Forages, are they making the most for your farm?

You did your homework. Now the quality of your forages are great, but how do you maximize their impact on your farm?

picture of a field during the daytime

Forage is money! Putting up good quality feeds requires time, trained labor, maintained equipment and a good amount of management skills. All these resources have a dollar sign attached to them. However, without the investment the quality of feed decreases negatively, affecting the cow’s health and productivity. which then ultimately hurts farm income. Multiple materials and resources are available to provide guidelines and methods to improve the quality of feed in the field, or during harvest. However, what happens when the feed is already stored and the feed out phase begins? What strategies can help you maintain quality, control cost feeding and maintain consistent rationing in front of your cows?

During the “Efficiency is a Work in Progress” program from the MSU Extension Dairy Team, we will present information and strategies to address some of these questions. One of the topics that we will discuss is strategies and benefits of monitoring forage dry matter.Dry matter (DM) is the anchor number for your forages, without accurate monitoring the variation in moisture cannot be tracked or accounted for during the feed mixing process. This variation can lead to inconsistencies that could derail the ratios of a balanced ration. If importance is not placed on monitoring, the inconsistencies will end up in the feed bunk and reflected in the milk tank or sick (hospital) pen. During the program we will share the results of a trial that tracked forage DM variation across multiple farms using multiple management strategies to manage their forage. Do you have an idea how much DM swings up and down, how this impacts the mixed ration? Let us show you!

DM is only one of multiple topics included in the MSU Extension Dairy Team winter program. The program will be presented in four live locations:

  • February 25th – McBain Community Library 107 E. Maple St. Mc Bain, MI
  • February 26th – Ottawa County MSU Extension 12220 Fillmore St., West Olive, MI
  • February 27th – Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer 3055 M-21, St. Johns, MI
  • March 4th – Franklin Inn 1070 E Huron Ave., Bad Axe, MI

In this program, the MSU Extension Dairy team will discuss ways and strategies to improve the efficiency in multiple areas of the farm including managing labor, milking parlor procedures, animal treatments and managing manure. All program materials and lunch are included in the program registration, which can be accessed here.

Please, email or for questions on the topic or additional information about this program.

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