1st crop hay quantity better than quality thanks to weather

A forage consultant says rainy weather has helped grow more hay, but it has limited the feed quality.

Daniel Olson with Forage Innovations consults for dairy farmers in several states.  He tells Brownfield there have been some alfalfa weevil problems, but overall, stands look good.  At his northeastern Wisconsin home farm, Olson says the challenge has been getting that hay off the field with so little time between rain events. “Sixty percent of the days since April 1st have had measurable precipitation and that, of course, makes it really challenging to make any sort of feed from a quality standpoint.”

Olson says the hay that is harvested past its ideal peak feed value probably means making changes to the rations and to the next hay cutting. “We’re probably going to have to feed more concentrates, or we’re going to have to really focus the rest of the year on making maybe more immature forages that we can use to blend off some of these over-mature forages that we’ve already put up.”

Olson says the lower quality of the first crop hay is going to affect decision making, and the sooner farmers work with their nutritionists, the better their cows will produce.

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