How to Sample Hay

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist
(Previously published online with FarmProgress, Missouri Ruralist: July 5, 2024)

(Image Source: Hay and Forage Grower)

With the recent drought Ohio and much of the United States has experienced this year to date, analyzing and understanding forage quality will be critical for operation success. Wether you are feeding a few sheep in your back yard or have 1,ooo ewes indoors, knowing what you are providing to your stock in your pastures or in the feed bunks is important. This week, Mindy Ward outlines key steps to follow when collecting a hay sample.

As hay condition comes into question, take a closer look at your harvested bales.

Hay quality is a concern this year, Continue reading How to Sample Hay

Plan Now to Make your Summer Forage Seeding!

Stan Smith, OSU Extension PA, Fairfield County

With Ohio’s wheat harvest being completed early this year it allows ample time to plan and prepare to do an August forage seeding. Over the next month soil fertility testing should be accomplished, perennial and biennial weeds can be controlled, and ample time remains for selecting and securing the desired forage species for seeding.

During the winter of 2021 the first session of the Ohio Beef Cattle Management School focused on making quality hay for beef cattle with an emphasis on soil fertility and seed species selection when doing a new seeding. The first video embedded below is the 38 minute presentation from that first Beef School session when Noble County Extension Educator Christine Gelley discussed considerations for selecting species for a new seeding and other critical considerations when establishing a new stand of forage. Beginning at about the 14 minute mark of the presentation Gelley spends a few minutes discussing the specifics of seed species selection for new seedings.

Also, posted in the second video below, Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Field Specialist for Dairy Management and Precision Livestock, discusses soil fertility practices that will prolong the life, quality and productivity of hay and forage stands.

Composting On-farm Mortalities

William Halfman, Agriculture Agent, Monroe County, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Carolyn Ihde, Small Ruminant Outreach Specialist for Wisconsin and Iowa, University of Wisconsin-Madison
(Previously published online with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Livestock Division of Extension)

On-farm composting is an approved method to dispose of livestock mortalities. Advantages include increased biosecurity, timely disposal of mortalities, low risk of environmental contamination, low cost, and relatively simple to do. Composting can be used for occasional mortality, emergency livestock mass casualties, and disease outbreaks.

What is composting?
Composting is an aerobic (with oxygen) recycling process where microorganisms break down organic material in a controlled environment to produce a stable product called humus. There are many ways to compost livestock mortalities. However, there are a few basics that are universal to all systems. Well-managed composting provides aerobic (oxygen-loving) microorganisms with the proper environment to grow and rapidly break down the mortality.

Continue Reading…

What’s Wrong with Stacking Round Bales?

Amber Friedrichsen, Associate Editor, Hay and Forage Grower
(Previously published in Hay & Forage Grower: July 2, 2024)

(Image Source: Hay & Forage Grower)

Moving round bales out of a field and under cover may seem like one more item on the to-do list of a busy hay season, but rushing to complete this step may result in improper storage that can squander the forage yield and quality farmers worked so hard to achieve.

In a recent article from the Midwest Forage Association’s Clippings newsletter, Sarah Bauder with South Dakota State University encourages best storage practices to conserve dry matter and quality in round bales. The forage field specialist suggests bale storage is just as important to product value as plant maturity, harvest management, and pest control.

Dry matter and quality losses occur when water is trapped in hay and causes spoilage. This can be exacerbated by several factors, including hay binding, storage structures, bale stacking, and time.

Densely made bales are Continue reading What’s Wrong with Stacking Round Bales?