“Working Lands” Forage Field Days Planned

By: Garth Ruff, OSU Extension
The Ohio Department of Agriculture Working Lands Buffer Program allows for forage to be grown and harvested from field edge buffers in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Join OSU Extension, Ohio Forage and Grassland Council, and your local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to learn about the Working Lands Program.

Topics to be covered at these field days include: Soil Fertility ~ Seed Bed Preparation ~ Forage Species Selection ~ Seeding Methods ~ and More!

Field Days will be held at various locations throughout the Western Basin watershed.

Putnam County: July 18 – 8778 Road G Leipsic. Jeff Giesige 419-523-5159

Sandusky/Ottawa County: August 14 – 2086 S Woodrick Rd, Oak Harbor. Allen Gahler 419-334-6340

Crawford County: August 15 – Location TBA. Jason Hartsuch 419-562-8731

Henry County: August 20 – G214 Co. Rd 12 Holgate. Garth Ruff 419-592-0806

Hancock County: August 22 – 19178 Twp Rd 65 Jenera. Gary Wilson 419-348-3500

All Field Days Will Begin at 4:00 p.m. Continue reading

“Increase the Feed, or Reduce the Need”

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

Seldom have we ever been challenged by wet weather, mud and adverse conditions for such an extended period of time!

Seldom do we talk about forage shortages and above normal precipitation in the same breath. Regardless, that’s where we are now throughout Ohio and much of the Midwest. Over the past year abundant rainfall has allowed us to grow lots of forage. Unfortunately, it seems the weather has seldom allowed us to harvest it as high quality feed. Continue reading

Oats Could Address Forage Shortage On Prevented Planting Acres

By: Allen Gahler and Stan Smith, Ohio State University Extension

Last week, USDA released the declaration that a cover crop planted onto prevented planting acres can now be harvested as a forage after Sept. 1, rather than the normal date of Nov. 1, which provides a small glimmer of hope for some livestock producers and those equipped to harvest forages. While Ohio is experiencing a severe shortage of forages for all classes of livestock, weed control on prevented planting acres is also a major concern. With USDA’s declaration, we can now address both problems in one action — seeding cover crops that will be harvestable as a forage after Sept. 1. Continue reading

Hay Inventory Severely Low Across Midwest

Source: OSU Extension

Excessive rainfall has not only hindered soybean and corn farmers’ attempts to plant, but has contributed to a near record-low level of hay to feed livestock in Ohio and across the Midwest.

The hay inventory in Ohio has dipped to the fourth lowest level in the 70 years of reporting inventory, leaving farmers struggling to find ways to keep their animals well fed, said Stan Smith, a program assistant in agriculture and natural resources for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The situation is not much different across the Midwest, where some livestock owners are having to pay much higher prices for animal feed. Continue reading

2019 Challenge: Forage Production Options for Ohio

By: Mark SulcBill WeissDianne ShoemakerSarah Noggle. OSU Extension

Across Ohio, farmers are facing challenges unimagined just four months ago.  Widespread loss of established alfalfa stands coupled with delayed or impossible planting conditions for other crops leave many farmers, their agronomists and nutritionists wondering what crops can produce reasonable amounts of quality forage yet this year. In addition, frequent and heavy rains are preventing harvest of forages that did survive the winter and are causing further deterioration of those stands.

With July 1st just around the corner, Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Agronomist and Bill Weiss, OSU Extension Dairy Nutritionist, help address this forage dilemma.  If one is looking for quality and quantity, what are your best options? The article starts with a quick summary of options and then dig into some of the pros and cons of these options (listed in no particular order of preference). Continue reading

Forage Shortage and Prevented Planting Acres… think OATS!

By: Al Gahler and Stan Smith, OSU Extension

Last week, USDA released the declaration that a cover crop planted onto prevented planting acres can now be harvested as a forage after September 1st, rather than the normal date of November 1st, which provides a small glimmer of hope for some livestock producers and those equipped to harvest forages.  While Ohio is also experiencing a severe shortage of forages for all classes of livestock, weed control on prevented planting acres is a major concern, and with USDA’s declaration, we can now address both problems in one action – seeding cover crops that will be harvestable as a forage after September 1st. Continue reading

Is Silage Corn a Cover Crop?

By: Anna-Lisa Laca. Previously published by Drovers online

When USDA announced Thursday that cover crops grown on prevent plant acres could be harvested on Sept. 1 instead of Nov. 1, farmers breathed a sigh of relief. Many had serious concerns about having adequate forage for livestock this winter. When they saw that USDA included silage, haylage and balage as eligible forms of harvest for those crops, many wondered about the eligibility of corn. Is silage corn considered a cover crop? The short answer: it depends. Continue reading

Understanding Wet Hay

By: Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist. Previously published by Drovers online.

Frequent spring rains around the country have allowed cool season forages to grow in abundance. Even when the fields and meadows dry enough to cut standing forages, harvesting and baling cool season crops such as fescue and wheat hay can be a challenge during a wet spring. The timing of the rains can make it difficult for producers that are trying hard to put quality hay in the bale for next winter’s feed supply. All producers that harvest hay occasionally will put up hay that “gets wet” from time to time. Therefore, ranchers and hay farmers need to understand the impact of “wet hay” in the tightly wound bales. Continue reading

Forage Options for Prevented Planting Corn and Soybean Acres

By: Stan Smith, OSU Extension Fairfield County

Today, as we sit here on May 28, we know three things for certain:

  • Ohio has the lowest inventory of hay since the 2012 drought and the 4th lowest in 70 years.
  • Ohio’s row crops will not get planted in a timely fashion this year.
  • Despite improvement in the grain markets over the past week or two, for those with coverage, Prevented Planting Crop Insurance payments may still yield more income than growing a late planted corn or soybean crop this year.

Prevented planting provisions in the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) crop insurance policies can provide valuable coverage when extreme weather conditions prevent expected plantings. On their website, RMA also says “producers should make planting decisions based on agronomically sound and well documented crop management practices.” Continue reading

Speeding Up Hay Drying

By: Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

Author’s noteMost of this article is adapted with permission from an article published in Farm and Dairy on 2nd June 2010, available at http://www.farmanddairy.com/top-stories/make-hay-when-sun-shines-but-tak…. It certainly applies this year.

Many forage producers across Ohio have suffered severe forage stand losses; however, there are areas where the stands have survived and those are ready for harvest. Unfortunately, recent and forecasted rains are preventing the first harvest of many of those acres. Despite the need to harvest now for quality forage, I strongly urge patience in waiting for soils to firm up before attempting to make our first cutting of hay, because harvesting on soft soils does long-term damage to future productivity.

Once the soils are firm enough, there are several proven techniques that can speed up the hay drying process to take the most advantage possible with any sunny days we do get. Continue reading