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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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Feeding adequate quantities of high-quality forages is the basis of profitable milk and livestock production. Forage production, harvest, storage and feed practices have changed greatly over the past 50 years, and silage has become a staple forage.

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Forages are crops used as hay, silage, haylage, green chop or pasture for feeding animals. The forages or other feed ingredients are given to cows to be digested first in the rumen and second in the small intestine. When we feed cows, the feed is used by bacteria in the rumen. After the feeds are utilized by the bacteria and other microorganisms then byproducts of bacterial fermentation and other ruminal digesta flow down to the small intestine where they are digested and absorbed. The digesta in the small intestine is broken down and absorbed into the cow’s body to be used as energy to maintain the cow and make milk.

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When attempting to price corn silage there are several methods that have been used to arrive at silage values. Many issues need to be addressed in a pricing system, including:

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Plant density and yield of any stand of alfalfa will eventually decline, but rate of decline will be influenced by multiple factors including harvest or grazing management, irrigation practices, precipitation, soil fertility, soil type, weeds, insects, diseases and, in some instances, variety of alfalfa.

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Editor’s note: The following article submission may help growers market their alfalfa hay to the horse industry.

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Traditionally, silage production in the United States has consisted of precision-chopping a standing row crop (corn) or a swathed forage (alfalfa, red clover, small grains, etc.) and subsequently storing the chopped forage in tower- or bunker-type silos. During the last 20 years, high-quality plastics have been adapted to provide a new storage system for precision-chopped silage. In this system, silage is fed into a machine, often called a “bagger,” that packs the silage into long plastic tubes which serve as temporary silos.

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