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

From Across the Field – In Bloom

Every now and then I get asked about how I come up with some of the topics that I write about each week. The answer is usually simple I either write about what I see or what I know is going be happening next as the year progresses. Whether for the farmer or the home gardener, being as current as possible allows for any potential management decisions by you the readers, to be made. Other than that, from time to time I try to mix in a bit about what is happening in my world to further connect with you the audience.

As for I have seen in the past week, about 3 things, stand out in my mind; poor alfalfa, dandelions, and blossoming flowers. Continue reading

Switching From Alfalfa to Soybean…Should I Inoculate?

By: Laura Lindsey and Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

Alfalfa stands were negatively affected by this winter’s weather. Some farmers may be converting their alfalfa fields to soybean. Does the soybean seed need to be inoculated?

While there is very little information on this topic, we believe yes. You should inoculate soybean with Rhizobia when converting an alfalfa field to soybean. Here’s why… Both alfalfa and soybean plants have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in which the bacteria fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into a plant-available form of nitrogen. Continue reading

NW Ohio Producers Can Get Paid for Growing Perennial Forage

By: Mark Sulc, OSU Extension Forage Specialist

The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently announced a new conservation program entitled the “Ohio Working Lands Buffer Program” to establish year-round vegetative cover on eligible cropland in the Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed. 

This is a great opportunity to improve soils and conserve nutrients on the land while having two ways to gain income: first from the value of the forage produced and secondly from annual payments through the program. Continue reading

Dealing with Winter Injured Forage Stands

By: Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension Forage Specialist

I’ve been hearing more reports from around the state of winter injured forage stands, especially in alfalfa. The saturated soil during much of the winter took its toll, with winter heaving being quite severe in many areas of the state. So, what should be done in these injured stands?

The first step is to assess how extensive and serious is the damage. Review the CORN issue of the week of April 2, https://agcrops.osu.edu/newsletter/corn-newsletter/2019-07/assessing-winter-damage-and-evaluating-alfalfa-stand-health). Continue reading

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

From Across the Field – Thinking Ahead

With all of the rain we have had, yards, hay fields, and pastures may need re-seeded in areas that have been torn up. There is a method called “frost seeding” where you apply seed to the ground and the freezing and thawing of the soil in February and early March will provide seed to soil contact allowing germination of the seed. There is a little more risk of the seed not germinating than a traditional seeding, but the cost and time is a lot less.  Continue reading