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Forages

ForagesIn western New York high yields of high quality forage are vital to the dairy and livestock industries. Feed-costs are often half of a farm's business expenses each year. This page contains resources and information to help farmers better manage silage, hay, and pastures. 

Corn silage and "haylage" (alfalfa or alfalfa/grass silage) are the main forages grown on dairy farms. These silages are stored in upright silos, bunker silos, piles, silage bags, and as "balelage" (plastic-wrapped round bales) where they are persevered and then fed to the cows. In recent years winter triticale silage has also become an important feed on dairy farms due to increasing land prices, short feed supplies, and winter triticale's high yields and desirable feed quality. Oats are also grown for silage as a nurse crop during the establishment of a haylage field or, in more recent years, as a fall silage planted in August after another small grain or vegetable crop. Hay is widely grown in the region for horses, beef, alpacas, sheep, goats, and dairy animals. Most of the hay is sold to local farmers and animal owners. 

However a number of farmers contract out of the state for specialty hay markets (racing horse, mushroom production, biomass, etc.). Much of the hay grown is a mixture of alfalfa with timothy or orchardgrass, but other grass species like tall fescue, reed canarygrass, bromegrasses, and ryegrasses are also planted on many farms. Pastures are very common in western New York and form the foundation of many productive dairy and livestock farms. Ladino clover, red clover, white clover, and/or birdsfoot trefoil are mixed orchardgrass, tall fescue, meadow fescue, reed canarygrass, timothy, bromegrass, and/or ryegrass on most farms. Many graziers have adopted rotational grazing practices that have increased pasture productivity by grazing small paddocks for a short period of time and then allowing that area to recover for 25-40 days before grazing again.


FORAGES CATEGORIES




Most Recent Forages Content

Farm Financial Management Practices for Unfavorable Economic Conditions

Last Modified: July 10, 2020

Sound financial planning and control improve owner's abilities to manage their businesses during unfavorable economic conditions.  Consider the current environment affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of rain in many areas.  Budgeting is a valuable farm financial management practice for these situations.  Visit (Brandie, please insert link here) to learn more about budgeting and its value in managing your farm business.


Reducing the Risk of Compaction When Grazing Cover Crops

Nancy Glazier, Small Farms & Livestock
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: October 31, 2019
Reducing the Risk of Compaction When Grazing Cover Crops

The benefits of cover crops have been known for many

years; one is remediating compaction. 


Dairy Culture Coach September 2019

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

Last Modified: September 30, 2019
Dairy Culture Coach September 2019

The latest issue of the Dairy Culture Coach includes the following topics: 

  • Improving Human Resource Management
  • Silage Harvest Vocabulary
  • The Importance of Corn
  • La Importancia del Maz
  • Consulate Updates

Please feel free to contact Libby with questions, to subscribe to the newsletter, or to make suggestions for future content.  geg24@cornell.edu or 607-793-4847.


Dairy Alert 9.24.19

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

Last Modified: September 24, 2019

Welcome to the new Dairy Alert!

While many of you receive our monthly newsletter, Ag Focus, we wanted a way to stay in touch during those in-between weeks when there is important news to share.  In this issue:

Corn Silage Pre-Harvest Meetings

Pricing Corn Silage

Sexual Harassment Prevention: Comply by 10/9


Pricing Corn Silage -- Fall 2019

John Hanchar, Farm Business Management
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: September 13, 2019

  • Analysis suggests corn silage price depends on corn silage quantities, alfalfa hay price, the price received by farmers for milk, and corn grain price.
  • Analysis for NY suggests that estimated corn silage price is most sensitive to corn silage quantities, alfalfa hay price and corn grain price.
  • Price estimates combined with understanding of relevant supply and demand factors from an individual farm business owner's perspective can aid decision making regarding corn silage price.  Given recently available alfalfa hay and corn grain prices (May through July, 2019, and August 27, 2019, respectively), price analysis for NY suggests an estimated corn silage price of about $45 per ton.  The Fall 2018 estimate was about $41 per ton.


Webinar for Dairy Producers will Cover New Dairy Margin Coverage Program

John Hanchar, Farm Business Management
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: June 10, 2019

The USDA/Farm Service Agency in New York is partnering with the NYS Crop Insurance Education Program to present a webinar for dairy producers.


Alfalfa Height Measurement updated weekely

Last Modified: May 9, 2019
Alfalfa Height Measurement updated weekely

Locations around the region are listed where we have measured alfalfa height (see spreadsheet). You can use the location and elevation as a guide to conditions that may be similar to your farm.

The 2019 hay crop season is shaping up to be similar to our 2018 harvest schedule. An alfalfa height of 9 inches or less is too low to be used by the equation we have which is why you see "Too Early." On May 2, 2018 the alfalfa averaged 7 inches tall and as of today, May 2, 2019, alfalfa is averaging 7 inches tall.

The table below indicates no grasses are ready to be cut today. The continued temperature fluctuations along with rain will influence how much growth we get in another week so stay tuned! Soil temperatures are ranging between 38 and 46 degrees in places.

 It is important that you get first cutting off in a timely manner for quality purposes, so please communicate in advance with your team on how you are going to plant corn and successfully harvest 1st cutting.  Additional fields to be added to next report.

Week 2, Updated May 9, 2019:

County Town Road Name Elevation Alfalfa Height Inches Predicted Grass     % NDF Predicted 50/50 Mix % NDF Predicted Alfalfa       % NDF Predicted Date to Cut Grass  Predicted Date to Cut Mix  Predicted Date to Cut Alfalfa 
Monroe Scottsville Cameron RD 620 11 46.5 33.7 26.2 5/5/19 5/14/19 5/25/19
Wyoming Castile Glen Iris RD 1340 11 46.5 33.7 26.2 5/5/19 5/14/19 5/25/19
Livingston Geneseo Lakeville-Groveland RD 850 12 47.4 34.5 26.9 5/4/19 5/13/19 5/24/19
Orleans Medina Seaman Rd 525 7 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early
Orleans Lyndonville County line rd 322 10 45.6 32.8 25.5 5/6/19 5/16/19 5/27/19
Ontario Hopewell County rd 4 860 13 48.2 35.4 27.6 5/3/19 5/12/19 5/22/19
Yates  Penn Yan Field Lane 364 1000 12 47.4 34.5 26.9 5/4/19 5/13/19 5/24/19


Week 1, May 2, 2019

County Town Road Name Elevation Alfalfa Height Inches Predicted Grass              % NDF Predicted 50/50 Mix % NDF Predicted Alfalfa            % NDF Predicted Date to Cut Grass  Predicted Date to Cut Mix  Predicted Date to Cut Alfalfa 
Monroe Scottsville Wheatland Center RD 620 7 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early
Wyoming Castile Glen Iris RD 1340 7 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early
Livingston Geneseo Groveland RD 850 7 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early
Livingston Geneseo Chandler RD 870 7 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early
Ontario Hopewell Spangle Rd 860 7 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early
Ontario Hopewell Spangle Rd 740 7 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early
Seneca Waterloo Yellow Tavern Rd 590 8 Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early Too Early


 


Winter Feeding Beef Cows

Nancy Glazier, Small Farms & Livestock
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: February 14, 2019
Winter Feeding Beef Cows

Winter is a challenging time to feed the beef herd. Mud, cold and snow or rain can stress your cows and increase their nutritional needs. How do you know if you are meeting the needs of your herd?


Financial Balancing Act Means Managing Risk is Essential

Joan Sinclair Petzen, Farm Business Management
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: September 19, 2018

The present long-term downturn in commodity prices brings with it increased financial pressure on farm operations.  Alternatives for managing risk are continually evolving.  For many in agriculture, and particularly dairy, self-insurance has been the go-to method of risk management.  Two new tools, the USDA Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and Dairy Revenue Protection Insurance (DRP) are coming on line and a third, Rainfall Index - Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (RI-PRF) merits serious consideration.


Pricing Corn Silage -- Fall 2018

John Hanchar, Farm Business Management
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: September 10, 2018
Pricing Corn Silage -- Fall 2018

Summary 

  • Analysis suggests corn silage price depends on corn silage quantities, alfalfa hay price, the price received by farmers for milk, and corn grain price.
  • Analysis for NY suggests that estimated corn silage price is most sensitive to corn silage quantities, alfalfa hay price and corn grain price.
  • Price estimates combined with understanding of relevant supply and demand factors from an individual farm business owner's perspective can aid decision making regarding corn silage price.  Given recently available alfalfa hay and corn grain prices (May through July, 2018, and August 14, 2018, respectively), price analysis for NY suggests an estimated corn silage price of about $41 per ton.  The Fall 2017 estimate was about $54 per ton.


Crop Alert

Mike Stanyard, Team Leader, Field Crops
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: July 27, 2018
Crop Alert

Timely observations, information, and control strategies for managing pests, fertility, and current conditions on northwestern NY farms.


Stockpiling Pastures

Nancy Glazier, Small Farms & Livestock
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: July 10, 2018
Stockpiling Pastures

Begin to stockpile your pastures in August to extend the grazing season. 






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Forages

Forages

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Upcoming Events

Herbicide Resistant Weed Control Virtual Field Day

Event Offers DEC Credits

October 21, 2020

This free online event will offer 2 DEC pesticide applicator credits and CCE CEU's. Pre-Registration is required for DEC credits! 

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Announcements

*NEW* The NWNY Team Blog!

Our goal for this blog is to share with farmers and allied industry professionals, technical and applicable resources regarding all aspects of dairy farming, livestock and small farms, field crops and soils, and topics related to farm business management and precision agriculture.

The blog will feature Crop Alerts, Dairy Alerts, Bilingual (Spanish) Resources, Upcoming Events and more from our team members. This blog is free for everyone to use, explore and enjoy. When new material is published, subscribers will receive an email notification.

We hope you enjoy this new platform, and are looking forward to engaging with you in the future!
https://blogs.cornell.edu/nwny-dairy-livestock-field-crops/


Dialing Into Your Best Dairy - * New Podcast Series *

Dialing Into Your Best Dairy
A Podcast Series​
Hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Regional Dairy Specialists and Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

Episodes in this series will discuss management practices and tips to reach your herd's full genetic potential. In 8 episodes, PRO-DAIRY and CCE Dairy Specialists will discuss the different life stages of the dairy cow, including raising calves through the milk phase and weaning; managing weaned heifers up to freshening; making decisions about which replacements to keep including talking about inventory, disease prevention, and culling decisions; feeding and nutrition management during lactation; facilities, time management, and ventilation considerations throughout lactation; and management factors around reproduction, gestation, and the dry period.

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