Baleage can be made in one day, as it can be stored with up to 60 percent moisture. In contrast, hay must dry to 16 percent, which takes days.
Hay cut and rained on loses sugar content, Kallenbach said. That doesn’t make good hay, or good baleage. The sugars ensure the ensiling process works. Also, sugars add feed value.
The surprise came in a report from Scott Poock, MU Extension veterinarian. He said more calves could be produced, earlier in the season, with fixed-time artificial insemination.
The timed AI, used in beef herds, works even better in the MU dairy herd. In the first trial at Mount Vernon, 72 percent of heifers calved after being bred on day one of the breeding season.
Poock said timed AI allows most calves to arrive around Feb. 1 instead of April 1. In turn, cows reach peak milk production at the time of peak growth in the grazing paddocks.
That tied back to lessons from the economist and nutritionist. Early-season milk fills the milk bulk tank earlier. That can boost income.
Stacey Hamilton, MU Extension specialist whose office is at the farm, led a walk to grazing paddocks. Red River crabgrass planted this spring is almost ready for grazing by the milking herd.
This warm-season grass gives consistent summer grazing, he said. After it is done, the paddock will be killed and a new novel-endophyte fescue will be planted.
Two toxin-free fescues will be compared next grazing season. They boost milk production over the old Kentucky 31 fescue variety.
Those high-quality fescues will be shown at future field days.
The research farm, on Highway H, southwest of Mount Vernon, is a part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia.
In response to a budget sequester, there will not be the traditional big field day held annually at the farm in September. Small, low-cost field days will be held.