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Harvest & Storage

Forage quality doesn’t increase after harvest, so it’s critical to achieve optimal harvest and store it right to reduce loss. Let our experts tell you how.

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When you can see the quality of the hay, haylage or baleage that you harvested last year, and how the animals eating it are doing, now is a good time to evaluate how well you did with forage harvesting last year.

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When pasture production is limited (drought, temperatures, etc.), there are other opportunities to continue to provide forage for livestock. Some of those opportunities could include hay production, stockpiled forage or baleage.

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Problem: You’re frustrated – you send hay samples to multiple labs and the variability between them is high. What gives?

Yes, variability among labs exists; no one denies that. Before we lay blame on the lab, however, let’s make sure you understand the analysis.

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You say you have Supreme hay and want top dollar for it. The buyers say, “Prove it,” because they aren’t paying a dime more than they have to. And that’s when your expertise at choosing a lab and taking hay samples really affects outcome. If you “do it right,” you can indeed prove its value.

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A farmer has hundreds of corn hybrids from which to choose, and those are just the ones within the relative maturity (RM) range appropriate for where he or she farms. An acceptable range in maturity is usually about 10 days of RM – for instance, a range of 100 to 110 days RM.

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When forage yield is higher than expected or yields are at a lower quality than expected, storing forages like silage or haylage could require using a temporary location, especially when trying to segregate forages by quality.

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