1/7/19: Ways to Increase Forage Production

With the dry summers we have had in recent years it seems that hay production in my area has been a growing concern for growers with livestock to feed.

Last summer was a very good example of a year where first cutting hay was good but after that production fell off sharply and there were concerns on having enough feed. There was a lot of corn chopped for silage in my area last summer and that is a practice that is starting to gain in popularity over the past 5 years. Corn silage is a great way to get a lot of feed off of a small amount of acres and it produces a high quality feed when it is managed properly. One of the downfalls of corn silage is that it can be costly to produce and on a very dry year corn requires a lot of water to produce high tonnage and in some years that can be a big limiting factor. Some products that are gaining some interest for silage and wet baling are forage sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass. Each of these products take much less water to grow in the summer and can lower fertilizer and seed costs as much as $90/acre while still producing a high quality feed comparable to corn silage. If you are interested in learning more about these products we will be hosting a lunch meeting Friday January 11th at the White Buffalo in Albia. Jeff Jackson a forage specialist from Croplan seeds will be there to discuss these and other products with us as well. If you have questions on forages or would like more information on the meeting coming up contact your local SFG agronomist.

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