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Other Forage

Find production tips on specialty or non-traditional forages – from cover crops to corn stover, and sorghums to small grains or brassicas.

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Summer annuals are an excellent option for growers looking for high-quality tonnage and fit well in the total forage plans of many livestock producers. They can provide valuable forage during a season when high temperatures and short-term drought stress is common.

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The backbone of the dairy feeding program continues to be centered on perennial forages, mostly alfalfa or alfalfa-grass mixes, and our favorite annual forage: corn silage. While it is unlikely that the reliance on these two crops will decrease greatly in the near future, the impact regularly occurring droughts in recent years have had on corn yields are causing producers to wonder about other crops that might be grown in place of or in addition to corn silage.

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Crop rotations may benefit from high-yielding forages that are harvested as silage or hay and marketed to livestock producers. Traditionally, producers have focused on a few common crops for forage and silage production, such as corn and alfalfa, and for good reason.

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Farmers in Washington harvest alfalfa on average four times a year, costing about $256 per acre for swathing, raking and baling.

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Most cropland in the northeastern U.S. is better suited to perennial grass production than to legumes or row crop production.

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Sometimes non-traditional crops for livestock can augment forage supplies or stretch the production on a piece of land.

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