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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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Pastures provide an inexpensive source of high-quality feed for livestock and have a positive impact on soil- and water-related processes.

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Midwestern pastures are generally dominated by cool-season perennial forages that are productive in spring but have slow growth in mid- to late summer.

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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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