Quality Corn Silage Production

Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County

Corn silage has the reputation as a reliable and economic feedstuff. Corn silage is widely used in ruminant livestock rations, particularly with cattle, but I have also seen it used with sheep as well. A good thought to keep in mind is that the quality of the corn silage you produce this fall will affect your livestock for many months in to the future. Producing high quality silage depends upon good management practices at several different steps.

Corn silage is a fermented product. To be effective that fermentation must take place in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment. The goal in this fermentation process is to achieve a pH of less than 4.0. This can be accomplished when air is removed as quickly as possible after chopping so that Continue reading

Stockpile Now for Winter Grazing

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

Stockpiled forages can provide an economical late fall and winter feed. The general recommendation is to take a last cutting, clipping or grazing pass in early to mid-August and then let the pastures regrow and accumulate forage (stockpile) until the end of the growing season. Stockpiling research and on-farm trials results have shown this timing is the best compromise, amassing a substantial quantity while retaining an acceptable quality of forage stockpiled. Applying 50 lbs. /acre of actual nitrogen can increase both the quality and the quantity of the forage being stockpiled.

Tall fescue is the best grass species to stockpile because Continue reading

Pasture Management in the Fall

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator, Wayne County

The fall period, particularly the months of September and October, is an important time to manage pastures. Specifically, pastures must be managed to insure that the desirable grass and legume plants are able to build up and store carbohydrate reserves for the winter period. It is this ability to store carbohydrate reserves and thus keep a root system living over the winter months that distinguishes a perennial plant from an annual plant. It is during the short day, long night periods in the fall of the year that flower buds are formed/initiated on the crown of the plant. While the leaf tissue dies during the winter, the buds and roots of the plant remain as living tissues over the winter and continue to respire and burn energy. If root reserves are insufficient the plant may die Continue reading

Baleage as a Forage Production Option

Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Wayne County

Common challenges to hay production include drying time and harvest losses. At every step in the hay making process dry matter (DM) is lost. Mowing the forage crop results in a 2 to 4 percent loss in DM. Energy used by the plant in the respiration process as the plant dries down to a baling moisture of 15 to 20% accounts for another 4 to 5 percent loss in DM. Preparing the forage for baling and baling results in further dry matter losses, mainly due to leaf shatter. Depending upon when in that dry down process forage is raked, what species of forage is being harvested, and the action of the rake, another 3 to 25% loss in DM can occur, and Continue reading