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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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Forage testing is used to estimate the nutritional value of forage for livestock rations. It involves sampling and lab analysis. The information gained is most useful if it is correctly used in the development and feeding of balanced rations, or in some cases in hay marketing.

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Fall frost is an annual concern for livestock producers because of the potential for prussic acid poisoning, but the potential for toxicity in livestock is of wider concern this year because of drought, an Ohio State University Extension forage specialist says.

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The question was asked during a safety presentation “Do we still need to be concerned about silo gas if we only have bunker or pile silos?” Fair question and the answer is yes.

Let’s start with the basics of silage fermentation and the production of silo gas.

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The dry weather of 2012 has left most livestock producers in the Midwest scrambling for more hay. First-cutting hay yields were down 20 to 40 percent in much of Michigan and with the dry weather intensifying, total hay yields for the year could be off by 50 percent or more.

In order to feed ruminant animals such as beef cattle, sheep and others through the winter season many are looking for ways to stretch their feed resources.

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Some soybean producers may be considering harvesting severely drought-stressed soybean fields for forage this summer. This is not an easy decision and producers should consider the value of the soybean grain compared to the value of the soybean forage.

Other considerations include impacts on crop insurance payments, federal disaster aid and feeding restrictions for all pesticides applied to the soybeans.

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0112fg_forage_folks_1Drive-over piles have become popular storage systems for many livestock operations today, but too often this silage never makes it from the pile to the feed bunk.

This loss in feed is commonly referred to as “shrink” and is measured by subtracting the total tons of silage fed from the total tonnage ensiled.

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