Forage Report – June 6, 2012

First-cut yields are variable across the province, with below average yields in western Ontario. A combination of factors have contributed to low yields, including dry April and May weather, frost damage, cutting during last fall’s Critical Fall Harvest Period, saturated soils going into the winter, alfalfa disease, winterkill and stand thinning. Recent rains have helped 2nd cut regrowth.

Alfalfa weevil is still feeding in some areas of western Ontario. Some spraying  has been warranted on 2nd cut regrowth.

Armyworm is also being reported in some hayfields. Control is warranted when 5 or more larvae (smaller than 1 inch) per square foot are found. In new seedings, thresholds are 2 – 3 larvae (< 1 inch) per square foot.

Applying liquid manure immediately after alfalfa haylage harvest improves both yield and forage quality. A rule of thumb is to apply no more than 50 lbs/ac as ammonium-N. That is typically about 4,000 gal/ac of dairy manure, but there is a wide range in dry matters. A manure analysis will provide a more accurate number. Just as important is how quickly it is applied after the haylage is taken off, before

Making “baleage” can provide quality forage. However, the risk of spoilage can be frustrating, particularly when forage supplies are limited and hay prices are high. There is little room to cut corners. Be sure to use dense bales and enough plastic!