Forage experts will be on hand next week at World Dairy Expo to present cutting-edge information. Seminars will be presented on the Dairy Forage Tool Box stage located at the east end of the Arena building. The free daily seminars will also feature a question and answer period.

Here is the lineup of speakers.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

10:30 a.m. Using whole farm management of crop/livestock systems to reduce the phosphorus index 

  • Tom Cox, ag economist and soil scientist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Jim Leverich, on-farm research coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Several best management practices (BMPs) for reducing the phosphorous index (PI) have spillover impacts on the rest of the farming system. Whole farm management analysis provides an integrated perspective for evaluating the economic and environmental impacts of adopting these alternative BMPs. This talk will demonstrate the use of this whole farm management tool with several examples from current on-farm research.

1:30 p.m. Should a custom operator be harvesting your forages?

  • Matthew Digman, machinery systems specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The first step to making any management change is to understand cost of production. The goal of this presentation is to give you the tools needed to understand your current machinery costs for forage harvesting so that an informed decision can be made. Other factors – including labor, harvest quality, and opportunity cost – will also be considered.

Thursday, Oct. 1

 Finding a fair way to price standing hay and corn silage

  • Ted Bay, crops and farm management agent, University of Wisconsin-Extension

How do you encourage cash grain farmers to sell corn silage to dairy producers? How do you determine a price for standing hay that covers escalating costs for the grower while still being affordable for the dairy producer? This talk will explore ways to fairly price standing hay and corn silage.

1:30 p.m. Don’t overlook the benefits of perennial forages for soils, crops, and water quality

  • Bill Jokela, soil scientist, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, USDA-ARS

The amount of corn silage fed to U.S. milking dairy cows has increased significantly in the last 20 years. But there are costs associated with the subsequent reduction in perennial forage acreage. This talk will cover: 1) the benefits of perennial forages used in rotation or as a cover crop (nitrogen credits and yield benefits for crops rotated with perennial forages); and 2) the more far-reaching benefits of perennial forages in terms of improved soil quality, reduced soil erosion, and improved water quality.

Friday, Oct. 2

10:30 a.m. Don’t make your cows eat dirt: Reducing ash in hay and haylage

  • Dan Undersander, research and extension agronomist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mineral content of grasses and legumes normally is about 6 to 8 percent. However, ash content of hay and haylage has averaged 10 to 12 percent, indicating an average of 4 percent dirt contamination. Since each 1 percent ash is 0.98 percent less total digestible nutrients (TDN), this talk will stress ways to reduce dirt contamination of forage.

1:30 p.m. Using corn silage starch to navigate high-priced grain

  • Randy Shaver, extension dairy nutritionist, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Grain prices reached unprecedented heights recently and remain high relative to milk prices. The proportions of corn silage in the ration, starch content of corn silage, and digestibility of the starch in corn silage all influence the amount of grain needed in the ration, and will be discussed in this talk.

Saturday, Oct. 3

10:30 a.m. New understanding of the stories cows tell about nutrition

  • Mary Beth Hall, dairy scientist, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, USDA-ARS

If there's one thing that Dr. Hall has learned in her 20+ years as a dairy nutritionist, it's that the cow is always right - even when she doesn't behave the way nutritionists expect her to behave. As we try to figure out how to work with the cow, and with old and new technologies toward increases in milk production and efficiency, the cow has new stories to tell about how she reacts to changes in diets and what would make her most content and productive.