Quote of the Month: Management Makes A Difference

quotes2     It often happens that a forage-livestock producer plants a new forage variety for pasture or hay and gets outstanding results. This may be at least partially because it represents a triumph of plant breeding. However, it may simply be that in the process of establishing the new planting, the manger has imposed management such as weed control and application of lime and fertilizer, and has monitored the field more closely than usual. In addition, cultivation may have increased decomposition of soil organic matter, releasing nutrient and favoring other plant growth factor. In many cases, the higher cost of the new variety caused the producer to practice a higher level of management, perhaps subconsciously. The point is that in many cases, forage crops already on a farm may have the potential to be as productive, or nearly as productive, as new forages; they just need better management. Forage-Livestock Quotes and Concepts, vol. 2 is available here.


Grass-Fed and –Finished Beef Production & Marketing: an OAK Field Day

 May 2, 2019, 1-4, Elmwood Stock Farm, Georgetown

Through a visit to Elmwood Stock Farm’s pastures and discussion, participants will learn about the Farm’s strategies for raising certified organic, grass-fed, grass-finished beef, including their regenerative grazing and rotation practices, disciplined management of year-round forage, and an understanding of their animals’ development oakand genetics. Participants will learn about Elmwood’s approach to direct-marketing pure grass-finished beef to customers, including high-quality processing; selection and cooking preparation of meat cuts; and consumer education. Elmwood Stock Farm is a 550-acre certified organic multi-generational family farm in Scott County, producing vegetables, beef, poultry, and lamb for local and regional markets. This OAK Field Day is open to all; pre-registration is required. Cost is $5 for OAK members; $10 for non-members. Click here for more info or call 502-517-9629


UK to host Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop

Kentucky 31 tall fescue is a double-edged sword for many forage and livestock producers because of its toxin-producing endophyte. University of Kentucky forage extension specialists are teaming up with the Alliance for Grassland Renewal to host a workshop to teach producers how to renovate their tall fescue pastures with a novel endophyte variety.

The Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop will take place March 20 at Central Presbyterian Church in Princeton.IMG_7456

Producers have widely used tall fescue in pastures for decades, because it survives well under many conditions including drought, cold, overgrazing, insects and diseases. However, the most common variety, KY-31, also contains toxins that can severely affect cattle and horse performance.

“Toxic tall fescue reduces livestock weight gains and lowers their reproductive performance,” said Chris Teutsch, extension forage specialist in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

By replacing it with a novel endophyte variety, producers can keep the beneficial aspects of the grass while reducing its negative impacts.

“There are a growing number of novel or friendly endophyte tall fescue varieties on the market, including UK’s own variety Lacefield MaxQ II,” said Ray Smith, UK extension forage specialist. “This workshop will help producers learn how they can begin to incorporate these varieties into their operation.”

During the workshop, participants will hear from Kentucky producers, UK specialists, forage experts from across the U.S. and industry representatives. In the afternoon, they will tour research plots at the UK Research and Education Center Farm in Princeton.

The cost to attend is $60 per person before March 8. After that date, it is $75 per person. Click here for more information or to register.


Forage Timely Tips: March

  • Continue pasture renovation by no-tilling seeding legumes.
  • Place small seed at 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and check depth several times during planting; slow down for more precise seeding.
  • Continue feeding hay until adequate forage exists in the pasture for grazing.
  • Spring seeding of grasses should be done in early to mid-March (but fall is preferred)
  • Begin smoothing and re-seeding hay feeding and heavy traffic areas.
  • Graze pastures overseeded with clover to reduce competition from existing grasses. (Pull off before grazing new clover plants.)
  • Provide free choice high-magnesium mineral to prevent grass tetany on lush spring growth.

Round Bale Binding Materials Evaluated

Haymakers now have several options to bind round bales. The binding option chosen impacts the time it takes to bale a hayfield and the preservation of forage quality if the bales are stored outdoors.

University of Minnesota researchers recently reported on the first-year results of a study comparing twine wrap to net wrap or B-Wrap. They shared their results at the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Annual Conference, which was held last week in St. Louis, Mo.

The researchers recorded wrapping time in the field for each wrap type, determined bale weights, and monitored forage quality in bales over a 12-month period. Hay cores to a depth of 18 inches were taken from the sides of bales at harvest and then every three months thereafter until the one-year storage time had been reached. The bales were stored outdoors on wooden pallets.

Two different alfalfa varieties were harvested and evaluated, one of which contained the HarvXtra, reduced-lignin trait. A total of 24, 4- by 5-foot bales were harvested in June 2017 (12 of each variety, four of each wrap type within a variety).

Wrapping time. In the context of this study, net wrap took the least amount of binding time with an average of 18 seconds per bale. The B-Wrap was the next quickest at 28 seconds. Twine easily had the longest wrapping time with an average of 56 seconds per bale.

Variety. During the initial year, no significant forage quality differences were measured between the two tested varieties for crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC). Therefore, results were averaged across the two varieties.

Dry matter. Overall, dry matter losses were minimal compared to those measured in previous studies. Twine-tied bales averaged a 5.3 percent dry matter loss, followed by net wrap with a 4.9 percent dry matter loss. The B-Wrap bales exhibited 0 percent reduction in dry matter.

The minimal amount of dry matter lost in the study bales can be partly attributed to storing the bales on pallets, which helped preserve the integrity of the bottom of the bale where high losses occur if the bales are placed directly on the soil surface.

Forage quality. No significant differences between the three wrap types were measured for CP, ADF, or NDF following 12 months of storage time. However, the twine-wrapped bales had significantly lower NSC than either the net wrap or B-Wrap bales. Read the full article here. ~ Hay and Forage Grower, Jan. 2019


The Impact of Tedding on the Economic Production of Alfalfa Silage

bale wrapTwo treatments, tedded and untedded, were applied to an alfalfa field to determine their impact on the quality of the resulting forage. The tedded treatment area was tedded after the cutting of the field, and the untedded treatment was left in its original swath. The tedded treatment area dried at a greater rate than the untedded treatment area in all cuttings and replications. Crude protein, water-soluble carbohydrates, ash content, and neutral detergent fiber were also observed to be different, with the tedded treatment having lower crude protein, higher water-soluble carbohydrates, lower ash, and higher neutral detergent fiber than the untedded treatment. A difference was not observed between the treatments for total digestible nutrients. ~ Lindsey Murry and Matthew Digman, NAFA checkoff/AFRP/APRI Research Summaries. Read the full NAFA newsletter here.