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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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What comes to mind when the words “alternative forages” are mentioned? I often think of warm-season annuals of sorghum and sudangrass hybrids, pearl millet, and forage sorghum; or cool-season annuals of wheat, barley, ryegrass and crimson clover, just to name a few.

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“Raised right, made right, stored right, fed right – that’s the key to success when it comes to growing feedstuff,” says Kendall Guither, an Illinois forage grower and six-time World Dairy Expo Forage Analysis Superbowl champion in the Baleage Division.

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Whether you want to grow more homegrown feedstuff without increasing acreage, improve soil structure, add organic matter into the ground, increase soil fertility or all the above – cover crops are an effective and quick way to achieve your forage goals.

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There has been great interest in cover crops in recent years for a number of reasons, but few scientific studies have evaluated cover crops in semi-arid regions (less than 20 inches of annual precipitation and greater than 40 inches of open-pan annual evaporation).

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Cover crops have several important jobs to do over the winter, the most commonly valued of which include erosion control, increased organic matter, soil health, nitrogen management, improved water retention and weed suppression.

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Baled corn residue is just corn residue, right? As with many things, it all depends. Baled corn residue is often a low-cost source of roughage in the Midwest.

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