Friday Feature:  B-Wrap Weather Protection for Hay Bales

Friday Feature: B-Wrap Weather Protection for Hay Bales

On Thursday of this week, Sun South John Deere hosted a Hay Equipment Demo Day at the UF/IFAS Marianna Beef Research Unit.  Participants at the event got to see a new product called B-Wrap demonstrated.  This week’s featured video was produced by Tama Farm Grown Solutions to introduce their partnership with John Deere for this innovative product to protect round bale hay that is stored outside.  B-Wrap was developed for use in John Deere round balers.  B-Wrap is net wrap that includes a polymer plastic to protect hay from rain, sun, and ground moisture that degrade the outer surface of round bales, yet allows moisture from the bales to escape or “breath.”  According to Tama, hay producers can produce “barn-quality hay without the barn.”  If you store your hay outside, you should check out the video about this innovative product.

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If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out the featured videos from previous weeks:  Friday Features

If you come across an interesting or humorous video, or a new product innovation related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to:  Doug Mayo

 

 

Highlights, Presentations, and Decision Aids from the 2018 Northwest Florida Beef Conference

Highlights, Presentations, and Decision Aids from the 2018 Northwest Florida Beef Conference

Ryon Walker, Noble Research Institute, was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Northwest Florida Beef Conference. Credit: Doug Mayo

Credit: Ashton Williams, Channel 13 News Panama City

The 33rd annual Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show was held on Wednesday, February 14.  A record crowd of 180 ranchers, cattle industry professionals, and extension faculty participated in the event. There were five educational presentations, as well as a Trade Show of 21 businesses and organizations that provide products and services to the cattle industry in the region.

Ashton Williams, Channel 13 News Panama City captured some highlights from the Beef Conference. The photo to the right is a direct link to her news story about the event.

The focus of the program this year was “Fine-Tuning Management to Maintain Profitability.”  The five presentations focused specifically on:  where to begin, improving cow efficiency, market outlook, ranch analysis, hay vs. baleage, and feed supplementation based on hay test results.  The following are the highlights from each speaker and a link to the printer friendly, pdf versions of their presentations.  Also included are links to the two spreadsheet tools that were unveiled at the event.

Fine Tuning Management – Where to Begin?

Credit: Nick Simmons, Escambia County Extension

Nick Simmons, Escambia County Extension Director got the program started with an overview of the key areas of ranch management that need focused attention.  In the slide above, he provided an overview of his presentation.  In order to make improvements in efficiency, you have to measure what you are currently doing, and set goals for improvement in the future.

Presentation link:  Simmons Fine Tuning Management – Where to Begin?

Measuring Cow Efficiency in the Herd

Credit: Ryon Walker, Noble Research Institute

Ryon Walker, Noble Research Institute, Oklahoma was the keynote speaker.  He lead a thought provoking discussion on factors that can serve as important measures of efficiency in a cow herd.  In the slide above, Ryon asked the audience to rank the importance of things cattlemen need to measure for each cow in the breeding herd.

Presentation link:  Ryon Walker – Measuring Cow Efficiency

Market Outlook and Ranch Analysis

Credit: Chris Prevatt, UF/IFAS Livestock Economist

Chris Prevatt, UF/IFAS Livestock Economist, provided a presentation that discussed the current cattle market outlook and a new spreadsheet tool he has developed to utilize the Schedule F Tax Form data to do simple ranch herd analysis.  Using these types of data from some example herds in the state, Chris developed a breakdown of major expenses on a per cow basis, as seen in the slide above from his presentation.

Presentation link:  Prevatt Market Outlook & Ranch Analysis

Link to download the Excel spreadsheet: UF Florida Ranch Analysis

Stored Forage – Hay vs. Baleage

Credit: Kim Mullenix, Alabama Beef Specialist

Kim Mullenix, Alabama Beef Specialist, provided a presentation on the results of research trails comparing the costs and performance of cattle fed hay and baleage from annual crops and perennial warm season forages.  In the slide above, Kim showed how high quality ryegrass baleage was adequate to meet the energy needs of a cow for almost the entire year with no supplement required, except for the two months of peak milk production.

Presentation link:  Mullenix – Stored Forage – Hay vs. Baleage – Costs and Performance

Supplement Selection based on Forage Test Results

Credit: Nicolas DiLorenzo

Nicolas DiLorenzo, UF/IFAS Beef Nutrition Specialist, discussed byproduct feed supplementation, and a new spreadsheet tool to help ranchers balance the supplemental feed needed for their hay based on the results of a forage test.  In the slide above, Nicolas showed the summary page of the new “UF Hay Balancer” spreadsheet.  This tool allows producers to balance the protein and energy requirements of cattle using their hay test results, and a variety of commonly available by-product feeds in the tri-state region, such as corn gluten feed, soyhulls, distillers grain, whole cottonseed and several others.  This simple tool answers a good deal of common questions cattle producers have about what and how much to feed per head per day. This spreadsheet will help producers compare supplemental feeds, and provide an estimate of the cost and the amount of feed needed for the entire feeding period.  For detailed instructions on how to use this spreadsheet, read Nicolas DiLorenzo’s article:  Introducing the New UF Hay Balancer Decision-Aid for Cattle Ranchers.

Presentation link:  DiLorenzo – Supplementation based on a Forage Test

Link to download the Excel spreadsheet:  UF Hay Balancer Spreadsheet

Trade Show

Kingline Equipment display at the Northwest Florida Beef Conference. Credit Doug Mayo

In addition to the educational presentations, the Northwest Florida Beef Conference also featured a Trade Show of 21 businesses and organizations that provide products and services to cattle producers in the Tri-State region.

Special thanks to these organizations for sponsoring the event, and providing resource people to share the latest products and services offered to cattle ranchers in the region.  Without their support, an event of this magnitude would not be possible.  If you need to contact any of the representatives again, use the email link below to Doug Mayo, and I can share that with you.  A special thank you is also in order for the Jackson County Cattlemen’s famous “Cooking Crew” for grilling some wonderful New York Strip steaks for everyone to enjoy for lunch.

Panhandle Extension Beef & Forage Team

The Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show is a regional educational event provided by the dedicated County Agents and State Specialists serving cattle producers in the Florida Panhandle.  To discuss how the ideas presented at the Beef Conference might be utilized to improve the efficiency of your cattle operation, contact the County Agent serving your home county.

Three Florida Farms Recognized through the SE Hay Contest

Three Florida Farms Recognized through the SE Hay Contest

Seldom Rest Farm, Pulaski, TN was the overall winner of the 2017 Southeast Hay Contest with their entry of extremely high quality alfalfa hay with a relative forage quality (RFQ) score was 269.

The winners of the 2017 Southeast Hay Contest were recognized on Tuesday, October 17 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.  Seldom Rest Farm, Pulaski, TN was the overall winner with their entry of extremely high quality alfalfa hay with a relative forage quality (RFQ) score was 269.  Three Florida farms were also recognized for top quality hay and baleage entries.   Windy Hill Ranch, DeFuniak Springs came in second place overall with their legume baleage entry, that also won that category with an RFQ score of 266.  Robert Harrison of Quincey, Florida won the perennial peanut category with an RFQ score of 194.  Windy Hill Ranch also placed second in the perennial peanut hay category with a score of 193.  Smiley B. Farms, Graceville won third place in the legume baleage category with an RFQ score of 120.

The top two entries in the Perennial Peanut Hay category were from Florida.  Robert Harrison (plaid shirt) and Ron Fisher (blue shirt) were recognized at the Sunbelt Ag Expo on October 17, 2017.

The 2017 Southeastern Hay Contest had fierce competition, with 328 entries vying for the top spot. Final results for the 2017 SEHC are listed in Table 1 below. The results are broken down into the Contest’s categories of the contest..

This Southeast Hay Contest is held in conjunction with the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, GA. In each of the categories, the highest three entries in terms of relative forage quality (RFQ) received cash prizes. First place received $125, second received $75, and the third place entry received $50. Top honors in terms of highest overall RFQ also received their choice of the use of a new Massey Ferguson DM Series disc mower or RK Series rotary rake for the 2018 hay production season plus $1000 in cash!   Check out the video that was broadcast live from the event on Facebook:  2017 SE Hay Contest Award Ceremony

Weather is always a major factor when attempting to produce high quality forage. This year, wet conditions early and dry conditions late in the growing season proved to be a major limitation for many producers. Drought stress late in the season increased the incidence of high nitrate levels in the forage in 2017, and 11.5% of the samples submitted to the contest were disqualified because nitrates were greater than 5000 ppm. Though the average forage quality this year was very high, these weather challenges caused the average RFQ to be down slightly from previous years. Still, the winning entries were on par with or greater than record winning values in the Contest’s 13-year history. Good management can make a remarkable improvement in forage quality in both favorable and unfavorable weather conditions.

Since 2004, the Southeast Hay Contest has been spotlighting high quality hay and baleage production in the Southeast. The Southeast Hay Contest is a collaborative effort between the Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama Extension programs, Massey Ferguson and other category sponsors in conjunction with the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

Want to enter your best hay or baleage in the the 2018 SE Hay Contest?  Go to the website where all of the details and entry forms for next years contest will be provided in the near future:

Southeast Hay Contest

 

Friday Feature:  Baler-Wrapper Combo for Baleage

Friday Feature: Baler-Wrapper Combo for Baleage

At the Sunbelt Ag Expo, I had the opportunity to visit with numerous local farmers who stopped by the UF/IFAS Extension barn.   I enjoyed asking them, “What was the coolest thing you saw today?”  Several Florida farmers shared with excitement that they had seen a demonstration of McHale forage equipment that can bale and wrap individual grass silage bales (baleage) in one pass.  Check out the following video developed by McHale that demonstrates their combination baler-wrapper machines.

One of the real challenges to farmers and ranchers in the southeast is preserving forage from the abundance at the peak of the summer rainy season for winter feeding.  At the end of the last century there were a number of companies there were a number of campaniles that developed equipment to make baleage, or round bale silage made with wilted green hay with 45-65% moisture that was wrapped in plastic to prevent spoilage.  Lots of ingenious designs have been built over the years that wrap the bales individually or in long tubes. While the inline or tube wrapper has become very popular, because it saves money on plastic, the baleage in the tubes are virtually impossible to sell off of the farm.  The tubes of baleage also have to be made where the bales would be stored for winter feeding and require another tractor and machine operator.   These machines eliminate the need for additional people and equipment to wrap baleage in the field, and also provides individually wrapped bales that can be sold for off farm income.

 

 

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If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out the featured videos from previous weeks:  Friday Features

If you come across a humorous video, ag innovation, or an interesting story related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to:  Doug Mayo

 

Proper Hay Storage Can Save You Money

Proper Hay Storage Can Save You Money

Evan Anderson, Walton County Agriculture Agent

If you grow or purchase hay to feed livestock, you probably know that not all hay is created equal. There are a number of factors that contribute to the quality of the bale you end up with. If you’re relying on hay to provide your animals with the nutrition they need, it pays to take care when managing your hay pastures or deciding which hay to purchase.

First, the type of forage plays a role. Different crops have different average levels of crude protein and total digestible nutrients; in general, legumes and cool-season grasses are often higher quality than warm-season grasses. The way forage crops are treated while growing makes a difference, too. Fertilize your forage properly while it’s growing, and what you add will translate to more available nutrients for your livestock. Next, hay should be cut at the proper time. Let the forage grow too long, and it becomes tough, full of lignin and stems. This not only reduces the quality of the hay, but also makes it less palatable.

To determine the quality of your hay once it’s made, get it tested. A forage testing lab can tell you exactly what’s in your final product, ensuring that you are able to tailor your feeding program to give your livestock the right nutrition.

All this might seem like a lot, but it’s just the beginning. A surprising amount of quality can be lost, from even the best hay, after it has been cut and baled. Proper storage has a huge impact on not only the quality of the hay,  the health of your livestock, and to your wallet.

The cost of constructing a hay barn can be daunting. However, storing hay in a barn is an excellent way to reduce DM loss.

[important]You can lose up to a 50% of the nutrients from improperly storing hay![/important]

What does proper hay storage look like? Start by making or buying well-made bales that are dense, so they can shed water and reduce weathering losses. A loose bale lets water and air in, which leeches out nutrients. In a 5 foot diameter bale, the outer 4 inches accounts for 25% of the bale. If only that outer layer becomes weathered, you’ve lost up to one-quarter of the money you spent.

To help avoid this, wrap or cover the bales. Yes, bales that are high in moisture may need to dry in the sun for a day or two. Moisture levels above 20% are dangerous; mold can grow in damp bales, which can lead to sick animals or even spontaneous combustion of the bale. Once they’ve dried, however, they should be moved to shelter as soon as possible. A roof overhead is best, so a good pole barn will pay for itself eventually. If that’s not an option, try covering the bales with a tarp or plastic. Keep them off the ground if possible, on racks, tires, gravel, or at least on well-drained soil.  Treat your hay well, and the extra work and investment will pay off in the long run!

 

For more information, contact your local Extension office, or use the following links to fact sheets related to this subject:

Minimizing Losses in Hay Storage and Feeding

Round Bale Hay Storage

Factors Affecting Forage Quality

Implications of Round Bale Dimensions on Hay Use

Harvesting, Storing, and Feeding Forages as Round Bale Silage

Forage Testing

 

Friday Feature:  Protecting Hay Quality at Harvest

Friday Feature: Protecting Hay Quality at Harvest

Massey Ferguson and Dr. Dennis Hancock, UGA Forage Extension Specialist have teamed up to produce a video series called “A Cut Above the Rest” with tips on how to harvest high quality hay.  In the first video Dr. Hancock explains RFQ (Relative Forage Quality) scores being used to evaluate the quality of hay of various types.  Both videos explain how cutting height, cutting speed, crop conditioning, tedding, and raking impact forage quality of hay at harvest time.  Check out these short videos that provide great tips for hay producers who are striving to harvest optimal quality forage for hay or baleage production.

Part 1 – Hay Cutting

 

Part 2 – Raking and Tedding

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If you enjoyed these videos, you might want to check out the featured videos from previous weeks:  Friday Features

If you come across a humorous video or interesting story related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to:  Doug Mayo