehicle designed for the commercial customers who use these machines for heavy-duty work every day. The Kubota RTV-X1120 combines enhanced power, torque, and performance at a competitive price point. The RTV-X1120 features a 24.8 gross horsepower diesel engine. The 3-cylinder, liquid-cooled diesel engine provides extra acceleration and climbing power. The engine and VHT-X transmission provide a top speed of 29 miles per hour. Kubota’s X series was designed for comfort and convenience under tough working conditions and features new shoulder restraints for the operator and passenger, ergonomically designed 60:40 split bucket seats, a digital dashboard display, fully hydraulic power steering, easily accessible parking brake, and large under seat storage compartments. The RTV-X1120

models are available in two color options: Kubota Orange and RealTree AP Camo. The heavy-duty cargo steel cargo box on the RTV-X1120 models provides ample room to haul gear, supplies, tools, and material around a jobsite. Plus, with the simple switch of a lever, the hydraulic-lift (worksite models only) cargo box rises to dump materials, allowing more efficiency and less manual labor unloading cargo. Standard 2-inch receivers are located at the front and back of the vehicle, allowing a tow capacity up to 1,300 pounds. For more information, visit KubotaUSA.com.

Caterpillar enters UTV market Caterpillar introduces its first-ever Cat utility vehicles (UTV) — the gasoline-powered Cat CUV82 and diesel-powered CUV102D. They feature a rugged steel cargo bed and offer a 1,000-pound total rear cargo capacity and 2,000 pounds of towing capacity. The new CUV82 and CUV102D utility vehicles have a fourwheel independent suspension system with a front sway bar to provide stability at full load. A long swing-arm suspension, custom-tuned springs, and shocks deliver a balance between a smooth ride and hauling loads. Ample ground clearance ensures these vehicles navigate rough terrain with ease. The new Cat UTVs reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, depending on the model. The CUV82 is powered by a 0.8 liter, 3-cylinder gasoline engine that delivers 50 horsepower (HP), while the 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder diesel engine delivers 25 HP. The column shifter allows the driver to easily maneuver through all the gears. Both models feature a continuously variable transmission, tuned specifically for work applications, offering smooth transitions and the ability to handle loads. The choice of two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, or fourwheel drive/lock modes permits the driver to match vehicle

drive to ground conditions. Cat UTVs are built for minimal noise and vibration during operation for a quieter ride. Ample behind-the-seat storage and document holder provide space for personal items and gear. The passenger seat base can be removed and stowed behind the driver seat to create floor space for hauling oversized items. Electric power steering provides superior handling and tight turning capabilities. The instrument gauge offers easy viewing of critical operating information. Customers can customize their Cat UTVs to meet specific work needs through more than 50 accessory options. Multiple cab options with sealed surfaces on the ROPS structure provide a weather-tight enclosure, while other offerings include snowplows, heater, front winch, and power dump. Easy access service points simplify vehicle maintenance, while on-board advanced diagnostics reduce troubleshooting time. For more information, visit cat.com. March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 37


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March 2018 | hayandforage.com | 45


FORAGE IQ Tall Fescue Renovation Workshops March 13, Pendleton, S.C. March 14, Raleigh, N.C. March 15, Raphine, Va. Details: grasslandrenewal.org/education.htm Optimizing 2018 Forage Profitability March 13, Bad Axe, Mich. March 22, Shepherd, Mich. March 27, Coldwater, Mich. Details: bit.ly/HFG-MSUForage Kentucky Fencing Schools March 20, Princeton, Ky. March 22, Versailles, Ky. Details: http://forages.ca.uky.edu/ Central Plains Dairy Expo March 27 to 29, Sioux Falls, S.D. Details: centralplainsdairy.com/ Georgia Forages Conference April 5, Perry, Ga. Details: georgiaforages.com Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference April 16 to 18, Fort Wayne, Ind. Details: http://tristatedairy.org/ Virginia Grazing School April 24 and 25, Raphine, Va. Details: vaforages.org/event/ Kentucky Grazing School April 24 and 25, Princeton, Ky. Details: http://forages.ca.uky.edu/ UF/UGA Corn Silage and Forage Field Day May 24, Citra, Fla. Details: http://bit.ly/HFG-UFCSDay Grassfed Beef Conference May 31 and June 1, College Station, Texas Details: bit.ly/HFG-TXGrassfed Texoma Cattlemen’s Conference June 15, Ardmore, Okla. Details: noble.org/events/tcc/ 10th Grassfed Exchange Conference June 20 to 22, Rapid City, S.D. Details: https://grassfedexchange.com

HAY MARKET UPDATE

Concerns about drought and ice With about 40 percent of U.S. hay acres under some level of drought stress, there is growing concern about how forage yields will shape up for 2018. California hay growers are getting word of water cutbacks. Snow, followed by rain and ice, blan-

keted large portions of the Midwest and East during February, bringing alfalfa winterkill concerns. The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of the beginning of March. Prices are FOB barn/ stack unless otherwise noted. •

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

Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Price $/ton 225 Missouri 185-190 Montana 175 Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb 170 Oregon (Klamath)-ssb 217-250 Pennsylvania (southeast) 155-175 Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb 175-195 South Dakota (East River) 145-215 Texas (Panhandle) 180-250 Utah (central) 200-250 Wisconsin (Lancaster)-lrb 185 Wyoming (eastern) 170 Wyoming (central/western) 210 Fair-quality hay 220-250 (d) California (northern SJV) 240-260 (d) Idaho 120-140 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb 130-160 Kansas (southeast) 175 Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb 160 Missouri 200 Montana Oklahoma (western) Price $/ton 300 (d) Pennsylvania (southeast) 280 South Dakota (East River)-lrb 210 Utah (Uintah Basin) 190 Washington (Columbia Basin) 230 Wisconsin (Lancaster) 200 Bermudagrass hay 150-160 Alabama-Premium lrb 150 Alabama-Good lrb 90-100 Texas (Panhandle)-Good/Premium lrb 150-165 Texas (south)-Good/Premium ssb 130-150 Texas (south)-Good/Premium lrb 140-175 Orchardgrass hay 210-220 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb 175-190 Oregon (eastern)-Premium-ssb 215 150 230-240 180-240 100-120 90-100

Washington (Columbia Basin)-Premium 245 Timothy hay Price $/ton Montana-Premium ssb 210-240 Pennsylvania-Premium 175-200 Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good ssb 175-255 Washington (Columbia Basin)-Premium ssb 310

160-180 Oat hay 200 Idaho 175-250 Kansas (south central) 165 Straw Iowa (Rock Valley) Price $/ton 180 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb 175 (d) Kansas (north central/east) 140 Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 138 Montana 105-130 Nebraska (western) 135-155 Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb 110-120 South Dakota (East River)

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

46 | Hay & Forage Grower | March 2018

120-155 120-160 140-150 85-110 150 140-190 245-255 140 190 80-90 125-130 130-145 140 Price $/ton 230 (d) 90-108 95-118 95-105 85-105 100-120 125-150 125-135 110-140 115-130 50-70 135-152 120-135 Price $/ton 100-133 75-90 160-180 (d) 231-265 100-120 Price $/ton 225-250 185

Price $/ton 60-65 85-95 Price $/ton 63-108 55-80 75-85 65-118 60-80 60-70 125-180 110


Engineered for You and Your Budget. Kubota M6S Series

Proven Kubota diesel power, luxury tractor features and economy pricing make the M6S utility tractor one of the best values on the market today. With renowned strength, sure-fire dependability and unmatched comfort, this machine is a must-have for farmers and ranchers. If you work the land, put the M6S to work for you.

$

0 Down, 0% Financing for 60 Months* A.P.R.

See your local Kubota dealer for details. Offer ends 3/31/2018.

*$0 down, 0% A.P.R. financing for up to 60 months on purchases of select new Kubota M6S Series equipment from participating dealers’ in-stock inventory is available to qualified purchasers through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A.; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Example: 60 monthly payments of $16.67 per $1,000 financed. Offer expires 3/31/18. See your Kubota dealer or go to KubotaUSA.com for more information. Optional equipment may be shown.

004149 – 2018 National Finance Print M6S – Hay & Forage Grower (Mar. 2018) – 8.375 x 10.875

KubotaUSA.com

© Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2018


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 and Traffic Tested are registered trademarks of Forage Genetics, LLC. © 2018 Forage Genetics International, LLC.

T:10.875 in

S:10.375 in

We are America’s Alfalfa®. And we pledge allegiance to your success. We believe in doing more than providing the only Traffic Tested® alfalfa seed available. It’s our duty to partner with the farmers who buy it. We take pride in helping you overcome challenges and seize opportunities. To learn what we can do for you, talk to your local seed supplier, call 800.873.2532 or go to AmericasAlfalfa.com.

Profile for Hay & Forage Grower

Hay & Forage Grower Mar 2018  

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

Hay & Forage Grower Mar 2018  

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

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