Forage Fertility: Where We Are and Why it Matters

By:  Garth Ruff and Greg LaBarge

Hay and haylage crops are grown on just over 1 million acres in Ohio (NASS, 2019) and are grown on more Ohio farms (44% of all farms) than any other crop (Becot et al., 2020). In addition, there are over 1.3 million acres of pastureland on nearly 39,000 farms (50% of all farms) in the state of Ohio (NASS, 2017). Fertilizer costs represent 40 to 60% of the variable input costs of forage hay production (Ward et al., 2016, 2018), and so managing these costs is key to an Ohio forage producers’ ability to stay competitive. Furthermore, water quality issues in the state underscore the need for Ohio farmers to manage on-farm nutrients as efficiently as possible. A farmer’s ability to find this optimal balance between meeting crop nutrient requirements without over-application is highly reliant on the best available information.

In order to make better and up to date forage fertility recommendations, we want to hear back from producers as to what current practices are already implemented on farms across the state. Understanding current practices and limitations to forage fertility will guide us in determining the type and kind of related research to conduct in order to revise current recommendations.

Please take this short voluntary survey regarding current forage fertility practices. This survey is part of a research effort conducted by The Ohio State University and should take 10 minutes or less to complete. Once again your feedback is appreciated as we evaluate current forage fertility guidelines.

Survey Link:

Results from this survey in addition to forage fertility research will allow for revision of current recommendations for forage crops, grasses and legumes that follow guidelines already established in the Tri-State Fertility Guide. If you have any questions regarding the survey contact Garth Ruff at

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