Providing feed to livestock during the winter is a costly and time consuming process. Hay and silage are widely used as stored feeds, so it is important to understand the factors that influence hay and silage quality and the criteria used to evaluate their quality. This information from publications, guides, and recommendations can then be used to develop a feeding program that will be the most effective and efficient in meeting each producer’s goals.
Information and Resources
Forage Analysis Definitions
To better understand and read a forage analysis this new publication. This will help you with the forage test reports sent out by the UT Extension Soil, Plant and Pest Center.
Harvesting Corn Silage: Importance of Moisture and Some Tools You Can Use
Corn silage comprises the largest percentage (50 to 75 percent) of forages in most dairy cow diets. To maximize digestibility and quality, corn silage needs to be harvested at the correct whole plant dry matter (DM) content, the portion of the plant that is not water.
Simple Strategies for Profitable Forage Production
Efficient forage production is key for a cattle operation to be profitable. Feed is the most expensive input for livestock. Since the cheapest way to feed cattle is through grazing, a goal of every cattle producer should be to reduce the amount of hay and stored feed used each year and graze as many days as practical. Here are a few simple management practices that can improve forage production and decrease the amount of hay that needs to be produced.
Information about High-Quality Hay Production
Since hay is such a widely used stored feed, it is important to understand the factors that influence hay quality and the criteria used to evaluate hay. This information can be used to develop a feeding program that will be the most effective and efficient in meeting each producer’s goals.
Producing Hay from Native Warm-Season Grasses in the Mid-South
Native warm-season grasses are those that have grown in an area prior to human settlement and were not brought in more recently from other parts of the world. Such grasses are naturally well-adapted to the region’s soils, climate and the insects and diseases that may also occur naturally in the area. This publication will focus on five species that are important for forage production: big and little bluestem, indiangrass, switchgrass and eastern gamagrass.
Adjusting Mowing Equipment for Increased Stubble Heights When Harvesting Native Grasses
Special attention should be paid to the cutting height when harvesting switchgrass or other native warm-season grasses for forage or biomass. A target stubble height of 8 inches (minimum 6 inches) is recommended for these tall-growing grasses
Corn Silage Production
Paying attention to the details on growing, harvesting, and storing silage will help ensure a valuable high-quality crop. To produce high-quality corn silage, it is important to do a good job in growing, harvesting and preserving the crop.