2018 Forage and Cover Crop Performance Trials Available

– Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist and John McCormick, OSU Senior Research Associate

The 2018 Ohio Forage Performance Trials Report is available online at https://u.osu.edu/perf/. The report summarizes forage yield data collected from forage variety trials in Ohio during 2018, including commercial varieties of alfalfa planted from 2015 to 2017 (3 trials), annual ryegrass planted in September 2017 (1 trial) and cover crops planted in September 2017 (1 trial).

The trials summarize yield performance of 34 alfalfa varieties and 11 annual ryegrass varieties. The cover crop trial summarizes stand establishment and ground cover development in the fall after a mid-September seeding in 2017 and winter injury, ground cover and spring biomass production in the spring 2018 of 22 cover crop varieties including rape, turnip, annual ryegrass, radish, Balansa clover, winter pea, and hairy vetch.

Posted in Forages

Hay Quality: Trash versus Treasure

Christine Gelley, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Noble County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

That saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” usually does not apply to hay, but with as difficult as haymaking was in Ohio this year, it may be true.

Is your 2018 hay crop trash or treasure? There’s really only one way to know! Photo By: Brooke Beam, AgNR, Educator, Highland Co.

The “man” mentioned could be yourself in 2017 versus yourself in 2018. Based on what is available this year, you may be inclined to lower your standards of hay quality to make it through the winter.

But, how low is too low when it comes to hay quality? The answer depends on your class of livestock, their nutritional needs, and your access to supplemental feed.

Without knowing the actual nutritive value of the hay, all recommendations are relative and subject to error. The only way to confidently adjust your feeding program in relation to hay quality is to have hay analyzed by a laboratory.

Characteristics like Continue reading

Forage Focus: Forage Considerations Around Pipelines

In this month’s Forage Focus podcast, host Christine Gelley, an Extension Educator with The Ohio State University Agriculture & Natural Resources in Noble County, talks with Belmont County ANR Educator Dan Lima about a variety of concerns with re-establishing forages after pipeline construction or repair.

Posted in Forages

Hay Buying Help, and Preparation for Next Year

– Garth Ruff, ANR Extension Educator, OSU Henry County Extension

With last week’s rain showers leaving much of the area saturated, there were limited opportunities for farming or even yardwork. I took advantage of the soggy conditions here in NW Ohio and headed south on Friday to a fairly productive couple of days in Morgan County. We had a good chance to winterize and store all of the hay equipment and tractors that we typically don’t use during winter time.

Regarding hay implement storage, we make an effort blow off the chaff, seeds, and dust with a leaf blower shortly after use and then pressure wash the piece prior to pulling in to the machinery shed for the down season. Once everything is cleaned off, each machine is greased and gear boxes are checked for fluid levels. Any major repairs or maintenance such as changing mowing knives can be done during the winter months as time allows. Given the unpredictability of the weather the past few years, it is nice to be able to pull the hay equipment out of storage, hook up to a tractor and head directly to the field. This eliminates the need of Continue reading

Be Careful Grazing the Green This Fall

– Sean Kelly, South Dakota State University Extension

With fall grazing upon us, some areas of the Midwest and Central Plains have been blessed with plenty of precipitation this year and other areas are still experiencing drought conditions. Regardless of where your ranch is located, a rancher must be very careful when grazing the fall green up of cool season grasses.

Figure 1. Warm season and cool season growth curves. Source: South Dakota Grassland Coalition Healthy Grasslands.

Cool season grasses have two growing seasons (Figure 1). They grow in the spring and early summer and then get another growth spurt in the fall. Warm season grasses grow later in the season during the summer and late summer and do not get another green up in the fall of the year.

Extreme diligence must be taken not to overgraze during the fall green up of cool season grasses. During the fall green up, cool season grasses are Continue reading

Avoid Forage Toxicities After Frosts

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

As cold weather approaches this week, livestock owners need to keep in mind the few forage species that can be extremely toxic soon after a frost. Several species contain compounds called cyanogenic glucosides that are converted quickly to prussic acid (i.e. hydrogen cyanide) in freeze-damaged plant tissues. A few legumes species have an increased risk of causing bloat when grazed after a frost. Each of these risks is discussed in this article along with precautions to avoid them.

Species with prussic acid poisoning potential

Forage species that can contain prussic acid are listed below in decreasing order of risk of toxicity after a frost Continue reading

Despite a Hay Making Season to Forget, Options Remain!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer on-line)

I know I’ve shared this story before, but considering the weather most of Ohio experienced, it’s appropriate to tell it again. Dad was a mechanic for a local farm implement dealer. Once while out on a service call in mid-summer he asked the farmer if he’d gotten his first cutting hay made. The response – in a deep German accent – was, “Yes, it got made . . . but it rained so much I never got it baled.”

Despite that being the case in many parts again this year, we still have an abundance of feedstuffs available that will maintain beef cows efficiently when managed properly. With Ohio farmers harvesting more than 3 million acres of corn this year, a brood cow’s feed supply could easily be extended by utilizing crop residue. Corn residue is practical for feeding dry, gestating beef cows in mid gestation providing they have average or better body condition. Plus, it’s also the perfect crop to utilize during the time Continue reading

Do You Have 100 Days of Grazing Still Ahead?

Mark Landefeld, OSU Agriculture Educator, Monroe County (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

As we move into the fall season here in September, how much longer will your livestock be able to graze forage from your hay and pasture fields? Have you prepared stockpiled forages? Are you able to utilize your livestock to take that last growth of forage off your hay fields rather than using equipment?  Not using equipment to make a last cutting of hay, not having the livestock in pasture fields right now and not feeding hay for a while yet seems to be a winning combination all the way around.

Everyone’s situation is different and many producers are not able to get livestock to every hay field. Nevertheless, where you can use livestock to harvest forage from hay fields, production costs can be reduced. Producers who have not been doing this should try using their livestock, not the equipment to make later cuttings of hay and this last cutting everyone wants to get off in late September and  October. This allows pasture fields and stockpiling areas to grow the maximum amount of forage before killing frosts arrive. I believe this is one of the best opportunities livestock producers have to reduce costs and make more profit year after year. There are some limitations and guidelines producers should consider when doing this and Continue reading

It’s time to grow forage, take inventory, and use it efficiently

– Victor Shelton, NRCS State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Allocating out forages and strip grazing them can greatly improve the efficiency of the forage.

Fall is here and it means that our perennial forages are starting to think about taking a siesta. You will want to do three things this time of year: grow as much forage as you can prior to plants going dormant, be as efficient as you can with what you have to graze, and take inventory on how much winter feed you have on hand.

There are still plenty of good growing days left this fall and they need to be taken advantage of. One of the first things to do to make sure you obtain as much growth as possible, especially with perennial forages, is to stop grazing forages that can and will Continue reading

Beef and ‘Bobs’ – Maximize Cattle Production and Help Bobwhites on Your Land

– Nick Schell, Wildlife Biologist, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Bobwhites seek brushy habitat where crop fields intersect with woodlands, pastures, and old fields.

You’re probably familiar with the northern bobwhite and its decline. The bobwhite, or what many of us call quail, has seen its population dip by more than 80 percent across large sections of its range during the past 60 years.

Farmers can greatly help the species with a few tweaks to their cattle operations.

Why Are Bobwhites in Decline?

Bobwhites are an “edge” species, meaning they seek brushy habitat where crop fields intersect with woodlands, pastures, and old fields. But this type of habitat is Continue reading