Ag Notes: Know the nutritive content of forages

September 08, 2004|JERRY LITTLE

Livestock producers need to know the nutritive content of forages such as corn silage and hay they will feed animals this year. Routinely testing is necessary because forage quality changes with growing conditions, and most importantly the stage of maturity at which forages were harvested.

You cannot tell the quality simply by looking at forages. Instead have them tested by a laboratory. Use a forage probe to take representative samples. For example, use a probe to take a sample from 20 different bales when testing hay or balage.

Once forages are tested, use the results to balance rations.

Otherwise, you could have decreased performance in the form of lower weight gain, milk production or reproductive efficiency that might not show up until later. All this can be translated into lower net income for your farm operation.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has a hay testing program where they will come to your farm and take hay samples and run the tests for you for a fee of $10 per lot. An example of a lot would be a first cutting of alfalfa/grass, or different fields, etc. For more information on having your hay tested you can call the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at 1-800-248-4628.


To increase the bottom line, always test forages and balance rations to meet the needs of your herd.

For more information on increasing farm income, contact the Boyle Cooperative Extension Service.

No such thing as a free ride

A farmer and his wife went to a fair. The farmer, who had never been on an airplane, was fascinated by a stunt plane and asked the pilot how much a ride would cost.

"$20 for three minutes," the pilot replied.

"That's too much," said the farmer.

The pilot thought for a second and then said, "I'll make you a deal. If you and your wife ride for three minutes without uttering a sound, the ride will be free. But if you make any sound at all, you'll have to pay me the $20."

The farmer and his wife agreed and went for a thrilling ride. After they landed, the pilot said to the farmer, "I want to congratulate you for not making a sound. You are a brave man."

"Maybe so," said the farmer, "but I gotta tell ya, I almost screamed when my wife fell out."

Central Kentucky News Articles