Livestock producers have a number of economical reasons to have forage tested before the winter feeding season begins.
Knowing forage quality will help maximize animal performance, provide sufficient feed and lower input costs. Most livestock producers have forages with different qualities on their farms because there's a tremendous variation in the quality of forages harvested at diverse stages of maturity. Plus, weather damage and the species itself can affect forage feeding quality.
By having forages tested, you will know the quality of the different forages. Then, you can match forage quality to livestock that have diverse nutritional needs and different management requirements that are influenced by age and stage of production. This will help you get the best performance from animals whether it's reproduction, rate of gain or milk production.
Another reason it's important to know forage quality is to be sure you will have enough feed to get through the winter. After you have forages tested, take an inventory of them and livestock to be sure you'll have sufficient feed. Winter feed comprises about one-half of the total feed costs for a beef herd.