The Manager - March 2018

Plan Now For Your 2018 Forage Needs

Spring Renewal

By Julie Berry

Winters in the Northeast can feel long, and the first long days of sunshine, the smell of rain and new life sprouting in the fields can help lift spirits. This spring also brings a new partnership for PRO-DAIRY, with the publication of The Manager by Progressive Dairyman. We look forward to what grows.

Efforts to Advance Corn Silage Hybrid Evaluation Trials in the Northeast

By Joe Lawrence, Heather Darby, Jessica Williamson and Thomas Overton

A number of independent Corn Silage Hybrid Testing Programs are conducted across the country. Over the past two years the hybrid evaluation trials conducted in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont have come together to develop a unified testing network. These efforts have involved Cornell University, Penn State University, the University of Vermont, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania (PDMP), and the Western New York Crop Management Association. All of these programs were offering valuable information on hybrid performance, and this new unified collaboration further enhances these programs by allowing for the evaluation of hybrids across more growing conditions, as well as consistent analysis and reporting across sites.

Dynamic Harvest Schedules

By Joe Lawrence

In a whole farm context the focus on high quality forage has shifted to the right quality forage for each group of animals on the farm. This, however, is not an excuse to relax goals on producing high quality forage. We all know that a number of factors, from weather to equipment breakdowns, can ruin the best of plans. While it is not possible to manage the weather, steps can be taken to help manage for the weather.

Strategic Forage Storage Planning

By Joe Lawrence and Ron Kuck

The dairy and livestock industries have seen continued advances in options available to improve forage management, from crop species and variety selection, to harvest management, to recognizing the class of animals on the farm that will most benefit from different forage types and qualities.

Alfalfa-Grass Mixtures -- 2017 Update

By Jerry Cherney, Debbie Cherney and Ken Paddock

While almost 90 percent of alfalfa acreage in NY is sown with a perennial grass, alfalfa acreage in the rest of the USA may average more than 90 percent pure alfalfa. Interest appears to be growing in alfalfa-grass mixtures across the northern tier of states. Until recently, little research has been conducted on grass species selection or management of mixtures. The primary negative point with mixtures is not lower forage quality, but variable forage quality. The main cause of this variability is a variable alfalfa-grass ratio.

Corn Silage and Grain Yield Monitor Data Cleaning

By Tulsi Kharel, Sheryl Swink, Karl Czymmek, and Quirine Ketterings

Calibration of yield monitors during the harvest season is essential to obtain accurate yield data, but even if calibrated properly, the data obtained from the yield monitors still needs to be cleaned.

What Do New York Corn Fields Really Yield? The Case for Using Yield Monitors

By Quirine Ketterings, Karl Czymmek, Tulsi Kharel, and Sheryl Swink

Corn silage and grain yields have steadily increased since World War II with a slightly greater increase per year for corn grain than for corn silage, possibly reflecting an emphasis on corn grain improvement by plant breeders in the past decades. With an increase in yield comes the question: Has the ability of improved crop varieties to explore the soil for nutrients kept up with higher yield or do we need to supply more N fertilizer to meet N needs? Further, we need to look at what differences in field traits (within and between) affect yield beyond the hybrid selected and the N fertilizer or manure that was applied. Nationwide evaluation of N use shows that overall farmers are using the same average fertilizer N rates, even while yields have been increasing. How are we doing in silage production areas such as New York State?

More Manure Storage? Consider Your Operation and Your Neighbor's Concerns

By Peter Wright

Recycling dairy nutrients back to the land needs to be timely to preserve nitrogen and to avoid environmental losses. Manure storages are an integral part of the manure management system on the farm to make sure this is possible. Nutrients, particularly nitrogen, should be applied as close to the plant’s use as possible to reduce the potential for emission, runoff and leaching losses. Fall, winter and wet weather manure spreading have the potential for significant losses to the environment. Manure storage until right before the growing season, with a premium on storage locations that allow quick and efficient spreading when the time is appropriate, should be part of every manure management system.