Assessing Hay Quality

By: Mark Landefeld, Ohio State University Extension ANR Educator, Monroe County

“You gotta make hay while the sun shines”. How many times have you heard that said throughout the years? We’ve had some sunshine this spring/summer, but making first cutting “dry” hay has really been challenging for most farmers this year. Getting two or more days in a row without rain has been rare in the spring of 2018. Continue reading

Hay Moisture Levels

By: Chris Penrose, OSU ANR Extension Educator, Morgan County and Dan Lima, OSU ANR Extension Educator, Belmont County. Previously published on Ohio Ag Net.

With the limited opportunities and short windows many have had to make hay so far this year, some hay may have been made at higher moisture levels than we would like. Moisture levels have a direct effect on hay quality. What we have found to be a consistent number in the literature is 20% moisture maximum. To be more specific: Continue reading

Balance Quality, Quantity to Help Your Hay Crop ‘Catch Up’

By: Vermeer’s Makin Hay Editors

Severe blizzards, drought and rangeland fires were major storylines for hay and forage producers and cattlemen in the months leading up to spring 2018, when alfalfa and other forage crops started their growth cycles for the year.

Those challenging conditions led to shortages of necessary feed sources for many livestock producers, causing them to purchase more hay than normal or seek alternative stocks to get their herds through the winter. That caused a spike in prices, with some types of hay selling for almost twice the normal price in late winter and early spring. Continue reading

Inoculant Mixing & Application Critical Steps in Silage-Making Process

By: Farm Journal Content Services, Previously posted on Drovers Online

It’s a three-step process with silage inoculants. First, decide where you need the help – up-front fermentation, improved aerobic stability at feed-out or both. Next, pick a research-proven and tested product. Lastly, be sure to manage the application. Professor and head of the Silage Fermentation Laboratory at Delaware University Dr. Limin Kung Jr. explains that details matter when it comes to choosing your inoculant, and especially in preparation and application. Continue reading

Assessing Winter Injury in Alfalfa

By: Karla Hernandez, South Dakota State University Extension
Previously on Drovers Online

As we move forward to a late spring, temperatures are warming up and alfalfa producers are having questions on how to access their alfalfa fields for winter injury. It is important to remember that an alfalfa stand evaluation and winter injury assessment needs to be done by performing two main things: (1) stand counts; and (2) check the root system. Continue reading

Time to Check for Winterkill Injury

Farm Journal Content Services, Previously Published on Farm Journal online

As we inch closer to spring, we are reminded that it’s time to check for winter damage to alfalfa, and it’s especially important to check on newly seeded stands. According to Jim Shroyer, Kansas State University Crop Production Specialist Emeritus, the two main concerns for alfalfa are winterkill and heaving. Continue reading

When to Begin Alfalfa Weevil Scouting

By: Andy Michel, Kelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension
Previously on Ohio Ag Net

The larvae of alfalfa weevil can cause considerable damage, especially when alfalfa is just starting its growth in the spring. When temperatures are greater than 48oF, the adults become active and start to lay eggs. After hatch, the plump and green larvae (which resemble little worms) feed, with 3rd instar (mid-aged) larvae being the hungriest. The heaviest feeding can occur between 325 and 500 heat units. Right now, the heat units (base 48oF) for the Western Ag Research Station in South Charleston are 98, and for the South Station in Piketon is 175. Scouting for larvae should begin at around 250 heat units. Continue reading

2018 Outlook: Regional Economics to Influence Hay Prices Most

By: Anna-Lisa Laca, for Drovers

For many livestock species, alfalfa is a critical component of the diet. As we look to 2018, national hay prices aren’t expected to soar, but look for regional economics to play a heavy role in the price you pay at the farm gate.

Rising highway costs are making the expense of delivering hay more of a consideration, which is resulting in very regionalized hay prices, according to Dan Undersander, a member of the University of Wisconsin Madison forage team. The latest Agricultural Prices Report from USDA shows the national average price for alfalfa was $152 per ton in October. While it’s important to note that price is representative of all quality levels, let’s compare it to the average price in several states: $185/ton in California, $205/ton in Kentucky, $219/ ton in New York and $215/ton in Tennessee. Continue reading

Dodder in Western Ohio

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

We have had reports of dodder in some red clover fields. Dodder is a parasitic plant without any leaves or chlorophyll to produce its own energy. It lives by attaching to a host with small appendages (called ‘haustoria”), and extracting the host plant’s carbohydrates. The stems are yellow-orange, stringlike, twining, smooth and branching to form dense masses in infested fields. Although neither toxic nor unpalatable to some livestock, dodder can weaken host plants enough to reduce yield, quality, and stand. If infestations are severe enough, dodder may kill host plants. Continue reading