Forage Focus: Baling Hay at Farm Science Review

In this edition of Forage Focus Christine Gelley of OSU Extension and Brent Raines of Krone North America discuss equipment and methods for baling dry and wet hay crops. Together they address features of balers on the market, options for bale wrap, setting bale parameters, and evaluating bale quality for all classes of livestock.

This demonstration was filmed on 9/23/2020 for Farm Science Review Online. Additional hay demonstrations from Farm Science Review featuring OSU Extension and 2020 Exhibitors are also available for viewing:

Knowing What You Are Feeding: HAY SAMPLING 101

– Chris Teutsch, Associate Extension Professor, Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky

Knowing the nutritional quality of forage and hay is an integral part of a profitable and efficient livestock operation. Accurate estimation of forage quality starts with obtaining a representative sample of the forage to be fed. Proper sampling technique is critical.

Hay is preserved in a number of different packages ranging from the small square bale weighing 40-50 lb to the large square bale weighing more than 1500 lb. In Kentucky, most hay is packaged in large round bales weighing between 500 and 1500 lb. Wrapped bale silage is also gaining popularity and should be sampled in a similar manner to large round hay bales with the exceptions listed below.

Figure 1. Always sample hay in lots. A lot is hay that comes from the same cutting and same field.

Obtaining a Representative Sample
Hay should ALWAYS be sampled in lots (Figure 1). A lot consists of hay made from the same field and cutting. A lot should not represent more than 200 tons of dry matter. In the event that a lot exceeds 200 tons of dry matter, multiple samples should be taken and forage quality results should be averaged to represent the overall lot.

Delay sampling until three to four weeks after baling for hay stored out of the weather. During this period bales undergo the heating or sweating process and forage quality can decline. For hay stored outside, it is best to delay sampling until Continue reading

Posted in Forages

You can’t starve profit into a cow . . . or a hay field!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman)

Replace soil nutrients removed by harvested hay annually

Have you fertilized your hay fields yet this year? In the spring issue of the Ohio Cattleman we suggested once first cutting is harvested it’s a good time for an annual fertilizer application. If that opportunity was missed, fall is another opportune time to replace soil nutrients removed during hay harvest.

Considering we may have experienced lower than hoped for yields throughout parts of Ohio, it adds insult to injury that in some cases Mother Nature forced us to harvest mature, rained on, or otherwise poor quality first cutting hay this spring. Regardless, that hay still took with it lots of soil nutrients.

Fact is, each ton of hay that’s removed from a field during the harvest process takes with it roughly 12 pounds of P2O5 (phosphorus) and 49 pounds of K2O (potash). That’s regardless the calendar date and with little regard for quality of the forage that’s harvested. In fact, many Continue reading

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Fall Forage Management Tips

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Allowing an appropriate fall rest period is important for the long term health of a forage stand, particularly legumes.

Fall is a great time to take care of some very important aspects for managing forage hay fields and pastures. Below is a list of things that when done in the fall can help avoid big headaches this winter and next spring or even next summer. . .

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Precautions for Feeding Frosted and Drought-Stressed Forages

Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are a potential concern this time of year with many grasses including sorghum sudangrass.

Livestock owners feeding forage need to keep in mind the potential for some forage toxicities and other problems that can develop this fall. High nitrates and prussic acid poisoning are the main potential concerns. These are primarily an issue with annual forages and several weed species, but nitrates can be an issue even in drought stressed perennial forages. There is also an increased risk of bloat when grazing legumes after a frost.

Nitrate Toxicity

Drought stressed forages can accumulate toxic nitrate levels. This can occur in many different forage species, including both annuals and perennials. Several areas in Ohio have been dry of late. Corn, oat and other small grains, sudangrass, and sorghum sudangrass, and many weed species including johnsongrass can accumulate toxic levels of . . .

Continue reading Precautions for Feeding Frosted and Drought-Stressed Forages

Forage Focus: Creating alternative forage plans

Think outside the box about forage management by considering alternative grazing and hay strategies. In this episode of Forage Focus, OSU Extension Educator Christine Gelley addresses how creating alternative forage plans can strengthen your operation. Reducing days livestock consume stored feed and increasing farm flexibility helps build resiliency in times of uncertainty and change. Today, Christine shares information regarding the benefits and management of warm-season perennial grasses, warm-season annual grasses, small grains and brassicas.

Posted in Forages

Farm Science Review goes Virtual, 15 talks on forages, grazing included

Want to learn more about improving your land and livestock through grazing and forages? Mark your calendar for the following talks at this year’s virtual Farm Science ReviewSept. 22–24, all of them organized by the Gwynne Conservation Area.

Visit the Farm Science Review site at to see the complete FSR virtual schedule

Find the complete schedule, and continue reading 15 Farm Science Review talks on forages, grazing

Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May

Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Specialist

If you saw this yellow weed in your fields last spring, the time to control it and other winter annuals for next year is here yet this fall!

Some hay producers have been unpleasantly surprised in the past when cressleaf groundsel infestations became evident in their hay fields in May prior to first cutting. Cressleaf groundsel in hay or silage is toxic to animals, and infested areas of the field should not be harvested and fed. Groundsel is a winter annual, emerging in late summer into fall, when it develops into a rosette that overwinters. Growth restarts in spring, with stem elongation and an eventual height of up to several feet tall. The weed becomes evident in hay fields when in becomes taller than the alfalfa/grass and develops bright yellow flowers in May. The problem with passively waiting until this point to discover that the hay is infested with groundsel is that: 1) it’s too late to control it with herbicides; and 2) hay from infested areas has to be discarded instead of sold or fed, and large plant skeletons are still toxic even if herbicides were effective on them. Groundsel plants finish their life cycle in late spring, once they flower and go to seed, so it should not be problem in subsequent cuttings.

The solution to this is scouting of hay fields in fall and early spring to determine the presence of cressleaf groundsel, when it is small and still susceptible to the few herbicides that can be used. We expect groundsel to be more of a problem in new August seedings, since it would be emerging with the new stand of alfalfa/grass. A well-managed established and . . .

Continue reading Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May

Grazing Management Minute: Warm Season Annuals

In this Grazing Management Minute, the conversation revolves around the benefits of planting warm season annual grasses and working them into a comprehensive forage management plan for Ohio livestock producers.