“Making soybean hay can be a pain in the neck,” he warns. “The stems and pods cure slowly. Leaf loss may become a problem.”
A crimper on the hay-mowing machine will speed drying.
Rather than making hay, Kallenbach prefers ensiling the forage. The soybean crop can be fermented in a silo or stored in plastic bags. Haylage is easier to make than hay, Kallenbach says.
The high-protein soybean hay can be mixed with other, lower-quality hay in a tub grinder to make a total mixed ration (TMR), Kallenbach says. “In times of scarce forage, everything must be done to reduce waste and extend the use of poorer-quality forages, which are plentiful this year.”
Bean growers might receive an insurance payment for crop loss, then harvest a bonus forage crop. “The price of hay is going up fast,” Kallenbach says.
The crop can also be used as green chop, cutting a wagonload at a time to feed the cattle. There isn’t the danger of high-nitrate poisoning that comes with green-chop corn in this drought year.
State specialists in Columbia hold weekly teleconferences to answer questions from regional extension specialists. They share reports from test plots on the MU research farms of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station.