January 18, 2021

It’s Grow Time: 5 Steps to Produce More Grasses and Forage

Successful forage production doesn’t just happen. If you want to produce higher-quality forage and more of it, planning is the key.

“Don’t just do things the way you always have,” said Kody Trampel, a MaxYield agronomy specialist. “Raising better forage takes more management, just like it does for your corn and soybean acres. Now’s the time to start making these management decisions to boost your profit potential.”

MaxYield Cooperative is ready to help, said Trampel, who offers these five tips for success:

1. Choose the right seed. MaxYield carries everything you need for small forages, including timothy grass, brome grass, alfalfa, oats, sorghum, Sudan grass, cover crops, pasture mixes and more from leading seed companies, including Croplan®, LaCrosse Forage and Turf, and Latham® Hi-Tech Seeds. “You don’t need to drive anywhere or order your seed online,” Trampel said. Also, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have specific seed blends that need to be used for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. “Call us ahead of time, and we can create any custom blend you want,” Trampel said.

2. Fertilize properly. Too often growers don’t fertilize alfalfa and grasses, but this is a missed opportunity. Did you know one ton of alfalfa will use 12.5 units of phosphorus and 40 units of potassium? While average alfalfa production is 3 to 4 tons per acre, it’s possible to double this if you fertilize properly and actively manage the crop, Trampel said. “With corn and soybeans, a three-to-one return on fertilizer is good, but we’ve seen growers get a five-to-one return on investment when they use foliar products or other fertilizers on their forages.” MaxYield offers
dry fertilizer and foliar fertilizers and provides custom fertilizer application on pasture and forages.

3. Control weeds and pests. If you aren’t cutting forage or spraying every 14 days, it will be tough to produce a premium product. Proper insect control and weed management will help keep your pastures healthy for higher forage production.

4. Beware of overgrazing. Grazing is good, but there can be too much of a good thing. “If your livestock overgraze, the bluegrass will take over a pasture,” said Trampel, who noted that bluegrass has less nutritional value than other grasses.

5. Rely on trusted advice. Not only does MaxYield have team members who specialize in forage, but these agronomy specialists also work with forage experts throughout the region. “We can provide the forage solutions you need,” Trampel said. “Let’s plan ahead and work together to help you manage for success.”

For more information on forages, contact Trampel (515-341- 0166) or your local MaxYield agronomy specialist today.

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