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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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Alfalfa is used by and marketed for dairy cows, beef cattle and exports, in the form of cubes and compressed bales. In Washington state, alfalfa makes up about 65 percent of the total hay grown.

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Profitability in producing alfalfa hay is mostly a function of yield. However, to the animal that consumes hay, forage quality is very important, especially in high-producing dairy cows where intake may be limited. Four factors change as the harvest date is delayed: physical yield, forage quality, value per ton and harvest cost per acre.

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The cost of hay and feed for winter supplementation is one of the largest expenses for cattle producers. Stockpiling bermudagrass or bahiagrass fields for grazing use in the winter can help save on hay cost and labor. You can expect to get 30 to 60 days of grazing from this practice, but to do this you need to follow a few management steps.

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High-producing dairy cows need high-quality forage to produce milk efficiently on a high-forage diet. High-quality forage is better defined by high neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFd) than any other single attribute.

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High-moisture corn can be a valuable alternative for harvesting corn grain for dairy and beef cattle.

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Every alfalfa producer has made the difficult decision to end the life of an alfalfa stand. In irrigated alfalfa production, this is often associated with crop rotation and seems to hover around a four- to seven-year stand life.

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