Hay & Forage - November 2022

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& Sons Co. November 2022 hayandforage.com Fed hay builds soil fertility pg 14 Seed availability on the rebound pg 24 NAFA Alfalfa Variety Ratings center insert Winter alfalfa grazing in the West pg 34
by W.D. Hoard
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Custom harvesting is a family affair

The Uilk family transitioned from being dairy farmers to serving dairy farmers with their custom forage harvesting business. These days, they chop about 1,500 acres of alfalfa and over 10,000 acres of corn silage per year.


Precision ag moves to Southern alfalfa hayfields

Researchers at the University of Georgia in Tifton are bringing alfalfa management in the Southeast to the next level.

The art of the tarp

Tarped hay is the primary method of storage in the Western states. It’s also a large and fascinating industry. Let’s spend a day at ITC Services in Moses Lake, Wash.


Patti J. Kressin pkressin@hayandforage.com



EDITORIAL OFFICE 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, Fort Atkinson, WI, 53538

WEBSITE www.hayandforage.com EMAIL info@hayandforage.com PHONE 920-563-5551

The Palouse region in eastern Washington is an epicenter for U.S. wheat production. The miles and miles of dry, wind-formed hills turn from green to tan each growing season. However, in many of the low valleys, irrigated alfalfa fields like this one stand in stark contrast to the more dominant late-season golden hills. Photo by Mike Rankin

HAY & FORAGE GROWER (ISSN 0891-5946) copyright © 2022 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.

November 2022 · VOL. 37 · No. 6
DIRECTOR Todd Garrett
Michael C.
ADVERTISING SALES Kim E. Zilverberg kzilverberg@hayandforage.com Jenna Zilverberg jzilverberg@hayandforage.com
Brian V. Knox
November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 3
Correction: In the August/September issue, Brian Luck’s printed affiliation was incorrect on Page 10. His correct affiliation is extension agricultural engineer with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gut instinct

FOR those of us in my generation who are currently subjected to a routine colonoscopy schedule, you will remember the days when Google Maps didn’t exist. Driving from Point A to Point B required both a hard copy map and gut instinct.

Those were the days when getting lost was a frequent occurrence, and yet, there was an extreme sense of pride when that gut instinct got you back on track. My dad mounted a compass on the dashboard of every car we had to help supplement the gut instinct factor. Even if we were on the wrong road, at least we were going in the right direction. It seemed like a reasonable approach to me but not to my mom, whose directional gut instinct was only at a level to keep her within the contiguous states and Canada.

Google Maps and similar software has, for the most part, eliminated the need for gut instinct. These apps tell us the best way to get to our destination and what time we’ll arrive. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such an app for our lives and farm businesses? For these things we still have to turn left or right based on knowledge, experience (ours or others), and gut instinct.

This November offering of Hay & Forage Grower is our unofficial alfalfa issue. At this moment, it seems to me that the “Queen of Forages” is in need of a directional app. Many good things are happening in the alfalfa space, but at the same time, there are also troubling trends and some need for direction.

A few years ago, the University of California’s Peter Robinson wrote an article for this magazine titled “Alfalfa at a crossroads.” In other words, it is in need of Google Maps. The dairy extension specialist outlined some of the headwinds and tailwinds for alfalfa in his home state, but they also apply on a grander scale.

Since 2005, alfalfa has experienced a 30% drop in harvested acres among states that report both hay and haylage production. At the same time this is occurring, alfalfa’s economic value is at an all-time high.

In 2002, the USDA reported that there were 3.2 million acres of new alfalfa seeding established in the U.S. That number dropped in half in 2021; it’s not difficult to understand why breeding programs and alfalfa seed brands have consolidated or succumbed to winterkill during the past two decades. Based on the current

alfalfa rumor mill, those entities will decline even further in the months to come. Already in the rearview mirror have been significant losses at the land-grant university level in terms of alfalfa researchers and the near disappearance of public variety performance testing.

The reasons for the drop in alfalfa acres varies with region — you’ve heard most of them — and yet . . .

There are many reasons to be optimistic for the crop if we stay on the right road. Alfalfa remains the third or fourth most valuable crop grown in the U.S, and although we might still take it’s agronomic, environmental, and utilization benefits for granted, I don’t see the endangered species list in its future.

Corn silage isn’t going away as a foundational dairy ration ingredient. Fortunately, alfalfa is a perfect complement to the feed that is half grain and low in protein. The book is still out on annual forages and cocktail mixes as replacements for alfalfa. Unlike alfalfa, these crops need to be seeded every year, which seed marketers like. One knock on alfalfa is that it isn’t always consistent from a performance and forage quality perspective. Annual forages bring both of those factors to an even greater level of concern.

Alfalfa’s agronomic and environmental benefits have always been underappreciated. The current value of the nitrogen supplied per acre by a terminated alfalfa crop is, in most cases, equal to or greater than the cost originally invested in top-end alfalfa seed.

At least in the mid-term, water will likely remain a limited resource in the West, and although the level of alfalfa feeding on Western dairies has dropped, alfalfa hay exports to China remain strong. It’s difficult to imagine that this market won’t continue to be served. In the southeastern U.S., alfalfa is actually finding a role as a comeback player.

So, what direction is alfalfa going? The recent trendline would suggest down, but greater public research and development investments and some directional gut instinct may help flatten that line and send alfalfa in a new, yet unseen, direction. If only Google Maps could help. •

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

4 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
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THERE is only a short distance between Pipestone, Minn., and the South Dakota border. This five-minute drive from the city limit sign to the state line is flat and wide with farmland stretching toward the horizon on either side of the road. Homesteads are spread out like volunteer corn in a soybean field, and neighbors are separated by at least a quarter mile. However, there is a cluster of houses on the route that are much closer together, and they belong to Bernie, Dan, and Brian Uilk, co-owners of Uilk Custom Chopping.

The homes make up three points of a triangle on the property that Bernie grew up on. He milked cows alongside his father and eventually raised his sons Dan, Brian, and Kevin, a seed salesman who also lives nearby, to become dairymen themselves. The brothers remember doing chores before

school every morning, and Dan and Brian returned to the farm after going to college. Dan moved in right next door to Bernie and Brian settled directly across the road. For years, the trio took care of their 150-cow herd, but when profits faded in the early 2000s, so did their passion for dairy farming.

In 2005, the Uilks decided they wanted to do something different — they just didn’t know what that something was. They applied for a buy-out program to sell the cows in August, and by December, their cattle were gone. The parlor was empty; the barns were quiet; and their three-row, pull-type chopper was parked in the shop. But this piece of equipment didn’t sit idle for long.

As other small dairies near the I-29 corridor dissolved, the men sat back and watched larger operations be built. They anticipated the new farms would need custom forage harvesters, and thus, Uilk Custom Chopping LLC was born. They traded in their pull-type

chopper for a Claas Jaguar 900 and started taking on clients one at a time. Then, word of their business spread.

The Uilks now have over 30 customers within a 50-mile radius, encompassing farms in southwest Minnesota and southeast South Dakota, occasionally dipping into northwest Iowa. They hire nearly 45 part-time workers, have two full-time employees, and seek additional help from neighbors, friends, and family. The Uilks’ wives and an admirable aunt make and deliver meals to the team when they are in the field, and Dan and Brian’s children are eager to buckle into the buddy seat to keep their dads and grandfather company whenever they can. Their proximity on a map contributes to a cohesive business, but their trust in one another has been the real key to their surge in scale.

Meeting demands

The Uilks chop about 1,500 acres of alfalfa over four cuttings and between

6| Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
All photos: Amber Friedrichsen

10,000 to 12,000 acres of corn silage every year. They also make some earlage for farmers upon request.

Alfalfa and corn aren’t the only crops the Uilks are willing to harvest. “We chop about anything,” Dan stated. “We do some ryegrass in the spring and oats and barely in the summer. We chopped thousands of acres of sorghum, millet, turnips, and radishes in 2019 when people couldn’t get their corn and soybeans in because it was so wet.”

Since purchasing their initial Claas Jaguar 900 chopper, the Uilks have upgraded their machinery lineup. They currently run four Claas Jaguar 980s and two 990s. They also have three Oxbo mergers and recently acquired a Claas triple mower to start custom mowing for the first time in 2022. The Uilks own six pack tractors and 26 of their own hauling trucks, but they hire several other trucks during the height of corn silage harvesting as well. “We started out with one chopper, and now we have six . . . started with a few trucks, and now we have too many,” Bernie chuckled.

While Dan and Brian prefer chopping to any other task, Bernie spends most of his time in the cab of the 12-foot JBS Track-Pack silage bagger. The Uilks bag haylage and silage for regular full-service jobs, but they are also recruited for custom bagging outside their typical geographical range. The bagger is unique in that it glides on tracks instead of tires to prevent damage to wet soil and reduce compaction. Luckily for Bernie, the tracks allow for a smoother ride, too.

“I do all the bagging,” Bernie boasted. “We get out a little farther with it — probably about 100 miles or so — making bags for people who have their own choppers.”

Investing in the bagger was a no-brainer, and the same can be said for every other piece of the equipment in the Uilks’ shed. They take pride in staying ahead of advances in technology. Although features like field mapping, auto guidance, and moisture sensing in their newest choppers came at an extra cost, the men agree these improvements have enhanced their efficiency.

Maintenance calls

When harvest is in full swing, the crew divides up and chops at multiple locations a day. They start their engines early in the morning and keep

them revved until after the sun goes down. With machines burning the midnight oil, maintenance becomes an around-the-clock job. The Uilks do as much work on their equipment as they can, but sometimes they must call in an extra set of hands.

“We’ve had something go wrong at 11 p.m., but it’s got to be going again by the morning,” Bernie said. “Thankfully, our equipment dealer provides great service, and they have guys who will come out and fix choppers until 3 a.m. so they’ll be ready to go by 7 a.m.”

Another way they mitigate risky situations is by assigning at least one chopper to stay at home while others are being used. This way, there is always a backup if one of the other choppers breaks down. The brothers also take advantage of their time in the off season to assess every machine and make repairs as needed.

Upkeep has been particularly problematic lately as many parts have become extremely expensive, and supply chain issues have made them even harder to find. Pair that with the price of fuel, and the ability to stay profitable has been more strained. The Uilks charge by the hour for haylage, by the ton for corn silage, and by the acre for earlage, but in order to stay profitable, all of their rates have went up in the past year. Despite this, most of their customers have been understanding and receptive.

Another challenge the Uilks face is coordinating chopping jobs. With such a large cohort of part-time help, they

must be diligent in communicating with their employees. Brian admitted it can be difficult to organize who goes where, and sometimes information gets lost in translation. “You can have all the equipment in the world, but if you don’t have anybody show up to run it, it isn’t going to run itself,” he said.

Of course, for the first few weeks last spring, the Uilks’ equipment didn’t run at all. Wet weather delayed most of the work on their schedule, which caused a bottleneck in production when skies finally cleared. Compared to years prior, they had a much smaller window of time to chop the same number of acres — if not more. Nonetheless, the Uilks persevered, and after some long days and late nights, they finished chopping the first cutting of alfalfa for all of their clients by mid-June.

Full-circle service

Their last job of the 2022 first hay cutting was at a farm outside Sioux Falls, S.D. Brian began moving equipment there before dawn, while Bernie made some adjustments to the bagger back in Pipestone. By mid-morning, several employees had reported for duty and started driving straight trucks down the road in a single file line.

Within minutes of arriving onsite, everyone fell into the rhythm of chopping, hauling, and bagging. Brian navigated the hayfield in the chopper, picking up the alfalfa that had been windrowed a few days earlier. As the

The Uilks provide bagging for full-service customers and also do custom bagging jobs for farms with their own forage harvesters.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 7
continued on following page >>>

straight truck next to him filled up and drove off, another one seamlessly took its place, barely causing a hiccup in the harvesting pace. The fresh haylage was

hauled back to the farmstead where Bernie was directing trucks to the mouth of the bagger. They backed up, unloaded, and were back to the hayfield as quickly as they’d come.

Before this assembly was underway, Bernie and the farmer from Sioux Falls had an affable exchange. He was one of the Uilk’s first customers when they established their custom chopping crew, and the lighthearted moment offered a glimpse into their values and gratitude for their customers.

“We like long-term relationships,” Dan stated. “Most of our clients are repeat customers, and we try to make the best feed for them so they keep coming back. Our business has evolved as they have evolved. We’ve grown as they’ve grown.”

The Uilks prioritize working for their original clients. They meet with farmers to walk through fields before harvest to assess forage moisture and determine chopping schedules, and they speak with dairy nutritionists to ensure they meet each operation’s individual

needs. The Uilks also follow up with customers in the winter to discuss what went well and how they can improve in the coming year.

This commitment to excellence was instilled in Bernie, Dan, and Brian when they were dairy farmers. Custom chopping requires the same skills, effort, and flexibility as raising cattle. Time and labor are just allocated differently. With that said, the Uilks don’t plan on scaling up anytime soon. They are content with their current level of business and aim to remain steadfast in the quality of their service. Above all, they are grateful for the willingness and support from everyone on their team. •


The author served as the 2021 and 2022 Hay and Forage Grower summer editorial intern. She currently attends Iowa State University where she is majoring in agricultural communications and agronomy.

8 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
FORAGE FOR THE WORLD: THINK GLOBALLY. GROW LOCALLY. January 8–11, 2023 | Winston–Salem, NC afgc.org
Bernie Uilk (right) along with his sons Dan (left) and Brian (center) are former dairy farmers who transitioned to a successful custom forage harvesting business.

Fertilizer prices are crazy, and they are expected to go higher. Here is how MycorrPlus can help.

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LFALFA is the fourth most widely grown crop nationwide and historically has been one of the most popular forages among livestock producers due to its high yield and quality potential. Alfalfa utilization in the South, however, is a different story. A once dominant forage legume in the Deep South, alfalfa saw significant decline from the early 1950s and remained seldom used. That trend shifted recently because of research and extension efforts, which have highlighted the great potential of this forage crop in the region.

As commodity prices continue to climb, thus eliminating the option for cheap nitrogen and supplemental feed sources, more producers are looking at legumes as a viable alternative in their forage production systems. With alfalfa being the highest quality short-term perennial legume option available, there has been a resurgence of alfalfa production in the South.

At the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Tifton campus, researchers have teamed up with America’s Alfalfa by using Roundup Ready alfalfa technology to reintroduce the idea of alfalfa production in the South. We have highlighted the benefits of alfalfa in rotation with annual row crops, utilized Roundup Ready alfalfa as an option to suppress common troublesome weeds, and demonstrated the potential of this perennial legume to sequester carbon and improve soil health.

Precision agriculture has been around almost two decades. Technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), variable-rate application of crop inputs (seed, water, and fertilizer), in-season crop monitoring, yield mapping, and data management are commonly utilized by Southern row crop producers. Application of these precision agriculture technologies not only enhances application accuracy and efficiency of crop inputs, but it also helps improve sustainability and the overall profitability of row-crop production.

The benefits of these technologies in

row crops have been well demonstrated by researchers over the years; however, these same technologies are not commonly found on hay and livestock operations in the region. Thus, forage-focused and precision agriculture researchers at the Tifton campus are collaborating to demonstrate their beneficial use to Southern forage and livestock producers.

An easy place to start

One of the most widely adopted and easily integrated precision agriculture technologies are GPS systems. GPS systems can be a helpful addition to traditional equipment like sprayers, seed drills, fertilizer spreaders, and forage harvesting equipment. Traditional methods of keeping track of field location rely heavily on tire tracks and soil disturbances, which can lead to potential overlaps and/or skips in the field.

Utilization of GPS technology allows end users to more efficiently mark and manage field boundaries, maintain consistent widths to apply fertilizer and pesticides, and plant with greater precision. This ultimately lowers operational costs by eliminating additional trips across the field, and also provides savings of time, fuel, and product being applied. For more information about using GPS in Forage Systems, refer to UGA Bulletin 1546 “GPS Guidance Options for Forage Systems.”

Fine-tuning fertilizer additions

The second most used precision ag technology after GPS is precision soil sampling and variable rate fertilizer application. Most fields in the southern U.S. have large inherent soil variability, which makes it difficult to detect the actual nutrient spatial variability when using traditional soil sampling strategies such as a single sample or a few composite samples from a field. Even following the most stringent of soil sampling procedures, there are significant limitations when relying on composite samples to develop a single-rate fertilizer recommendation.

Precision soil sampling techniques, grid- or zone-based, not only help us in understanding the nutrient variability within the field but also forms the basis of another commonly adopted precision ag technology — variable-rate nutrient application. Variable rate nutrient maps provide a fertilizer prescription with site-specific application of nutrients to address soil variability and improve nutrient use efficiency.

These technologies enhance application efficiency and accuracy of nutrients, which improves overall system performance, sustainability, and productivity by applying based on needs within specific grids or zones across the field. Further, this technology has become a standard option on most commercial application equipment. This makes utilization of variable rate fertilizer application within forage systems as easy as implementing a precision soil sampling strategy and creating a variable rate prescription map.

Real-time yield

Yield mapping — the ability to analyze crop productivity within a field using GPS — was one of the first applications of precision ag technology. From this first simple combination, we now have the ability to analyze in-field crop performance and make yield estimates in real time.

Since its inception, yield mapping has evolved into an important data layer in assessing cropping system performance. Think of the yield map as a “report card” for your operation. Having this report allows you to evaluate field productivity and create management strategies based on production zones as identified through seasonal yield variability.

Traditional yield monitoring in annual row crop production tends to focus heavily on the end product, the harvestable component of the annual system (grain, lint, kernel, and so forth). Currently there is not a commercial yield monitoring system available for forage systems in which multiple harvests can be combined from the same field within a growing season. However, the availability of

10 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022

Figure 1: Variable rate map used for site specific potassium application

Figure 2: Spatial yield map generated from in-field biomass measurements

Figure 3: Spatial yield map generated from satellite imagery-based biomass data

Target Rate (mass) (LB/ac)

 367.0 (0.5 ac)

 333.0 (3.3 ac)

 317.0 (14.2 ac)

 300.0 (19.3 ac)

 283.0 (8 ac)

 267.0 (3.8 ac)

 233.0 (1.5 ac)

advanced remote sensing tools, such as high-resolution satellite imagery (1 to 5 meters), provide a unique opportunity to map forage yield via spatial biomass measurements and make in-season management adjustments to improve stand performance from harvest-to-harvest rather than just season-to-season. The ability to understand spatial yield variability in alfalfa can help in being more efficient with crop inputs and maximize yield and profitability through implementation of precision agriculture technologies.

Putting it into practice

In fall 2021, researchers at UGA in Tifton began to incorporate precision agriculture into alfalfa production starting with establishment. A 50-acre irrigated field that had been primarily corn for several years was prepped for alfalfa seeding, and precision soil sampling was done on a 1-acre grid level to illustrate field changes to the smallest manageable unit possible.

With the assistance of the UGA soil testing lab, these samples will be analyzed annually to look closely at soil nutrient levels and soil health parameters. We will determine potential changes in carbon as well as other nutrients

Yield Mass (dry) (LB/ac)

 1,300 - 2,100 (7.3 ac)

 1,100 - 1,300 (7.7 ac)

 1,000 - 1,100 (7.5 ac)

 900 - 1,000 (7.6 ac)

 800 - 900 (6.6 ac)

 700 - 800 (6.0 ac)

 260 - 700 (7.4 ac)

within the soil. This field was planted and has been fertilized and sprayed using GPS technology to increase application accuracy and also mark problem areas in the field that can be further tracked with accuracy over time.

Using the nutrient analysis from the 1-acre grid sampling, a variable rate potassium map was created (Figure 1) and used for the first application at the beginning of the growing season. Additionally, high resolution satellite imagery was accessed regularly, which provides spatial and temporal biomass variability in the field across the season.

This past summer, a preliminary study compared ground-based biomass measurements to satellite imagery to generate yield maps and assess spatial yield variability within the field. Using the previously GPS-marked 1-acre grids as plots (n=50), students collected forage material for biomass sampling to determine yield via destructive harvest measurements, and the in-season satellite imagery depicting spatial biomass variability was accessed using the Climate FieldView Software.

Yield maps generated from both the in-field data (Figure 2) and the satellite imagery (Figure 3) showed significant yield variability (35 to 2,100 pounds per

Yield Mass (dry) (LB/ac)

 1,300 - 2,100 (5.4 ac)

 1,100 - 1,300 (14.3 ac)

 1,000 - 1,100 (6.7 ac)

 900 - 1,000 (6.0 ac)

 800 - 900 (5.8 ac)

 700 - 800 (4.3 ac)

 35 - 700 (7.7 ac)

acre) within the field. An interesting highlight was the obvious impact of drought during the time of data collection and the significant limitations of irrigation water at the outer edges of the pivot, a trend that would have significant impact on calculations of true harvest yield and total-season yield estimates.

By using these technologies, we can implement management strategies to enhance performance through the assignment of specified zones within a field, identify problem areas, and make in-season, data-driven decisions to positively impact future harvests.

Through this work, we are continually looking to expand opportunities to incorporate precision ag technologies for alfalfa and other forage crops, making an uncommon practice more commonplace in the South. •


Tucker (pictured) is an extension beef nutrition and forage specialist. Virk is an extension precision ag specialist. Both are with the University of Georgia.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 11

Reduced-lignin alfalfa shows promise in the Southern Plains

THE alfalfa acreage in Oklahoma has drastically declined in recent years, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS). The total alfalfa harvested area dropped from 310,000 acres in 2010 to 180,000 in 2021 — an alarming 42% reduction. This acreage reduction was reflected in a 45% drop in Oklahoma’s alfalfa hay production during the same period — from a little over 1 million tons in 2010 to 462,000 tons in 2021. Fortunately, a modest 40,000 rise in alfalfa acres was forecasted this year in Oklahoma; however, the total alfalfa production is estimated to be 96,000 tons less than last year.

Even though the severe drought that hit the Southern Great Plains is to blame for this year’s low production, the

overall recent trend can be attributed to other reasons. Among the many factors that have contributed to this unfortunate alfalfa situation is the lack of adaptation of new alfalfa technologies such as reduced-lignin (HarvXtra-traited) alfalfa. Furthermore, the lack of science-based information for the region allowed unsubstantiated rumors to slow reduced-lignin cultivar adoption. Among these rumors, the most prominent ones were “low yields” and “plant lodging.”

In the past three to four years, published scientific research has debunked such rumors. No lodging attributed to the reduced-lignin alfalfa trait has been observed; reduced-lignin alfalfa produced equal yields to conventional alfalfa at most test locations. Furthermore, reduced-lignin alfalfa had an enhanced relative forage quality (RFQ)

index compared to conventional alfalfa at similar cutting dates. Reduced-lignin alfalfa maintained yields with improved digestibility when harvested at the exact time as the others. Furthermore, delayed reduced lignin alfalfa harvests resulted in higher yields with only slight reductions in forage digestibility.

Water may matter

Most of the research data generated for reduced-lignin alfalfa came from alfalfa fields located in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and West Coast regions of the United States (see Figure 1). These regions do not represent the alfalfa growing conditions in the Southern Great Plains. In the Southern Plains, alfalfa grows in a water-limiting environment; in most of these other regions, rainfall is abundant. Assuming

12| Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
Mike Rankin

reduced-lignin alfalfas would perform in the Southern Great Plains region in the same way as these other areas is a high-risk extrapolation.

To address this issue, researchers at Oklahoma and Kansas State Universities are developing best management practices (BMPs) for producing reduced-lignin alfalfa in the Southern Plains where water is a limited resource. This effort is an ongoing project sponsored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Alfalfa Seed and Alfalfa Forage Program. The project’s research and outreach activities are ongoing; however, some takehome lessons have already been learned from the preliminary results and interactions with producers, extension agents, and industry personnel.

Ask the farmers

Rather than assume farm needs and practices, the project focuses on interacting with producers to understand the region’s alfalfa production systems. An on-farm survey gathered site-specific information on 394 commercial alfalfa fields. This database, combined with an extensive alfalfa literature review and crop modeling, revealed that most of the management-related opportunities to improve alfalfa yield occurs in the establishment year by manipulating planting date, row spacing, and seeding rate. The next import-

ant factor was phosphorus fertilization in the subsequent years after seeding. Based on these results, extension materials and activities have been developed to inform producers about alfalfa establishment and fertilization BMPs. The main idea behind this effort is to inform producers about primary alfalfa BMPs that would maximize alfalfa production in the region. If properly adopted, these BMPs would build the foundation for reduced-lignin

alfalfa to express its full production potential in the Southern Great Plains. Another objective of the project is to quantify the effects of cutting management of conventional and reduced-lignin alfalfa cultivars on forage yield, quality, and water-use efficiency (WUE). One reduced-lignin variety and three conventional alfalfa cultivars have been evaluated during three consecutive growing seasons at three different sites (Stillwater and Lahoma, Okla., and Hutchinson, Kan.). At all locations, the varieties were harvested at three different harvest intervals — 28, 35, and 42 days. Also, 2-meter deep access tubes were installed to monitor soil water content in the alfalfa fields. Although the third season data are still being processed, the partial results from the first two years’ data revealed interesting results.

Maximize early season rainfall

Different from findings at other U.S. regions, the two-years of data indicated that a 35-day harvest interval had greater or similar yield to that of 42 days. Timing harvests to allow rainfall to coincide with early alfalfa regrowth enhances water use efficiency and it is key to maximize alfalfa production in

water limiting environments. Moreover, our early results confirmed the same reduced-lignin alfalfa yield and quality performance that has been observed in the other regions.

The reduced-lignin alfalfa variety produced slightly less or equal yields to that of conventional varieties. Also, reduced-lignin alfalfa had greater forage digestibility due to its lower lignin content. Finally, no reduced-lignin alfalfa lodging was observed during the three years of production.

We anticipate that a final, more in-depth data analyses that accounts for alfalfa yield, forage quality, and harvest interval relationships with soil water use may reveal important management aspects to be considered for producers in the Southern Great Plains. Stay tuned for the final results. •

The author is an extension forage systems specialist with Oklahoma State University.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 13
Research plots of reduced-lignin alfalfa were sampled and evaluated for yield, forage quality, and water use efficiency in Oklahoma and Kansas. Figure 1: Current and past research sites where reduced-lignin alfalfa has been evaluated. ALEX ROCATELI

Fed hay builds soil fertility

MAKING hay is an expensive process these days. Harvest costs are up because of the current high cost of diesel fuel, labor, equipment repairs, and machinery costs. The price of fertilizer has also risen substantially over the last couple of years. When hay is harvested, we are taking off a relatively large volume of nitrogen and soil minerals. Hay typically removes more than 80% of the minerals in the above-ground portion of the plant.

If we just think in terms of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and sulfur (S), each ton of hay removed contains 30 to 50 pounds of N, 5 to 7 pounds of P, 30 to 70 pounds of K, and 4 to 5 pounds of S. Using current commercial fertilizer prices, the value of N-P-K-S in one ton of hay is $85 to $90. Add in the calcium, copper, cobalt, zinc, and other minerals, and we find about $15 added value based on livestock mineral supplement prices. For the first time in my life, a ton of hay contains over $100 of N-P-K-S and mineral value.

While that is a scary number from the cost of production standpoint, there are some other considerations of value.

Factor in fertility

In the eastern half of the U.S., as of September 2022, there are still many areas where a ton of hay can be purchased for less than $100 per ton. Think about that for a minute. If you purchase hay at that low price, you are bringing in $100 worth of livestock

feed, but you are also bringing in $100 worth of fertility for your farm. You are either getting your feed for free or your fertilizer for free.

In the western half of the U.S., it is hard to find hay for less than about $150 per ton and much is selling for $200 to $300 per ton. Using hay for fertility building in the West is not nearly the bargain that it is in the East. When we decide to buy hay to feed our livestock, we need to be factoring the fertility value it brings to our farm or ranch.

To capture that fertility value, make sure you are feeding it in a strategic way. I have long advised my consulting clients to get into a soil testing routine whether they ever plan to buy an ounce of fertilizer or not. We use soil testing as a tool to guide where hay should be fed out. Feeding hay only has fertilizer value if it is fed in an area that will benefit from the added nutrients.

There is also the consideration of how much hay should be fed across an area for proper nutrient management. Because of the high N-P-K content of hay, we need to have target feeding amounts to avoid nutrient overload. I have seen many bale-grazing situations where excessive amounts of nutrients are being applied through nonplanned feeding regimes.

High excretion rates

It is important to understand the N and mineral content of the hay you are feeding and how the animal retains

When done correctly, feeding hay on pastures can help maintain or enhance soil fertility.

or excretes those nutrients. Nitrogen excretion is greater than 90%. Almost all other minerals are greater than 90% with K excretion being around 99%. Very little of the mineral nutrients contained in any kind of feed is actually retained in the animal’s body.

When the protein content of the feed is appropriate for the animal’s requirement, N excretion is split evenly between urine and feces. If the protein content exceeds the requirement, all excess N passes through urine. A 14% crude protein hay contains about 45 pounds of N. If N retention is 10%, that equates to 40 pounds excreted. Based on the animal’s requirement, there may be an equal urine-feces split, or there may be somewhat higher urinary output. Remember, urinary N is highly soluble and almost immediately available for plant uptake. Fecal N is a slow-release source of N.

What is a reasonable available N application rate in the winter months?

That is a serious consideration from a nutrient loading standpoint. Let’s say our target is 100 pounds of N per acre. Knowing our hay is providing 20 pounds per ton of urinary N tells us we should be feeding no more than 5 tons per acre. If our bales weigh 1,000 pounds each, feed no more than 10 bales per acre.

If bale grazing with bales set on 40-foot centers, that would result in 27 bales per acre being placed, or nearly three times our maximum number to avoid N overload in the feeding area. This is why we really need to feed hay in a thoughtful and planned way. While we should be trying to manage nutrients in a way that does not harm the ecosystem, we also should be motivated to get that fertility put on as many acres as possible. That is where the value of the nutrients in the hay is optimized. •

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.

14 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
Mike Rankin
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Spring’s “Big 3” pasture problems

LTHOUGH we’re heading into the winter months, looking ahead to spring and being prepared to ward off potential pasture problems is something that should be on every producer’s mind. In particular, the following three issues can be tough to recognize unless you know what to look for.

Grass tetany

Also called grass staggers, grass tetany develops from an imbalance of magnesium and potassium. Rapidly growing grasses take up potassium and other nutrients from the soil quickly. If the balance of potassium (high) to magnesium (low) becomes too great and cattle are unable to mobilize magnesium stores from their skeletal system, they may develop grass tetany.

In many cases, cattle are found dead with signs of convulsions. Less severely affected animals may become ill over two to three days, exhibiting lower milk output and appearing uncomfortable and nervous. They may stop grazing, stagger, and develop twitches in their face, ears, and flank. If aroused, cattle act erratically and run with an altered (staggered) gait — hence, “grass staggers.” Eventually, they will collapse and suffer convulsions, facial twitching, foreleg paddling, and death within a few hours. Older animals, especially in early lactation, are most susceptible, although any animal can be affected. Blood samples will indicate low serum magnesium.

If caught early, cattle can be treated with an injection of calcium and magnesium. There is a risk of causing heart failure if this treatment is administered incorrectly, so it’s best performed by a veterinarian.

Grass tetany can be prevented by supplementing cattle with extra magnesium during potential danger periods. This is accomplished through providing a high-magnesium lick or switching temporarily to a high-magnesium mineral supplement. Magnesium boluses are available, although they are more labor intensive.

Magnesium, in some forms, can be bitter and unpalatable, so make sure

that the form being used is consumed by the cattle. Start providing magnesium before the first rapid growth of grass begins and continue providing it until growth slows. Finally, grass tetany is rarely seen in pastures that include legume species.

Nitrate toxicity

There are several plant species known to accumulate high levels of nitrate under stressed conditions. These include johnsongrass, pigweed, kochia, lambsquarters, and some crop species such as sorghums and sudangrass. Plants naturally take up nitrogen from the soil and utilize it during photosynthesis. Anything that disrupts that normal cycle puts plants at risk for accumulating high levels of nitrate. Young, growing plants are most likely to accumulate nitrates, especially if subjected to a stress event such as a late frost. The highest concentrations of nitrate are typically found in the lower one-third of the plant stalk. Drying the forage for baling does not reduce the level of nitrates significantly, although ensiling may cause a 30% to 60% reduction, if allowed to go through a full fermentation.

When consumed by cattle, nitrates (NO3) are converted to toxic nitrites (NO2) in the rumen. These nitrites are absorbed into the bloodstream where they bind hemoglobin (the compound in the blood that carries oxygen), turning it into methemoglobin. As a result, cattle are unable to get adequate oxygen to their tissues or organs and essentially suffocate.

Common signs of nitrate toxicity include blue-tinged membranes, excessive salivation, urination, and difficulty breathing, as well as the characteristic chocolate-colored blood. As poisoning progresses, cattle become weak. Moving cattle around may exacerbate symptoms or cause death because the movement of muscle requires oxygen. Pregnant cattle may abort even at low, nonlethal doses of nitrate.

Poisoning from nitrate can occur quickly, and often cattle are simply found dead. If cattle are diagnosed early, they may be treated with methylene blue.

Plants or forage suspected of being high in nitrate can be tested, as can water sources. Labs may report nitrate levels in different ways, as nitrate (NO3), nitrate-nitrogen (NO3 -N), or potassium nitrate (KNO3). Be sure to look at the correct recommendation of safe levels for your lab’s reporting method. Horses, as hind gut fermenters rather than ruminants, are less susceptible than cattle to nitrate toxicity.

Prussic acid poisoning

Also known as hydrogen cyanide (HCN), prussic acid is similar to nitrate poisoning in that it is usually preceded by some sort of plant stressor, such as a frost or drought, and it affects the cattle’s ability to utilize oxygen. Rather than preventing hemoglobin from binding oxygen (as is the case with nitrites), HCN — formed in the rumen from cyanogenic glycosides present in the plant — acts to prevent tissues from utilizing oxygen.

Cattle exhibit difficulty breathing, foam at the mouth, and become progressively weakened, but they are most often found dead. The blood of affected cattle is a bright cherry red color as it becomes saturated with oxygen that the tissues cannot uptake. The rumen is noted to release a smell similar to bitter almonds. Treatment is possible with sodium nitrate and sodium thiosulfate; however, a veterinarian should be consulted to ensure a differential diagnosis from nitrate toxicity.

Johnsongrass and other sorghums are the most likely plants to produce HCN under stressed conditions, especially when there is a high nitrogen-to-phosphate ratio in the soil Unlike nitrates, prussic acid does break down when forages are dried, so hay is rarely a concern for prussic acid poisoning. •

16| Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
BEEF FEEDBUNK by Ashley Wright
The author is an area assistant livestock agent with the University of Arizona based in Cochise County.
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Nitrogen needs differ in fall stockpile

WE’VE reached the time of crisp fall mornings, and the grass is green all around — well, as long as it’s been raining in your neck of the woods! Throughout much of the eastern U.S., cool-season forages are back to life, and you might be offering succulent grass for the herd. But what about your winter forage needs? Winter grazing requires deferment in the fall so that cool-season forages can be stockpiled. Fresh, grazed forage is often more cost-effective than feeding hay throughout the long winter. Stockpiling for winter grazing is easy on the pocketbook but requires some planning.

Preparing for winter grazing means evaluating the condition of pastures at the end of summer. Is tall fescue a major component of your pasture? Have summer annual species overtaken the pasture? Has the pasture been adequately fertilized and limed in the past? Answers to these questions might determine whether the pasture is a good candidate for fall stockpiling.

You’ll know if tall fescue will be present in the fall even if it was not visible at the end of the summer. Just think back to last fall or spring. Tall fescue can go dormant in the summer with the heat and extended dryness. If the pasture is overgrown with crabgrass or

other smothering forages, then a late summer clipping will help expose the young tall fescue shoots to the sun and help them get a good start.

Many agricultural advisers will tell you that you need to fertilize the pasture with 40 to 100 units of nitrogen per acre to stimulate growth in the early fall. However, if there is insufficient moisture during a dry fall, that nitrogen may be wasted because conditions aren’t conducive for growth. Another reason why nitrogen might be wasted is because the soil may be providing enough nitrogen for abundant fall growth from the decomposition of organic matter.

Small organisms, big benefits

Decomposition occurs daily but gets rejuvenated following the hot and dry summer when bright sunshine still heats the ground and precipitation becomes more frequent to energize the microorganisms living in soil. Those soil bacteria and fungi get to work consuming the roots, plant residues, and feces that were deposited in and on soil. They release the carbon fixed in plants back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide to complete a natural cycling.

In the process of decomposing these organic carbon compounds, soil microor-

Stockpiled tall fescue in early November with variable nitrogen fertilizer application to assess growth and quality in central North Carolina.

ganisms also release mineral nitrogen contained in these protein-rich plant materials. Mineral nitrogen is composed of ammonium and nitrate — the very elements that forages need to make abundant growth when there is sufficient moisture and a suitable temperature.

How would you know if there’s sufficient nitrogen to satisfy plant growth requirements? Well, you could get a soil test. If you need 100 units of nitrogen, and a soil test indicates only 10 units are available at the time of sampling, then you might logically think you need to apply 90 units of nitrogen fertilizer. But this is only a part of the story.

If you asked for a soil test to determine the total amount of nitrogen, including both inorganic (mineral) and organic nitrogen, then you might be surprised if you get the report with 1,000 units of total nitrogen present per acre. Fortunately for us, not all of the organic nitrogen is available to plants in our lifetime, so that we can savor this ecosystem reserve of nitrogen for longer.

But your most important question to ask might be: “How much nitrogen will be available during the fall stockpile period?”

A better way

Soil testing labs would have to incubate a soil sample for several weeks to determine the actual amount of mineral nitrogen released by those microorganisms consuming organic matter in soil. This process is called nitrogen mineralization, or the conversion of organic nitrogen into mineral nitrogen (ammonium and nitrate).

Fortunately, we’ve discovered a quick method to estimate the amount of nitrogen mineralized from soil. This is from the flush of carbon dioxide released during a three-day period following rewetting of a dried soil. The burst of soil microbial activity following rewetting of dried soil, also known as soil-test biological activity, gives a fairly accurate snapshot of the long-term rate of soil microbial activity.

Soil microbial activity is strongly associated with nitrogen mineralization potential. Different soil types can have different inherent nitrogen miner-

18| Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
Alan Franzluebbers Alan Franzluebbers

Soil-test biological activity = 150 mg/kg/3d

3,185 3,070 2,830 2,331

Economically optimum N rate of 69 lb N/acre

Baseline cost of N fertilizer

0 40 80 120

Nitrogen fertilzer rate (lb N/acre)

alization potential, but importantly, historical management can also greatly influence the nitrogen mineralization potential of a soil (see graphs).

Crude protein in fall stockpile is often more than adequate for pregnant beef cows in winter. Soil microorganisms are providing a service to you and your cattle herd by recycling nitrogen in the

5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Forage yield @ 15% moisture (lb/acre)

Economically optimum N rate of 0 lb N/acre

Baseline cost of N fertilizer

Soil-test biological activity = 517 mg/kg/3d

0 40 80 120

pasture back to this stockpiled forage. Are you ready to appreciate and take advantage of this process? •

3,519 3,465 3,377 3,234 ALAN FRANZLUEBBERS

For information on how soil-test biological activity can influence the amount of nitrogen needed to optimize economic return of fall-stockpiled tall fescue, refer to bit.ly/HFG-Nrate

Nitrogen fertilzer rate (lb N/acre)

The author is a soil scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Raleigh, N.C.

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November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 19 Increased Yield Better Nutrition
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with different management
Figure 1. Comparison of two fields
histories 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Forage yield @ 15% moisture (lb/acre)

What’s new in forage research?

FORAGES are the main ingredients used in dairy cattle diets. Producing high-quality forages is vital for dairy profitability and sustainability. As such, many research trials about this topic are presented yearly during the annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association, and this year was no different. The objective of this article is to describe and discuss some of the forage research presented. For full disclosure, these are only a few of the many research trials presented and were hand-picked to represent different areas within forage research.

Picking a method for forage analysis: Regardless of your role within the forage industry, you’ve probably had to submit samples for nutrient analysis or made decisions based on those results. Many farmers and nutritionists submit samples for analysis routinely. But when it comes to forage analysis, turnaround time, costs, and the reliability of the methodology used are all key factors in determining how to analyze forage samples. It is undeniable that analyzing forage samples via near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is faster and cheaper than by wet chemistry methods. However, forage growers, dairy producers, and nutritionists

always wonder “Is NIRS analysis as accurate as wet chemistry?” or “Can we rely on NIRS analysis for this specific crop or conditions?”

Researchers from Canada conducted a three-year study trying to answer these questions for first-cut legumegrass silage. Briefly, 202 samples were collected from Canadian dairy farms between 2018 and 2020, and subsamples were sent to a commercial laboratory for NIRS and wet chemistry analyses. No differences between methods were observed for crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and fat, but ash was slightly higher (1.6 percentage units) for wet chemistry than NIRS. The authors concluded that NIRS is sufficiently accurate for nutrient analysis of first-cut legume-grass silage. Keep in mind that regardless of which method you pick, analyzing samples with the same method and laboratory allows for an apples-to-apples comparison and ensures the decision-making process is based on accurate information.

Industry struggles with sorghum silage processing: Sorghum silage has been growing in popularity and is being fed by more and more dairy operations. But losing grain in the feces has been one of the biggest, if not the main,

Forage research continues to evolve and unlock answers to current dairy cattle feeding questions.

challenge faced by producers. A survey collected 53 sorghum silage samples from commercial farms between January and February of 2022. Samples were analyzed for berry processing score (the equivalent assay to kernel processing score widely used for corn silage but adapted for sorghum) and nutrient composition. Berry processing score (percent of starch passing through a 2.36-mm sieve) averaged 20% and ranged from 7.2% to 54.8%. These values highlight berry processing has been minimal in commercial operations. Although we cannot determine which factors are associated with these results, the most common factors impairing processing are maturity at harvest, harvester settings, and lack of monitoring.

Sorghum berry size is another factor compromising processing in sorghum silage. Because berries are small, even forage harvesters set with adequate chop length and kernel processors (based on corn silage standards) struggle to achieve high berry processing scores.

Research conducted in West Texas evaluated processing and starch digestibility of two sorghum hybrids, one with larger berry size and another with smaller berry size. Even though berry processing was slightly lower for the larger berry hybrid, starch concentration and digestibility were identical. Because berries were much larger for the larger berry hybrid, as expected, these results suggest perhaps larger berries were broken into more pieces to reach a similar score and starch digestibility. More research is required to better understand if larger berries will help achieve adequate processing.

Fiber digestibility and particle size: Despite being available for several years, the undigestible NDF (uNDF) assay remains the new kid on the block regarding forage research and analysis. This method measures the amount of NDF undigested after a certain period (240 hours is the most common) of incubation in rumen fluid and is often used as a replacement for lignin.

Researchers from New York compiled data from seven feeding trials for a total of 22 diets to determine

by Luiz Ferraretto
20 | Hay & Forage Grower |November 2022
Mike Rankin

the relationship between uNDF and performance. Forages included in those diets were corn silage, haycrop silage, timothy hay, and wheat straw. Increasing amounts of uNDF in the diet moderately lowered intake and energy-corrected milk production. But predictions of intake and energy-corrected milk were improved when physically effective fiber was combined with uNDF and used in predictions, highlighting the importance of fiber particle size in dairy rations.

A study from Brazil evaluated the physical effectiveness of corn silage particles. Researchers sieved corn silage through a Penn State Particle Separator (19 millimeters [mm], 8mm, and pan) and added particles coarser than 19 mm, between 8 and 19 mm, and finer than 8 mm to a basal diet. This study revealed particles between 8 and 19 mm were more effective at stimulating an adequate rumen environment than other fractions. This is because cows sorted against particles coarser than 19 mm. When formulating diets based on the 19 mm screen, evaluating sorting routinely is recommended. This study also confirmed the effectiveness of corn silage particles finer than 8 mm, but these particles were still less effective than coarser particles.

Corn silage chop height affects fermentation: Raising chop height is a well-known harvesting practice to achieve greater nutritional value at the expense of yield. When forage inventory permits, increasing chop height reduces lignin, NDF, and uNDF concentrations while lowering starch concentration and NDF digestibility. But raising the chop height also reduces moisture, which could affect fermentation.

Two studies evaluated this effect. The first study, conducted in Illinois, harvested brown midrib corn silage at 12 or 22 inches of chop height. Even though increasing chop height improved nutritive value, the lower cut silage had improved fermentation. A similar study, conducted in Wisconsin, compared conventional corn silage harvested at 10 or 25 inches in height. Nutritive value improved with higher chop, but total acids concentration was reduced. Both studies also evaluated different microbial inoculants and observed improved fermentation with inoculation.

Combined, these studies underscored that increasing chop height remains a great tool to improve nutritive value of corn silage when forage inventories permit. However, fermentation will be slightly less pronounced compared with lower cut silage and the use of a research-proven microbial inoculant is advised. •

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 21
The author is an assistant professor and ruminant nutrition extension specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Mertens’ influence is felt on every farm

SEVERAL scientists have contributed enormously to the dairy industry during the past 50 years, and Dave Mertens might be at the top of the list. If you still need convinced of this reasoning, I invite you to consider the following question: Have you ever submitted a forage sample to a commercial laboratory to be analyzed? If the answer is “yes,” then it is likely Mertens’ work on forage analysis and dairy cattle nutrition helped guide which forage quality metrics are on the report and how they are derived.

During the 2022 annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association, a symposium was held to recognize the contributions of Dave Mertens to the dairy industry. The following are some highlights of his influence on feed analysis.

Fiber analytics

The concentration of digestible energy of a feed is mainly determined by the concentration of fiber in the feed. This means that forages containing greater concentrations of fiber have less energy than forages containing lower concentrations of fiber. This relationship is explained by the fact that fiber is incompletely and nonuniformly digested by cattle. Conversely, the nonfibrous components of a feed are almost completely and uniformly digested by cattle. The message here is that the more fiber the forage has, the lower its energy content.

Before we get into the specific contributions of Mertens, it is important to offer some definitions. Let’s start by describing “fiber.” From a botanical perspective, fiber includes the structural components that support and give strength to the plants, and these components include pectin, hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin, which are all contained in the cell walls.

From a ruminant nutrition perspective, fiber includes the structural components of the cell walls that are slowly digested in the rumen of the animal and only by the action of microorganisms in the rumen. These components

include mostly hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin of the cell walls (pectin is excluded). These three components are included in a term known as neutral detergent fiber, or NDF. Putting the pieces together, the next take-home message is that when the NDF concentration of a forage increases, the energy concentration typically declines.

Inherent lab variability

In a forage laboratory, there are two major types of analytical procedures: theoretical and empirical. For theoretical procedures, a pure standard of the analyte exists — for example, a mineral like calcium or a specific molecule like glucose. In these theoretical procedures, you can subject a known amount of pure standard to analysis and assume success on the technique when the laboratory measures or “recovers” the total known amount.

In contrast, a pure standard does not exist for empirical procedures. The NDF procedure is an empirical method subjected to differing or misleading results depending on how the analysis is performed. There is no way to determine if a laboratory is running the analysis properly. This problem led to the challenge of developing a procedure by which laboratories can ensure they are performing the NDF analysis correctly.

Enter Dave Mertens

In the early 1990s, no official method had been approved for determining the concentration of NDF in animal feeds, and this void gave laboratories license to modify the method arbitrarily, resulting in great variability in NDF concentration among labs. In addition, the lack of an official method was impeding commercial laboratories to obtain certification.

To directly tackle this problem, Mertens developed a research program at the USDA-ARS Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis., and fine-tuned the NDF procedure to reduce variability among laboratories. This procedure, known as the amylase neutral detergent fiber (aNDF) method, later became the reference method utilized by the

National Forage Testing Association to certify commercial laboratories in the U.S. and around the world.

Mertens’ procedure was later accepted by AOAC International (formerly, the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists) as the official method to determine the concentration of fiber in all types of animal feed. In 2003, Mertens was awarded the Collaborative Study of the Year Award by AOAC, which stated, “This study is deserving of this award for its complexity and impact on the international agricultural community. The method truly deserves to become the much-awaited international standard for the determination of neutral detergent fiber.”

Mertens’ impact on the dairy industry is truly remarkable. Any ruminant nutritionist knows that at least two things are needed to formulate a ration, and these are knowing the nutritional requirements of the animals to be fed and knowing the nutritional composition of the feeds. The latter means that thousands of farmers and millions of cattle have been directly impacted by Mertens through forage testing for feed evaluation or in the ration formulation process.

To add further perspective, two of the commercial laboratories certified by the National Forage Testing Association have reached more than 8,683 stakeholders within the U.S. and 1,820 stakeholders throughout 49 countries since 2015. Also, through his work with the National Forage Testing Association, Mertens has contributed to the certification of at least 99 laboratories within the U.S. and 38 laboratories around the world.

Mertens has dedicated a great part of his career to improving laboratory techniques that have a direct impact on ruminant nutrition and cattle farming systems. For those who believe that being a scientist and working in a laboratory might be too far from having impacts on the farm, I invite you to remember Dave Mertens the next time you submit a forage sample for analysis. •

author is an associate professor and dairy management extension specialist with Virginia Tech University.

22 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
©2022 Forage Genetics International, LLC. W-L Alfalfas®, UltraCut™ and HarvXtra® are trademarks of Forage Genetics, LLC. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® with Roundup Ready® Technology and Roundup Ready® Alfalfa are subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products. Whether you plant conventional seed or varieties with trailblazing traits, make W-L Alfalfas® your partner. For more than 60 years, W-L Alfalfas varieties have kept growers at the forefront of forage. Our innovative genetics and traits can make a lasting difference in your fields, too. Our advanced UltraCut™ alfalfa disease package gives you agronomic and economic advantages when it comes to helping control the toughest disease strains. Plant your legacy with W-L Alfalfas varieties. ASK YOUR RETAILER FOR W-L ALFALFAS SEED. 800-406-7662 | WLALFALFAS.COM

Seed availability is on the rebound

Compared to last year, it appears most seed types will be easier to source this fall and winter. As always, those varieties in high demand will need to be ordered early for 2023 planting.

FTER a few years of extremely tight overall forage seed inventories that were exacerbated by supply chain challenges, many of the primary forage species in key production areas should start to have average to good availability for spring plantings in 2023.

Helping to bring forage seed supply more into balance has been a recent trend away from newly seeded forage acres and toward cash crops such as corn and soybeans, which have offered record-high prices in recent years. The general sense in the industry is that spring of 2023 will see increased forage plantings due to the need for older stands to be replaced and overall

Alfalfa Bromegrass,

forage demand from dairy and beef producers. As always, we know that in more Northern regions of the Midwest, a challenging winter can significantly influence spring seed and forage needs.

Alfalfa will have good availability across the spectrum of fall dormancies and trait packages, and seed prices are expected to be stable to slightly higher. Two forage seed categories to be especially mindful of are timothy and the summer-annual complex. Most of the timothy seed produced in North America is from the Peace River area of northern Alberta, which has seen unprecedented seed production weather challenges the last two years. It’s anticipated that timothy supply won’t return to normal levels until 2024.

Forage sorghum, sorghum-sudan-

grass hybrids, and pearl millet seed production during the 2022 season also experienced extreme drought challenges and it’s expected that supplies will be lower than average. Given that these products are typically seeded later in the spring or early summer, producers would be wise to secure seed needs early to ensure the ability to utilize this option in their forage rotations.

The table below outlines the supply picture for most popular forage species. Common (C) and Improved (I) supplies are noted in parenthesis, and maturities are separated if there are differences in the outlook for the species. If there is no designation, the supply rating applies to both common and improved options as well as maturities for the species. The “Extremely tight” designation indicates that the species will likely sell out at some point in the season. By comparison, last year there were only six items in the “Average” supply category and 15 with an “Extremely tight supply” designation. As always, please check with your local supplier for specific variety availability. •


Tall Fescue

24 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
Average supply Tight supply Extremely tight supply
The author is the senior vice president of distribution for DLF North America.
Annual ryegrass Bromegrass,
Bermudagrass Clover, Alsike Millets, Pearl Clover, Ladino (C) Clover, Berseem Peas, Forage Clover, Red (C) Clover, Ladino (I) Reed canarygrass Festulolium Clover, Red (I) Sorghum-sudangrass
Millets, Hay
Clover, White Sudangrass
Early (C) Clover, Yellow blossom Timothy (I)
Perennial ryegrass, Tetraploid Orchardgrass, Early (I) Trefoil Ryegrass, Italian
Orchardgrass, Mid
Orchardgrass, Late
Tall Fescue, Novel endophyte Perennial ryegrass, Diploid
Teffgrass Timothy (C)

Advice from a baleage pioneer

BEING an early adopter is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s possible to gain a competitive advantage; on the other hand, mistakes need to be made in real time as there is little experience from others to lean on.

Kendall Guither has been making baleage for 25 years. He’s made most of the mistakes, but he’s also had plenty of time to develop a system and marketing strategy that needs few improvements. The veteran baleage maker shared his thoughts on the Dairy Forage Seminar Stage at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., last month.

Guither and his wife, Katherine, farm in northwest Illinois near the town of Walnut, growing both alfalfa and corn. He recalls that in the late 1990s many people didn’t know what baleage even was. Now, his high-quality baleage is in high demand.

Starts with a good stand

Guither’s success begins by establishing a healthy stand of alfalfa. He broadcasts 20 pounds of coated alfalfa seed per acre onto a firm seedbed, using alfalfa varieties with fast regrowth and excellent winterhardiness. Guither seeds both HarvXtra-traited and conventional varieties.

“I harvest my alfalfa pretty aggressively,” the veteran baleage producer said. “I’ll start my first cutting when alfalfa reaches late-vegetative or early bud stage. I have some customers who maintain a standing order for early-cut, first-cutting baleage. The other advantage to an early first cutting is that the stems are thinner and more pliable, so they won’t penetrate the plastic after the bale is wrapped.”

In Guither’s experience, high-quality baleage always sells. “I run out of it every year,” he said.

For subsequent summer cuttings, Guither mows at the late-bud stage and, one time during the summer,

will allow his crop to flower and build higher levels of root reserves. When mowing, Guither is a proponent of laying a wide swath to speed drying and reduce respiration losses.

“I want to have my summer cuts done by the beginning of September, then I’ll take a late-fall cut after the plants go dormant,” Guither explained. With that late cut, he leaves about a 5-inch stubble to catch snow.

Guither uses rotary rakes and a merger between mowing and baling. These implements best handle the wetter forage material. He will put up to four windrows together, depending on the amount of biomass. This helps to prevent overdrying.

When making baleage, Guither noted that it’s important to keep soil out of the bales. This is why he doesn’t recommend using a wheel rake. “Clostridia can be a problem in baleage where dirt was incorporated into the bale at some point during harvest.”

It’s not a backup plan

Ideally, Guither likes to bale between 44% and 58% moisture. He might go a little higher or lower if needed but doesn’t like to go below 40%. “There’s just not enough moisture below 40% to get a good fermentation,” Guither asserted. “Baleage shouldn’t be a backup plan. If you’re going to do baleage, then go into it with the mindset of harvesting for baleage. If you don’t, it will get too dry for a good fermentation.”

Another baleage key that Guither emphasized was to make dense bales to minimize oxygen within the bale. He uses twine with a high 440 knot strength on his 3x3 large square bales. Guither likes the 3x3 bales because they are easy to wrap, are safe for transporting, and most of his customers have equipment that can handle their size and weight. They are also easier to feed by hand, if necessary.

Guither applies a dry inoculant on all of his baleage to promote faster fermentation and improve forage quality. He emphasized the importance of choosing a quality product and applying it at recommended rates.

Alfalfa bales are sampled prior to being wrapped. This avoids the need to

poke holes in the plastic if bales were cored later. Guither samples at least a third of the bales that come off a field to get a representative sample. If it’s a small field, he might core every bale to make a composite sample.

“We want to have bales wrapped within three hours,” Guither said. “If we have to, we’ll shut down the baler so that the wrappers can catch up.” The wet bales are moved from the field on wagons to the wrap site. Guither has two individual bale wrappers. This enhances his capacity to wrap and also provides a backup if one of them should break down.

“We use no less than eight layers of 1 mil wrap,” Guither said. “It’s important to use a quality wrapping material because integrity is really tested on large square bales. Once you get a $100 bale made, don’t skimp on 80 cents worth of plastic.”

A near perfect feed

Once bales are wrapped, Guither emphasized having a good storage area. “Bales need to be kept where there is good drainage. Putting bales near buildings or a road will help deter wildlife such as deer and raccoons that can cause damage to bales.” Guither routinely places bait stations around his bale storage area to prevent damage from mice.

Guither labels all of his bales by cutting and field number and keeps an inventory sheet with the forage quality of each bale lot.

The baleage is marketed based on the prevailing dry hay (15% moisture) price, adjusting for the higher moisture product. This way, the buyer is not paying for water, but they do pay for the higher transportation costs of the wetter feed.

A quarter century ago, Guither started making baleage to narrow his harvest window and to improve forage quality. But he’s also found that harvesting hay as baleage can add an extra cutting in some years, and there is no need for a shed to store the product.

In summarizing his preference for making baleage, Guither said, “It’s a near perfect feed when it’s made right, and you save leaves. Animals want to eat it.” •

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 25


Tarping hay following harvest is the primary storage method for growers in the arid West. Although some growers purchase their own tarps, it’s far more common that they use the services of a tarping company.

26| Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
All photos Mike Rankin

MONG the many unique rural landscape features found in the western United States, firsttime visitors will witness thousands of scattered haystacks that have seemingly sprung forth from the parched soil like the even more predominate sagebrush. Stacks of hay can be seen along the road, in the distance, on hilltops, and in manicured farmstead gravel lots.

Adding to the Western skyline are the colorfully striped tarps that top the vast majority of these haystacks. One of the companies responsible for painting the tarp-laden landscape is ITC Services, based in Moses Lake, Wash. The area is part of the Columbia Basin, which is rich in irrigated crops and a stronghold for alfalfa and timothy production. This land base receives about 7 inches of rain per year, most of which comes in the winter.

Freddie Prado is the general manager for ITC Services. He’s been with the company for over 20 years and oversees an army of field managers and tarping crews. ITC Services operates offices in nine Western states with Moses Lake serving as the headquarters. A sister company, Inland Tarp & Liner, manufactures the tarps.

“Eighty-five percent of our business involves leasing tarps to farmers,” Prado said. “A grower calls, tells us where the stack is located, and we go cover it. Whenever hay from the stack is used or sold, we then go pick up the tarps. When time allows, and if stacks are only partially emptied, we will go to the farm, fold the tarp back, and then reclose the stack.”

According to Prado, a tarp can last for years, or it can be destroyed in 45 minutes of severe wind if it’s not properly secured from the time of installation until the stack is gone. Part of the tarp lease agreement entails that an ITC crew will inspect the tarp and tighten it down as needed.

Job 1: Make dry hay

Prado oversees several million tons of hay being covered in Washington each year. A successful tarping outcome begins with putting up dry hay. “If bales are a little wetter than desired, it’s best not to wrap the stack right away,” Prado said. “We’ve had situa-

tions where it was going to rain, and we’d cover the stack and then take the cover off after the rain passed to allow the bales to dissipate moisture.”

It’s also important that growers know where the hay is ultimately going. Hay destined to be exported needs to be fully wrapped, which includes a ground tarp, side tarps, and a top cover. Many buyers in the export or horse market don’t want bleached hay, so tarping is essential if the entire stack is going to be sold to these end users. For hay being used locally by dairies or feedlots, hay producers sometimes choose to only use a top tarp or top and side coverings. Regardless of use, Prado emphasized the importance of putting stacks in a well-drained area where water won’t accumulate during the winter. In some areas, enough room must be left between stacks to allow for winter snow removal. The stack location also needs to be accessible for trucks and loading equipment.

Most haystacks are the width of either two or three 8-foot-long bales (16 or 24 feet), although some regions such as Montana, for example, favor a onebale width. The height is often determined by the stack wagon that picks up bales out of the field and delivers them to the stack. Prado prefers growers also put a single row of bales lengthwise across the top of the stack, forming an inverted “V” or ridgeline, so that water and snow can run off the top.

The tarps are manufactured to fit bale stacks that are one to five bales wide, and the length of the tarp can’t be too long so that they can be handled during installation. Insurance companies often limit how much hay can be put in a single stack, which will dictate length and the amount of separation between stacks.

The prevailing wind impacts the direction the tarp is installed, with overlap openings facing in the opposite direction of the wind. This allows the wind to blow over the overlap and not into it. Most overlaps are 4 to 6 feet. Of particular interest is that each tarping company has their own unique top tarp stripe color. ITC Services’ tarps are recognized with a maroon stripe.

A need to communicate

If hay is targeted for export, farmers need to call their tarp company before a field is baled so that the ground tarp

can be put down. “We prefer farmers call us when they start raking,” Prado said. “We’d love a couple days’ notice, but that doesn’t always happen. Often, our field managers stay in close contact with our customers and know about when they will be cutting.”

Each of the five field managers that work out of the Moses Lake facility has a geographic area that they’re responsible for. They are also the ones who schedule the tarping crews. The crews are based at about a half dozen locations throughout Washington. In some areas, where hay may only be cut once on the drylands, crews are temporarily put in hotels for six to eight

weeks to service the harvest. Similar business models are in place for other states where ITC Services covers hay. “Because we don’t always get a lot of advanced notice, being close by helps with the response time,” Prado noted.

During the course of the summer, the requests for tarping ebbs and flows. In between cuttings, the workload slows down, while during harvest it becomes extremely busy. A tarping crew generally consists of four people, although another person or two may be needed in windy conditions. Prado said that they’ve been fortunate to maintain enough labor to service their customers, although, like every business, labor costs are rising. “It’s a tough, physical job to tarp hay, but you’d be amazed how fast a good tarping crew can get a stack covered,” he added.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 27
continued on following page >>>
Freddie Prado oversees multiple field managers and tarping crews from the corporate office in Moses Lake, Wash. He’s worked at ITC Services for over 20 years.

All of the ITC crew trucks are equipped with GPS units. Using specialized software, Prado and his field managers are able to identify the location and movement of all their tarping crews at any given time.

The tarping advantage

“Although the benefits of covering hay destined for export are obvious, more and more of the dairies and feedlots are recognizing the importance of hay coverings,” Prado said. “They get a higher quality product, and the bottom bales aren’t contaminated with soil and stay dry. From a marketing perspective, growers who cover their hay are generally going to sell their hay faster than those that don’t, and they will get a better price.”

Prado explained that the advantage of a tarped stack to growers is that they’re flexible in where hay can be stored. Tarping helps to eliminate hauling hay long distances with stack wagons to a central barn location. Even so, it’s probably more economical to have barns if an entity like an exporter has a single storage location where hay is being moved in and out of the same place year after year.

The cost for tarping a haystack is charged either by the ton or linear foot. That cost will vary depending on the completeness of the tarping job. Only tarping the top costs less than a complete wrap (bottom, sides, and top). The bale and hay type are also factors, as high-value three-string bale stacks for export or retail are often covered on the ends as well. Prado noted that it’s common for a large hay producer to work with more than one hay tarping company.

As for his biggest challenge, Prado cited the same answer that farmers often give — the weather. “It’s not just dealing with rain at an inopportune time, but also sometimes having to work in extreme heat.”

As long as hay gets made, the tarping industry should continue to thrive. Getting hay covered in a timely and effective manner is a logistical dance between grower and business. In most cases, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, and it’s that relationship that will continue to leave its mark on the Western rural skyline for years to come. •


Glen Knopp had been farming on his own near Marlin, Wash., since the early 1970s. In 1977, he found himself covering a haystack with sacrificial straw bales that would soak up moisture and protect the more valuable hay. By chance, his cousin was visiting from Canada and told him about some effective light-weight tarps that were being used north of the border. Knopp purchased some tarps to use on his farm. Slowly but surely, neighbors and then their neighbors began requesting tarps from Knopp who soon found himself selling these new hay coverings throughout the West.

By 1990, Knopp was working full time selling tarps and covering stacks. He moved the business to Moses Lake in 1998. His Canadian tarp supplier wasn’t as responsive as Knopp would have liked in terms of shipping product, so he started making his own tarps with the help of various U.S. suppliers. Knopp also developed a system to help keep the tarps intact during periods of high winds. Eventually, he found a manufacturer that was willing to integrate improvements that Knopp wanted to make to the tarp fabric. These days, ITC tarps are being manufactured in both the U.S. and abroad.

Through the years, Knopp grew not only his hay tarping business, which now provides rental and covering services in 13 states and sales in all 50 states, but also several other companies that provide specialized tarps and liners for industries outside of agriculture.

Approaching retirement, Knopp sold his companies to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) trust in 2020. Now, a third-party trustee ensures that the business is managed in the best interest of the employees. After working a designated amount of time for the company, each employee gets annually issued stock shares that grow in value as the company does. Essentially, all of the employees become shareholders and owners of the company.

“I wrestled with this decision for a long time,” Knopp said. “This option allows the company to move forward with the same management team, vendors, and business model that we’ve always had. The transition was seamless, and our customers couldn’t even tell there was a change.”

These days, Knopp still serves as the chief visionary officer and board chairman for the family of companies, but most of his time is spent on other noble pursuits. He and his wife, Carol, travel and visit their eight children, who are scattered across the country. Knopp is also completing his college bachelor’s degree and has finished the required classes to become an ordained minister. Finally, he and Carol have started a nonprofit organization called Minister to the Nations.

In closing, Knopp said, “I guess I want to spend the rest of my life trying to advance God’s kingdom here on earth.” There’s little doubt that he’ll have the job covered.

28 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
Tarping crews work throughout Washington on any given day. Trucks are equipped with GPS units that help track their location using specialized software. Glen Knopp


A ground tarp is laid on the ground before the stack is made. The tarp is then secured to the base of the stack.

The side tarps are dropped from the top and secured at the top and bottom. Most hay for export has both a bottom and side tarps.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 29
A final tarp is laid across the top of the stack. A single row of bales is often set in the middle of the stack so that rain and snow can run off. The top tarp is hoisted to the top using a small motor and pulley system, which is in development by ITC Services. Ropes from the top tarp are cinched tight with the bottom tarp. This creates a complete wrapping effect. A finished tarping job. Each tarping company is associated with specific stripe color.
1 3 5 2 4 6

Carbs are foundational to forage quality

IN THE August/September “Feed Analysis” column, we delved into forage protein and its associated complex feed analysis measures. The nitrogen and amino acids in forage are valuable, with protein supplement costs near record highs. However, a majority of your forage quality is better defined by a different feed fraction, namely carbohydrates.

At least 50% of the forage energy is derived from carbohydrates, so estimating quality based on carbohydrates is reasonable. The carbohydrate nutrient class is the second we’ll cover in our dedicated column series discussing feed analysis interpretation.

Forage fiber, starch, and sugar levels prove pivotal in defining forage quality because these nutrients relate to both energy and feed intake. From an energy perspective, these three different carbohydrates each contain approximately 4 calories per gram in potential energy. Yet, forage fiber contributes only half the digestible energy value per gram relative to starch and sugar due to limited fiber digestion in dairy and beef cattle. Here, we’ll focus our attention on improving your understanding of the different carbohydrate fractions reported on the feed analysis.

A detergent rinse

Fiber relates to both energy and feed intake. Cornell University’s Peter Van Soest developed a detergent system for fiber analysis in ruminant nutrition. His research laid the foundation for our commercial feed analysis, where forage testing laboratories use different detergents to rinse away nonfiber feed fractions and then measure the insoluble remaining fraction.

Through Van Soest’s work, the neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber measures were born and are reported on your forage analysis as aNDF and ADF. In reality, the aNDF and ADF describe neutral and acid detergent insoluble fiber, respectively.

The aNDF and ADF laboratory measures are like a laundry machine cycle. The laundry detergent washes away the dirt and grime, and you’re left with clean clothing. At the forage

lab, technicians use detergents to wash away starch, sugar, protein, and other nonfiber compounds, and then fiber is left. Lignin is also measured in a similar fashion to ADF and aNDF, but with a concentrated sulfuric acid. Lignin values reflect a completely indigestible component in fiber and forage.

The “a” in the aNDF acronym describes amylase, which is important alongside the neutral detergent to extract starch in starch-rich feeds such as corn silage. There is also a bit of soil and ash that’s retained in the fiber measures; aNDFom accounts for this by subtracting the ash that’s in the insoluble NDF. Think of this like sand in your pants pockets after the laundry rinse.

The ADF and aNDF measures have become the bedrock for forage quality measures such as relative feed value (RFV). For more discussion around RFV and other hay evaluation index measures, reference the three articles from 2020 that Dave Mertens and I wrote in Hay & Forage Grower

Generally speaking, aNDF is a focal point on the forage analysis, with higher quality dairy forage being 40% to 45% aNDF or less. In forages, less fiber means more energy because the calories in fiber are partly locked in lignin and are less digestible relative to starch, sugar, and other feed components. Hence, more fiber dilutes the other energy-rich components in fiber.

Additional carbs

Mary Beth Hall, a dairy scientist with the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis., standardized the starch analysis over the past decade. Starch is a chain of glucose molecules, and laborato-

ries measure starch by breaking it down into glucose. Then the technicians measure the resulting glucose with a hospital grade glucose analyzer. Following Hall’s work, starch content in forage and grains is now one of the most accurate measures on your report.

While starch is reliable and quantifies a known compound, crude sugar measures are a bit different. Sugar is like crude protein, with crude sugar measured using either ethanol or water as solvents to extract sugar-like compounds. The water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) or ethanol-soluble carbohydrate (ESC) measures represent an estimate of true plant sugar. Water extracts more sugar-like compounds than ethanol, which is why WSC is typically greater than ESC. In the future, measuring known forage sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose will replace the WSC and ESC measures on your forage analysis.

For current dairy and beef nutrition purposes, focus your attention on the WSC measure to assess sugar levels. Hay and baleage will contain more sugar than silage due to sugar being used by fermenting bacteria in the ensiling process. Typical WSC measures in forage range from near zero to 10% or more.

Bringing this article full circle, remember that carbohydrates define forage quality. With an improved understanding of the fiber, starch, and sugar measures on your forage analysis report, rank your forages based upon these carbohydrate measures, with lower fiber and more starch or sugar being the goal. Fiber and starch digestibility are also important for ranking forages, and interpreting this aspect of your forage analysis report will be covered in a future column. •


The author is the director of nutrition research and innovation with Rock River Lab Inc, and adjunct assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dairy Science Department.

30 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
John Goeser
Beef and dairy cattle derive energy from forage fiber, starch, and sugars.
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Fungicide use to inhibit Aphanomyces

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.

KENTUCKY research that tested the efficacy of fungicide seed treatments and foliar fungicides on alfalfa to potentially manage Aphanomyces root rot wasn’t conclusive. It didn’t show that the products, rather new to alfalfa production, could consistently improve plant populations and yields in alfalfa fields with a history of the disease, said Kiersten Wise, University of Kentucky (UK) plant pathologist.

larly in poorly drained and heavy soils found in Kentucky. The disease thrives when those soils are saturated after planting and temperatures turn cold. It can kill or stunt alfalfa seedlings and thin stressed stands, so weeds get the upper hand.

Teutsch, a UK plant and soil scientist, applied fungicide seed treatments to conventional alfalfa before planting it on a poorly drained field with a history of root rot. Replicated trials were conducted at the UK Research and Education Center in Caldwell County. Some treatments did increase plant populations but not yields.

Funding: $24,928

But the research provided a “great opportunity to get more specific data on an important disease and some practices that are widely promoted,” Wise said. “Fungicides are widely promoted, but there’s not a lot of independent research that shows whether or not they’re worth a farmer’s investment.”

Aphanomyces root rot can seriously impact alfalfa establishment, particu-


1. The fungicide seed treatment Rizolex + A pron XL increased alfalfa plant populations compared to the nontreated check and all other seed treatments, but it did not affect yield, ADF, or NDF.

Impact of

Conditions especially favored the disease in her state in 2019, leading Wise to apply for Alfalfa Checkoff funding and look for solutions under the climatic and environmental conditions Kentucky farmers were contending with. Most fungicide research — and resulting university recommendations — come from Northern states, particularly Wisconsin, she pointed out.

This new research “at least gives Kentucky farmers a little more information about how these products work under their production systems,” Wise added. As part of the research project, Wise also co-authored a Crop Production Network resource, called “An Overview of Aphanomyces Root Rot.”

Despite COVID-19 restrictions and limitations in 2020, Wise and Chris

The foliar fungicides were applied in 2021 after first cutting to test whether cutting timing and fungicide would impact dry matter yield. “We didn’t see any differences with the foliar fungicides, but we were conducting the research in years where we didn’t have a lot of foliar disease pressure,” Wise said.

Some bad luck

The researchers also planned to soil sample alfalfa fields across the state to determine which Aphanomyces race was prevalent. Races 1 and 2 had been confirmed in the state, but it had only been assumed that Race 2 was more widespread. Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 kept them from gathering

Fo liar fungicides didn’t increase dry matter yields as compared to the nontreated check on a 30- or 40-day cutting schedule.

A soil bioassay to help determine Aphanomyces race structure was not completed due to tornado damage to soil samples and facilities.

treatment on several alfalfa parameters (Princeton, Ky., 2020)

Non-treated check 368,337 c 2,408.8 37.0 45.8

Apron XL, 3.0 SL, 0.64 fl oz 580,692 b 2,466.7 39.6 48.6

Stamina, 1.67 FS, 1.50 fl oz 477,237 bc 2,397.3 36.4 44.9

Apron XL, 3.0 SL, 0.64 fl oz + Stamina, 1.67 FS, 1.50 fl oz 406,452 bc 2,030.0 35.7 44.1

Rizolex, 4.17 FS, 0.30 fl oz 542,577 bc 1,993.2 35.0 43.6

Rizolex, 4.17 FS, 0.30 fl oz + Apron XL, 3.0 SL, 0.64 fl oz 803,937 a 2,595.6 37.5 46.4

P= 0.0014 0.5638 0.0910 0.1163

z Column numbers followed by the same letter are not significantly different according to least squares means tests at the P=0.05 level. Analysis of foliar fungicide trials indicate, on a 30- or 40-day cutting schedule, foliar fungicide applications did not increase dry matter yield. No noticeable foliar diseases were present in the trial, which may have impacted results.

32 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
Total dry matter yield (lbs./a) Acid detergent fiber (ADF) Neutral detergent fiber (NDF)
Treatment, formulation, and rate/cwt. seed Population (plants/a) z

samples, but they did receive a few samples from county agents. Before those samples could be bio-assayed, they were lost in the December 2021 tornado that destroyed the UK research center.

The only consistent protection farmers presently have against the disease are alfalfa varieties with “race-specific” resistance to Aphanomyces, Wise says. “When we look at recommending new management practices, we want to

think about consistency. So, additional research would be needed to see if those results are consistent across broader areas (of Kentucky) and different types of production.”

Fungicide seed treatments may potentially help protect against the disease when alfalfa is established in high-risk areas, including fields with poor drainage or a history of disease outbreaks. To help farmers fight

Aphanomyces, Wise and her colleagues discuss variety resistance and ask whether the fields have a history of Aphanomyces outbreaks, as well as other questions. They help determine whether fields are at high, medium, or low risk of future outbreaks.

To access the report, “Improving Our Understanding of Aphanomyces Root Rot of Alfalfa,” or the Aphanomyces overview, visit alfalfa.org. •


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November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 33


INTEREST in integrating livestock and alfalfa production is on the rise in the U.S. as a way to produce food more sustainably. There are significant economic and environmental advantages to grazing, including lower costs, pest control, healthier animals, and soil benefits. The main concerns may be bloat risk or hoof damage to fields, but millions of acres of alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixtures are grazed safely each year.

The practice of routinely grazing alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixes is not new. It is a historical practice in the U.S., and in many parts of the world, grazing alfalfa is an important, if not dominant, method of meat and milk production. Key reasons for grazing versus haying include improved animal health, reduced labor costs, reduced fuel and equipment costs, and access to specialty markets such as organic and grass-fed livestock. There are also benefits to soil health since manure improves soil structure and contributes to plant nutrition. Grazing also reduces animal waste streams from confined livestock operations.

In Western states, grazing irrigated

alfalfa with sheep (called “sheeping-off”) or goats during late fall or wintertime when fields are mostly dormant is a common practice. Primary benefits for livestock producers include a source of inexpensive feed, especially needed in times of drought and feed shortages, and a favorable lambing environment. Grazing late-fall or winter alfalfa growth cleans up winter weeds and allows for cleaner regrowth in the spring. Winter grazing has also been shown to reduce alfalfa weevil larvae, depending upon timing.

California currently ranks second in the nation for sheep production with 550,000 head, 2.4 million pounds of wool produced, and $80 million in annual receipts. Texas ranks first, with many other Western states also having significant sheep production. Currently, the bulk of California’s lambs are born in the fall and early winter when grasses are just beginning to grow from seasonal rains. Grazing alfalfa at this time of year accommodates the lambing operation by providing high-quality feed at a time when rangeland forage conditions are poor.

In California’s Imperial Valley, sheep typically arrive from throughout the western U.S. in October when they weigh about 70 pounds and rotate

Sheep graze a California alfalfa hayfield in late November. It’s suggested that producers rotationally graze and use an appropriate stocking rate.

between fields of alfalfa until midMarch when they are sent to a feedlot or to slaughter at a finished weight of 130 pounds.

Stock appropriately

A typical stocking rate is about 30 to 40 sheep per acre. A major risk of grazing is soil compaction, especially if it’s wet, and alfalfa stand loss from livestock trampling or bedding down. To prevent overgrazing, graziers commonly establish smaller paddocks on fields with temporary fencing. Animals are moved to new areas of the field daily to weekly, depending on the amount of standing alfalfa crop, stocking density, and paddock size. Livestock then graze alfalfa fields until the alfalfa stubble is about 1 to 2 inches tall.

Graziers generally pay growers for the feed on a per head per day basis (for example, 31 cents per head) or on a per acre basis ($190 to $290 per acre) as grazing often substitutes for a hay harvest. This works well for growers with added income at a time when it’s generally too cold and wet to make hay.

34 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022

Labor may also be diverted to other activities such as vegetable crop production or equipment maintenance. In areas of the Southwest, many farm workers take leave during winter months.

Improved pest management

In addition to income, the benefits of grazing alfalfa fields include the removal of excess winter growth, which results in cleaner hay at first cutting, and sustainable pest management practices. Grazing helps control winter weeds in both seedling and established alfalfa stands, which is a significant benefit, especially for organic growers.

There are many aggressive winter weeds that are very palatable and acceptable as sheep or goat feed. The well-established alfalfa can then come back vigorously in the warmer spring period and shade out broadleaf and grassy weeds that have been suppressed by grazing. Opening the canopy also helps prevent infection of foliar diseases such as white mold (Sclerotinia) and others that result from a heavy canopy and poor air flow during wintertime.

The consumption of alfalfa stems in the winter period is an important practice for controlling alfalfa weevils that emerge in February or March. Alfalfa weevil eggs are typically laid in mature alfalfa stems in late fall through early spring. If stems are consumed, larvae do not emerge to damage the first-growth alfalfa. Removal of the canopy also exposes voles and gophers to owls, eagles, hawks, and other predators so they can hunt and reduce the rodent population.

There are differences between goats, sheep, and cattle in their grazing habits that are important to recognize when grazing alfalfa. Goats are natural browsers and will eat more woody plant material, including mature weeds, and often prefer the tops of plants. Sheep are closer grazers, eating short, tender broadleaf plants and grasses. For short periods, lactating dairy cows can graze the tops of alfalfa fields where most of the high-energy and protein feed is contained. They can be followed by dry cows, growing heifers, beef cattle, or goats and sheep. This is a common practice in Argentina where lactating dairy cows are moved twice per day followed by other classes of animals for “clean up.”

Not without risks

Grazing alfalfa does come with some manageable risks. Excessive grazing

pressure, severe hoof damage to crowns and buds, compaction of wet soils, or poor timing of grazing will reduce stand health and regrowth. For example, grazing too soon before plants have a chance to recover from a hay cutting or drought stress can weaken plants, leading to stand losses. Grazing too late in the winter when plants are breaking dormancy can result in reduced yields for first cuttings.

Animals can also knock down levees or checks, especially when fields are wet, resulting in problems irrigating fields. The potential for rain and wet

vegetables can be found in the LGMA guidelines document.

Lower the bloat risk

Frothy bloat is probably the greatest single fear that livestock producers have about grazing alfalfa. Although bloat is an ongoing concern for graziers, there are measures that can significantly lower the risk, and one must remember that millions of acres are grazed each year safely.

For alfalfa fields that have more mature growth with young sprouts coming up from the crown, there is additional bloat risk, especially with young lambs that may go directly to the new growth. Goats tend to handle older, woodier stems a little better than lambs and are generally less prone to bloat.

soils in managing sheep is one reason that most grazing of alfalfa occurs in drier regions such as the southern San Joaquin Valley and the low deserts of California and Arizona.

Livestock can also introduce weed seeds into alfalfa fields that pass through their gut or fall off their hair or wool. For example, dodder is of particular concern when grazing alfalfa since it is difficult to control. Stem nematode can also potentially be spread by livestock. Alternative feeds with low weed-seed risk include commodity grains, almond hulls, and many other crop by-products that might be fed to livestock before bringing them onto alfalfa fields.

In addition to alfalfa production risks, there are also concerns about food safety risks under the Food Safety Modernization Act and California’s Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (LGMA). The presence of livestock in or near fresh-market vegetable fields raises concerns about the potential for contaminating produce with pathogenic fecal bacteria. Requirements for buffer zones impacts the ability of forage producers to choose when they are grazing sheep based on vegetable harvest schedules of nearby fields. Information on buffers and risks associated with grazing animals close to fresh market

It’s important to condition animals to fresh-grazed fields. As such, graziers match the condition of the field to the types of animals placed there, whether sheep, goats, or cattle. Bloat risk is reduced by feeding a grass hay prior to turning animals onto fresh alfalfa growth and by feeding bloat-preventing compounds in a mineral mix. As managers gain experience grazing alfalfa, they become skilled at modulating livestock consumption of alfalfa to prevent bloat.

Grazing alfalfa stands with sheep or goats can be a win-win for both alfalfa growers and livestock producers. Graziers are able to obtain high-quality feed for livestock, which is critically needed in times of feed deficits. Alfalfa growers realize additional income plus more sustainable weed and pest control.

Success for integrating livestock into alfalfa production systems is dependent on a sound strategy, especially the right timing for when to bring animals onto fields and how long to graze to prevent overgrazing, soil compaction, and stand losses. A bloat prevention plan is also needed.

author wishes to acknowledge Morgan Doran, Brooke Latack, and Dan Putnam for their contributions to this article.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 35
“Sheeping-off” alfalfa provides a sustainable way of managing weeds, insects, and diseases. It also aids in cleaning up fields for a high-quality first cutting of hay.
RACHAEL LONG The author is a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Woodland, Calif. The

Processed hay makes a difference

S COOLER weather begins to sweep across the country, livestock producers, especially cattlemen, start making plans to feed their stock during the upcoming winter. This is nothing new and has been going on since the first cattle were brought by the Spanish into what is now Florida back in the early 1500s. Hauling feed and hay to livestock is often a necessary evil and can get expensive, especially with the high price of commodities and lack of Western hay from the drought. I wanted to go over a few things that can make this job easier, possibly save some money, and may offer improved cattle weight gains.

Chores have always been just that — a chore — but if we can speed things up or make them more efficient, at least we can feel better about doing them on a daily basis! We’ve previously discussed adding a vertical mixer to your program. While it may not work for everyone, those who have them understand the trouble of removing net wrap

and plastic from bales. Getting on and off the tractor or loader makes mixing harder than it should be.

A real time saver

We now have numerous customers who have chosen to use a bale slice attachment when loading their mixer. This unit will mount to any loader, slice the bale, and hold on to the net and/or plastic wrap so you can put the unwrapped bale in a feeder, mixer, or in a pile. For operations feeding more than 20 bales per day, this can really save some time and cut down on hay waste. You can also get buckets that attach and make loading the mixer even easier.

Bale slicers can also save money on diesel fuel and reduce vertical mixer knife wear. Mixing time can be cut by over 20%, even if your baler does not have a precutter. These knives can add to your mixing efficiency by having the bales preprocessed before being added to the mixer.

Chopped hay or baleage is better for

Processing bales before they are placed into a total mixed ration can save time and reduce wear on the mixing wagon.

your cattle. There have been numerous studies showing how chop length affects digestion in cattle. One study done at The Ohio State University tested dry hay fed to steers and reported some interesting results. Both cattle groups were fed the same hay and concentrate, but one group had its dry hay run through a hay grinder. The group fed the processed hay gained 1 pound more per day than the group that was fed unprocessed hay.

The processed hay enabled the cattle to boost their intake, which helped account for the improved weight gains. Feed intake increased because they could digest the smaller particles of hay faster in the rumen.

Options exist

Everyone should be able to take this information and implement it in some way on the farm or ranch. This could be by hiring a custom hay grinder to come in and process hay before it is added to the mixer. You could investigate adding a bale slicer to speed up the feeding process and help shorten the hay particle length. This could even be used when putting hay into a hay ring.

I believe that the best place to start is in the hayfield when you are baling hay. Consider a round or big square baler equipped with precutter knives. You can use as many or as few knives as you want to fit your feeding program, but obtaining a chop length of about 4 inches is the ideal length for cattle to consume and digest hay efficiently.

Consider one or a few of these bale processing options on your operation this winter. I believe you will see a big difference in cattle performance next spring, which will also make a difference in your back pocket!

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

36 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
Adam Verner

Massey Ferguson updates 2200 series baler

Deere debuts new forage harvesters

John Deere has added three new self-propelled forage harvesters to its lineup — the 9500, 9600, and 9700. The 9500 (755 maximum hp), 9600 (775 maximum hp), and 9700 (813 maximum hp) feature the new John Deere Power Systems 18L engine. The new engine provides market-leading productivity with up to 13% higher efficiency due to the diesel-only innovation of the engine that does not require DEF fluid.

Hesston by Massey Ferguson has made some improvements to its LB2200 series large square balers. Most notably, the new series introduces a five-bar pickup, improved from a four-bar configuration in previous models. This feature allows for better productivity as well as smoother crop flow, which results in a better flake and bale. Additionally, the updated baler employs poly tine wrappers. Compared to metal bands, these components are more forgiving, leading to a longer service life. This feature also reduces noise.

Other updates include new tire and axle options as well as design changes to the roller bale chute for easier transport. As with previous models, the updated series incorporates Hesston’s innovative double knotter system, but the recent update adds a new electric knotter

trip system to enhance efficiency and ease of use. This feature allows operators to adjust bale length from the cab.

The LB2200 brings Tractor Implement Management (TIM) to the field. With a TIM-capable tractor, the operator can allow the baler to tell the tractor what the most efficient ground speed is, and the tractor will adjust accordingly. The new model offers upgraded electronics for more streamlined operation and can interface with the most cutting-edge technology, including Massey Ferguson’s Datatronic 5 terminal and MF Connect.

Hesston by Massey Ferguson balers feature an exclusive precompression chamber that preforms a flake before passing it to the bale formation chamber. For more information, visit masseyferguson.com.

Claas touts its 9300 triple mower

The DISCO 9300 is designed to be a powerful, high-output mower without a conditioner, delivering cutting quality and operational efficiency. It offers a large working width of 29 feet, 2 inches or 29 feet, 10 inches and a low power requirement of only 150 PTO horsepower. The DISCO 9300 is simple to operate without a monitor. The permanently lubricated cutter bar is maintenance-free, and the special wave shape enables the large satellite wheels to be placed well to the front, engaging at two points. Each cutterbar has eight contra-rotating mower discs. Uniform disc spacing ensures an even cutting pattern. The wave-shaped, one-piece base plate is made of a 5-millimeter-thick steel profile and creates a dirt-removing tunnel effect in connection with the skids. The specially hardened intermediate pieces are shaped differently for converging and diverging mower discs in order to enable both an effective cut as a counter blade and a maximum overlap. The mower bar is equipped with the quick knife-change system. Due to the protective curtains that fold out

wide, there is excellent access to the cutterbar for all maintenance needs. The caps and mower blades of the counter-clockwise rotating mower discs on the new DISCO mowers are painted red. As a result, replacement blades can be immediately assigned to the appropriate mower discs. A blade box is divided into three compartments for red and black replacement blades as well as used blades. High-quality washers made of brass or plastic and stainless-steel screws on the protective curtains and holders prevent rusting. For more information, visit claas.com.

The JD18X engine features a 750-hour service interval — an improvement of 33% compared to the previously used 13.5L engine. Since no DEF fluid is required, ownership costs are kept low and machine reliability is improved. The harvesters offer outstanding crop flow through the machine, which is partly due to the HarvestMotion Plus engine technology. HarvestMotion Plus provides a unique torque-rise curve and extra power at low engine rpm, which increases power.

Each 9000 Series comes equipped with a new spout that provides better operator visibility while unloading and boosts machine reliability. One way dairy and livestock operations can take full advantage of the improved forage quality and kernel processing of the 9000 Series is by using John Deere Premium or XStream KP kernel processors.

John Deere offers integrated technology for self-propelled forage harvesters, with fully integrated AutoTrac RowSense guidance, Active Fill Control with rear unloading, and the Generation 4 Universal Display.

John Deere makes it easy to stay connected by including JDLink hardware. A JDLink connection allows field and machine data from the cab to be sent wirelessly to Operations Center. The Operations Center mobile app gives access to that field and machine data from anywhere, anytime. Custom harvesters can set up work plans before harvesting and send them wirelessly to the Gen 4 display in the cab, monitor harvest progress, and analyze results and machine data. For more information, visit www.deere.com.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 37

Quad-rotor rakes introduced by Kuhn

The new Kuhn GA 13231 and 15231 quad-rotor rotary rakes have working widths from 27 feet, 7 inches to 48 feet, 3 inches to cover large areas quickly, while double-bent tine arms create fluffy windrows. Kuhn’s Masterdrive GIII double-reduction gearbox has the ability to move a heavy wet crop, handle dry hay gently, and create a neat forage windrow. Key components have been improved to build lighter, yet stronger rotors. These include an optimized cam track that minimizes force on the follower bearing, a larger follower bearing diameter, and a reinforced, large-diameter main shaft tube. Additional improvements to the tine arms include aluminum alloy tine arm holder housings, tine arms with large-dimension bearings, a sturdier pivoting tine support shaft, and reinforced mounting of tine arms on tine holders.

The exclusive “boost function” allows front rotors to rotate 20% faster than the rear rotors, moving forage further to the center of the machine. This reduces the risk of forage clumping and improves drying. ISOBUS controls adjust all settings of the rake via the in-cab terminal. These include working and windrow width, simultaneous or individual front rotor lift, raking height, machine folding, and others. These rakes can easily be integrated into an existing ISOBUS terminal on the tractor. For more information, visit kuhn.com.

Hayliner series is back with new tech

Round balers added to Case IH lineup

As the latest addition to the Case IH round baler family, RB6 HD Pro series balers are designed and engineered to handle higher annual bale counts with a host of features that improve performance. Specifically built to tackle wet and heavy silage, RB6 HD Pro balers grant users superior speed while offering fewer moving parts and chains, making for lower overall maintenance and greater productivity.

New Holland Agriculture is returning the Hayliner name to all of its small square balers in North America. The new models include the Hayliner 265, Hayliner 275, and Hayliner 275 PLUS. With the return, the brand’s small square balers will offer the company’s first precision solution for two models. All three models have a 14- by 18-inch bale case and standard equipment tailored to different operational needs.

The new electronic bale length control allows operators to set and calibrate for an accuracy of plus or minus 2 inches. By measuring the total bale length and each individual flake, the electronic bale length control system predicts the next flake’s thickness, then trips the knotter with greater accuracy than the mechanical solution.

With this system a new display is not required. Instead, the user interface is through the Electronic Bale Length Control

app on an operator’s smartphone or tablet. Connectivity is via a smartphone or tablet’s Wi-Fi connection for a reliable connection and security with no data plan needed for operation. Another benefit of the app-based system is the ability to provide real-time bale length and flake data, enabling the operator to adjust ground speed to conditions to optimize the baler’s capacity.

In the app, job data, like average flake count per bale, average flake size, total bales produced, total hours operated, and the average bales produced per hour can be viewed and saved. Additional fields for average moisture, crop type, field name, and notes may also be manually inputted and saved to a job, generating a report that can be emailed directly from the app. For more detailed information on the three new Hayliner models, visit agriculture. newholland.com.

Highlighted features of the new balers include a new, heavy-duty drive system; a rugged main gear box that drives from both the left and right; an 82-inch tine-to-tine, heavy-duty five-bar pickup; and a dual zone, in-cab density control that allows operators to set both core and outer densities.

Upgrades and additions to existing round baler models have also been made. The Case IH RB565 Premium round baler now features a new heavyduty drive option with larger chains and sprockets, a larger main gear box, and a higher capacity cutout clutch. For lower bale count producers, growers can take advantage of the new RB456A standard round baler, which features a 30% wider pickup, a stuffer feeding system, and an upgraded wrapping system. For more information, visit www.caseih.com.

38 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022 MACHINE SHED

Vermeer offers new trailed mowers

A new line of Vermeer mid-sized trailed mowers are designed to consistently deliver a clean cut. The Vermeer TM105, TM120, and TM135 trailed mowers have respective cutting widths of 10.7 feet, 12 feet, and 13.5 feet. Each mower is built to withstand a variety of field conditions, with robust heavy-duty frames and large tires. The mowers’ Q3 cutterbar — a heavy-duty, modular, shaft-driven cutterbar — is backed by a three-year coverage. For a clean cut across the field, the nitrogen-charged hydraulic suspension system optimizes ground pressure. Producers can

quickly make toolless adjustments for varying field conditions. The maneuverability of these mowers helps producers achieve a clean cut. Mowing around tight corners is efficient with the swivel gearbox and hydraulic pitch adjustment. A pivoting header gearbox and a CV joint help producers mow on the side of or directly behind the tractor. To avoid an obstacle, producers can raise the pitch and lower it to the original cut height with a lever — and the mower never leaves the ground.

The TM135 allows either 540 rpm or 1,000 rpm PTO input speeds. Two Quick Hitch options

Pöttinger unveils twin-rotor rake

Pöttinger has introduced a new flexible TOP 632 A with CURVETECH side rake. The side swath rake owes its flexibility to the steering system on the rear rotor. This allows the working widths to be varied

over a large range. Even obstacles and awkward field shapes can be raked around without any problems. The twin rotor rake reaches a working width of up to 20.6 feet in double swath-mode. To rake a double swath or two single swaths, the rear rotor, which is connected to the front one by a flexible frame, can be steered to the left or right by a hydraulic cylinder. CURVETECH is the automatic steering system on the rear rotor. Two hydraulic cylinders work together to steer the rear rotor. When cornering, an additional linkage between the front pivot point of the main frame and the hydraulic cylinders ensures optimized overlap of the two rotor units. The following modes can be selected: single swath, double swath, park, and transport. The two hydraulic cylinders for steering the rear rotor are controlled automatically so that when the spool valve is actuated, the rear rotor swings out on the correct side. The trailed TOP A twin rotor side swath rakes are equipped with tandem axles as standard. No slope is too steep for the wide chassis. For more information, visit poettinger.at/en_us.

are available, both with a balanced swivel gearbox connection for hassle-free hitching. The patented drawbar swivel hitch and a patented two-point hitch make hookup a one-person job. All three models are built with a Q3 cutterbar that comes with the Quick-Clip blade retention system and Quick-Change shear ring. These help protect the internal components of the cutterbar. Routine maintenance is convenient with a large fold-up curtain. The greaseless vertical driveline and tongue pivot help minimize the number of grease points. For more information, visit vermeer.com.

Fendt launches 700 Vario series

AGCO is introducing the new Fendt 700 Vario series tractors to North America, which will be available to order through Fendt dealerships for delivery in 2023. The new generation of Fendt’s best-selling range provides an even more efficient powertrain with VarioDrive transmission and Fendt iD low engine speed concept, a larger frame, and more hydraulic capacity.

The Fendt 700 Vario series tractors are available in five models ranging from 203 to 283 engine horsepower. An AGCO Power 7.5-liter engine delivers a high-performance range without compromising on efficiency. The FendtONE workstation with new seat offerings allows operators to customize their Fendt 700 Vario series for efficiency and comfort. The single-range Fendt VarioDrive transmission provides an entirely seamless operating experience from 65 feet to 33 miles per hour. VarioDrive provides intelligently controlled all-wheel drive management. The drive train eliminates the need for manual switching when changing between field and road operations.

The Fendt 700 Vario is equipped with a 10-inch digital dashboard and a 12-inch terminal on the armrest as standard.

Each tractor is backed by Fendt Gold Star Customer Care. The full warranty covers the tractor for 3,000 hours or 36 months, plus all scheduled maintenance. For more information, visit Fendt. com/us.

November 2022 | hayandforage.com | 39
T he Machine Shed column will provide an opportunity to share information with readers on new equipment to enhance hay and forage production. Contact Managing Editor Mike Rankin at mrankin@hayandforage.com.
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BUYERS MART 44 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022 Contact Mountain View Seeds at 503.588.7333 for a free MVS Forage & Cover Crop Guide www.mtviewseeds.com AN AMERICAN SEED COMPANY FARMER OWNED BETTER GENETICSFOR ALL YOUR HAY NEEDS HIGH YIELDING LATEST MATURITY DISEASE RESISTANCE HORSE QUALITY HIGH YIELDS EXCELLENT REGROWTH HIGH YIELDING INTERMEDIATE TYPE EXCELLENT PERSISTENCE PREMIUM ALFALFA SEED YIELD & QUALITY LEADER THE NEW GO-TO FD4 DRI 35/35 CERTIFIED ITALIAN TOP FORAGE QUALITY HIGH YIELDING HIGH YIELDING DISEASE RESISTANT EXCELLENT PERSISTENCE Revised_2022_ad.indd 1 12/1/21 4:44 PM DESIGNED. ENGINEERED. REMARKABLE VALUE. Worksaver, Inc. Litchfield, IL • Phone: 217.324.5973 VISIT WORKSAVER.COM TO LEARN MORE BALE CARRIAGE HAY-HANDLING PERFORMANCE • Models for skid steers, tractor front loaders and select telehandlers. • Pick-up two 4’ x 4’ x 8’ or three 3’ x 3’ x 8’ rectangular bales. • Features five bolt-in spears with useable length of 40.5” and four upper balance spears. Check out hayandforage.com for up-to-date field news, the latest industry information and more!
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Irrigation Show and Education Week

December 5 to 9, Las Vegas, Nev. Details: irrigationshow.org

Kansas Forage and Grassland Conference

December 15, Great Bend, Kan. Details: ksfgc.org/upcoming-events

American Forage & Grassland Council Annual Conference

January 8 to 11, Winston-Salem, NC Details: afgc.org

Northwest Hay Expo

January 18 and 19, Kennewick, Wash. Details: wa-hay.org

Virginia Winter Forage Conferences

January 24 to 27 (four locations) Details: vaforages.org/events

Western Alfalfa Seed Growers

Assn. Winter Seed Conference

January 29 to 31, Las Vegas, Nev. Details: wasga.org

U.S. Custom Harvesters Convention

February 2 to 4, Omaha, Neb. Details: uschi.com

Southwest Hay Conference January 26 and 27, Ruidoso, N.M. Details: nmhay.com

Driftless Region Beef Conference January 26 and 27, Dubuque, Iowa Details: www.aep.iastate.edu/beef

Cattle Industry Convention

NCBA Trade Show

February 1 to 3, New Orleans, La. Details: convention.ncba.org

GrassWorks Grazing Conference

February 2 to 4, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Details: grassworks.org

World Ag Expo

February 14 to 16, Tulare, Calif. Details: worldagexpo.com

Midwest Forage Symposium

February 21 and 22, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Details: midwestforage.org

International Grassland Congress May 14 to 19, Covington, Ky. Details: internationalgrasslands.org

Market strength remains as winter approaches

Most hay machinery has now been parked for the remainder of 2022. In their October Crop Production report, USDA dropped forecasted yields for both alfalfa and other types of hay. If this proves true, it’s unlikely hay prices will decline in the coming months. Drought, limited water in some

regions, and high input prices will also help hold market strength. In contrast to the West, inventories in the Upper Midwest appear to be adequate or better.

The prices below are primarily from USDA hay market reports as of mid-October. Prices are FOB barn/stack unless otherwise noted. •

For weekly updated hay prices, go to “USDA Hay Prices” at hayandforage.com

Supreme-quality alfalfa Price $/ton Nebraska (western) 240-250 California (central SJV) 460-478(d)Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb 210-220 California (intermountain) 360-370New Mexico (eastern) 325-330

Colorado (San Luis Valley) 310 Oregon (Lake County) 315 Idaho (central) 330 Pennsylvania (southeast) 270-340 Iowa (Rock Valley) 250-275South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb 195-210

Kansas (north central) 250 Texas (west) 280-320(d) Kansas (south central) 325 (d)Washington 290-320 Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 280-285 Wisconsin (Lancaster) 160-185

Missouri 250-300Wyoming (western) 200 New Mexico (central) 355 Fair-quality hay Price $/ton Oklahoma (central) 275 (d)California (central SJV) 365 Oklahoma (western) 300(d)California (southeast) 320 Oregon (Crook-Wasco) 425 Idaho (eastern) 300(d) Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb 435 Idaho (western) 250 South Dakota 270-300Kansas (northeast) 156 Texas (Panhandle) 385-410(d)Kansas (south central)-lrb 180-210 Texas (west)-ssb 355-385Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 155-185 Washington 340-350Missouri-lrb 125-150

Premium-quality alfalfa Price $/ton Montana 225 California (intermountain) 340 New Mexico (north central) 150 California (southeast) 450Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb 260 Colorado (southeast) 300-325South Dakota-lrb 190 Idaho (central) 315 Washington 315 (d) Iowa 332 Wyoming (eastern) 235 Iowa (Rock Valley)-lrb 235-248 Bermudagrass hay Price $/ton Kansas (northeast) 221-300Alabama-Premium lrb 110-200 Kansas (south central) 250-260California (southeast)-Premium ssb 345 Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 210-250California (southeast)-Good ssb 240 Missouri 180-250Texas (central)-Good/Prem lrb 208-240(d) Montana 250 Texas (southern)-Good/Prem ssb 260-330 Montana-ssb 350 Bromegrass hay Price $/ton Nebraska (central) 270 Iowa-Good/Prem ssb 255 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-ssb 415 Kansas (northeast)-Good lrb 165 (d) Oregon (Harney) 350 Kansas (southeast)-Good 150-200 Pennsylvania (southeast)-ssb 400 Orchardgrass hay Price $/ton South Dakota (Corsica)-lrb 215-235 Oregon (Crook-Wasco)-Premium ssb 400-425 Texas (Panhandle) 330-365(d)Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good 235-290 Washington 325 Wyoming (western)-Premium ssb 300 Wisconsin (Lancaster) 280 Timothy hay Price $/ton Wyoming (eastern) 250 Oregon (Lake County)-Premium ssb 420 Wyoming (western)-ssb 270-300Pennsylvania (southeast)-Good 200 Good-quality alfalfa Price $/ton Pennsylvania (southeast)-Fair 160-190 California (intermountain) 320 Oat hay Price $/ton California (southeast)-ssb 400-410Iowa (Rock Valley)-Good lrb 178-183 Colorado (northeast) 260 (d)Minnesota (Pipestone)-Utility lrb 85 Colorado (southeast) 260-300(d)Nebraska (Platte Valley)-lrb 150 Idaho (eastern) 305 Wheat Straw Price $/ton Iowa-lrb 240 Iowa (Rock Valley) 153-165 Kansas (northwest) 240-280(d)Kansas 110-120 Kansas (southeast) 175-200Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 120-145 Minnesota (Sauk Centre) 160-200Montana-lrb 80(d) Missouri-lrb 150-180(d)Pennsylvania (southeast) 90-140 Montana-lrb 210 South Dakota-lrb 120

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

FORAGE IQ 46 | Hay & Forage Grower | November 2022
HARVXTRA.COM Choose the alfalfa seed trait that can help give you an extra edge when it comes to cutting flexibility. Ask your seed retailer for HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology or call 800-406-7662 for more information. LIFE ON THE CUTTING EDGE 1HarvXtra Alfalfa delivers a higher RFQ and NDFd than conventional varieties cut on the same day. On average, 14-18% higher forage quality (RFQ) and NDFD across cuttings than conventional varieties harvest at the same stage of maturity. Data comes from FGI trials comparing HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology 2017 FD4 commercial varieties to FD4 commercial checks. Trials were seeded in 2013 and harvested in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in Boone, IA; Mt. Joy, PA; Nampa, ID; Touchet, WA; and West Salem, WI. Yield increase is directly correlated to the ability to delay harvest. ©2022 Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® is a registered trademark of Forage Genetics, LLC. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® with Roundup Ready® Technology and Roundup Ready® Alfalfa are subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products. REILY LEPIANKA B&D DAIRY POUND, WISCONSIN IT’S TOTALLY CHANGED THE WAY WE MAKE HAY “ “ YOU GO OUT AND CUT YOUR HAY ONE LESS TIME A YEAR, WHICH SAVES YOU WEAR AND TEAR, AND MONEY. WITH THE COST OF EVERYTHING THESE DAYS, THAT’S A BIG DEAL.1

Hesston by Massey Ferguson® has been leading the charge in baler innovations for 75 years now, and we’re not about to stop. In fact, our all-new baler is ready to change the game. We’d show you, but that bale is in the way.

Keep your eyes open for the new, game-changing baler from Hesston by Massey Ferguson coming in 2023 or visit www.masseyferguson.us today to check out our current lineup.

©2022 AGCO Corporation. Massey Ferguson is worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation. Hesston is a brand of AGCO. AGCO, Massey Ferguson and Hesston are trademarks of AGCO. All rights reserved. HS22N001FC
Variety Ratings 2023 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.
2023 VL - 2 Variety Contact for Marketing Information Winter Survival Bacterial Wilt Verticillium Wilt Fusarium Wilt Anthracnose Race 1 Phytophthora Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot Spotted Alfalfa Aphid Pea Aphid Blue Alfalfa Aphid Potato Leafhopper Stem Nematode Southern Root Knot Nematode Northern Root Knot Nematode Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low) Continuous Grazing Tolerance
Standability Expression
Salt Tolerance
R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid FD 2 Foothold BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R M G Spredor 5 Nexgrow Alfalfa 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R G FD 3DORMANT 54VQ52 Pioneer HR HR R HR HR HR HR R R HR 6305Q Nexgrow Alfalfa 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R H Graze N Hay 3.10RR Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R G R Hi-Gest 360 Alforex Seeds 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR R R R M G HVX Tundra II Croplan 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G RX ISS37Q Innvictis Seed 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R H G LegenDairy AA Croplan 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R H G Octane BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR L RR Presteez Croplan 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR MR H G R Rugged Alforex Seeds 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR HR MR Y G Rugged II Alforex Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R HR R L G Shift BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR HR H SW3407 Alfalfa Partners HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R WL 319HQ W-L Alfalfas 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR MR H WL 336HQ.RR W-L Alfalfas 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR MR H G R FALL DORMANCY (FD) RATING DESCRIPTIONS FD Rating Description FD Rating Description 1 2 Very Dormant 6 7 Semi-Dormant 3 4 Dormant 8 9 Non-Dormant 5 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. RESISTANCE RATINGS % Resistant Plants Resistance Class Class Abbreviations 0-5% Susceptible S 6-14% Low Resistance LR 15-30% Moderate Resistance MR 31-50% Resistance R >50% High Resistance HR WINTER SURVIVAL RATINGS Category Check Variety Score Extremely Winterhardy ZG 9830 1 Very Winterhardy 5262 2 Winterhardy WL325HQ 3 Moderately Winterhardy G-2852 4 Slightly Winterhardy Archer 5 Non-Winterhardy CUF 101 6 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. WINTER SURVIVAL, FALL DORMANCY & PEST RESISTANCE RATINGS FOR ALFALFA VARIETIES
2023 VL - 3 Variety Contact for Marketing Information Winter Survival Bacterial Wilt Verticillium Wilt Fusarium Wilt Anthracnose Race 1 Phytophthora Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot Spotted Alfalfa Aphid Pea Aphid Blue Alfalfa Aphid Potato Leafhopper Stem Nematode Southern Root Knot Nematode Northern Root Knot Nematode Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low) Continuous Grazing Tolerance
H-75-95% Hybrid 5C400 LG Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R L FD 4DORMANT 54Q16 Pioneer HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR 54Q29 Pioneer HR HR R HR HR HR R R HR HR 54VR10 Pioneer HR HR R HR HR HR HR R HR R R 4319.A2 RR La Crosse Seed 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R H R 6401N Nexgrow Alfalfa HR HR HR HR HR R R HR HR HR M G 6422Q Nexgrow Alfalfa 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R H 6424R 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 R MR R HR H G R 6439HVXR Nexgrow Alfalfa 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G RX 6453Q Nexgrow Alfalfa 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G 6497R Nexgrow Alfalfa 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R H G R Ace BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR R HR L AFX 429 Alforex Seeds 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R R R R L AFX 439 Alforex Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R R R L G AFX 457 Alforex Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R R L G AFX 460 Alforex Seeds 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R R R R H AFX 469 Alforex Seeds 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R MR R HR R L G AmeriStand 416NT RR America's Alfalfa HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR M G R AmeriStand 428TQ America's Alfalfa 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR H G AmeriStand 445NT America's Alfalfa HR R HR HR HR R HR R HR HR M G AmeriStand 446NT America's Alfalfa 2 HR HR HR HR HR R R HR HR M G AmeriStand 455TQ RR America's Alfalfa 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R HR H G R AmeriStand 457TQ RR America's Alfalfa 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R H G R 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 G RX Barricade II BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR HR HR G Camas LG Seeds HR R HR HR HR HR HR R HR HR M DG 417RR Dyna-Gro 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H R DG 4120 Dyna-Gro 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G Dynamo BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R M FF 42.A3 La Crosse Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R H FF 4022.LH La Crosse Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR FF 4215.HVX RR La Crosse Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R H RX GA-409 Preferred HR HR HR HR HR HR HR
Expression (R-Resistance)
Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)
2023 VL - 4 Variety Contact for Marketing Information Winter Survival Bacterial Wilt Verticillium Wilt Fusarium Wilt Anthracnose Race 1 Phytophthora Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot Spotted Alfalfa Aphid Pea Aphid Blue Alfalfa Aphid Potato Leafhopper Stem Nematode Southern Root Knot Nematode Northern Root Knot Nematode Multifoliolate Expression
Hybrid FD 4DORMANT GrandStand II Dyna-Gro 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR HR M HG4001 LG Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R R MR R R M HVX Driver Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G RX HVX MegaTron Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G RX HVX MegaTron AA Croplan 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R G RX HybriForce-3400 Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R HR R HR H HybriForce-3420/Wet Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R R R L H HybriForce-3430 Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R R HR R L H HybriForce-4400 Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R HR HR MR H HybriForce-4420/Wet Dairyland Seed HR HR HR HR HR HR HR L H L-442RR Legacy Seeds 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H R L-457HD+ Legacy Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR MR MR LG 4C100 LG Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R R R M LG 4HVXR100 LG Seeds 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H RX LG 4R300 LG Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR M R LG 4R400 LG Seeds 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR MR H R Magnum 7 Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR R HR Magnum 8 Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R MR R R R L Magnum 8-Wet Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR R MR L Magnum Salt Dairyland Seed 2 HR HR HR R HR R R HR R HR G/F Optimus BrettYoung 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR HR R R R M Rebound AA Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G Reload BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR R R L RR AphaTron 2XT Croplan 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R H G R RR Stratica Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R H G R RR VaMoose Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R HR MR G R SGS 47M Innvictis Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H Shockwave BR BrettYoung 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R MR HR R HR Shockwave II BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR HR L Stockpile BrettYoung 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR R HR Stockpile II BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR R L SW4107 Alfalfa Partners HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR R R SW4412Y Alfalfa Partners 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 H G RX WL 349HQ W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R H G
(H-High/M-Mod/L-Low) Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes) Standability Expression (R-Resistance) Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage) R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95%
2023 VL - 5 Variety Contact for Marketing Information Winter Survival Bacterial Wilt Verticillium Wilt Fusarium Wilt Anthracnose Race 1 Phytophthora Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot Spotted Alfalfa Aphid Pea Aphid Blue Alfalfa Aphid Potato Leafhopper Stem Nematode Southern Root Knot Nematode Northern Root Knot Nematode Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low) Continuous Grazing Tolerance
Standability Expression
R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95% Hybrid WL 358LH W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR M FD 4 WL 359LH.RR W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR R WL 3441.RR W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR H G R WL 3471.HVXRR W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R R H G RX 55H96 Pioneer HR R HR HR HR HR HR R R HR FD 5MODERATELY DORMANT 6516R Nexgrow Alfalfa HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR M G R 6585Q Nexgrow Alfalfa 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR H G AFX 579 Alforex Seeds 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R R HR R L G AmeriStand 518NT America's Alfalfa HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR H G AmeriStand 545NT RR America's Alfalfa R HR R HR HR HR HR HR HR HR M G R DG 5315 Dyna-Gro 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 HR R R H GUNNER AA Croplan 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR H G L-450RR Legacy Seeds 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR MR HR R M R LG 5R300 LG Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR M R MPIII Max Q Innvictis Seed 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R HR HR H G Nimbus Croplan HR R HR HR HR HR HR HR HR M F PGI 529 Alforex Seeds 1 HR R HR HR HR HR MR R MR R L RR Saltiva Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR MR HR M G R RR Tonnica Croplan 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R H G R Slingshot BrettYoung 2 R HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR H Sureshot BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR R R L SW5213 Alfalfa Partners HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR HR SW5637S Alfalfa Partners HR HR R HR HR HR R F WL 365HQ W-L Alfalfas 1 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR HR R G WL 372HQ.RR W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R HR H G R WL 375HVX.RR W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR H G RX WL 377HQ W-L Alfalfas HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR M G WL 3521 W-L Alfalfas 2 HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR R G 6010 BrettYoung 2 HR HR HR HR HR R R R HR FD 6 6610N Nexgrow Alfalfa HR HR HR HR HR HR HR HR H G AFX 670 Alforex Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR G Alfagraze 600 RR America's Alfalfa R HR R R R MR HR HR R ArtesianSun 6.3 Croplan R HR HR HR HR HR HR HR MR H G
Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)
2023 VL - 6 Variety Contact for Marketing Information Winter Survival Bacterial Wilt Verticillium Wilt Fusarium Wilt Anthracnose Race 1 Phytophthora Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot Spotted Alfalfa Aphid Pea Aphid Blue Alfalfa Aphid Potato Leafhopper Stem Nematode Southern Root Knot Nematode Northern Root Knot Nematode Multifoliolate Expression
Hybrid FD 6SEMI-DORMANT Cisco II Alforex Seeds 2 HR HR HR R HR MR HR R R R HR G/F Hi-Gest 660 Alforex Seeds R MR HR HR R HR HR R HR G HybriForce-2600 Dairyland Seed 2 HR R HR HR HR R R HR R HR H HybriForce-3600 Dairyland Seed HR R HR HR R HR R HR HR HR HR H L-602 Legacy Seeds HR HR HR HR HR HR R R Revolver BrettYoung HR HR HR HR HR HR R R R R RR 6 Shot Plus Croplan R HR HR HR HR R HR HR HR L G R SW6330 Alfalfa Partners R LR R R R R HR MR MR R WL 458HQ.RR W-L Alfalfas 3 HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR R HR L G R WL 467HQ W-L Alfalfas HR R HR HR HR R HR HR HR M G FD 7SEMI-DORMANT 6829R Nexgrow Alfalfa R R R HR HR HR HR R HR G R AFX 779 Alforex Seeds R R R R R HR HR R R G AmeriStand 618NT America's Alfalfa MR MR HR R HR HR HR HR HR M G AmeriStand 715NT RR America's Alfalfa R R HR HR HR HR HR HR R M G/F R LG 7C300 LG Seeds HR R HR HR HR HR HR HR M LG 7R400 LG Seeds R HR HR R HR R HR HR R R R SW7408 Alfalfa Partners R R HR HR HR LR HR HR HR R FD 8NON-DORMANT AmeriStand 803T America's Alfalfa MR HR MR HR R HR HR HR HR G AmeriStand 835NTS RR America's Alfalfa R MR HR LR R HR HR HR HR HR G R Sun Titan Croplan MR MR HR R HR HR HR HR HR G SW8421S Alfalfa Partners HR HR R HR R R R F WL 538HQ W-L Alfalfas R R HR HR HR HR HR HR R G WL 558HQ.RR W-L Alfalfas HR R HR R HR HR HR R R G R FD 9NON-DORMANT 6906N Nexgrow Alfalfa MR HR R R HR HR HR HR G 9R400RR LG Seeds R R HR R HR HR HR R HR R 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 R HR G AmeriStand 955NT RR America's Alfalfa HR R HR MR HR HR HR R HR G R LG 9C300 LG Seeds MR HR R R LR R R G PGI 908-S Alforex Seeds R R HR HR HR HR HR HR R HR HR G/F RR Desert Rose Croplan R R HR HR HR HR HR HR R G R Sun Quest Croplan MR R R HR HR HR HR HR G SW9628 Alfalfa Partners LR R LR R HR R R HR SW9720 Alfalfa Partners MR R R HR HR R MR HR F SW9813S Alfalfa Partners R R R R R HR MR F
Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes) Standability Expression (R-Resistance) Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage) R-RRA; X-HarvXtra; H-75-95%
2023 VL - 7
Variety Contact for Marketing Information Winter Survival Bacterial Wilt Verticillium Wilt Fusarium Wilt Anthracnose Race 1 Phytophthora Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 1 Root Rot Aphanomyces Race 2 Root Rot Spotted
Hybrid WL 656HQ W-L Alfalfas MR HR R HR HR HR HR HR G FD 9 WL 668HQ.RR W-L Alfalfas HR R HR HR HR HR HR R HR G R AFX 1060 Alforex Seeds LR R R R R HR R R HR G FD 10 SW10 Alfalfa Partners MR R R HR HR HR R 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 PUBLIC ALFALFA VARIETY TRIALS Institution Contact Link University of California-Davis Dan Putnam Chris DeBen alfalfa.ucdavis.edu University of Kentucky Gene Olson forages.ca.uky.edu/variety_trials Michigan State University Kim Cassida Joe Paling forage.msu.edu/publications Mississippi State University Joshua White mafes.msstate.edu/variety-trials/forage.asp New Mexico State University Leonard Lauriault pubs.nmsu.edu/specialty/index.html Cornell University Virginia Moore Julie Hansen blogs.cornell.edu/varietytrials/forage Pennsylvania State University Guojie Wang extension.psu.edu/forage-variety-trials-reports Washington State University Steve Norberg extension.wsu.edu/benton-franklin/agriculture/forages University of Wyoming Anowar Islam uwyo.edu/plantsciences/department-directory/islamanowar.html
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
listed can be purchased in the United States.
Pea Aphid Blue Alfalfa Aphid Potato Leafhopper Stem Nematode
Root Knot Nematode Northern Root Knot Nematode Multifoliolate Expression (H-High/M-Mod/L-Low) Continuous Grazing Tolerance (Y-Yes) Standability Expression (R-Resistance) Salt Tolerance (G-Germination/F-Forage)
X-HarvXtra; H-75-95%
Alforex Seeds Leaflet Listing: Alforex Seeds Jordan, MN 55352 877-560-5181 www.alforexseeds.com America’s Alfalfa Leaflet Listing: America’s Alfalfa Nampa, ID 83653 800-406-7662 www.americasalfalfa.com BrettYoung Leaflet Listing: BrettYoung Winnipeg, MB R3V 1L5 800-665-5015 www.brettyoung.ca Nutrien Ag Solutions Leaflet Listing: Dyna-Gro Geneseo, IL 61254 309-944-4791 www.dynagroseed.com Dairyland Seed Leaflet Listing: Dairyland Seed West Bend, WI 53095 800-236-0163 www.dairylandseed.com NEXGROW Alfalfa Leaflet Listing: Nexgrow Alfalfa West Salem, WI 54669 800-406-7662 www.plantnexgrow.com S&W Seed Company Leaflet Listing: Alfalfa Partners Longmont, CO 80501 720-506-9191 www.alfalfapartners.com Innvictis Seed Solutions, LLC Leaflet Listing: Innvictis Seed Boise, ID 83702 559-631-2261 www.innvictis.com “Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” 2023 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 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. Legacy Seeds LLC Leaflet Listing: Legacy Seeds Scandinavia, WI 54977 715-467-2555 www.legacyseeds.com Preferred Alfalfa Genetics Leaflet Listing: Preferred Story City, IA 50248 515-733-2203 brendale@outlook.com NAFA is proud to collaborate with Hay & Forage Grower on the distribution of its “Winter Survival, Fall Dormancy & Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa Varieties” 2023 Edition. CROPLAN Seed Leaflet Listing: Croplan Arden Hills, MN 55126 800-328-9680 www.croplan.com La Crosse Seed Leaflet Listing: La Crosse Seed La Crosse, WI 54603 800-356-7333 www.lacrosseseed.com W-L Alfalfas Leaflet Listing: W-L Alfalfas Arden Hills, MN 55126 800-406-7662 www.wlalfalfas.com Pioneer® Brand Leaflet Listing: Pioneer Johnston, IA 50131 715-223-7390 www.pioneer.com LG Seeds Leaflet Listing: LG Seeds Westfield, IN 46074 317-896-0662 www.lgseeds.com

Rezilon® herbicide stops weeds

Growing clean, high-quality hay can seem like a season-long battle against weeds. With Rezilon ® herbicide, you’ll see cleaner hay cutting after cutting. It stops weeds from emerging and stays active on the soil surface, giving you long-lasting weed control. And that means you can raise high-quality hay — and your reputation.

start “When we first discovered Rezilon® herbicide and used it for the first full season, it virtually eliminated our early grass and weed problem and made our first cutting a sellable product.”
Scan to find out more ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL INSTRUCTIONS. Environmental Science U.S. Inc., 5000 CentreGreen Way, Suite 400, Cary, NC 27513. For additional product information, call toll-free 1-800-331-2867. www.envu.com. Not all products are registered in all states. Envu and the Envu logo are trademarks and Rezilon® is a registered trademark owned by Environmental Science U.S. Inc. or one of its affiliates. ©2022 Environmental Science U.S. Inc. VM-1022-REZ-0103-A-1 REZILON
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