Learn how to successfully feed more forage

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Last month, Rick Grant, president of the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y., participated in a program focused on feeding higher-forage diets. He began each talk with the simple question: What is a high-forage diet?

"At each site the consensus seemed to be at least 70 percent forage," Grant writes in the February 2013 Miner Institute Farm Report. "At one site a producer even pointed out that feeding high corn silage diets, though increasingly common, is not really feeding high forage because of the grain content of the silage. His point engendered discussion about what forage mixture we can realistically expect to feed to our high-producing cows."

Grant goes on to explain that a 70-percent forage diet containing corn silage is a misnomer compared with a diet based on a mixture of grass and legumes.

"We quickly focus on fiber and fiber digestibility when discussing high-forage diets, but we must remember that over 60 percent of the digestible nutrients from typical corn silages come from nonfiber components of the crop," he said.

The Wisconsin program also included a look at forage genetics currently available for grasses, legumes, corn hybrids, and other forages.

Grant also discusses this in his "president's desk" message in the February 2013 Farm Report.

Source: William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute February 2013 Farm Report

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