Evaluating Hay Quality: Relative Feed Value or Relative Forage Quality?
Hay quality is highly variable. Understanding how to evaluate quality is critical to making the best economic decisions when purchasing hay. Overall, high quality hay should be high in crude protein, energy, and minerals, and should also have high intake potential. Hay should be free of dust, musty odors, weeds, etc. Hay quality can be…
Prime Cuts: Consideration for High Moisture Corn, Ear Corn and Snaplage
The popularity of high moisture corn and high moisture ear corn has been consistent for some time. Snaplage has had renewed interest as harvesting equipment, like snapper heads and kernel processors, have improved. Each of these has their advantages and disadvantages which should be weighed against what is feasible for your operation and what your specific goals are.
When properly managed and cared for, upright silos provide excellent storage for fermented feeds. By combining the use of gravity for tight forage packing and a small area exposed to air, forage quality is preserved and waste is minimal. However, when poorly maintained they can quickly become a headache.
Forage Management V: Fermentation
Ensiling is a common way to store forages for dairy cattle. When done properly, ensiled forages can be stored for long periods of time and still maintain their quality. However, the ensiling process must proceed correctly in order for proper storage to be possible.
Forage Management IV: Kernel Processing
Corn silage is typically one of the main components of dairy cattle diets, often comprising between 20 to 40% of the diet dry matter. Since corn silage makes up such a large proportion of the diet, the quality of the corn silage is very important and can have a substantial impact on milk production levels. Corn silage quality can be affected by dry matter at harvest, packing density, and bunk covering but can also be altered by kernel processing.
Forage Management III: Bunk Management
Silage is the cornerstone of many conventional dairy rations. Maintaining quality through proper harvest, storage, and feedout is key for a successful feeding program. Once the silage is properly tucked away in the bunker and thoroughly covered it can be stored for extended periods of time until it’s opened up.
Forage Management II: The Harvest
Determining when to harvest your forages is critical for the success of your forage program. Harvesting at the correct dry matter and maturation is necessary for proper fermentation and quality forage. These values differ between forage types.
Forage Management I: Preparation
The summer is going by quickly, and before we know it, this year’s corn crop will be ready to harvest for silage. Planning ahead can help to make sure that everything is ready for the silage harvest and makes certain that the best job possible is being done to reduce shrink and ensure that the stored crop will be a great source of feed. Preparing the Storage Site Is there a clean, open area that will allow for easy filling and packing of the silage?
Proper Handling of Forage Inoculants
Forage inoculants are products that contain specific strains of anaerobic bacteria that promote forage fermentation. The premise behind forage inoculants is that they help to ensure adequate amounts of the correct types of bacteria to expedite the fermentation process. Using a microbial inoculant can be a great management tool to improve forage quality.