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PDF:  Delaware County Scissors Cut Report - May 14, 2013

PDF:  Delaware County Scissors Cut Report - May 7, 2013

PDF:  Delaware County Scissors Cut Results - May 1, 2012

MAKING MILK WITH GRASS

If you applied manure or commercial N fertilizer to your grass fields this spring, they’re probably looking pretty good by now. If you didn’t they’re probably not looking so good and there’s not much you can do at this point to save the day, at least not for first cut. Jerry Cherney reported that according to Cornell University research, grass fields that receive neither manure nor fertilizer do so poorly that the yield may not be worth the cost of harvest. Ouch.

But assuming that you did get some form of nitrogen onto your grass fields, the coming weeks will be critical since you’ll want to harvest at time where yield and quality are ideal. In most cases this is the late boot stage, just before head emergence. However, when you start mowing depends on how much grass you have, and how quickly you can get it ensiled. If you know that it will take you over a week to harvest you may need to start when the grass is in the mid-boot stage. “When you see the head the quality is dead.” Words to remember! Of course weather can foul up the best of plans, but if it does, you should plan on feeding late-harvested grass silage to something other than high-producing cows. Have an NIR forage analysis done on the forage from a few typical fields as they’re ensiled. “Milk cow quality” grass is about 30% ADF and 50-55% NDF. Your dairy nutrition consultant can make do with grass with NDF in the high 50s, but much higher than that and it’s tough - literally and figuratively.

If you normally harvest first cut grass well after heading and this year you cut it in the boot stage you might be amazed at how fast it regrows. Apply another shot of N or topdressed manure ASAP after harvest and be ready to take second cut as soon as there’s enough grass to mow. Not very scientific perhaps, but…

- E.T. (Ev Thomas)

Source:  May 2010 Issue of Miner Institute Farm Report (http://www.whminer.org/Farm%20Report/2010_05.pdf)