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MANAGEMENT

Manage employees, analyze yield drivers, explore forage markets, become more confident in preparing farm financial statements, and untangle farm succession issues.

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Weeds and brush ruin harvested forage quality and reduce grazing capacity. The best way to manage unwanted plants in cultivated crops and improved pastures is to prevent them from occurring with a balanced fertilization program and timely applied treatments for insects and disease.

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During 2016, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated 58 million tons of alfalfa hay and 125 million tons of corn silage were produced in the U.S. With that volume of forage being produced annually, there are a wide variety of production and price levels nationwide.

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Word on the street says you gain experience just after you really need it, and you’re supposed to learn from past experiences in an effort to not repeat it. After 32 years in the managed grazing business, I’m not supposed to be surprised anymore.

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A crop with all the benefits of alfalfa should be in a good position to compete well with other crops. But alfalfa has been losing ground to row crops in the U.S., with U.S. acreage down about 20 percent during the past two decades.

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Forages represent a significant proportion of the feed costs of dairy production. The generation of high-quality silage is therefore important in determining the profitability of dairying. Addition of silage inoculants to freshly harvested forage can increase the likelihood of obtaining good-quality silage and should be viewed as an insurance policy for forage.

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Selecting a cover crop mix is a lot like buying a bull: There are many good options to choose from, but not all of those options fit your environment, your goals and, better yet, your pocketbook.

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