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hayandforage.com

November 2020

The forage offseason is here pg 9 From a small bag of seed pg 12 NAFA Alfalfa Variety Ratings center insert

Forage seed outlook pg 22 Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

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Make the Switch! Learn why so many growers are switching to Alforex™ varieties with Hi-Gest® alfalfa technology.

1 Higher Digestibility Alforex™ varieties with Hi-Gest® alfalfa technology average 5-8% more leaves than conventional varieties which can result in the following: • 5-10% increased rate of fiber digestion* • 22% reduction in indigestible fiber at 240 hours (uNDF240)** • 3-5% more crude protein**

2 More Tonnage Alforex varieties with Hi-Gest alfalfa technology provide farms flexibility to adjust to aggressive harvest systems to maximize yield and quality or to a more relaxed schedule focused on tonnage. Either way, growers put the odds of improved returns per acre and animal performance in their favor.

3 More Milk While management and feeding practices vary widely, it’s common for dairies feeding Alforex varieties with Hi-Gest alfalfa technology to report a positive production response from their cows when alfalfa makes up a higher percentage of the ration. Based on the increased rate of digestion, you could expect 2.5 lbs. more milk per cow, per day.1 And while not every producer experiences this level of improvement, some producers report even better results.

Ready to bring higher digestibility, more tonnage and more milk to your farm? Visit us at www.alforexseeds.com or call us at 1-800-824-8585

*The increased rate of fiber digestion, extent of digestion and crude protein data was developed from replicated research and on-farm testing. During the 2015 growing season at West Salem, WI and Woodland, CA, the following commercial dormant, semi-dormant and non-dormant alfalfa varieties were compared head-to-head with Alforex varieties with Hi-Gest alfalfa technology for rate of digestion, extent of digestion and percent crude protein: America’s Alfalfa Brand AmeriStand 427TQ; Croplan Brands LegenDairy XHD and Artesia Sunrise; Fertizona Brand Fertilac; S&W Seed Brands SW6330, SW7410 and SW10; and W-L Brands WL 319HQ and WL 354HQ. Also, during the 2015 growing season, 32 on-farm Alforex varieties with Hi-Gest alfalfa technology hay and silage samples were submitted to Rock River Laboratory, Inc., for forage analysis. The results for rate of digestion, extent of digestion and percent crude protein were averaged and compared to the 60-day and four-year running averages for alfalfa in the Rock River database which included approximately 1,700 alfalfa hay and 3,800 silage 60-day test results and 23,000 hay and 62,000 silage tests results in the four-year average. **Crude protein=60-day running averages and uNDF240=four-year running average 1 Combs, D. 2015. Relationship of NDF digestibility to animal performance. Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference, 101-112. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5350/ f0a2cb916e74edf5f69cdb73f091e1c8280b.pdf. ™ ® Trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. © 2020 Corteva.


November 2020 · VOL. 35 · No. 6 MANAGING EDITOR Michael C. Rankin ART DIRECTOR Todd Garrett EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Jennifer L. Yurs ONLINE MANAGER Patti J. Hurtgen DIRECTOR OF MARKETING John R. Mansavage ADVERTISING SALES Kim E. Zilverberg kzilverberg@hayandforage.com Jenna Zilverberg jzilverberg@hayandforage.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Patti J. Kressin pkressin@hayandforage.com W.D. HOARD & SONS

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PRESIDENT Brian V. Knox

A lifetime of building better haying mousetraps

Stan Steffen has spent countless hours in a hayfield. He has logged a similar number of hours in his farm shop constructing an array of haymaking tools.

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

DEPARTMENTS 4 First Cut 10 Dairy Feedbunk 16 Forage Gearhead 20 The Pasture Walk 22 Beef Feedbunk

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28 Alfalfa Checkoff 30 Feed Analysis

Precision-bred alfalfa

Burning away fescue ergovaline

The alfalfa genome has opened up opportunities to improve the crop’s yield and quality.

University of Missouri researchers are evaluating the use of fire to reduce fescue toxins.

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THE FORAGE OFFSEASON IS HERE

SOME LAND IS BETTER SUITED FOR HAY

LEAVE IT IN THE SILO — HERE’S WHY

ALL-IN ON HARVXTRA

FROM A SMALL BAG OF SEED

PREPARE NOW FOR SPRING

RAKES: THE BRIDGE FROM CUTTING TO BALING

AVOID BUYING HAY BASED ON NOISE

WHAT BUSINESS ARE WE REALLY IN?

FORAGE SEED OUTLOOK LOOKS GENERALLY GOOD FOR 2021

38 Hay Market Update NAFA ALFALFA VARIETY RATINGS CENTER INSERT

ON THE COVER Dan Scheps checks some wilting fourth-crop alfalfa on his dairy farm near Almena, Wis. Along with his brother, Ken, the Schepses farm about 2,500 acres, growing brown midrib silage corn, alfalfa, and high-moisture grain corn. They milk 1,600 cows and all of the alfalfa acres harvested for lactating cows are seeded to HarvXtra-traited varieties. Read more about Scheps Dairy starting on page 24. Photo by Mike Rankin

HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2020 W. D. Hoard & Sons Company. All rights reserved. Published six times annually in January, February, March, April/May, August/September and November by W. D. Hoard & Sons Co., 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Tel: 920-563-5551. Fax: 920-563-7298. Email: info@hayandforage.com. Website: www.hayandforage. com. Periodicals Postage paid at Fort Atkinson, Wis., and additional mail offices. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscribers may subscribe at: USA: 1 year $20 U.S.; Outside USA: Canada & Mexico, 1 year $80 U.S.; All other countries, 1 year $120 U.S. For Subscriber Services contact: Hay & Forage Grower, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 USA; call: 920-563-5551, email: info@hayandforage.com or visit: www.hayandforage.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HAY & FORAGE GROWER, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W., Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 USA. Subscribers who have provided a valid email address may receive the Hay & Forage Grower email newsletter eHay Weekly.

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FIRST CUT

The alfalfa conundrum

T Mike Rankin Managing Editor

HE Midwest dairy farmer’s lament was to the point: “If I didn’t have to worry about winterkill, I’d definitely grow more alfalfa.” This farmer, like others at the meeting who nodded in agreement, was explaining why his alfalfa acres were on the decline in recent years. “I like to grow and feed alfalfa, I just can’t depend on it,” he added. Challenge defined. So, who’s to blame that alfalfa isn’t “dependable?” In some respects, it’s nobody’s fault; in others, it’s everybody’s fault. Alfalfa, like most plants, is subject to the whims of Mother Nature. We can’t control longterm ice formation in winter and early spring other than to ensure adequate field drainage. When ice is prevalent, there’s a good chance that alfalfa will suffer in the same way corn will suffer from a long-term drought. It’s nobody’s fault, but stress tolerance will need to remain a mainstay of alfalfa variety development. Although environmental conditions can sometimes challenge the survivability of alfalfa, our industry does not always put alfalfa in a position to weather the challenging storms — to be dependable. All of us are to blame, including farmers, agronomists, nutritionists, marketers, and plant breeders. Nobody, including myself, gets a pass on this one. The bar for high-quality alfalfa has been continually raised. I remember the days when it was a struggle to get farmers to target a 150 relative feed value (RFV). As the years passed and relative forage quality (RFQ) entered the picture, we pushed toward 180 RFQ and even higher. The need for higher quality forage was understandable. Overall, more alfalfa was fed then compared to now. Fiber digestibility was strongly correlated with milk production, as were a nutritionist’s perceived worth and a farmer’s milk check. To achieve the desired level of forage quality, cutting intervals were dramatically shortened. Sometimes, an extra cutting was realized. Short-term forage yields were not severely impacted, but something else was . . . the ability of the plant to persist. We have long known the relationship between cutting intensity and stand longevity. It exists even in the best of weather

conditions, but it can be more pronounced when Mother Nature gets a little cranky. Intensive cutting schedules resulted in high-quality forage but also came with an agronomic cost. Plants became more prone to winter injury and/or a shortened stand life. Enter more corn silage. There is some irony to all of this. As dairy farmers feed more corn silage and less alfalfa, the importance of super high-quality alfalfa declines. The difference between 150 RFQ and 190 RFQ becomes less apparent in the bulk tank, if it’s apparent at all. In fact, the 150 RFQ alfalfa may be the better play both nutritionally and agronomically. So, the reason why many farmers are feeding less alfalfa — a lack of dependability — may actually allow for cutting schedules that should make it more dependable. We must continue to invest research dollars into alfalfa varieties that truly have improved fiber digestibility. The importance may not necessarily be so that we can harvest even higher quality forage, but rather so that plant regrowth periods could be extended while still harvesting acceptable forage quality for high milk production. At the same time, alfalfa is made less vulnerable to adverse environmental conditions. Let’s not blame alfalfa’s undependability all on the nutritionists and their zeal for rocket-fuel alfalfa. There are a host of other factors that weaken alfalfa’s survivability immune system. These include a lack of adequate soil fertility, insufficient attention to insect pest damage, seeding inferior alfalfa varieties, and battering stands with heavy equipment, especially semitrucks and trailers with highway tires. Maybe alfalfa’s “dependability” problem can’t be fixed. But maybe it can. We have had precious little research using modern alfalfa varieties to assess the importance of all the factors discussed here. Hopefully, that will change. We can make alfalfa more dependable; it’s just going to take a unified effort on behalf of all parties involved. At least some of what is happening isn’t “winterkill” but rather “peoplekill.” •

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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Triumph over weeds.

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Always read and follow label instructions. Bayer, the Bayer Cross, and Rezilon are trademarks of Bayer. Not all products are registered in all states. For additional product information, call toll-free 1-800-331-2867. www.environmentalscience.bayer.us. Bayer Environmental Science, a Division of Bayer CropScience LP, 5000 CentreGreen Way, Suite 400, Cary, NC 27513.


Stan Steffen built this triple mower in the mid-1980s. With a few modifications along the way, he’s used it to cut all of his hay acres ever since.

Mike Rankin

A LIFETIME OF BUILDING BETTER HAYING MOUSETRAPS by Mike Rankin

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F THEY don’t bale hay in heaven, then Stan Steffen isn’t interested in making the trip. Steffen, who is now 78 years old, has spent most of his years making hay near Silverton, Ore., in the western Willamette Valley. He has also devoted a nearly equal amount of his lifetime designing and building equipment for harvesting and handling hay. But don’t

ask to see his engineering school diploma . . . such a document doesn’t exist. What you will find when talking to Steffen is a God-given mechanical mind, a thirst for knowledge, and a drive to always look for a better way. He’s a haying problem solver. The amiable Steffen credits a lot of what he has learned from talking to knowledgeable acquaintances. Even so, his mechanical abilities go far beyond the result of a conversation. His haymaking machines often had their hum-

ble beginnings by being drawn up on the back of a napkin and then modeled from cut up cereal boxes.

No fishing Steffen’s grandfather moved from Ohio to Oregon in 1877. His father continued the family’s farming and woodcutting business, and Steffen was the youngest of seven children. “When I was a teenager, my dad bought a New Holland Model 80 wiretie baler,” Steffen recalled. “My brother

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Baling and building Through the years, Steffen has designed and built a number of hay handling tools with the sole purpose of saving labor and mechanizing the haymaking process. As a young adult, Steffen farmed with his older brother, Wayne. One day, Wayne was severely injured and paralyzed from the waist down when a tractor tire fell on him. If both brothers were to continue farming, there was going to have to be some machinery modifications. One need was a bale loader that could be operated using only hand controls. In 1967, Steffen built a hand-operated bale loader out of an old truck frame and a 1959 Pontiac car body and engine. It lifted 10 two-tie bales and stacked them up to 14 layers high. But that was just the beginning of the hay gizmos and gadgets that would emerge from Steffen’s small farm shop. Steffen has never been a farmer who wished there was something better or easier for making hay. If it wasn’t available, he simply built what was needed. It was usually at that point

Steffen’s “pancake baler” created bales that were 90 inches long by 90 inches wide and weighed up to 1,200 pounds.

that his neighbors would see him using one of his creations and would ask him to build one for them. One of his other early ventures was a bale accumulator that picked up 10 small square bales. “The requests for this unit got to be too much, so in 1981, we started Steffen Systems to keep up with the orders,” Steffen said. “My brother, who was a real hydraulic genius, another partner, and myself started a manufacturing business in town. I designed everything, and then they built the units.” About five years into the manufacturing venture, sales started to dwindle along with the farm economy of the late 1980s. It was then that Steffen’s oldest son, David, took over the business, moved it to a rural location outside of Silverton, Ore., and grew it to the successful enterprise it is today — still building bale accumulators, along with bale processors/presses and grapples.

A compression pioneer It was the early 1980s; as Steffen explained it, he received a visit from Don Ast, a California exporter who was shipping bermudagrass straw to Japan. Steffen had been baling grass seed straw, which was as plentiful in the Willamette Valley back then as it is today. “The difference in those days was people viewed it as a waste product; we’d put it in large piles and burn the stuff,” Steffen explained. He continued, “Don thought he could sell the product, and so he filled a container with bales and shipped it overseas. It was well received, but I knew that the three-tie bales would need to be compressed to save shipping costs. That led me to design and build

Submitted

was going to run the baler, but then he got drafted into the Korean War. My father then hired a neighbor kid to bale, but he got so frustrated running the baler that he quit. That’s when I got my opportunity to bale hay, and I just haven’t been able to stop.” In those days of youth, Steffen baled grass hay, wheat straw, and mushroom straw. One day, he told his dad that he wanted to try alfalfa. To that request his dad replied, “No, you’ll never get to go fishing if you put that in.” The young Steffen, however, was more steadfast in his desire to bale alfalfa than reel in a trout. He won that argument and on one occasion found himself baling alfalfa late at night. “It was tough stuff,” Steffen remembered. “I found a dairy to sell it to, and the guy came back and told me if I could make hay like that he’d buy as much as I could make. That’s when I learned the secret to making good alfalfa — let it get really dry and then wait for a dew.” It was soon after that experience when Steffen developed a strong market for his alfalfa with all of the dairy farmers who had moved to the area from Holland in the mid-1970s.

my first hay press in 1981.” Steffen built an improved version of his hay press in 1986, and that one still sits in the corner of farm’s warehouse today, although it is not used any longer. It was during the late 1980s that the demand for hay presses started to grow. In 1988, Steffen designed and built a press for two-tie bales, which was successful and also aided in the growth of David’s resurrected Steffen Systems manufacturing business. Through the years, the bale compressors have continued to improve and evolve. With the popularity of large square bales, the units now will slice the larger bales into smaller bales before compression takes place. This not only improves on shipping efficiencies, but it also offers a ready market for those clients who prefer the smaller hay packages. Building bale processing units now comprises a large part of the business at Steffen Systems.

Wait . . . there’s more Steffen’s interest in redefining haymaking didn’t stop with bale handling and compression. Before the days of the large square baler, the mechanically inclined Oregonian developed what he fondly refers to as his “pancake baler,” which he began to develop in 1977 and operated through most of the 1990s. At the time, Farm Show magazine

“If they don’t make hay in heaven, then I don’t want to go there,” said veteran haymaker Stan Steffen.

described Steffen’s invention as a “baling breakthrough.” The unique self-propelled machine created a bale that was 90 inches long by 90 inches wide by 16 inches high. The flat bales weighed up to 1,200 pounds. The 10-wire pancake baler was built with standard Freeman knotters and needles and was capable of baling up to 45 tons of alfalfa per hour. On the front of the baler were mounted wheel rakes, which made raking and baling a single continued on following page >>> November 2020 | hayandforage.com | 7

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operation. Initially, finding a market for large, flat bales limited popularity. To make the bales more desirable, Steffen built a saw that would slice the bales into five two-tie sections, and then these were double compressed into 46-inch lengths. The pancake baler, like a lot of Steffen’s creations, remains preserved in a pole barn at the farm. It’s only been in recent years that so-called triple mowers have become popular. The ability to lay out a swath to speed drying along with faster mowing speeds are cited as large advantages. Steffen actually recognized these assets in the mid-1980s when he built a self-propelled triple mower equipped with three separate, 7-foot New Holland sickle mowers. The mower’s power unit is a Chevrolet V-8 gas engine and the three mowers are driven by hydraulics, making it possible to control each of the three mowing units separately. Steffen has used this mower to cut hay on his farm for the past 35 years.

A hay business, too Aside from all the inventing, building, and welding, Steffen and his wife, Ruth, have owned and operated Steffen Hay Co. through their many years of marriage. It was on this 300-acre farm that the couple raised five sons and two daughters. Most of the growth of the farm has come through baling standing hay or windrowed straw that they purchase in the Willamette Valley. They also custom process and compress large square bales for numerous clients. Three of Steffen’s sons remain actively involved in the family hay business. Scott does all of the baling while Troy takes the lead in marketing efforts. The farm’s marketing swath ranges from exporting containers overseas to selling small lots of compressed bales to local horse owners. Dale, another son, can usually be found operating the hay press. Once the pancake baler was parked in the late 1990s, Steffen had a neighbor make 3x3 large square bales for him. Eventually, his son-in-law, Pat Twede, purchased the baler and did the baling for several years before Steffen Hay Co. purchased the baler and did their own baling. Steffen Hay Co. currently produces and markets grass straw, high-moisture alfalfa in 1,000-pound plastic-wrapped

Large square bales are sliced, compressed, and shrink wrapped. Steffen Hay sells hay and straw to local livestock owners and also exports product overseas.

bales, and dry alfalfa, alfalfa-grass, and orchardgrass hay in compressed, shrink-wrapped bales. All of the hay is tested for forage quality so clients know what they’re buying. The hay company also works with several grass seed growers to custom harvest alfalfa that is grown as a rotation crop between grass seed crops. In this unique arrangement, Steffen charges for cutting, raking, baling, and marketing the crop. The grass seed grower then gets the proceeds from the hay sale. These days, Steffen Hay Co. operates a stationary bale press and also a portable truck press. “We used to go to eastern Oregon to press hay on-site,” Steffen said. “By doing so, we could identify the bad bales with dirt and other foreign material in them, then leave them there for the cattle to eat. Our horse customers didn’t appreciate animal bones in their hay,” he added sarcastically. The truck press now stays at the home farm to do small retail lots of hay. This past year, Steffen purchased a new press to replace the farm’s existing stationary machine. The new bale press will also serve as a demonstration model for Steffen Systems’ potential press buyers.

Dryland alfalfa Living and farming in the eastern Willamette Valley usually means the winters will be wet and the summers will be dry. None of Steffen’s acreage is irrigated. Steffen Hay Co. grows about 125 acres of pure alfalfa and also has some fields of pure orchardgrass and alfalfa-grass mixtures. The remaining acreage is wheat, which is custom combined and used as a rotation crop

for alfalfa. “I’m always amazed how well wheat does when it follows alfalfa,” Steffen noted. “We can sometimes hit 150 bushels per acre.” Steffen’s spring-seeded alfalfa fields face the same major problem that many do in the West — voles. “They are just devastating and essentially determine how long we can keep a particular alfalfa stand,” he explained with a noticeable hint of frustration in his voice. “Voles are the main reason why we have stuck with a sickle bar mower and run it at about 3.5 miles per hour when we cut. We set our header pressure low enough so that it rides up over the piles of soil created by the voles. “We usually get four cuttings of alfalfa. There’s typically enough rain for the first two cuttings and then we hope for the best on the last two. This is flat land, so what water we do get tends not to runoff,” Steffen added.

Looking forward With three sons actively engaged in the business, Steffen is not overly concerned about the future Steffen Hay Co. “There’s plenty of room for business expansion, but it’s really hard to find decent labor,” Steffen said. “We have not really grown our owned acreage in 20 years. Instead, we’ve tried to expand our markets.” Another aspect of the farm that also won’t change is the “do-it-yourself” attitude. “We don’t see a lot of equipment service personnel on this farm,” Steffen chuckled. “We abide by the European way . . . don’t own a piece of equipment unless you know how to fix it.” Of course there’s also the Stan Steffen way: If you can’t buy it, build it yourself. •

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The forage offseason is here by Paul Dyk

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VERY good baseball or football fan knows that the offseason is when decisions are made that often dictate future success or failure. It’s a time of reckoning and planning. The offseason is also a time when the tough questions need to be asked. Did we put up enough high-quality forage? What do we need to do differently next year? Is our ace pitcher washed up, and is it time to trade for a new chopper? Do we have a kicker missing the easy field goals, and are we not getting the feed piles covered on time?

Assemble the team At the end of the year, the owner and key managers need to bring their forage team together. Internally, the crop and operation managers are the starting core. But think further than just the planting and harvesting. Invite your internal numbers guru, who can address finances, including the variable costs of raising forages and capital expenditure analytics. Invite the herd manager, who can address the importance of “clean” feed on herd performance. From the outside, bring in your agronomist and dairy nutritionist. Historically, agronomists and nutritionists have only waved at each other from across the feedbunk but need to walk hand-in-hand from the field into the freestall barn. Include in your meeting a trusted supplier representative, and finally, don’t forget your banker, who brings insights from other farms.

The forage closeout A closeout in a livestock feedlot is a final reckoning of performance and profitability of a group of cattle; it’s as common as a politician in Iowa during the political primary season. But how do we measure success and profitability in our forage program? I often ask when putting a ration together, “What number should I use for your cost of corn silage in the ration?” The sound of crickets are sometimes followed by, “What do you use on other farms?” Sometimes I will get the standard answer of 10 times the price of corn. To push this issue harder, I usu-

ally ask, “Is that dollars per ton of dry matter or as fed? Is that before or after fermentation shrink? Does that include depreciation on storage facilities?” A forage closeout needs to begin with trusted data and common terms. Begin by always talking from the standpoint of dry matter tons. For example, convert yield from 20 tons per acre of corn silage to 7.3 tons of dry matter. Agronomists and nutritionists need to agree on forage quality measurements. I don’t know of any dairy nutritionist who has ever used relative forage quality (RFQ) to balance a dairy ration. More useful terms like 7-hour starch Kd, 30-hour neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD), and ash content are linked more directly to cow performance. It’s like baseball junkies moving from runs batted in (RBI) to on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) and wins above replacement value (WAR). For the record, I’m still stuck on RBI, too, but my point is that common terms are needed to reach common goals. Closeouts need accurate, trusted forage production data. Unlike beef closeouts, we can’t just take an inventory at the end of the year because forage is constantly being used. For long-term success, large dairies will need to have on-farm scales to measure feed as it arrives on the farm and a sampling protocol. Without a scale, inventories can be estimated from bunkers and piles, but errors of 10% to 30% are common due to variation in packing density. If there is an accurate beginning inventory, feed software can bridge the gap to shrink and usage rates.

Decision making This is where the entire team becomes important. Herd managers and nutritionists will often want to maximize milk production with high-quality forages. Crop managers must weigh greater capital and variable costs to produce this feed. For example, if a dairy buys their own chopper and reduces their time of chopping corn silage from 17 to seven days, will the consistency and quality improvement cover the additional cost for the harvester? By having the team together, a good

discussion can be had about paybacks on agronomy decisions. If spraying a fungicide helps in two out of five years to reduce mycotoxin loads, does it really make sense? Everyone has to be kept accountable. Put everything in dollars per year, which will assist in moving the discussion to an agreement.

Risk assessment There are some dairies that always seem to harvest high-quality forage and avoid the pitfalls of machinery breakdowns, rain, and delayed custom haulers. They appear to be one step ahead. As forage teams become more advanced, a helpful exercise can be a risk analysis. List all of the things that could go wrong in your forage program. Then weigh those problems by their likelihood and financial impact. If you are constantly having forage not packed correctly, that can have huge financial repercussions, so putting on another pack tractor would make good financial sense. If you had problems harvesting corn silage one time in 30 years because of rain, can you really justify the purchase of dump wagons?

Expenditures Input purchases is a topic that has been intentionally left for the end. There is a remarkable disconnect in seed sales and field cropping decisions. It reminds me of the Kohl’s store sales my wife tells me about — “It’s on sale now for 30% off but only until Friday,” she relates. This is a well-defined, high-pressure sales tactic. Complete a forage closeout, plan, and then purchase. Decisions such as brown midrib (BMR) corn versus non-BMR need to take place before the purchases begin. The offseason is here; get your team ready to forage. • PAUL DYK The author is a dairy nutrition consultant with GPS Dairy Consulting LLC, and based in Malone, Wis.

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DAIRY FEEDBUNK

by Luiz Ferraretto

LEAVE IT IN THE SILO — HERE’S WHY Mike Rankin

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OR many years, ensiling was considered a great tool to store forages while maintaining nutrient availability. Now we know that keeping silage longer in the silo improves starch availability. Prolonged storage became an important practice for dairy herds feeding corn silage, high-moisture corn, and earlage. Briefly, the breakdown of zein proteins that surround starch occurs during silage fermentation. This effect is caused primarily by bacterial proteases. Besides, the continuous decline in pH and accumulation of acids as fermentation progresses favors the activity of kernel proteases. A spike in starch digestibility happens during the initial fermentation. This initial spike is followed by a gradual, but less pronounced, further improvement over time. Table 1 exemplifies this effect and has a prediction of the potential implication to energy availability of corn silage. More time in the silo elevates the soluble crude protein (CP) and ammonia-N concentration of corn silage. This particular response created some concerns of reduced rumen undegraded protein concentration and changes to amino acid profiles in silages. These changes could have potential implications in diet formulation.

No ration concerns There have not been many studies testing the effect of silage time in the silo on animal performance, but the comparison between fermented versus unfermented corn grain (for example, high-moisture corn versus dry ground corn) could be used as a proxy for these effects. In addition, a study from Brazil

reported prolonging storage length of rehydrated sorghum grain silage from 30 to 90 days boosted milk and milk protein yields and reduced milk urea nitrogen concentration. Combined, these results indicate the changes in nitrogen fractions during storage should be of no concern to diet formulation. We recently completed a study evaluating the amino acid profile in corn silage fermented from 30 to 240 days. Longer fermenting silage durations slightly lowered lysine (0.25% versus 0.22% of dry matter (DM) at 30 and 240 days, respectively), but methionine remained the same (0.13% DM). Does this reduction in lysine affect diet formulation? Let’s consider a dairy cow consuming 25 pounds of corn silage dry matter per day to address this question. Based on our study, corn silage fermented for 30 days would provide 28 grams of lysine, but if fermented for 240 days, it would provide 25 grams of lysine.

Mixed results for CSPS Another benefit of ensiling and prolonged storage is the disruption of the starch-protein matrix during fermentation, which may dissociate starch granules and thereby reduce kernel mean particle size. We conducted four studies to evaluate the effect of ensiling and prolonged storage on corn silage processing score (CSPS; percent of starch passing through the 4.75 millimeter sieve), which was used as an indicator of particle size. A summary of these four studies is in Table 2. Our initial two studies were in the 2014 corn silage season at the University of Wisconsin. Briefly, fermenting

silage for 30 days improved CSPS by 10 percentage units compared with the unfermented corn forage material. Lengthening time in storage from zero to 240 days gradually increased CSPS. These findings highlighted the potential effects of extended fermentation not only on the chemical but also the physical characteristics of kernels. These results suggest that the known benefits on starch digestibility caused by prolonged silage storage are not solely related to the breakdown of zein proteins but also are related to the reduction in kernel particle size. Based on these initial findings, we suggested a target CSPS at harvest of 65%. After these initial studies, it was still unclear if the change in CSPS as fermentation progresses was dependent upon the initial values of unfermented samples or some other factors. In addition, it raised some questions about prolonged storage compensating for processing. One of our studies conducted at the University of Florida evaluated the effect of ensiling on CSPS of poorly processed silage. We used samples from 11 corn silage hybrids that were arbitrarily processed to achieve a CSPS of 30% and ensiled for zero or 120 days. As expected, no effects of ensiling on CSPS were observed. Furthermore, a recent study from Cornell University with four hybrids grown at two locations for two consecutive years did not present a consistent improvement effect on CSPS. These two studies highlighted that prolonged storage length will not replace adequate processing at harvest. Harvesting corn silage with at least 65% to 70% CSPS prior to ensiling is advised.

Fatty acids remained adequate With the greater interest of establishing high-forage diets, there are more inquiries about changes in fatty acids with ensiling and prolonged fermentation. Overall, the literature data currently available did not detect major changes of long-chain fatty acid profiles. For example, our laboratory recently LUIZ FERRARETTO The author is an assistant professor and ruminant nutrition extension specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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presented some data on this topic at the American Dairy Science Association meetings. Briefly, we compared corn silage from three maturities, harvested with two roll-gap settings, and fermented for zero, 30, 120 and 240 days. Silage maturity and roll-gap settings had minor effects on silage fatty acid profile. Storage had very minor effects on oleic and linoleic acids. Ensiling did elevate linolenic acid from 0.12% of DM at harvest to 0.18% of DM after fermentation. Prolonged fermentation also increased the concentration of free fatty acids from 0.98% of DM at 30 to 1.20% of DM at 240 days. Let us consider the same dairy cow consuming 25 pounds of corn silage dry matter per day to address this effect. The corn silage fermented for 30 days provided 109 grams of free fatty acids, whereas the corn silage fermented for 240 days provided 136 grams of free fatty acids. Overall, research underscores that unsaturated fatty acid profile derived from whole-plant corn forage samples at harvesting would be

adequate to formulate diets. Stored silage is a dynamic system. We know more than we did 10 years ago, but there’s still more to learn. Currently, research does not support neg-

ative effects of prolonged fermentation on amino acid and fatty acid profiles. Finally, CSPS may improve over time, but fermentation will not replace proper processing at harvest. •

Table 1. Time in the silo effect on starch digestibility of corn silage1,2 Storage length, days

0

30 to 45

90 to 150

240 to 270

Starch digestibility in vitro at 7 h, % of starch

60.3

67.4

70.2

77.7

TDN, % of DM

68.0

70.5

71.5

74.1

NEL3, Mcal/lb

0.78

0.81

0.82

0.86

Corn silage — 35% DM, 7.1% CP, 36.3% NDF, 2% EE, 35% starch, 1.5% ash, and 52% NFC. 2 Starch digestibility values based on the review article by Kung et al. (2018). 3 Calculated according to NRC (2001) but separating starch and nonstarch NFC digestibility with modified equations used by the Feed Grain Evaluation System (Hoffman et al., 2012). 1

Table 2. Time in the silo effect on corn silage processing score1 Storage length, days

0

30

120

240

P-value

Ferraretto et al., 2015 – trial 1

50.2

61.1

-

-

0.01

Ferraretto et al., 2015 – trial 2

60.3

63.6

67.2

68.4

0.08

Agarussi et al., 2020

28.8

-

28.8

-

0.97

Saylor et al., 2020

62.4

59.7

64.8

67.7

0.01

Corn silage processing score — % of starch passing through the 4.75 mm sieve.

1

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From a

SMALL BAG of

SEED

CJ Weddle

by C.J. Weddle

G

ROWING up on a row crop farm in Mississippi, the only experience I had with hay or forages was pitching small square bales onto a trailer. We baled a couple dozen acres of grass hay for the goat herd I established during my years of 4-H and FFA involvement. So how in the world did I end up with an internship focusing in hay and forage production? Well, that answer is simple. My academic adviser at Mississippi State University sent me an application link, and that began my journey into the world of hay and forage. While I did get to travel to numerous states interviewing farmers about how they produce and market hay and silage, grow forage crops for grazing, and keep up with industry changes, COVID-19 encouraged us all to spend more time at the office reading publications and watching webinars to source articles from. During my first week at Hay & Forage Grower, Managing Editor Mike Rankin plopped a blog on my desk and reported, “I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long time, and it’ll be a good way for you to learn about alfalfa, too.” I started following links and reading everything I could about Wendelin Grimm and the legendary alfalfa he brought to the U.S. that would change the dairy and forage worlds forever.

Grimm had many years of experience raising cattle and forages on his family’s farm in Külshiem, Germany, which is in an agricultural region of the country known for its lush alfalfa fields. His time on the farm taught him the benefits of alfalfa as cattle feed. When he moved his family across the ocean to Minnesota in 1857, he brought with him a single bag of alfalfa seed taken from his stock in Germany. He planted his first crop in the spring of 1858 and saw that it fared well over the summer months, but the harsh winter killed most of his initial stand. From the few surviving plants, Grimm collected seeds and repeated the process the following spring. He continued this exercise for 20 years, resulting in the first North American winterhardy variety of alfalfa.

Not one kernel Grimm worked hard to develop stands that would survive the harsh Minnesota winters that killed so much of the other forage in the area. A neighbor’s remark in the summer of 1863 gave Grimm reason to be proud of his efforts. One day, Grimm drove his cattle past Henry Gerdsen’s home on the way to market. In a time when feed was scarce and most cattle in the area were very lean, Gerdsen was very surprised to see Grimm driving such fat cattle and asked him where he was able to find corn. Grimm replied, “Kein Körnchen, nur ewiger Klee.” (Not one kernel, only

everlasting clover.) But what was so different about his alfalfa that allowed it to perform so well? Most people of the time chalked it up to the rich soil of Carver County. Although true, there were additional factors at play. Grimm’s alfalfa displayed physical traits, other than winterhardiness, which indicated it was a hybrid or different variety altogether than what was normally grown in the area. Long after Grimm’s death in 1890, many Midwestern university experiment stations compared Grimm alfalfa to other varieties trying to document its virtues.

From farm to university The person responsible for bringing Grimm alfalfa to the attention of the agriculture industry was a schoolteacher who visited Carver County and learned of Grimm alfalfa’s superiority firsthand. Arthur Lyman had spent many years on his family’s farm convincing his father not to give up on alfalfa, and that persistence ended up paying dividends. After achieving success on his father’s C.J. WEDDLE The author was the 2020 Hay & Forage Grower summer editorial intern. She currently attends Mississippi State University and is majoring in agricultural education, leadership, and communications.

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Research results Carefully recorded studies using genuine Grimm alfalfa seed, commercial seed, Turkestan seed, Iowa seed, and other unidentified varieties were replicated throughout the Midwest. Results from Montana and Kansas showed that Grimm alfalfa yielded three times as much hay as the varieties it competed against. Experiments in South Dakota produced hardy strains that would become widely known as S.D. 162. Professor Hayes was later appointed assistant secretary of agriculture. Charles Brand and Lawrence Waldron then dove into the genealogy of the marvelous, mysterious Grimm alfalfa. In the conclusion of their study, Brand announced that Grimm alfalfa was

Three Rivers Park District

farm, Lyman was very anxious to share it with someone who could further share Grimm alfalfa’s benefits with Minnesota farmers. In 1900, he met professor Willet Hayes, head of the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. After their introduction, Hayes personally investigated the case of Grimm alfalfa. After a three-day tour guided by Lyman, Hayes committed to conducting Grimm alfalfa trials at the experiment station. Lyman worked closely with the professor on research that would prove the benefits of Grimm alfalfa. He secured the vast majority of the seed used in the trials and experiments. To supply as much as possible, he expanded his own alfalfa operation to over 100 acres. Weather conflicts prevented his seed harvest for nearly two years, but he still agreed to furnish seed not only for Hayes but for other experiment stations as well. After many years of hard work to prove the value of Grimm alfalfa, Lyman was invited to the annual meeting of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society where he presented a paper on Grimm alfalfa during a session on January 12, 1904. The most noteworthy comment of the discussion came from a member of the federal Department of Agriculture, William Spillman. “I cannot help but be impressed by this paper . . . we have been searching the world for a variety of alfalfa that would do just what this variety does. We sent a man to Turkestan this summer at great expense to get something of that kind, but here we know we have what we sought.”

Grimm’s farmhouse and a monument can be seen at Carver Park Reserve near Victoria, Minn.

a natural cross between the common purple blossom alfalfa, Medicago sativa, and a wild yellow blossom species, Medicago falcata, which originated in Asia. Fast-forward to the present, most dormant alfalfa varieties currently grown can trace their taproots back to Grimm alfalfa.

The legend lives on Although Grimm knew the nutritive and agronomic value of his alfalfa, he died before witnessing the impact his alfalfa would have on the livestock industry. However, during his lifetime, he helped his neighbors start their own stands by supplying them with seed and advice about the forage, which is why the majority of it was grown within a 10-mile radius of Grimm’s homestead for so many years. Sadly, Grimm did not document much of his work while improving his alfalfa, but his memory lives on through the stories recorded by his friends and family. According to local proprietor George Du Toit, the only time Grimm nearly suffered a complete loss to winterkill was during the winter of 1874 to 1875. In a written account, the Chaska, Minn., store owner noted that this was also the worst winter since the early 1840s. Grimm’s son, Joseph, remembered digging a driveway leading to a newly built barn on the homestead. He said, “The roots on this clover penetrated more than 10-feet deep through the clay soil.” The crop was credited with making Carver County the best dairy-producing county in the state by 1900.

Wendelin Grimm with his wife Juliana. The couple moved from Germany to Minnesota in 1857.

Today, alfalfa still earns a multitude of accolades. Coined the “Queen of the Forages,” it is ranked the third or sometimes fourth most valuable field crop in the U.S. — only behind corn, soybeans, and sometimes wheat. Grimm’s original homestead still stands in Carver County, Minn.; however, it is not in the possession of a Grimm descendant anymore. The family turned the property over to the Three Rivers Park District in 1962. Since then, it has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, undergone several grant-funded renovation projects, and opened to the public for viewing and recreation. • November 2020 | hayandforage.com | 13

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Mike Rankin

PRECISION-BRED ALFALFA by David Mickelson LFALFA is the third highest revenue crop in the U.S., behind corn and soybeans, but ahead of wheat, rice, and cotton. Despite this, research spending on alfalfa is far behind these crops of lesser market value. This is one of many reasons that biotechnology traits in alfalfa have been slow to come to market. Corn, soybean, and cotton have paved the regulatory path allowing other crops like alfalfa to follow. Alfalfa research at universities and in the private sector has been in a steady decline over the last several decades, resulting in less alfalfa breeding progress. Alfalfa research is a long, time-consuming endeavor; therefore, breeders have been finding new ways to speed up the process using new biotechnology techniques. There are two biotech methods used in alfalfa today: GMO, or genetic modification by insertion of foreign DNA that results in a genetically modified organism, and gene editing, or the use of precision breeding technologies that result in edited target genes with no foreign DNA being added. Recently, S&W Seed Company has teamed up with Calyxt, a plant-based technology company located in Minnesota, to develop improved digestibility alfalfa through gene editing. Calyxt used its proprietary TALEN gene-editing technology to inactivate one of the

genes in the lignin biosynthetic pathway, resulting in an Improved Quality Alfalfa (IQA) trait. This new trait promises to make real and substantial improvements in alfalfa feeding quality via a non-GMO approach. Alfalfa agronomic performance has been predominantly advanced through traditional breeding techniques. Significant gains in disease resistance have been made by selecting plants with one or more copies of resistance genes, and then intercrossing them to increase the gene frequency. This is a relatively simple, cost effective, and efficient system; however, it is time-consuming. Gains in forage quality improvement have been slower, and the expense of sampling mature plants in the field, environmental variability, and the high cost of analyzing forage samples all take resources from a research program. Limited resources in alfalfa breeding means fewer plants can be evaluated for forage quality compared to disease and insect pests. Yield improvement in alfalfa is even more costly and time consuming because selection for yield requires field trials over many years and locations, involves many different genes, and environmental effects slow genetic gain.

Started with Roundup Ready

and novel traits. The first biotech trait released to the market in alfalfa was Roundup Ready, a GMO trait that closely followed the blueprint of corn and soybeans. The gene conferring resistance to glyphosate herbicide, originally isolated from a bacterium, was inserted randomly into the alfalfa genome. Plants containing the gene were selected by spraying with the herbicide and then used for further variety development. By continuing to select resistant plants, varieties were developed relatively quickly that had acceptable disease resistance and yield. In 2017, the second GMO trait in alfalfa, HarvXtra, was introduced. HarvXtra confers higher quality by reducing lignin deposition in plant cell walls. Lignin is indigestible to cows, so reducing the lignin content in alfalfa plants results in a feed with higher fiber digestibility. With HarvXtra, the lignin is reduced by inhibiting expression of one of the genes in the lignin pathway through a transgenic RNA-interference mechanism. DAVID MICKELSON The author is an alfalfa breeder with S&W Seed Company.

Alfalfa plant breeders are now starting to use new technologies that accelerate genetic gain or create new

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xxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxxx

The advantage of GMO technologies is that entire genes from other species (and resulting traits) that are completely new to the crop can be inserted. For example, with the GMO approach, a gene can be inserted to produce a protein that is toxic to certain insects but harmless to humans or even other classes of insects. Examples of this type of trait are the Bt traits in corn and cotton. The current disadvantages of GMO-based breeding include the high regulatory hurdles associated with their development, export acceptance by some countries, and a sector of the public that doesn’t look favorably on the “GMO” designation.

Another approach Gene editing (or genome editing) is a recently developed technology that holds promise to deliver new breakthrough traits in many crops. It is the same technology that is being used in the human medical field to correct genetic disorders, such as leukemia in infants. Gene editing involves the targeted deletion or replacement of DNA at a specific site in the genome of an organism or cell. Engineered nucleases, or “molecular scissors,” are used to cut the DNA strands at specific sites. This is different to the random insertion of genes for GMO products, using vectors to deliver the desired gene(s). The two main families of gene-editing technologies are Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) and Transcription Activator-Like Effector-based Nucleases (TALEN). Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The CRISPR system advantages are that it is quick, simple, easy to use, and freely available to universities and nonprofit organizations for academic research. Unfortunately, the intellectual property landscape surrounding CRISPR is complicated, making commercialization uncertain. The TALEN system is a more precise and efficient method of gene editing. TALEN has been used successfully in soybeans to improve oil quality, in potatoes to improve storage life, and now in alfalfa genetics to improve fiber digestibility. Alfalfa products made with the TALEN technology do not contain any foreign DNA and are considered nonregulated articles by the USDA. Another key advantage of using TALEN is a clear path of intellectual property (IP). Traits that can be developed with gene editing are somewhat limited compared to the GMO approach. Gene editing can modify genes that are already present in the plant, modifying the expression of a particular trait, but rarely can it be used to produce a whole new function. However, gene editing can help produce novel and beneficial genetic gain that would otherwise take several decades, if not more, to obtain through conventional breeding.

Breaking the lignin pathway Lignin biosynthesis is well understood, as it has been studied in many different plant species. Therefore, it was a suitable target for using the TALEN technology to reduce lignin accumulation in alfalfa. In Calyxt’s gene editing approach, a small deletion in one of the genes in the lignin pathway makes it nonfunctional, resulting in reduced lignin levels. In the process of editing this gene, no foreign DNA is introduced into the plant’s genome, making it non-GMO. After the initial TALEN gene edits were made, plants were then screened to confirm they had the desired trait as well as

the absence of foreign DNA. These initial plants were then crossed to elite, high-yielding, disease-resistant plants. Seed from this initial cross that contained the edited gene for the trait were intercrossed. Each round of crossing results in a larger population of plants with a higher frequency of the desired lower lignin trait. Plants are then tested for lignin content and other standard forage quality metrics. Experimental varieties are currently being developed and characterized for pest resistance, yield, and other important agronomic traits. S&W’s current variety development timeline will have products available for 2021 in limited supply for large-acre commercial evaluation. For gene editing to be used successfully, you need to know two things: which trait to develop and which gene to target. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but as the molecular mysteries of alfalfa continue to be solved, we are constantly moving closer to using gene editing for things like yield, drought resistance, salt tolerance, and bloat resistance. Advancing these traits are in the future and will likely depend on the success of the reduced lignin trait efforts. Traditional breeding will not go away anytime soon. It is still the foundation of all breeding programs to develop genetically diverse, stable, high-yielding, and pest resistant germplasms that gene editing can take to the next level. Ultimately, the dairy and beef producers of the world will be the beneficiaries of gene-edited traits in alfalfa. •

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November 2020 | hayandforage.com | 15

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FORAGE GEARHEAD

by Adam Verner

A good job of raking can save time and money.

CJ Weddle

Rakes: the bridge from cutting to baling

H

AYING season is all wrapped up for 2020, and judging by the comments I’ve seen on social media, it has still been either feast or famine for most of the country. Some areas got too much rain; others received nothing for weeks on end. Here in the Southeast, our rainfall was near average and reasonably spread out. It was a good year to put up hay. Regardless of whether you received too much, not enough, or just the right amount of rain, anyone that has sat in a baler knows the rake can make or break your day and the harvested hay crop. There are three main types of rakes that we see on today’s haying operations: the rotary rake, the wheel rake, and the roller-bar rake.

Fast and cost effective By far the most popular rake is the wheel rake, and there are several different styles of wheel rakes out there to choose from. The most popular in the East and South is the carted wheel rake with eight, 10, or 12 wheels. These rakes are the most cost-effective way to get your hay into a windrow. They work great in small fields and are the lowest maintenance of any rake on the market. Wheel rakes can be operated at relatively fast speeds, making efficient use of your time. The disadvantage to these

caddie and right-hand delivery rake. We were big time, and I could make one pass and the windrow was done. The downside was that it was not very adjustable, which led to lopsided windrows, and it only took an hour (sarcasm intended) to get it unhooked and ready for transport. These days, there are a few completely hydraulic roller-bar rakes on the market, which can be independently adjusted for the windrow width and raking width. Another great feature is that each rake is driven by a hydraulic motor, keeping the rake tines out of the dirt. These rakes are gaining popularity in alfalfa operations, but a lot of people complain that they roll or rope the hay in the windrow, making for inconsistent feeding into the baler. They are also higher maintenance machines than their wheel rake counterparts.

Gaining market share models is the lack of adjustability; most only have a few adjustments, and the raking width can only be changed by a foot or two at the most. This doesn’t offer you many choices when Mother Nature gives you a double crop one month and half a crop the next. In the West and Midwest, the high capacity and hydraulic wheel rakes are more common. These larger units start out at 12 and go up to 18 wheels. These models offer many adjustment options, and the raking width adjustment is separate from the windrow width adjustments. These adjustments can be made “on the fly” going through the field to make a nicely shaped windrow. Still, a big downside to these and all wheel rakes is the amount of dirt or ash content that gets picked up with the crop from the ground. Also, wheel rakes do not perform well in high-moisture crops. They simply do not have enough force to pick up a heavy, wet crop.

An old standby The tried and true roller-bar rake has been in hayfields longer than the other two types of rakes. Anyone who has been in the business for an extended period of time has probably hooked up to a New Holland “Rolabar” rake at some point. I can remember in the mid-1980s when we got our first V-rake

The rake gaining the most in popularity in the past decade is the rotary rake. Numerous manufacturers have now entered this market as more farmers are making baleage and silage. No other rake on the market makes as consistent and fluffy of a windrow as a rotary rake; it can handle any moisture or amount of crop. The tines on the rotary rake can be set where they do not touch the ground and with the number of tines passing over each square foot, no blade or leaf is left behind. The sizes range from 10 feet to 60 feet and in multiple configurations. The biggest downside to a rotary rake is the expense of purchasing a new unit. The cost scares away most small-acreage farmers. In my opinion, however, the next time your rake needs upgrading, you need to take a hard look at the new rotary rakes on the market. They are sure to impress! • 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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GET XTRA CONTROL AND XTRA QUALITY WHERE IT COUNTS. HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology can increase your cutting flexibility giving you higher quality or increased yield potential. Conventional alfalfa breeding doesn’t compete with those valuable xtras. Ask your alfalfa dealer about getting HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology in your favorite alfalfa seed. ©2020 Forage Genetics International. HarvXtra® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is subject to planting and use restrictions. 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.

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Missouri researchers are using fire as a means to suppress tall fescue seedheads.

Burning away fescue ergovaline by Josh Zeltwanger CROSS the United States, livestock experience summer heat and the challenges it poses. During the summer, cow-calf and stocker operations in Missouri and much of the southeast United States see a sharp drop in cattle performance, including lower conception rates and average daily gains. This decline in performance is known regularly as the “summer slump” and is often tied directly to the forage source that grazing operations utilize. Tall fescue, a cool-season grass, is found on an estimated 35 million acres in the U.S., much of which resides in the Southeast. Tall fescue is infected with a fungus that produces ergot alkaloids, most notably ergovaline. Cattle that regularly consume infected fescue are compromised in their ability to dissipate heat properly. Subsequently, forage intake tends to decline, resulting in compromised performance as either lower weight gain or reproductive efficiency. Ergovaline tends to concentrate in the stems and seedheads of

tall fescue, making these reproductive tillers a target for removal to improve cattle performance.

What’s old is new again Although strategies to manage fescue toxicosis have been developed, adoption of these practices across the Fescue Belt has not been universal. Recently, research by our team at the University of Missouri has worked to develop low-cost strategies that limit seedhead growth in tall fescue pastures using prescribed fire. As a forage management tool, fire predates any of the current alkaloid mitigation strategies. Fire plays a part in sustaining healthy ecosystems across the world, as well as improving animal performance. By applying fire, the quality of forage consumed by cattle is improved. More importantly, burning fescue in the spring may prevent the development of seedheads. As fescue matures, alkaloid concentrations rise. Proportionally, greater amounts of alkaloids are present in the seedheads

than in the rest of the plant. Therefore, we hypothesized that a spring fire application would limit seedhead development and impact ergovaline concentrations in tall fescue. To test our theory, we applied four different treatments to 40 plots (20 feet by 30 feet) located at the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center: 1. Control, no added management, 2. Mowing plots in mid-March, 3. Burning plots in mid-March, and 4. Burning plots in mid-April. The mow treatment was designed to mimic normal pasture conditions. Tall fescue pastures are commonly grazed short in the fall and over the winter. Monthly forage samples were collected to measure changes in alkaloid concentrations and forage quality. Additionally, seedhead prevalence was determined in May, and forage species composition was determined in May and October. The study was replicated in the spring of 2018 and 2019.

Seedhead reduction A fire in April reduced tall fescue seedheads by 71% (3.7 seedheads per square foot in April-burned plots versus an average of 13.1 seedheads in all other plots [Figure 1]). Fire is suspected to reduce seedheads by damaging the young, reproductive tillers. Tillers require dual signaling to produce a seedhead. The first signal comes from short day length and low temperatures that would occur over the winter. The second signal occurs during the growing season as the daylight hours lengthen. Applying fire in the spring may damage the vegetative tillers that have gone through the first stage of signaling. As a result, new tillers that grow to replace the damaged tillers will not be exposed to the first signal and are not capable of producing a seedhead. Other methods of seedhead suppression are available as well. The application of metsulfuron has reduced seedheads by JOSH ZELTWANGER The author is a graduate student pursuing his Ph.D. in the Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri.

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Figure 1: Seedhead suppression

Figure 2: Effect of burning on tall fescue forage yield

16

Forage yied (lb/ac)

# of seedheads/ft2

2500

12 10 8 6 4

2000 1500

Control

Mow

March burn

■ Mow ■ March burn ■ April burn

1000

Reduced yield An unfortunate consequence of alkaloid management is lower forage yield (Figure 2). The use of both mowing and chemicals to suppress seedheads have been shown to reduce forage availability in earlier research. In our experiment, forage availability declined by 22% in April-burned plots. This reduction in forage availability is in line with yield drag from metsulfuron applications to control seedheads. An important consideration in the reduced forage yield relates to the quality of the forage that is lost. If the

c

c

0

April burn

more than 90% in previous research. Our mid-April burn reduced seedheads at a relatively high rate (up to 75%). Fire may have an advantage in cost and time investment. From this research, it is evident that timing fire is important, much like the application of metsulfuron. Currently, we are investigating different techniques for applying fire that could improve fire’s effectiveness against seedhead production. Given the reduction in seedheads, we wanted to see if this would lead to changes in alkaloid levels, specifically ergovaline. Generally, the plots burned in mid-March produced similar amounts of ergovaline as the control plots. The largest decrease was found in plots burned in mid-April, confirming that the decline in seedheads did indeed reduce alkaloid levels, specifically ergovaline. However, it is essential to note that we harvested whole plants out of all plots. Since the April-burned plots had fewer seedheads compared to the other plots, it is natural to assume that the differences in ergovaline were due to fewer collected seedheads.

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Fire is also used in other cattle production systems, such as the Flint Hills of Kansas. Ranchers there note a marked improvement in grazing cattle performance during the summer, which is related to improved forage quality, or at least removal of residue from the previous year’s growth. We noted small decreases in fiber content of burned plots during May, June, and July. Less fiber generally means higher quality forage. While fire may promote forage quality in tall fescue pastures, we regard it as a side benefit. Throughout the Fescue Belt, preparation for the summer slump has to start in late winter and early spring. Results from our research suggest that an early spring fire could suppress seedhead production in tall fescue pastures without negative impacts on legumes in the stand. Our group continues to focus on different techniques to apply fire and will soon evaluate cattle performance with grazing pastures that have been treated with fire. •

forage not grown is mostly low-quality stems and seedheads, is there actually value in what did not grow? One direct contrast between herbicide application and fire for seedhead suppression in tall fescue pastures is the impact of herbicide on pasture legumes. Interseeding pastures with legumes like clover is a time-tested fescue strategy because enhancing diversity dilutes out alkaloids consumed by cattle. Improved plant diversity can also extend grazing seasons by providing different forages at different times throughout the year. However, metsulfuron-containing herbicides list clover species as plants affected by the herbicide. When we applied fire to the plots for two consecutive years, we noted no difference in the frequency of legumes in the plots. More research is needed on a larger scale, but it appears that fire is not harmful to legumes in tall fescue pastures. Anyone wishing to control tall fescue seedheads in a fescue-clover mix pasture should consider fire as an option.

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THE PASTURE WALK

by Jim Gerrish

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NE of the most shocking statements for a group of ranchers to hear is when I tell them that ranching is really a land management business and that their livestock are just incidental to the process. We love our cows and tout their genetic superiority. We brag about calf weaning weights. We measure our success with stockers by average daily gain. Yet, with all this attention on our superior livestock, most ranches in the U.S. operate on the slimmest of margins with an average annual return on investment of less than 2%. What is missing from our business plans? What is missing is the understanding that most of the costs associated with ruminant livestock production are land-based costs, not per head costs. Almost all economic assessments of livestock operations find 50% to 80% of annual operating costs are feed related. For a ranch that operates completely on home-raised forage and feed, that automatically means 50% to 80% of operating costs are land related.

It’s all about feed costs An assessment of Standardized Performance Appraisal (SPA) records by Allen Miller at University of Illinois several years ago found 57% of the variance in profitability across a broad spectrum of cow-calf operations was explained simply by the difference in feed costs. In the same analysis, calf weaning weight accounted for less than 5% of the variation in profit. Study after study over the last 20 years have shown there is virtually no relationship between calf weaning weight and profitability in the ranching business. The primary determinant of profitability in the cow-calf sector has repeatedly been shown to be feed costs. Where do all these feed costs come from? We buy or lease the land. In farming country, we sow seed, fertilize, and often mechanically harvest the feed and then deliver it to the livestock. We build a fence around acres. We build subdivision fences to make smaller units of acres. We put in ponds, wells, pipelines, and troughs all across our

pasture or range acres. All of these are land-based costs. We need to shift our management focus away from improving individual performance to enhancing individual acre performance. In the Illinois study, equipment and facility depreciation was the second most influential parameter affecting profitability. What is most of the equipment on a ranch used for? Producing feed from the land. Most farms and ranches do not carry enough cattle to justify their investment in equipment. It takes a certain level of output per acre to pay for all that equipment. Increasing output per animal while running fewer and fewer animals on the land is rarely a paying proposition. If there is no difference in average weaning weight between the high-profit and low-profit ranches, we can conclude the livestock on the ranch are incidental to the business. What separates the high-profit ranches from low-profit ranches is how effectively they use their land resources. Too often, we make all these investments in creating productive pastures and then fail to utilize them effectively.

Many places to look This premise ties together several of the concepts I have addressed in each of my Hay & Forage Grower columns from earlier this year. In my first column of the year, I explained how reducing the duration of each grazing period could improve annual forage utilization from 30% to 40% with set stocking to 70% to 90% with daily rotation in a productive environment. More grazing days harvested from every acre lowers feed costs. My second column dealt with the idea of matching stocking rate to seasonal carrying capacity to optimize livestock output per acre and individual animal performance. Carrying more animals enhances your revenue stream. More animal output per acre lowers feed costs. The third column addressed spring grazing management strategies to create more productive and higher quality pastures later in the summer. Better quality forage resulting in higher individual animal performance lowers feed cost.

Jim Gerrish

What business are we really in?

Match stocking rates to seasonal carrying capacity.

The fourth column addressed stockpiling winter feed and grazing more days during the dormant season to reduce the need for stored feeds. Mechanically harvested and stored forage almost always results in higher daily feed costs compared to grazing standing forage. More grazing days every year lowers feed costs. It is by increasing animal unit-days harvested from every acre (AUD/A) that we can radically change the profitability of cattle and sheep operations. The mainstream industry has spent most of the last 50 years focused on elevating individual animal performance — more milk per cow or ewe and heavier weaning weights. This has created larger cows and ewes with declining feed efficiency when placed out on landscapes where they must walk around daily to gather their feed and access water. The evidence is now overwhelming that there is an inverse relationship between cow size and whole ranch profitability . . . the larger the cow, the lower the profitability. This result is due largely to failing to understand that ruminant livestock production is really a land management business, and our focus needs to be on greater output and profit per acre, not on increasing output per animal. The livestock are only incidental to the business. • JIM GERRISH The author is a rancher, author, speaker, and consultant with over 40 years of experience in grazing management research, outreach, and practice. He has lived and grazed livestock in hot, humid Missouri and cold, dry Idaho.

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Mike Rankin

Some land is better suited for hay by Loretta Sorensen

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OULD your marginal land be more profitable for hay production rather than corn or soybeans? Iowa State University Extension Farm Management Specialist Charles Brown investigated that question and said the answer may be yes. “It comes down to determining if you have a local hay market or if it’s feasible to truck hay to buyers,” Brown said. “You need to decide what kind of hay to grow and whether or not you have to invest in equipment. Those are a few of the many questions that need consideration.” Markets for dairy-quality alfalfa are generally profitable, although low milk prices in the past several years have put pressure on dairy farm profit margins. When dairy farmers do well, hay prices generally trend higher. In 2019, abundant rainfall meant pastures produced more forage, so producers purchased less hay. That meant hay supplies were abundant, but harvesting quality hay was challenging in some areas. In addition to varying weather conditions from year to year, hay producers deal with hay prices that typically decline as winter months come to an end. At that time, dairy farmers are waiting on new crops and beef producers are taking cows back to pasture.

The cost of establishing alfalfa is considerably higher than planting grass mixes. However, seeding is only necessary every four or five years for a well-managed alfalfa. If irrigated fields are an option, harvesting high-quality hay may be more manageable. Alfalfa produced in a rotation system that includes corn may reduce corn nitrogen needs for up to two years. A healthy alfalfa crop can reduce nitrogen needs for a following corn crop by up to 100% the first year and 50% the second year. Quality grass hay or grass/alfalfa mix hay is in demand in the equine industry. When selling hay for horses, customers often buy small squares. “One disadvantage of hay production is there’s no board of trade futures contracts,” Brown said. “Although you may be able to negotiate a contract with a customer, there’s usually no way to lock in prices the way futures are used to hedge commodity prices.”

The soil will tell you Brown points to the use of the Corn Suitability Rating (CSR) as a means to help determine whether or not marginal land is better suited for hay production. CSR is an index that rates soil types for potential row-crop productivity. Early concepts for rating productivity were developed by Iowa State University (ISU) scientists back in the 1940s. A major advance in the science came in 1971 with Thomas Fenton’s ISU publi-

cation describing CSR. Fenton, an ISU professor of agronomy, used inherent soil properties (60 to 80 inches deep), average weather, and the potential of different kinds of soil for row-crop production to develop the most sophisticated and complete quantitative soil productivity ratings available in the world. Since 1971, the knowledge base of soil properties has been significantly enhanced and expanded, making CSR ratings, currently known as CSR2, more robust. An average Iowa CSR rating is 75.2. “If you have a CSR rating in the 60s or below, using it to produce corn or soybeans may not be the best alternative,” Brown says. “That’s especially true in areas with rolling hills, where you typically have erosion issues. Hay provides much better protection for these types of soil in a rotation where you’re growing row crops.” Conversion of cropland to hay production may require a two- or three-year planning period. Prior to transitioning to hay production, Brown advises reviewing past applications of herbicides to ensure that carryover doesn’t hamper establishment of a new hayfield.

Push the pencil Currently, the cost of establishing a hay crop is approximately $380 per acre, with seeding requiring about $150 per acre. Part of the planning equation includes estimating the cost of haying equipment. Brown recommended using decision-making spreadsheets found on ISU’s Ag Decision Maker website (www. extension.iastate.edu/agdm/) to gain an economic overview of individual operations. File A1-15 on the website, “Estimated Costs of Pasture and Hay Production,” provides great cost detail related to establishing, renovating, and maintaining hay production. “It’s possible to hire a custom forage crew for harvesting,” Brown said. “Before making these kinds of changes, it’s advisable to look at the farm operation as a whole and compare alternative uses for each field before finalizing a plan.” • LORETTA SORENSEN The author is a freelance writer based in Yankton, S.D.

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BEEF FEEDBUNK

by Ashley Wright

Feeding strategies differ with drought S THE western United States again grapples with the effects of widespread fire and crippling drought, supplemental feeding must be considered for beef herds. There is much information available covering cattle raised on native rangelands or improved pastures, and guiding decisions are based either on nutritional quality, economic availability, or some intersection of the two. Let’s focus on one specific strategy to help preserve a productive cow herd and profitable calf crop — supplemental feeding. First, we need to understand how drought affects pasture forages. Obviously, forage quantity declines — there are fewer plants and less biomass available for cattle to consume. Perhaps less obvious is that forage quality also suffers. Protein levels drop off, as well as total digestible nutrients. In contrast, lignin and other slowly digestible components comprise a greater proportion of the forage biomass. These changes not only reduce the quality of the forage, but also the digestibility, resulting in a triple hit to the cow herd: There’s less grass, it’s of lower quality, and the cow has a harder time digesting it. When considering supplemental feeding as a strategy to help offset the loss of forage and/or forage quality, there are two main strategies. The first is to feed an energy supplement. Things that fall into this category include feeding hay and/or some type of grain concentrate mix where the primary goal is simply to provide extra energy. The second strategy is to primarily supplement extra protein. Both of these strategies can be successful, but they have specific scenarios where each works best, as well as some drawbacks.

Where forage is scarce Supplementing energy in the form of hay and/or some type of grain concentrate is best used when you have little to no forage or pasture reserves to draw on. These supplements are generally cheaper to purchase and feed than a protein supplement, although, during drought years, demand may push prices

higher than normal. The downside to these supplements are that they need to be fed on a daily basis. This requires more labor. These types of supplemental feedings may also be combined with a protein supplement if low — or poor — quality hay is all that is available. Another downside to using an energy supplement is known as the substitution effect. When cattle are provided with supplemental hay or grain concentrate, they will preferentially consume that feed source rather than the poorer quality pasture forage that may be available. For those who are grazing public land allotments, be sure to check any associated regulations before feeding an energy supplement. Many agreements do not allow for the feeding of hay, and you may need to move your cattle to a different land base.

if forage resources are limiting. There are some additional benefits to be gained using specific types of protein supplementation, such as rumen bypass protein, especially in extreme drought scenarios or with particularly at-risk cattle. These types of supplements are generally higher cost and only show a benefit beyond traditional protein supplementation in cases where cattle are experiencing extreme and rapid weight loss.

Know your situation When faced with drought and considering supplemental feeding, first consider if you fit the “energy supplement” scenario (low forage resources) or the “protein supplement” scenario (adequate forage resources but of poor quality). Forage quality testing on either existing pasture forage or hay purchased for feeding can offer further information on the use of energy versus protein supplementation (or a combination of both).

Rumen activity and intake slows If you are fortunate to have a forage reserve, or perhaps were able to find lowcost (but also low-quality) hay, a protein supplement may fit the needs of your operation. When forage protein levels drop below about 6.25%, which is common in more mature or drought-stressed forages, rumen microbe numbers and activity also drop. This significantly lowers forage consumption. By providing a natural protein supplement of at least 22% crude protein, this limiting factor can be removed. Supplemental protein can enhance the number and activity of rumen microorganisms and boost forage intake (up to 49% has been reported with a 33% protein supplement). While protein supplements are generally more costly, they don’t need to be fed daily like energy supplements. Many protein sources are available in tub or lick form, which can be left out for cattle to consume free choice (salt is used to limit overconsumption), or they can be fed as infrequently as once per week. Protein supplementation also avoids the substitution effect; in fact, it results in higher consumption of the available forage. This also means that protein supplementation is not an effective strategy

The best supplement strategy will vary with the types of available forage resources.

As a final thought, while in a drought scenario, be aware of the potential for toxic plant poisonings. Forages more readily accumulate nitrates following a drought scenario. If you are supplementing cattle with an energy source, don’t suddenly stop when you see pastures greening up. Often the toxic plants are the first to “green up.” Many producers have lost cattle to grazing plants the animals wouldn’t normally consume if their supplemental feed hadn’t been removed too soon. • ASHLEY WRIGHT The author is an area assistant livestock agent with the University of Arizona based in Cochise County.

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HarvXtra Dan Scheps likes the harvest flexibility that the HarvXtra trait offers.

by Mike Rankin

I

T’S now been five years that alfalfa varieties with the HarvXtra trait have graced the pages of seed company brochures. Currently, nearly 25 different alfalfa brands are marketing at least one variety with this relatively new technology. HarvXtra was many years in development before reaching the market in 2016 as alfalfa’s second transgenic trait and the first not to be tied to herbicide resistance, although all HarvXtra varieties come packaged with glyphosate resistance. Through down regulation of lignin synthesis, alfalfa growers were promised a plant with reduced-lignin content and higher forage digestibility compared to conventional varieties managed similarly. Lignin is virtually undigestible, even for a ruminant animal, so this was a big deal. Independent university research results with HarvXtra alfalfa varieties have largely proven that its marketing promises had merit. In numerous studies, HarvXtra varieties outshined the competition for improved forage quality when cut at the same time as conventionally bred ones, even those touted as having enhanced forage digestibility.

Further, a delayed harvest resulted in similar forage quality and greater yields than conventional varieties cut five to seven days earlier. But the trait technology comes at a cost, at least in terms of initial monetary outlay. For this reason, some alfalfa growers have shied away. Additionally, HarvXtra alfalfa hay still does not have regulatory approval for feed and food export shipments to China. Five years on the market has been a long enough time for a farm operation to now have seeded its entire alfalfa acreage base to HarvXtra varieties, assuming a four-year or less rotation. Hay & Forage Grower thought it might be interesting to track down a couple of these producers and see why they took this path, if they’re satisfied they did, and how they have chosen to manage the transgenic technology.

Here’s the next thing Foresight Farms is owned and operated by Dave and Jean Wise. They farm with their sons Jared and Ethan and Ethan’s wife Allie. Except for those acres designated for heifer feed, all of their alfalfa is HarvXtra, and that’s been the case since 2019. Wise and his sons milk 1,060 cows and farm about 2,600 acres near Decorah, Iowa. Some of the acres

All photos: Mike Rankin

All-in on

are devoted to cash grain production. Brown midrib (BMR) corn silage and alfalfa anchor the dairy’s forage program, although they also harvest some winter rye silage in the spring. The farm’s lactating cow ration currently sits at 56% forage, consisting of a 3-to-1 ratio of BMR corn silage and HarvXtra alfalfa, respectively. “Something major we did about 10 years ago was to start working with a different dairy nutrition consultant,” Dave said. “One of the first things he did was to insist we plant BMR corn for the lactating cows. Then, when HarvXtra came along, he said, ‘Okay, here’s the next thing.’” The first fields of HarvXtra alfalfa were planted in 2016. Roundup Ready alfalfa had been seeded on the farm before HarvXtra was available. “It was initially hard to justify the additional cost, but we’ve been pleased with what has transpired with the cows,” Dave explained. “We recently hit a 100 pounds per day average for energy-corrected milk.” The new nutritionist that Foresight Farms hired 10 years ago was Marty Faldet. He works as a part of the GPS Dairy Consulting group and is based in Lakeville, Minn. Faldet has many of his clients on the HarvXtra program.

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“Some of the dairy farms I work with like the idea of extending the cutting interval a few days,” Faldet said. “Instead of taking a fourth cutting in mid-August and not being able to get a fifth cutting, they can stretch out the growing season into late August. Previously, the low yield on the fourth and fifth cutting, if they took one, made for expensive forage.” The nutritionist said that some of his clients believe the longer cutting interval, when coupled with the ability to spray for weeds at any time, will add a year to their alfalfa’s stand life.

highly digestible forages. You hear horror stories on some farms that have tried it but then didn’t make the appropriate ration adjustments,” he added.

A friend got him started Dan Scheps and his older brother, Ken, grew up on a 40-cow dairy not far from their present location near Almena, Wis. Following Dan’s graduation from college and a five-year stint working for an animal nutrition company, the two brothers started a 400-cow dairy in 1999. Through a

Scheps said that he was first introduced to HarvXtra alfalfa in 2015. “I have a close, personal friend from my nutritionist days who ended up working for Forage Genetics International,” he said. “They wanted to put in some small on-farm plots in 2015, so he contacted me to see if I’d be willing to help. That was our first 15-acre patch, and we’ve progressively seeded down our entire alfalfa acreage to HarvXtra since then.” The transition was helped along by some severe alfalfa winterkill in the

A transition period The Wises base their cutting times on days and plant height, targeting a relative forage quality (RFQ) of 165 to 175. “It was hard when we were first making the transition because we had both conventional and HarvXtra varieties, so you couldn’t really base your cutting just on one type or the other,” noted Ethan. These days, with their alfalfa fields all seeded Croplan or Pioneer HarvXtra varieties, it’s much easier to assess cutting intervals. “If the weather cooperates, we go on about a 30-day interval,” Ethan said. “Before HarvXtra, we usually cut at 26 days. Last year’s fourth crop was at 35 days, and we also tend to delay our first crop.” Jared noted that they like the insurance aspect of the trait. “If we get delayed by weather, like during the spring of 2019, the HarvXtra does a better job of holding quality,” he said. “We’ve been applying foliar fungicide to our fields prior to first and third crops, and insecticides get applied prior to every cutting. We also apply glyphosate between the third and fourth cuttings to clean up any weeds.” The Wises make both spring and late-summer alfalfa seedings. They usually use an oat companion crop in the spring, harvest the oats as oatlage for the heifers, then spray the field with glyphosate to clean up any oat regrowth, weeds, and the small percentage of nonglyphosate-tolerant alfalfa plants. Their seeding rate is 18 to 20 pounds per acre when the seed coating is one-third of the weight. So far, the Wises have been pleased with their HarvXtra experience. “I think we have seen the benefit of feeds like HarvXtra alfalfa and BMR corn,” Dave noted, “but you have to have a nutritionist who has experience with feeding

From left to right, Jared, Dave, and Ethan Wise began with HarvXtra at the urging of their nutritionist.

progressive expansion of both buildings and animals, the unit has now grown to 1,600 cows, which are milked three times per day. Scheps Dairy Inc. consists of about 2,500 crop acres, growing corn for silage, alfalfa, and high-moisture corn. Like Foresight Farms, all of their lactating cow forage consists of BMR corn silage and HarvXtra alfalfa. In total, they grow nearly 800 acres of alfalfa. “We feed about 22 pounds of corn silage and 12.5 pounds of alfalfa haylage on a dry matter basis,” Dan Scheps explained. “Rations are balanced for 60 pounds per day of dry matter intake.” The Schepses currently feed more alfalfa than what is seen on many farms, and that was precipitated by a storm in 2019 that flattened a lot of the farm’s corn acres, drastically reducing their corn silage inventory. Scheps noted that they will probably move down to about 8 to 10 pounds of alfalfa dry matter in the ration once the 2020 crop is harvested and ready to feed.

spring of 2019. “We had to seed over 500 new acres in 2019 and that completed our transition to HarvXtra,” said Scheps, who currently favors the Nexgrow alfalfa brand. The Schepses have chosen not to eliminate a cutting of alfalfa by extending the alfalfa cutting interval, but they have had to take advantage of the delayed cutting insurance policy that inherently comes with the HarvXtra trait. For 2020’s fourth cutting, they had to extend their cutting interval to 35 days because of a needed insecticide and fungicide application and the postapplication harvest interval required by the chemical products. Of course, they’ve also been delayed by weather from time-to-time. “We’ve always liked to give one cutting a longer growing interval to help enhance winter survival,” Scheps noted. “By doing so, we don’t take as big of a quality hit with the HarvXtra compared to the conventional varieties.” Scheps said he hasn’t noticed any November 2020 | hayandforage.com | 25

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We know poor-quality silage has long-term effects.

The milking cows at Scheps Dairy consume a TMR that includes both brown midrib corn silage and HarvXtra alfalfa.

major agronomic differences between the HarvXtra varieties and the conventional ones he grew previously. “This year will be the first year that the farm will average 5 tons per acre of dry matter across our entire acreage,” Scheps mentioned. “That should be accurate because everything harvested goes across our drive-over scale.” The northern Wisconsin dairyman said it’s been difficult to assess cow performance changes as a direct result of feeding HarvXtra alfalfa. “We built our last cow barn in 2017 and expanded the herd, so there are a lot of confounding variables,” Scheps said.

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As with any new technology, there needs to be appropriate management applied to realize its full benefit. The HarvXtra trait is no different. Scheps explained that they seed their alfalfa in the spring, using 18 pounds of seed per acre and no companion crop. Once a field is tilled and prepared, it then gets rolled before seeding with a John Deere 40-foot no-till air drill. Two or three cuttings get harvested in the seeding year followed by four cuttings in the subsequent production years. Similar to Foresight Farms, the Schepses use glyphosate to keep weeds at bay in their alfalfa fields. That application is made after fourth crop is harvested each year. “It really helps to control the dandelions during the following year,” Scheps noted. “It makes a big difference.” Scheps is also vigilant to limit wheel traffic damage in his alfalfa fields. Each semi-truck and trailer is equipped with flotation tires. Additionally, truck drivers must adhere to a controlled traffic pattern when driving in alfalfa fields. “We only allow U-turns if they’re less than one-half of the way into the field,” Scheps explained. “We’ve been happy with HarvXtra and don’t really have any plans of changing right now,” Scheps said. “My friend who got me started now works for a seed company that doesn’t offer HarvXtra varieties, but I told him that I’m not switching back,” he chuckled. Apparently, friendship loyalty only goes so far. •

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problems, and so forth. It is usually unprofitable to fertilize such a field.

Determine weed control needs

Mike Rankin

Prepare now for spring by Eddie Funderburg

L

ATE fall and winter are typically thought of as slow times for management of introduced warm-season perennial forages. However, there are things to do now to prepare for spring forage production that can make your life easier when forages begin to grow and things get hectic.

Have a fertilization plan If you fertilize any of your forages, now is a good time to develop a comprehensive nutrient management program for your entire ranch. Many ranchers simply apply nitrogen to their fields. This is a good program if your soils only need nitrogen, but this is often not the case. If other nutrients are deficient, such as phosphorus or potassium, or if the soil is strongly acidic, nitrogen fertilizer will be used very inefficiently by forages and will probably be unprofitable. Research I conducted several years ago on phosphorus-deficient soils showed that if phosphorus was not applied, nitrogen application resulted in an increase of about 5 to 10 pounds of dry matter forage per pound of actual nitrogen applied. This is a very poor efficiency. When phosphorus was applied along with the nitrogen, nitrogen efficiency improved to about 20 to 30 pounds of dry matter forage. Bottom line: If other nutrients are deficient in the soil and you are not willing to apply them, do not apply nitrogen either because it will be inefficiently used.

The only way to determine the nutrient requirements for your field is with a good soil test. Soil testing begins with the collection of a representative soil sample. It is vital to collect enough subsamples to make up your complete sample, collect them at random, and collect them at the right depth. If you are uncertain about how to properly collect a soil sample, the Noble Research Institute has several articles and videos on the subject. A good place to start is with the video “How to Take a Soil Sample” available at noble.org/ videos/soil-sample. Put a lot of effort into proper sample collection. It is the most vital component of a soil testing program. After your samples are collected, send them to a reputable laboratory for analysis and recommendations.

Prioritize fields While you wait for your results to come back, calculate how many cattle you can run on your ranch at various levels of fertilization. If your calculations show you don’t need to fertilize every acre, determine how many you do need to fertilize. Then, prioritize the fields to receive fertilizer in the spring. Fertilize the most productive fields first; they are most able to convert fertilizer into forage. If you have two similarly productive fields, prioritize the one that needs less phosphorus, potassium, and/or lime to make fertilization more cost effective. Do not fertilize any highly unproductive fields. They have other reasons for being unproductive, such as shallow soil, eroded areas, salt

Now is also a good time to go into the fields with a ranch map and note the abundance and types of weeds in each field. If there were a lot of weeds at a location in the preceding year, it’s a pretty good bet they will be there again in the spring. You can use this information to your advantage in several ways. First, the weeds may be present in such low abundance that your initial survey indicates you do not need to spray some fields. This can save quite a bit of time and work in the spring, if control is not necessary. Second, you might determine in your initial survey that weeds are unevenly distributed in some fields and only parts of fields need to be treated. Mark these areas on your map so you can compare your winter observation with the survey you will do in the spring.

Develop a herbicide strategy Next, note the weed species in your fields. Many weeds can be controlled with herbicides that are fairly inexpensive, while others require more costly products. Mark the areas where the “expensive to control” weeds are located on your map. This information can be used to develop a tailored herbicide program that applies the optimum economic product to different fields and even to different areas of fields. Once you have these maps complete, wait until weeds emerge in the spring. Take the maps you worked on in the winter and see if the abundance and species information for each field matches what you see when the weeds are actually present. If they do, you can begin to implement the program you developed in the winter. If there are differences between what you saw in the winter and spring, tweak the program to match what is present. • EDDIE FUNDERBURG The author is a senior soils and crops consultant at the Noble Research Institute, Ardmore, Okla.

November 2020 | hayandforage.com | 27

F3 27 Nov 2020 Spring Forage.indd 2

10/26/20 3:55 PM


Your Checkoff Dollars At Work

Impact of winter grazing on alfalfa Hay & Forage Grower is featuring results of research projects funded through the Alfalfa Checkoff, officially named the U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative, administered by National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA). The checkoff program facilitates farmer-funded research.

Katie Hatelid

M

ANY Montana livestock producers winter-graze midto late gestation cattle on dormant alfalfa fields to make use of the protein- and energy-rich forage. But some have questioned whether grazing adversely affects alfalfa persistence and production the following year, said Megan Van Emon, Montana State University (MSU) Extension beef cattle specialist. She and Emily Meccage, former MSU Extension forage specialist, set out to find the answer using Alfalfa Checkoff funding. They worked with two cattle producers who regularly graze alfalfa fields during the fall and winter. The stands were at least two years old and were made up of 90% or greater alfalfa. Beginning in November 2018, 142 cattle, averaging 593 pounds, were grazed 118 days at the Fort Keogh site; 81 head, averaging 1,102 pounds, grazed 48 days at the Dillon site. The following April, grazed fields MEGAN VAN EMON and ungrazed MSU $17,221 areas next to them were evaluated. Soil penetrometer readings to measure compaction, plant height, stem and plant density, and root scores were taken. Before the June 2019 first alfalfa harvest, plant biomass and height samples were collected, weighed, and dried at 60°F to estimate dry matter production. “We didn’t see any negative impacts,” Van Emon said. “As long as you graze within reason and don’t let those plants get too short, they still have some aboveground plant material for optimal growth next spring.” In Montana, two to three cuttings are usually taken during the growing season, in part because of a lack of moisture. Once the high-quality forage

The researchers didn’t notice any negative impacts on alfalfa production after stands were grazed during the fall and winter.

goes dormant, grazing its fields can add gains on cattle held over the winter and provide feed when supplies are limited, she said. “Montana is slowly creeping into a larger drought area,” Van Emon added.

“We have had pretty decent moisture for most of the summer, but it’s smoky and hazy here now because of our wildfires. As the forages dry up, producers are looking for an alternative grazing area, and alfalfa is a huge benefit to

PROJECT RESULT No negative impacts of winter grazing were observed on subsequent-year alfalfa production.

November 2018 to June 2019 grazing impact on alfalfa production trial results Fort Keogh

Dillon

Grazed

Ungrazed

Grazed

Ungrazed

Stems/m2

416

448

373

392

April Plants/m

24.8

25.9

24.8

37.8

Height (cm)

10.9

12.2

8.4

9.9

Penetrometer

15.3

15.0

19.5

16.1

Root score*

1.75

2.0

1.75

2.0

7,337

5,448

7,006

6,602

2

June Production (kg/ha)

*Based on a 0 to 5 scale with 0 being a healthy root and 5 being a dead root.

28 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2020

F3 28-29 Nov 2020 Alfalfa Checkoff.indd 1

10/27/20 10:46 AM


those producers who are maybe lacking pasture availability.” In her research, Van Emon found little difference when comparing grazed to ungrazed field areas. But she did note one distinction. “It was interesting. If you look at June production, it wasn’t statistically different, but we did see some numerically increased production from the grazed versus the ungrazed

areas.” She noted that the ungrazed areas were small in size but thought they would be more similar in production to the grazed fields. Van Emon explained that producers also wanted to be assured their cattle would perform well on the higher quality forage. “They wanted to make sure those cattle didn’t go backwards once they got on that alfalfa, which

we did not expect, and we did not see,” she said. Cattle were weighed before going into fields and after they were taken off. “The cattle all looked really good, but I think that’s an area we could pursue in the future — taking regular weights during the grazing of the alfalfa,” she added. To view the project’s final report, visit: https://www.alfalfa.org. •

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Protect your alfalfa crop, increase longevity of the stand and improve the quality at harvest with the proven portfolio of NovaSource® weed control solutions. Proven weed and grass control on dormant established stands (Group 5). The one-two punch of Group 5 and Group 7 herbicides in two different ratios for tough-to-control weeds. For late season and residual grass control (Group 12) Apply for long residual control of more than 60 broadleaf weeds. Not registered in California and Canada Always read and follow label instructions. NovaSource®, Velpar®, Velpar® AlfaMax™ Velpar® AlfaMax™ Gold, Solicam® and Sinbar® are registered trademarks of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. ©2020 Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. All rights reserved.

November 2020 | hayandforage.com | 29

F3 28-29 Nov 2020 Alfalfa Checkoff.indd 2

10/27/20 9:03 AM


FEED ANALYSIS

Avoid buying hay based on noise

Mike Rankin

by John Goeser and David R. Mertens

Editor’s note: This is the third of three columns by the authors who will attempt to address the many issues associated with putting a value on alfalfa hay and haylage.

W

HEN marketing milk and managing risk with contracts or options, we never make decisions based upon a single event or day. Multiple data points, such as trends in cheese inventories, cattle numbers, exports, and other fundamentals, coupled with our experience in prior years, shape our risk tolerance and decision to buy or sell. Randomness truly exists, so we cannot eliminate all variation. Yet, we can identify the randomness and noise with multiple data points, and just like with commodity marketing, we can make more informed decisions when buying hay or haylage. In any single hay or haylage analysis report, there is some inherent noise. This is not well understood by buyers or sellers. Your agribusiness can take risk out of the hay buying and selling process by understanding and accounting for the noise associated with a single hay test. Consider the following case study as one example of a fairly routine experience for many.

Uncovering the noise Some variation is explainable, and we can vary techniques to control it. The accompanying table represents eight different hay test results from the same hay lot over a two-week period. Here, a farmer and nutritionist sent in four different samples over time, and then the laboratory analyzed each sample twice. This table showcases sampling noise (from the farm) and subsampling noise (at the lab). In this example, both the farmer and

the lab did a good job, yet there is still variation. Using statistics, we describe variation as a standard deviation, but this is not commonly understood. Another measure of variation that may be easier to understand is the “range” in data. The range is the difference between the maximum and minimum measurement. Typically, the range is about three times the standard deviation. In this case, the range in acid detergent fiber (ADF) is 5 (32 to 27); for neutral detergent fiber (NDF), it is 8 (38 to 30); for California total digestible nutrients (CA TDN), it is 3.8 (62.1 to 58.3); and for relative feed value (RFV), it is 50 (210 to 160). It’s important to separate the variation in this real farm example. Here, the range in ADF and NDF deviates roughly 5 and 8 percentage units, respectively, between Samples 1 through 4; however, the range in the lab level replicates deviates roughly 0 to 3 units for both ADF and NDF. What does this mean? In this example the greater variation comes from the farm, and we’ve seen this play out over and over in our experience.

Multiplying the noise While the laboratory fiber measures contain some noise, hay grade calculations can multiply the noise. For the hunters out there, think of this issue like how a poorly sighted-in rifle may only be 1 inch from center at 50 yards, but, when shooting to 200 yards, the miss could be off the paper entirely. In the example, using ADF to determine CA TDN actually reduced the range

from 5 to 3.7 percentage units. Yet using both ADF and NDF, which have ranges of 5 and 8, to calculate RFV creates a range of 50. This could equate to a $50 per ton difference and over $1,000 deviation for a truckload of hay. When working with the consultant for the farm in this example, this seemed to be far too much noise in the tests — but this is real, and it was eye opening for us all. This example shows that it is impractical to expect that RFV will have the same variation or range as the fiber measures. The RFV calculation creates a mathematical artifact. In the first article of this threepart series, we discussed how hay grades are calculated and described complications associated with these grades. For more insight into the calculations and limitations, refer back to the April/May issue of Hay & Forage Grower. One interesting point here is that the relative range (or coefficient of variation, which equals range divided by the mean) is affected less by the calculation because both the average and the range increase. The relative range for ADF is 17.5% (5/28.6), NDF is 23.5% (8/34), and RFV is 27.3% (50/183).

Accounting for noise To compensate for noise, analyze multiple samples and average the results. Averaging replicates always gives a better measure for the true value of the stack, lot, bunker, or load. This is why we preach that sampling more bales for single samples and more samples for the truckload or stack. This replication comes at added sampling costs, but multiple sample results can then be averaged to come to a more accurate conclusion. Think of this like shooting several times to grasp where your scope is sighted in; we never shoot just once and make a judgment. This effect is demonstrated from the table data. Every time we average more replicates together, JOHN GOESER AND DAVID R. MERTENS Goeser (pictured) is with Rock River Lab Inc, in Watertown, Wis. Mertens is the owner and president of Mertens Innovation & Research LLC in Belleville, Wis.

30 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2020

F3 30-31 Nov 2020 F Analysis- Seed Outlook.indd 1

10/27/20 8:47 AM


the variation among the averages is reduced. In statistical terms, we can reduce the variation by the square root of the total replicate number used to calculate the average. This may sound confusing, but if we average each of the lab replicates for NDF in the table, we get 31.5, 33.5, 36.5, and 34.5. Now the observed range is 5 units, compared to 8 units before. We can use this concept to reduce the risk in pricing hays. The moral to this story is to use multiple different samples to drive your decisions and recognize the farm level sampling noise phenomena is real. Bill Weiss and Normand St-Pierre at The Ohio State University have written numerous research papers that confirm this concept.

Four hay samples from the same hay lot with each sample analyzed twice at the laboratory Farm sample

Lab sample

Acid detergent fiber

Neutral detergent fiber

1

1

27

30

62.1

210

1

2

29

33

60.6

187

2

1

28

34

61.3

184

2

2

27

33

62.1

191

3

1

30

38

59.8

160

3

2

32

35

58.3

170

4

1

28

34

61.3

184

4

2

28

35

61.3

178

Average

-

28.6

34.0

60.9

183

Range

-

5.0

8.0

3.8

50

Take this discussion up with your hay broker, clients, and agronomy or nutrition consultants involved in the

CA TDN

RFV

process. Understand and account for the noise in your hay samples and your buying decisions will become clearer. •

Forage seed outlook looks generally good for 2021

by Dan Foor

S FALL rapidly transitions to winter, now is a good time to turn our attention to planning for spring forage plantings. It’s important to note that the last two years have been quite good for new forage seedings in North America. This has brought forage seed supply and demand into perhaps the most balanced state it has been in several years. Further, certain seed production regions — both domestically and internationally — have experienced significant weather challenges this past growing season, which has impacted seed supplies.

GOOD SUPPLY • Annual Ryegrass • Orchardgrass, Early • Clover, Red (C)

The table below outlines the supply outlook for most popular forage species. Common (C) and Improved (I) supplies are noted in parentheses, and maturities are separated if there are differences in the outlook for the species, as is the case for orchardgrass. If there is no designation, the supply rating applies to the entirety of the species. Increasingly, improved varieties of nearly all forage species are becoming more difficult to purchase without some amount of preplanning. The same is true for species that have small levels of seed production, such as trefoil and meadow fescue, and are even more

AVERAGE SUPPLY • Alfalfa (I) • Bermudagrass • Bluegrass • Festulolium • Forage • Sorghum • Intermediate Ryegrass

• Orchardgrass, Medium • Peas • Sorghum, Sudangrass • Sudangrass • Tall Fescue

affected by shortages. Given all the above, it’s a good idea to work with your seed provider as early as possible to ensure you have access to both the species and varieties that you wish to plant next spring. • DAN FOOR The author is the chief executive officer of La Crosse Seed in La Crosse, Wis.

TIGHT SUPPLY • Alfalfa (C) • Bromegrass, Meadow • Bromegrass, Smooth • Clover, Alsike • Clover, Ladino • Clover, Red (I) • Clover, White • Meadow Fescue • Millets

• Orchardgrass, Late • Perennial Ryegrass, Diploid • Perennial Ryegrass, Tetraploid • Reed Canarygrass • Teffgrass • Timothy • Trefoil

November 2020 | hayandforage.com | 31

F3 30-31 Nov 2020 F Analysis- Seed Outlook.indd 2

10/27/20 8:47 AM


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

10.

11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

15.

16.

16.

17. 18.

Publication Title: Hay & Forage Grower Publication No.: 021-713 Filing Date: September 18, 2020 Issue Frequency: January, February, March, April/May, August/September and November No. of Issues Published Annually: 6 Annual Subscription Price: $0 Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication: 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, WI 53538-0801. Contact Person: Brian V. Knox, Telephone: 920-563-5551. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, WI 53538-0801. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor: Publisher: W. D. Hoard & Sons Company, Brian V. Knox, 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0801. Editor: Managing Editor: Michael C. Rankin, 28 Milwaukee Avenue West, P.O. Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0801 Owner: Hay & Forage LLC, 28 Milwaukee Ave. W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Paris M Knox 1990 Educational Trust, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Gillian V. Knox 1990 Educational Trust, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Brian V. Knox II 1992 Educational Trust, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Gregory J. Mode, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; Gina L. Mode, 28 Milwaukee Ave., W, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities: None Tax Status (for completion by non-profit organizations authorized to mail at non-profit rates: N/A Publication Title: Hay & Forage Grower Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: August/September 2020 Extent and Nature of Circulation: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: a. Total Number of Copies (Net Press Run): 58,201 b. Legitimate Paid and/or Requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail): 1. Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 30,401 2. In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS From 3541.(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 0 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS®: 0 4. Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail®): 0 c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 30,401 d. Non-requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail) 1. Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, builk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources): 27,023 2. In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources): 0 3. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g. First-Class Mail, nonrequestor copies mailed in excess of 10% limit mailed at Standard Mail® or Package Services rates): 0 4. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include pickup stands, trade shows, showrooms, and other sources): 417 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution (Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 27,440 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and e): 57,841 g. Copies not Distributed (See Instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3): 360 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g): 58,201 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100): 52.56% Extent and Nature of Circulation: No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: a. Total Number of Copies (Net Press Run): 52,785 b. Legitimate Paid and/or Requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail): 1. Outside County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS Form 3541. (Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 34,392 2. In-County Paid/Requested Mail Subscriptions stated on PS From 3541.(Include direct written request from recipient, telemarketing, and Internet requests from recipient, paid subscriptions including nominal rate subscriptions, employer requests, advertiser’s proof copies, and exchange copies.): 0 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid or Requested Distribution Outside USPS®: 0 4. Requested Copies Distributed by Other Mail Classes Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail®): 0 c.Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Sum of 15b (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 34,392 d. Non-requested Distribution (By mail and outside the mail) 1. Outside County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, builk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources): 18,166 2. In-County Nonrequested Copies Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include sample copies, requests over 3 years old, requests induced by a premium, bulk sales and requests including association requests, names obtained from business directories, lists, and other sources): 0 3. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Through the USPS by Other Classes of Mail (e.g. First-Class Mail, nonrequestor copies mailed in excess of 10% limit mailed at Standard Mail® or Package Services rates): 0 4. Nonrequested Copies Distributed Outside the Mail (Include pickup stands, trade shows, showrooms, and other sources): 220 e. Total Nonrequested Distribution (Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)): 18,386 f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and e): 52,778 g. Copies not Distributed (See Instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3): 7 h. Total (Sum of 15f and g): 52,785 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (15c divided by 15f times 100): 65.16% Electronic Copy Circulation: Hay & Forage Grower. Average No. Copies Each Issue During Previous 12 Months: a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: 0 b. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15C) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 c. Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 d. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c X 100): 0%. Electronic Copy Circulation Hay & Forage Grower. No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: a. Requested and Paid Electronic Copies: 0 b. Total Requested and Paid Print Copies (Line 15C) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 c. Total Requested Copy Distribution (Line 15f) + Requested/Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a): 0 d. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c X 100): 0%. I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic & print) are legitimate requests or paid copies. Publication of Statement of Ownership for a Requester Publication is required and will be printed in the November 2020 issue of this publication. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). Brian V. Knox, Publisher September 18, 2020

Haymaking comes to a close In most regions, the haymaking equipment has been parked in the shed to live and fight for another year. Most are hoping the next one is a bit more normal than the current version. As is always the case, Mother Nature did dole out her wrath uniformly across the U.S. Many areas in the Midwest had

their best growing season in years. Still, drought was much more widespread this year than last. The bottom line is that hay prices will reflect location. The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of November 1. Prices are FOB barn/stack unless otherwise noted.•

For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com Montana Supreme-quality alfalfa Price $/ton California (intermountain) 205-210 Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb California (northern SJV) 275 (d) Nebraska (western)-lrb California (Sacramento Valley)-ssb 230 Oklahoma (north central) Colorado (northeast) 200-220 Pennsylvania (southeast) Colorado (southwest) 220 South Dakota-lrb Idaho (south central) 190 Texas (Panhandle) Kansas (northeast) 220-225 Wisconsin (Lancaster) Kansas (south central) 210 Fair-quality alfalfa Kansas (southwest) 190-230 California (intermountain) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 190-230 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Missouri 200-250 Kansas (north central) Montana 180 Kansas (southeast) Nebraska (central) 200 Minnesota (Pipestone)-lrb New Mexico (south) 240 Missouri Oregon (Klamath Basin) 200 Montana South Dakota 250 South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb Texas (Panhandle) 260-280 (d) Washington (Columbia Basin) Texas (west)-ssb 275-300 Wisconsin (Lancaster) -lrb Washington (Columbia Basin) 220 (d) Bermudagrass hay Alabama-Premium ssb Premium-quality alfalfa Price $/ton California (intermountain) 190-200 Alabama-Premium lrb California (northern SJV) 245 California (southeast)-Premium ssb Colorado (northeast) 184 California (southeast)-Good ssb Idaho (south central) 150 Texas (central)-Premium ssb Iowa 315-320 (d) Texas (south)-Good/Premium lrb Iowa-lrb 115 Bromegrass hay Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb 165 Iowa-Good Kansas (northeast) 186-193 Kansas (northeast)-Good Kansas (south central) 153-180 Kansas (southeast)-Good/Prem Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 160-185 Orchardgrass hay Missouri 160-200 California (intermountain)-Premium Nebraska (central) 175 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb New Mexico (south) 230 Oregon (eastern)-Premium Oklahoma (north central) 180 Pennsylvania (southeast)-Premium Oregon (eastern)-ssb 180 Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good ssb Oregon (Harney) 220 (o) Washington (Columbia Basin)-Premium ssb Pennsylvania (southeast) 245-300 Wyoming (western)-Premium ssb South Dakota 225 Timothy hay Texas (Panhandle) 235-250 (d) Pennsylvania (southeast)-Premium ssb Washington (Columbia Basin) 170 Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good Washington (Columbia Basin)-ssb 240 Wyoming (western)-Premium ssb Wyoming (western)-ssb 210-220 Oat hay Idaho (south central)-Fair/Good Good-quality alfalfa Price $/ton California (intermountain) 190 Nebraska (central) California (northern SJV) 170-190 New Mexico (north central) California (southeast)-ssb 120 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb Idaho (north central) 135 Straw Idaho (south central) 140 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb Iowa (Rock Valley) 155 Kansas (north central) Kansas (south central)-lrb 135 Kansas (northeast) Kansas (southwest) 130-165 Minnesota (Sauk Centre) Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 135-175 Pennsylvania (southeast) Missouri 120-160 South Dakota-lrb

130 95-105 150-160 150 260 150 180-200 (d) 145-195 Price $/ton 135 120-125 90-120 125 110 100-125 110 105-115 150-165 115-135 Price $/ton 180-300 100-133 190 135 260-330 140-180 Price $/ton 75 (d) 110 128 Price $/ton 300 240 180 240-260 230-290 240 215 Price $/ton 380-405 220-250 210-300 Price $/ton 100 70 115 (o) 185 Price $/ton 120 80 100 85-100 85-140 90

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

38 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2020

F2 38 Nov 2020 Hay Market Update.indd 1

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ROI… Krone delivers BiG

, m r o if n u is le a b y Ever

! T A E R G S I Y T I L A U Q E H T D AN

Steve Degner is a farmer and custom hay operator from Waterloo, Illinois. He talks about his BiG Pack 870 HDP XC Multi-Bale. “I’m in the hay business, so the hay has to be excellent quality. This Krone makes a beautiful bale…saves the leaves. It pre-rolls it, then every bale is uniform, and the quality is great.”

Steve Degner WATERLOO, ILLINOIS

Scott Myers, who runs a grain and hay business owner near Dalton, Ohio, talks about his Krone 890.

Scott Myers

“The great thing about these Krone balers is you basically never have to get off them. With the competitive machine, first thing I noticed I was digging the baler out all the time. We are able to bale 13 miles an hour, we average over two bales a minute…way over a ton a minute!”

DALTON, OHIO

See your Krone Dealer for

BiG SAVINGS on a BiG Pack Baler.


THE L E A D E R I N A N Y F I ELD QUALITY HAY STARTS WHEN YOU CUT IT. FOR THE HIGHEST QUALITY HAY CHOOSE HESSTON. VISIT YOUR LOCAL HESSTON BY MASSEY FERGUSON® DEALER FOR THE BEST HAYTOOLS IN THE INDUSTRY. © 2020 AGCO Corporation. Hesston and Massey Ferguson are brands of AGCO Corporation. AGCO®, Hesston® and Massey Ferguson® are trademarks of AGCO.All rights reserved. HS20N002AG


Alfalfa Variety Ratings 2021 Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties

This National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance publication is intended for use by Extension and agri-business personnel to satisfy a need for information on characteristics of certified-eligible alfalfa varieties. NAFA updates this publication annually.

2021 Variety Leaflet.indd 1

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

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

FD Rating 1 2 3 4 5

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

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

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

Class Abbreviations S LR MR R HR

Score 1 2 3 4 5 6

FD 3 - DORMANT

FD 2

BrettYoung

Spredor 5

Nexgrow Alfalfa

Spyder

BrettYoung

HR R HR R

54VQ52

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR HR R

6305Q

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

Graze N Hay 3.10RR

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

Hi-Gest 360

Alforex Seeds

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR R

HVX Tundra II

Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

LegenDairy AA

Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

Octane

BrettYoung

RR Presteez

Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

Rugged

Alforex Seeds

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR

WL 319HQ

W-L Alfalfas

WL 336HQ.RR

W-L Alfalfas

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R

R

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

Foothold

R

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

BrettYoung

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

3010

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

2 HR HR HR HR HR R

Northern Root Knot Nematode

BrettYoung

Southern Root Knot Nematode

2010

Stem Nematode

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

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

R HR

R

M

G

R

G

MR R R

HR R

H R

R

R

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

M

G

H

G RX

H

G

HR

L

R HR

MR

H

HR

MR

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R HR

MR

H

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R HR

MR

H

G Y

R

G G

R

2021 VL - 2 2021 Variety Leaflet.indd 2

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

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

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

Northern Root Knot Nematode

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Stem Nematode

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

54HVX41

Pioneer

HR HR HR HR HR HR

54HVX42

Pioneer

HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

R

R

54Q14

Pioneer

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

R

54Q29

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR R

R HR

HR

54V13

Pioneer

R HR R HR HR HR MR HR HR

HR

54VR10

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR HR R HR

R

R

54VR70

Pioneer

HR

R

4010BR

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HR R HR

4020MF

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HR MR HR

4030

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R MR HR

4319.A2 RR

La Crosse Seed

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

6401N

Nexgrow Alfalfa

6409HVXR

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

6422Q

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

6424R

R

R

R

HR R

R HR HR R

HR HR HR HR HR R

R

MR

H

RX RX

R HR

H

R HR

HR

G

H

R

R

H

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

R

H

R

6427R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

H

R

6439HVXR

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

H

RX

6453Q

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

H

6472A

Nexgrow Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

R

H

G

6497R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

H

G

Ace

BrettYoung

R MR R

HR

L

AFX 429

Alforex Seeds

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

R

R

AFX 457

Alforex Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

R

R

AFX 460

Alforex Seeds

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

R

R

R

H

AFX 469

Alforex Seeds

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R MR R

HR

R

L

G

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

HR H

G G

R MR R

HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

RX

R

L L

G

R

AmeriStand 427TQ

America's Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

HR

H

AmeriStand 428TQ

America's Alfalfa

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR

H

AmeriStand 445NT

America's Alfalfa

HR R

HR

HR M

R

HR H

G

R R

HR R HR HR HR R

R

AmeriStand 455TQ RR America's Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

AmeriStand 457TQ RR America's Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

R

H

G

AmeriStand 480 HVXRR America's Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

R

H

G RX

AmeriStand 481 HVXRR America's Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

H

RX

Barricade II

BrettYoung

HR HR HR HR HR HR

R MR HR

HR

Barricade SLT

BrettYoung

HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR HR HR

R

FD 4 - DORMANT

R

AmeriStand 415NT RR America's Alfalfa

R HR MR

HR M

R

G M

G/F

2021 VL - 3 2021 Variety Leaflet.indd 3

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FD 4 - DORMANT

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

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

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

Northern Root Knot Nematode

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Stem Nematode

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

Camas

LG Seeds

HR R HR HR HR HR

DG 417RR

Dyna-Gro

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

H

DG 4120

Dyna-Gro

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

H

DG 4210

Dyna-Gro

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR R

R

H

DKA40-16

Dekalb

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

HR

H

DKA40-21HVXRR

Dekalb

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

R

H

RX

DKA40-51RR

Dekalb

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

H

R

DKA44-16RR

Dekalb

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

H

Dynamo

BrettYoung

FF 42.A2

La Crosse Seed

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

FF 4022.LH

La Crosse Seed

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

FF 4215.HVX RR

La Crosse Seed

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

GA-409

Preferred

GrandStand II

Dyna-Gro

HG4001

LG Seeds

HVX Driver

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

HVX MegaTron

Croplan

HybriForce-3400

Dairyland Seed

HybriForce-3420/Wet Dairyland Seed

HR R

R

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HR

R R

HR M

R

R

G

G

R

M HR

H

R

H

HR

M

R MR R

R

M

R

R

R

H

RX

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

R

H

RX

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR

R

HR RX

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

R HR

HR R HR

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R

R

HybriForce-3430

Dairyland Seed

HybriForce-4400

Dairyland Seed

L-442RR

Legacy Seeds

L-455HD

Legacy Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR

L-457HD+

Legacy Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR MR

LG 4HVXR100

LG Seeds

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

LG 4R300

LG Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR

Magnum 7

Dairyland Seed

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR R HR

Magnum 7-Wet

Dairyland Seed

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR HR HR

Magnum 8

Dairyland Seed

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

Magnum 8-Wet

Dairyland Seed

Magnum Salt

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR

HR

HR

R

R

H L

H

L

H H

R

H

R

R

H

RX

HR

M

R

MR R HR HR

R MR R

R

L

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR R

MR

L

Dairyland Seed

2 HR HR HR R HR R

R

HR R HR

Optimus

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR HR R

Rebound AA

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R

Reload

BrettYoung

RR AphaTron 2XT

Croplan

R

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR R 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

HR

R

G/F M H

R

L

R

H

G R

2021 VL - 4 2021 Variety Leaflet.indd 4

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HR R

RR VaMoose

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

MR R

SGS 47M

Innvictis Seed

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

Shockwave BR

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

MR

HR R HR

Stockpile

BrettYoung

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

HR R HR

SW4107

S&W

SW4412Y

S&W

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

HR

WL 341HVX.RR

W-L Alfalfas

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R

R

WL 349HQ

W-L Alfalfas

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

WL 354HQ

W-L Alfalfas

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

R

H

WL 356HQ.RR

W-L Alfalfas

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

HR

H

WL 358LH

W-L Alfalfas

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

WL 359LH.RR

W-L Alfalfas

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

55H96

Pioneer

55Q28

R

H

HR MR R

R

HR

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR R

R

R

HR

HR

55V50

Pioneer

HR HR R HR HR HR HR R

R

R

HR

55VR08

Pioneer

6516R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

HR

6547R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

HR R HR HR HR HR

6585Q

Nexgrow Alfalfa

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

AFX 579

Alforex Seeds

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

AmeriStand 518NT

America's Alfalfa

HR HR HR HR HR HR

AmeriStand 545NT RR America's Alfalfa

R HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

R

R

R

HR

HR H

R

HR

H

HR

L

HR

HR

HR H

R HR R HR HR HR

HR HR

HR

HR M

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

H

GA-497HD

Preferred

HR HR HR HR HR HR

GA-535

Preferred

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

GUNNER

Croplan

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

L-450RR

Legacy Seeds

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

LG 5R300

LG Seeds

MPIII Max Q

Innvictis Seed

Nimbus

Croplan

PGI 529

Alforex Seeds

RR Saltiva RR Tonnica

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

G

R

G/F R G R

R HR

R

HR

R

R

R

HR H

MR HR

R

M

R

HR HR HR HR HR HR

HR HR

HR

M

R

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R HR

HR

H

G

HR

HR

HR M

F

1 HR R HR HR HR HR

MR R MR

R

L

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

R HR MR

HR

M

Croplan

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

R

R

H

HR R HR HR HR HR

R

H G

FD 5 - MODERATELY DORMANT

HR M

Dekalb

HR HR

R R

HR

DKA50-17

G

M

HR R HR HR HR HR HR R

Dyna-Gro

RX

H

HR

DG 5315

R

H

HR

R

G

R

HR

R

R

H

R

HR HR HR HR

G

FD 4 - DORMANT

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R

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

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

Croplan

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

RR Stratica

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

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

Northern Root Knot Nematode

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Stem Nematode

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

R G

R

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

W-L Alfalfas

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR

WL 365HQ

W-L Alfalfas

1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR HR

WL 372HQ.RR

W-L Alfalfas

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R

WL 375HVX.RR

W-L Alfalfas

2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR

WL 377HQ

W-L Alfalfas

HR HR HR HR HR HR

6010

BrettYoung

6610N

Nexgrow Alfalfa

Alfagraze 600 RR

America's Alfalfa

ArtesianSun 6.3

Croplan

Cisco II

HR HR HR R HR R

HR

HR

HR H

R

G

R

HR

H

R

HR

H

HR

HR M

HR HR

R HR HR

R

L HR

2 HR HR HR HR HR R HR

HR H

R

R

R HR

HR

R

HR H

G

MR HR HR

R HR HR HR HR HR

HR

HR

Alforex Seeds

2 HR HR HR R HR MR

HR

R

Hi-Gest 660

Alforex Seeds

R MR HR HR R

HR HR R

HR

HybriForce-2600

Dairyland Seed

2 HR R HR HR HR R

R

HR R HR

HybriForce-3600

Dairyland Seed

HR R HR HR R

HR R HR

HR HR HR

Revolt

Nexgrow Alfalfa

HR R HR HR HR

RR 6 Shot Plus

Croplan

R HR HR HR HR R

HR HR

HR

L

RRALF 6R200

LG Seeds

R

HR HR HR

HR HR

M

SW6330

S&W

R LR R

R HR MR

MR R

WL 467HQ

W-L Alfalfas

R HR

HR

6829R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

R

R

R HR HR

HR HR R

HR

G

AFX 779

Alforex Seeds

R

R

R

HR HR R

R

G

AmeriStand 618NT

America's Alfalfa

HR HR HR

HR

R HR HR HR

HR HR

HR

HR R HR HR HR

HR HR

HR

AmeriStand 715NT RR America's Alfalfa

R HR HR R R

R

HR R HR HR HR R

R

MR MR HR R HR R

LG 7C300

LG Seeds

Magna 715

Dairyland Seed

R

R HR HR R

SW7410

S&W

R

HR MR R

AmeriStand 803T

America's Alfalfa

MR

HR MR HR

MR H R HR

R HR HR HR R

R

R

R

HR

HR HR

GrandSlam

Dyna-Gro

R

HR HR HR

R

Magna 801FQ

Dairyland Seed

R MR HR MR HR

HR R

R HR HR

Sun Titan

Croplan

MR MR HR R HR

HR HR HR

SW8421S

S&W

HR

HR R

WL 535HQ

W-L Alfalfas

HR

HR

G/F

MR R LR HR

HR HR

M

R HR HR

HR HR HR

R

G

M

R MR HR LR R

HR

G

M

R HR HR

R

H

HR M

AmeriStand 835NTS RR America's Alfalfa

R HR R HR

G/F G

R R

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

WL 363HQ

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

S&W

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

SW5213

HR

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

HR HR HR HR HR HR R

HR HR

Northern Root Knot Nematode

BrettYoung

R HR HR HR HR HR

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Sureshot

2

Stem Nematode

BrettYoung

Potato Leafhopper

Slingshot

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

Fusarium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Winter Survival

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

HR H

HR

R R

G R

F

R

G

2021 VL - 6 2021 Variety Leaflet.indd 6

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R HR HR HR

HR HR

R

HR R HR R HR

HR HR R

R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

MR

R

HR HR HR

HR

G

AFX 960

Alforex Seeds

LR MR HR HR R

HR HR HR

HR

G

AmeriStand 901TS

America's Alfalfa

R MR HR R HR

HR R

AmeriStand 955NT RR America's Alfalfa

HR R HR MR HR

HR HR R

HR

DG 9212

Dyna-Gro

LR R HR HR HR

HR HR HR

HR

LG 9C300

LG Seeds

MR

R

R

Magna 905

Dairyland Seed

MR MR HR HR HR

PGI 908-S

Alforex Seeds

R

R HR HR HR

HR HR HR

R HR HR

RR Desert Rose

Croplan

R

R HR HR HR

HR HR HR

R

RRALF 9R100

LG Seeds

R

R HR R HR

HR HR HR

HR

G

Sun Quest

Croplan

HR HR HR

HR

G

SW9215

HR R

R LR

R HR

R

R

R

R

HR

G R H G

HR G/F R R

MR

R

S&W

R

HR

SW9215RRS

S&W

R MR R

SW9628

S&W

LR

R LR R

HR R

R

HR

SW9720

S&W

MR

R

HR HR R

MR HR

F

WL 656HQ

W-L Alfalfas

MR

HR HR HR

HR

G

WL 668HQ.RR

W-L Alfalfas

HR R HR HR HR

HR HR R

HR

G

R

6015R

Nexgrow Alfalfa

R MR R

R

R

HR HR HR

HR

G

R

AFX 1060

Alforex Seeds

LR R

R

R

R

HR R

HR

SW10

S&W

MR

R

R

HR HR HR

R

HR R HR

S HR MR

HR

R

HR R HR

HR

F

FD 9 - NON-DORMANT

HR R

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

Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)

Standability Expression (R-Resistance)

Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes)

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

Northern Root Knot Nematode

Southern Root Knot Nematode

Stem Nematode

Potato Leafhopper

Blue Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot

Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Anthracnose Race 1

6906N

Fusarium Wilt

W-L Alfalfas

R

Verticillium Wilt

WL 558HQ.RR

Bacterial Wilt

W-L Alfalfas

Winter Survival

WL 538HQ

FD 8

Variety

Contact for Marketing Information

G/F R

G R

FD 10

R

HR

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

NAFA OFFICE

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

VISIT NAFA AT ALFALFA.ORG

2021 VL - 7 2021 Variety Leaflet.indd 7

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MARKETERS

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

AgReliant Genetics

DEKALB

Nutrien Ag Solutions

Leaflet Listing: LG Seeds

Leaflet Listing: Dekalb

Leaflet Listing: Dyna-Gro

Westfield, IN 46074 800-544-6310

St. Louis, MO 63167 800-335-2676

Geneseo, IL 61254 309-944-4791

www.lgseeds.com

www.dekalb.com

www.dynagroseed.com

Alforex Seeds

Innvictis Seed Solutions, LLC

Preferred Alfalfa Genetics

Leaflet Listing: Alforex Seeds

Leaflet Listing: Innvictis Seed

Leaflet Listing: Preferred

Jordan, MN 55352 877-560-5181

Boise, ID 83702 208-780-2728

Story City, IA 50248 515-733-2203

www.alforexseeds.com

www.innvictis.com

brendale@outlook.com

America’s Alfalfa

La Crosse Seed

S&W Seed Company

Leaflet Listing: America’s Alfalfa

Leaflet Listing: La Crosse Seed

Leaflet Listing: S&W

Nampa, ID 83653 800-873-2532

La Crosse, WI 54603 800-356-7333

Five Points, CA 93624 916-554-5480

www.americasalfalfa.com

www.lacrosseseed.com

www.swseedco.com

BrettYoung

Legacy Seeds LLC

WinField United

Leaflet Listing: BrettYoung

Leaflet Listing: Legacy Seeds

Leaflet Listing: Croplan

Winnipeg, MB R3V 1L5 800-665-5015

Scandinavia, WI 54977 715-467-2555

St. Paul, MN 55164 800-328-9680

www.brettyoung.ca

www.legacyseeds.com

www.croplan.com

Corteva Agriscience

NEXGROW Alfalfa

W-L Alfalfas

Leaflet Listing: Pioneer

Leaflet Listing: Nexgrow Alfalfa

Leaflet Listing: W-L Alfalfas

Johnston, IA 50131 715-223-7390

West Salem, WI 54669 855-4NEXGROW

Collierville, TN 38017 651-375-5244

www.pioneer.com

www.plantnexgrow.com

www.wlalfalfas.com

Dairyland Seed

NAFA is proud to collaborate with Hay & Forage Grower on the distribution of its “Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” 2021 Edition.

Leaflet Listing: Dairyland Seed

West Bend, WI 53095 800-236-0163 www.dairylandseed.com

“Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” 2021 Edition is a publication of the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance and cannot be reproduced without prior written permission from NAFA.

VISIT NAFA AT ALFALFA.ORG 2021 Variety Leaflet.indd 8

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It’s how the west will be won again. The promise of the American west has always been found in the land and its stewards. New Rejuvra™ herbicide gives today’s ranchers the power to deliver on that promise. One application controls invasive annual grasses and keeps working for up to four years. Fewer invasive annual grasses allow for increased quality and quantity of forage, so cattle feed costs are reduced. Don’t settle for short-term solutions. Restore the rangeland to its original beauty and productivity with help from Rejuvra. Discover more at www.rejuvra.com

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10.4% YIELD ADVANTAGE* AGAINST COMPETITORS IN 174 HEAD-TO-HEAD, SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISONS

+

5% HIGHER YIELDING** THAN HYBRIFORCE-3400™ IN OVER 5 YEARS OF RESEARCH TESTING

BEING DAIRYLAND SEED PROUD COMES WITH ITS ADVANTAGES. LIKE THE POTENTIAL FOR MAXIMUM YIELD, QUALITY AND MILK PER ACRE, TO NAME A FEW.

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DairylandSeed.com

/DairylandSeed

@DairylandSeed

/DairylandSeed

*In 2017 – 2019 HybriForce-4400™ was grown in 174 Dairyland Seed on-farm HAY (Hybrid Alfalfa Yield) plot comparisons across ND, SD, MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, OH and MI with a yield advantage of 10.4% across all cuts at all locations against competitive alfalfas. Hybrid responses are variable and subject to any number of environmental, disease and pest pressures. **In over 5 years of research testing, our combined data from internal and 3rd party trials show HybriForce-4400™ with more than a 5% yield advantage when compared to HybriForce-3400.™ ™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. © 2020 Corteva. DS-07203802-1-HA-B

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