Prepare to Evaluate Forage Stands for Winter Injury

By: Mark Sulc and Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension

Forage stands will begin spring greenup in the next few weeks, especially in southern Ohio. While winter injury in forages is very hard to predict, this winter has presented some very tough conditions for forage stands. This is especially true of legumes like alfalfa and red clover. Producers and crop consultants should be prepared to walk forage stands early this spring to assess their condition in time to make decisions and adjustments for the 2019 growing season. Continue reading

A Look Back at the U.S. Hay Market Over the Last 100 Years

By: Carl Zulauf, The Ohio State University

Hay is the 3rd largest U.S. crop in terms of harvest acres.  It also provides environmental services, notably erosion control.  Understanding the U.S. hay market is therefore important for both market and policy reasons.  This article examines the U.S. hay market since 1919, or when the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistical Service began to report data separately for alfalfa hay. Continue reading

Avoid Forage Toxicities After Frosts

By: Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist
Previously published in OSU Extension’s Corn Newsletter

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 Continue reading

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