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Forage Types

Hay, silage and pasture is your business, and it's our focus. Take your operation to the next level with the help of our comprehensive and practical information, education and technology about various forage types.

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Cultivars of many forage crops (alfalfa, white clover, tall fescue, orchardgrass, etc.) are not inbred lines or hybrids but, rather, populations. Thus, while every seed in a bag of wheat, soybean or corn is genetically identical, every seed in an alfalfa seed bag is genetically different.

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The word silage comes from the Greek word “siros” – a pit or hole in the ground used to store corn. Archaeological evidence indicates the Greeks and Egyptians were utilizing silage to feed livestock possibly as far back as 2000 BC.

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Every year in the Midwest, alfalfa fields are at risk for winter damage or kill due to extended cold temperatures and ice sheeting. Having the ability to evaluate your alfalfa fields for injury in early spring can ultimately jump-start crop rotation decisions.

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The conventional wisdom about cultivated, irrigated forages is that they have more than enough protein for ruminants but are too high in fiber and too low in energy to meet the needs of fattening calves or high-producing dairy cows.

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Over the past decade, interest in management-intensive grazing (MiG) on irrigated pastures in the western U.S. has been steadily increasing due to the prospects of reduced production costs, increased animal output, land use efficiency and environmental benefits.

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Grass-fed beef currently constitutes about 3% of the total beef market and continues to grow as a market segment. USDA defines grass-fed as “ruminant animals whose diet throughout their lifespan is solely derived from forage.”

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