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MAKING FORAGES WORK IN TODAY’S PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT Jon Repair Extension Agent, Crop and Soil Science Virginia Cooperative Extension.

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Presentation on theme: "MAKING FORAGES WORK IN TODAY’S PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT Jon Repair Extension Agent, Crop and Soil Science Virginia Cooperative Extension."— Presentation transcript:

1 MAKING FORAGES WORK IN TODAY’S PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT Jon Repair Extension Agent, Crop and Soil Science Virginia Cooperative Extension

2 “The Pain of Staying the Same Will Necessitate Change” Dr. Garry Lacefield, Forage Specialist, University of Kentucky

3 Improve Forage Quality Trade a Pound of Weeds for a Pound of High Quality Forage To Achieve Increase in Pounds of Red Meat and /or Milk Produced

4 What are the Obstacles? Fuel Prices Fertilizer Costs Calf and Milk Prices Feed Production Costs Cost to Maintain the Production Unit Forage Stand Losses Due to Droughts Equipment Costs Land Resources Weather (Moisture)

5 Improving Hay Quality Means Less Hay Needed Hay Storage Losses 5-30% or Greater How can storage be improved? Cover dry hay in some fashion Wet Hay Production Improve quality / Less Spoilage / Storage Harvest more Timely / Increase Yields

6 Know What You Are Feeding Forage Testing (Hay and Silage) Get a stronger handle on bale weights Feed to the nutrient requirements needed to reach desired production goals Don’t over or under feed forage supplies

7 Weed Control First Step Before Improving Forage Stands Why? Herbicide Soil Residual Main Problem Broadleaf Weeds Legumes Following Control Measures Be sure to follow label guide for replanting legumes Time and Weather (moisture) both will dictate the longevity of herbicide residual in the soil

8 Soil Fertility Soil Testing Lime / Lime / Lime / the First Step in Spending Fertility Dollars Wisely Get P & K levels where they are needed. Introduce Legumes for Nitrogen and to Increase Forage Quality Frost Seed or Drill Hay Stands - Alfalfa or Red Clover Pastures – Ladino Clover Strategic Timing of Fertility Applications

9 Weak Alfalfa Stands Can be Enhanced for Added Longevity, Quality, and Yield Don’t Thicken with More Alfalfa Thicken with Cool Season Grasses Orchardgrass First Choice / Fescue?? Warm Season Grasses Bermuda or Crabgrass (Heat and Drought Tolerance) Strong Yields in Summer Months

10 Grazing Strategies Reduce Stocking Rates to Lower Input Costs Stocking Rates Cow/ Calf Pairs Continuous – 3.0 Acres Rotational – 1.75 – 2.25 Acres Stockers Continuous – 1.5 Acres Rotational –.75 – 1.25 Acres Soil Moisture and Fertility Will be a Huge Influence

11 Grazing Strategies How to Lengthen Grazing Season Rotational Grazing – Waste Less, Increases Forage Growth Proper Stocking Rates Fertility Strategies Increase Forage Stand Density with Desired Forages Stockpile Forages Winter Annuals / Grains / Brassicas / Crop Residue Wean Offspring at Proper Time / Less Demand on Forages and More Efficient Maintenance of Body Condition on Breeding Stock

12 Fescue Management Fescue – Not the Proverbial Bad Guy Dilute with Legumes and / or other Grasses Seed Head Management – Keep Vegetative with both Clipping and/or Grazing Management Stockpile for Late Fall and Winter If need be “Feed Hay to Grow Grass”

13 Fescue Quality

14 Select Livestock For Milk Production Offspring Weaning Weights Milk in the Tank Fertility Can we afford to Carry Non Productive Animals Fescue Tolerance Sire Selection Based on More than Just Cost Select based on Production Goals Will Influence 50% of the Annual Crop Raise Replacements

15 Questions Thoughts Ideas


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