“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.