Packing and Covering Bunker Silos

Bunker silos offer many advantages over tower silos for the storage of haylage and corn silage, but require careful management to minimize fermentation and spoilage losses. Along with proper harvest moisture, length-of-cut and the use of a research proven silage inoculant, additional attention must be applied to proper site selection, sizing, filling, packing, covering, rodent […]

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Red Clover Haylage

Red clover haylage can sometimes be a good alternative to alfalfa. Under ideal conditions alfalfa will usually outyield red clover. However, in areas where alfalfa winterkill is a problem, red clover better tolerates imperfect drainage and lower pH levels, and can be grown in fields that are too wet or low pH for alfalfa. Red clover feed […]

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Alfalfa Autotoxicity

Reseeding alfalfa following alfalfa is not a recommended practice due to the effects of autotoxicity, and plant diseases that can build up in the old stand. Alfalfa autotoxicity occurs when established alfalfa plants produce toxins which reduce both the germination (establishment) and the growth (yield) of new alfalfa plants. Autotoxicity can occur when alfalfa is reseeded into an […]

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Frost Heaving Of Alfalfa

Frost heaving can significantly damage alfalfa plants, leaving stands with much less or even zero yield potential. Plants may initially appear undamaged, but taproots are typically broken and unable to pick up enough nutrients or moisture, and stands eventually die. Frost heaving of alfalfa happens when repeated freezing and thawing pushes the tap root and crown out of the soil. […]

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Check Alfalfa Stands This Spring and Make A Plan

Low forage inventories, high land costs, and sometimes increasing risks for alfalfa winterkill make assessing spring alfalfa health essential. Walking fields in early spring to determine if the alfalfa stand has thinned, and assessing if plants are dead or unhealthy is a proactive strategy to determine management options. Making the decision whether to manage an existing reduced stand or replace it […]

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Rethinking Orchardgrass

  Orchardgrass can be very productive, particularly in pastures and hay fields with aggressive cutting schedules. It is a very fast growing, perennial, cool-season grass. However, because it heads so very early in the spring and then declines quickly in digestible energy and protein, it has not been as widely used for stored forage in […]

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Summer Seeded Oats For Extra Forage – 2012 Recap

  Record acreages of emergency annual forages were seeded this summer after wheat and spring cereals were harvested. Low yields of first- and second-cut hay left many farmers with very low forage inventories. Emergency forages used included cool-season cereals (oats, barley, triticale) and cereal pea mixtures, as well as some warm-season sorghums, sorghum-sudans and millets […]

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Silage Fermentation Problems

When we make corn silage and haylage, we are using our skills as microbiologists, just like winemakers, brewers and composters. As a biological system, silage making doesn’t always work perfectly. During an anaerobic silage fermentation, microorganisms feed on sugars and other soluble carbohydrates in the forage material and produce organic acids, such as lactate and […]

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Silo Gas

Farmers exposed to silo gas (nitrogen dioxide, NO2) are at risk of severe respiratory distress, permanent damage to lungs, and even sudden death.  It is difficult to predict when silo gas will be produced, so always take precautions following harvest. Weather conditions and agronomic practices affect the amount of nitrates in plant material, which set the stage for […]

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Potential Nitrate Poisoning and Silo Gas When Using Corn Damaged By Dry Weather For Silage, Green Chop Or Grazing

Extended periods of dry weather without rain can severely stress corn plants. When this occurs during tasselling and pollination, cob formation and grain yield can be significantly reduced. As the situation worsens, leaves turn brown and the plants can appear dry and “dead”.  Some farmers attempt to salvage this corn by using it as forage […]

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