Hay Sampling

By: Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator, Wayne County

I have received several phone calls recently where the caller describes their hay; date baled, whether or not it got rained on before baling, general appearance, and sometimes smell. The question is how to best use this hay, is it suitable for horses or cows or sheep to eat?  Physical evaluation of hay is useful to sort hay into general categories such as high, medium or low quality.  To move beyond general categories and predict animal performance requires a forage chemical analysis. Continue reading

How Much Hay Will A Cow Consume?

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

Estimating forage usage by cows is an important part of the task of calculating winter feed needs.  Hay or standing forage intake must be estimated in order to make the calculations.  Forage quality will be a determining factor in the amount of forage consumed.  Higher quality forages contain larger concentrations of important nutrients so animals consuming these forages should be more likely to meet their nutrient needs from the forages.  Also cows can consume a larger quantity of higher quality forages. Continue reading

Cover Crops to Support Forage Diets

By: Farm Journal Content Services for Drovers online

Interested in pairing up a cover crop with corn silage? A key is to consider harvest timing – usually mid- to late May for boot stage – to ensure the cover crop forage is of the quality needed for lactating cows.  If targeting forage for heifers, harvest a bit later at heading stage to increase tonnage and fiber content.

Popular cover crop options include winter cereals, like winter rye and triticale.

“Winter rye is growing in popularity because it has rapid growth, especially in the spring, and will mature earlier in the spring,” said Matt Akins, University of Wisconsin–Madison dairy management specialist. Continue reading

Your Hay Storage Impacts Quality and Quantity

By: David Dugan, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Adams County

Where and how hay is stored can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity that’s available to be used for feed

With the calendar turning to November, and the temperatures dropping below freezing several mornings now, the time to feed hay is near, if not already here. Several have been feeding hay due to the pasture situation following a dry September that included several 90 degree plus days that zapped much of the grass. Continue reading

Valuing Standing Oat or Spring Triticale Cover Crops for Feed

By: Mark Sulc, Extension Forage Agronomist, Dianne Shoemaker, Extension Field Specialist, Dairy, Bill Weiss, Extension Dairy Nutritionist, Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Ben Brown, Agriculture Risk Management

Oats planted in late summer and originally intended as a cover crop are also high quality and valuable feed.

Considering the current shortage of quality forages, and the abundance of cover crops that were planted in Ohio this summer, the question has been asked, “How do I set a price to buy a oat/spring triticale forage crop still growing in the field?”

In response we’ve assembled a spreadsheet based tool to help determine an appropriate value for standing oat and spring triticale cover crops that could be harvested as feed. Continue reading

This Is Not A Typical Year For Corn Silage

By: Jim Peck, (previously published by Drovers online)

Climate change or weather cycles drive nutrition at the farm level.  This year’s spring was wetter than usual causing crop planting dates to be from on the early side to very late depending on where you farm.  Often the weather extremes have been in the same area, or even on the same farm.

The results have been corn crops and even hay crops with a wide range of maturity, quality and yield.  Some fields simply did not get planted.  Many farms planted what they could, when they could resulting in an extended planting season. They changed from their preferred varieties to whatever was available and planted under less than good soil conditions.  Now we will have an extended harvest season of whatever crop we have, whenever it can be harvested and whatever the feeding value will be. Continue reading

Harvesting Options for Summer Annuals

By: Mike Estadt, AgNR Educator, OSU Extension, Pickaway County (originally published in The Ohio Cattleman early fall issue)

Summer annuals such as sudangrass or sudangrass X sorghum hybrids are likely near ready for harvest.

This month I drove across I-70 interstate to Kansas City, Missouri. Along the way I observed at least a dozen semi-trailers headed east with loads of high-quality hay. Some of this hay may have been delivered to Ohio where very little good hay has made this year. I also saw several fields planted with summer annuals where corn should have been. Continue reading

Pricing Standing Forage in the Field

By: Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

How to value a standing hay crop is challenging. Assigning an appropriate value includes the buyer and seller agreeing on the market value for the hay and then adjusting for harvest costs and other factors that contribute to the price of hay sold in the open market, some of which are challenging to quantify. Continue reading

Pricing Standing Forage in the Field

By: Marc Sulc, OSU Extension

Question: How do I set a price to buy a standing hay crop still growing in the field?

Answer:  How to value a standing hay crop is challenging.  Assigning an appropriate value includes the buyer and seller agreeing on the market value for the hay and then adjusting for harvest costs and other factors that contribute to the price of hay sold in the open market, some of which are challenging to quantify. Continue reading

Harvest Management of Sorghum Forages

By: Marc Sulc and Bill Weiss, OSU Extension

Many producers in Ohio have planted summer annual grasses this year to increase their low forage inventories. These include sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass, forage sorghum, pearl millet, and teff grass. When should these grasses be harvested or grazed?

The general guidelines for harvesting or grazing these summer annual grasses as listed in the Ohio Agronomy Guide are shown in the table below. Continue reading