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Optimizing Your Harvest by Reducing Feed Shrink

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

September 8, 2016
Optimizing Your Harvest by Reducing Feed Shrink

Harvest. While chopping corn or alfalfa, make sure to get every pound that you can into the truck and into the bunk. Missing a truck with the chopper spout or filling a truck so full that feed blows out during transport are both regular occurrences during corn harvest, but every pound that ends up in the field or on the roadside is a pound that doesn't end up in your cows' bellies. How can you avoid this?
  • If you are hauling silage an extended distance, consider the use of a truck tarp to avoid too much loss.
  • Make sure that your radios are working well so that the chopper and truck drivers can communicate.
  • If you have someone driving truck that is new or out of practice, take a little extra time to let them get up to speed. 
  • Remind your crew at the beginning of harvest of the importance of getting as much forage as posible into the bunk.

Storage. You have the greatest opportunity to reduce future spoilage while putting up forages in the bunk.
  • First, remember how dry matter impacts proper packing. Feed that is too dry may not pack well enough to eliminate oxygen, thus leading to poor fermentation. Feed that is too wet can lead to excessive moisture loss due to leaching during fermentation.
  • Covering the forage properly is critical, whether it be with 6-8 mil polyethylene plastic or a combination of plastic and an oxygen barrier. Lining bunk walls can help reduce spoilage around walls and corners and overlapping plastic a good amount when more than one piece are required will also reduce spoilage.

Feed Out. Once you have a quality feed fermented in your bunk, do everything possible to feed every last pound of it.
  • When you don't feed off the face fast enough, exposed feed spoils due to oxygen exposure. Remove at least 6 inches per day from the bunk face.
  • Use a defacer to keep the bunk face smooth.
  • Keep driveways and feeding surfaces smooth so that the loader and feed truck operators can minimize spillage.











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Upcoming Events

Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 23, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Each year the number of acres with resistant weed populations expands.
  • For herbicides to be an effective tool in weed management, we have to know what chemistries & application timings are most effective against these resistant weeds.

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Income and Real Property Tax Primer-A Learning Circle for Women Non-Operating Land Owners of Ag Land

July 24, 2019
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Portageville, NY

For many of us taxes can be a mystery, let's have a conversation with the experts about the tax considerations agricultural landowners need to think about. 
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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers-Cancelled!

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm

The Finger Lakes Graziers pasture walk has been cancelled due to some scheduling conflicts. 
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RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1