Beating The Weather With Baleage
Larry Matlack, Burrton, KS, worked hard to produce a
consistent, high-quality, green, soft dairy hay despite the weather. Yet
after calculating that he was losing more than $40,000 on one 235-acre
irrigated circle, he changed from mostly dry dairy hay to baleage.
"I wanted to be a price setter, not a price taker," he states. "Year in
and year out, about 60% of our alfalfa hay was getting damaged and
couldn't be sold as dairy hay after being rained on or harvested too
late because of weather. I made a management choice to bale the hay
before it rains and wrap the bales."
Matlack produces 3 x 4', 2,000-lb bales wrapped in an
ultraviolet-light-inhibited stretch film. He tries to bale within 25-35%
moisture if shipping the product long distance, or within 35-45%
moisture for closer clients. A forage inoculant is added to speed
He can wrap over 100 bales per hour and plastic costs about $2.50/bale.
The cost of owning and operating the tube wrapper is comparable to the
cost of other storage systems. "We average around $100/acre more profit
and ended up with year-round wrapped hay customers when we started using
this system," he states. "We average less than 1% damaged hay. We go to
the field when the dew is coming off, around 9 a.m., and we don't work
at night anymore. It has been a good system for us, but it takes more
management, not less."
Matlack puts up about 80% of his dairy hay as bale silage and 10% as dry
hay. The rest becomes grinding hay. He ships most of his hay within a
350- to 400-mile radius. He also wraps dry hay and has found it can be a
palatable feed for grinding, creating less dust and less waste.
Matlack and his brother, Bill, own Stinger, Ltd., Haven, KS, which sells
bale wrappers and stackers. Contact him at 800-530-5304.
You can prevent stand loss. You can reduce dry-down time. You can
increase alfalfa forage quality, stand longevity and yield. You can
do it with Raptor® herbicide. Research trials prove that the
superior performance of Raptor controls grasses and broadleaf weeds,
enabling your alfalfa - and your bottom line - to thrive.
The chemical company.
Always read and follow label directions.
Raptor is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2005 BASF
All Rights Reserved.
Weigh Need With Risk Before Last Cutting
Midwestern growers who are taking final cuts of alfalfa
in September or October better be sure they'll get good tonnage -- or
have a great need for it, says Mark Sulc, extension forage specialist
with Ohio State University.
Midwestern growers have been warned for years not to cut alfalfa in
early fall because of increased risk of winter injury. Yet many do
despite research showing that tonnage gained by cutting then is often
lost in the first cutting the following year. Plus, the added stress to
alfalfa could ultimately shorten stand life, Sulc adds.
It's best, he says, to let alfalfa fields build up cold resistance and
energy reserves for winter survival during those critical months. And
only take a late fall cutting in well-drained soils after a killing
frost, when temperatures reach 25 degrees or less for several hours.
Then be sure to leave 6" of stubble.
New Online Source Provides Horse Care
Extension service equine specialists from across the
U.S. are working to provide research-based information on many equine
topics online at www.extension.org/horses. The new Web site, called
HorseQuest, features information about feeding horses, in addition to
facility, health-care, and reproduction information. HorseQuest also
features one-on-one live chats with equine experts. The one-hour chats
feature three extension service specialists addressing various topics.
Source: North Dakota State University.
Looking for a new baler? Look to the
future. New Holland BB-A balers are designed for the highest
capacity baling with innovative options such as the CropCutter™
feeding system for shorter particle length, denser bales and more
digestible feed for livestock. To learn more, see your local New Holland
dealer or call 1-888-290-7377. www.newholland.com/h4/
Recent rains and a surplus of fair-quality hay have
helped lower hay prices in much of Iowa, says Bob Humpal, owner of Fort
Atkinson Hay Auction. "We really don't have too much choice hay here,
just the 100-125 relative feed value hay," he says. "We've got lots of
hay. Most people got four cuttings and there are guys making their fifth
cuttings now. We normally ship hay in and now we are shipping hay out."
Humpal has been getting calls from people in Texas, Oklahoma and
Colorado looking for hay.
Straw is selling higher than hay in northeastern Iowa. "This is the
first time since I've been in business that this has happened," Humpal
states. "The straw market is averaging $100/ton."
At the same time, Iowa dairymen are having a hard time making ends meet
because of low milk prices. "Local dairymen are using more soybean meal
in their dairy rations," he says.
Fort Atkinson's hay auctions are held every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Learn
more at www.fortatkinsonhay.com/ or call 563-534-7513.
There is a very strong demand for hay in Pennsylvania,
reports David Fink, Heidel Hollow Farm, Inc., Germansville. He says the
hay season kicked off with dry conditions in March and early April.
"This hurt yields on the grasses, but the quality was fantastic," he
says. Mixed hay has had good yields and has been of good quality this
year in his area. "Our first cutting of alfalfa was average. Then it
rained, so it was tough to get a second cut," Fink states. "We had lots
of tonnage with the second cut, but poor quality. The third cut was
light, but good quality. We are not taking a fourth cutting."
David, his wife, Sonia, and sons Michael and Travis, maintain 1,500 crop
acres and produce 900 acres of hay. Their farm is along the southern
slope of the Appalachian Mountains in east-central Pennsylvania, just
two hours from New York City and Philadelphia. The Finks produce and
market high-quality hay and forage products for the dairy and horse
markets, in addition to a line of barley straw pond treatment products.
They grow and sell compressed Bale-In-A-Bag alfalfa, mixed hay, grass
hay and straw, among other products.
Contact Fink at 610-767-2409. Visit Heidel Hollow Farm at www.baleinabag.net/default.asp.
NK Brand Alfalfas deliver
more quality AND more yield. Our premium alfalfas, like Genoa,
Expedition and Boulder, combine high nutritional values with high
yields, plus outstanding agronomics and persistence for longer,
healthier stands. The result? More profit from your alfalfa acres -
whether you feed it or sell it. www.nk-us.com
Marketing Strategies Offered At Oct. 24-25
Speakers at the upcoming Western Hay Business
Conference & Expo, sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower, will share
tips about how to successfully sell hay to key markets. Scheduled for
Oct. 24-25 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane, WA, the
conference will kick off with a panel of innovative hay growers
discussing ways to increase sales and profits. Other speakers will cover
hay export opportunities, producing hay for the horse market, organic
hay production and financial planning considerations for hay growers.
Come to the conference to learn how to squeeze more profit from your hay
business. Learn more about maximizing yields and profits from timothy
and orchardgrass. Visit a hay industry specific trade show and ask
industry experts all about their products and services.
Register for $150 per person and bring a second person from your
operation for $125. Learn more at www.hayconference.com.
**Sept. 21-24 -- World Beef Expo, Wisconsin
State Fair Park near Milwaukee. Learn more at www.worldbeefexpo.com, or call 414-266-7050.
**Oct. 3-7 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison,
WI. Learn more at www.worlddairyexpo.com.
**Oct. 17-19 -- Sunbelt Ag Exposition, Moultrie, GA. Visit www.sunbeltexpo.com
or call 229-985-1968.
**Oct. 20-21 -- 5th Annual Pennsylvania Statewide Project Grass
Conference, Williamsport. Featured speakers include Jim Gerrish and
Allen Williams, plus many more. Contact Kris Ribble at email@example.com or
570-784-4401, ext. 111.
**Oct. 24-25 -- Western Hay Business Conference & Expo, Red Lion
Hotel at the Park, Spokane, WA. Sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower.
Register at $150 per person and bring a second person from your
operation for $125. Learn more at www.hayconference.com.
**Nov. 14-15 -- 2006 BEEF Magazine's Quality Summit,
Clarion Hotel, Oklahoma City. Learn more and sign up at www.beef-mag.com.
**Nov. 21 -- Kentucky Grazing Conference, Fayette County
Extension Office, Lexington. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.
**Dec. 11-13 -- Western Alfalfa & Forage Conference, Reno, NV.
Contact Dan Putnam at 530-752-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Glenn
Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or email@example.com.
**Jan. 18-19 -- Southwest Hay Conference, Ruidoso Convention
Center, Ruidoso, NM. Learn more at the New Mexico Hay Association Web
site at www.nmhay.com.
Contact Doug Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Gina
Sterrett at 505-626-5677.
**Jan. 24-25 -- Heart Of America Grazing Conference, Holiday Inn,
Mount Vernon, IL. Contact Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202, or
**Feb. 6-7 -- Mid-America Alfalfa Expo, Buffalo County
Fairgrounds, Kearney, NE. Visit www.alfalfaexpo.com or call Barb Kinnan at
**Feb. 27 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Cave City Convention
Center. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.
**Feb. 28-March 2 -- National Grassfed Beef Conference,
Grantville, PA. Contact John Comerford at 814-863-3661 or email@example.com, or Dave Hartman at
570-784-6660, ext. 12, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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