Successful 2016 hay growing season
Dan Undersander, Extension Forage Agronomist
Department of Agronomy
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone (608) 263-5070, (608) 262-1390
3:05 – Total Time
0:15 – Possible record yields
0:47 – Manage late season stands
2:02 – High yields and good quality
2:25 – Keep baled hay dry
2:56 – Lead out
Sevie Kenyon: Taking a look at 2016 hay growing season. We’re visiting today with Dan Undersander, Department of Agronomy University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Dan, looks like a pretty good hay year.
Dan Undersander: Yes, we’ve had an excellent hay year across the state we’re probably going to end up with record yields again and this is following last year when we had record yields too. We’re kind of an island of plushness, you go east or west out of here across the United States and they’ve had droughts and they had a lot of issues relating to things that limited the yield of forage that they’ve had.
Sevie Kenyon: For growers with a lot of hay in the field what’s your recommendations?
Dan Undersander: Well the good news is for alfalfa we don’t have to do anything, so if the silos and barns are full you can just leave it and not take the late fall harvest. Alfalfa will stand up through the winter. In fact, what you will do is re-build stand condition, you’ll get carbohydrates into the root and so it will survive the winter better it’ll come out faster, and it will yield good for you next year. So, for fairly pure alfalfa stands, those that are more than 70% alfalfa there’s no need to take the last cutting at the end of the summer or the late fall cutting. The other consideration is that if you have more than 40% grass in your stands, then you probably should take a late fall harvest and by that I mean one in October, because the grasses lay down flat and we can get snow mold to come in under those grasses which will kill out spots in those fields. So pure alfalfa stands you can leave, grassy fields should be harvested, haying, grazing, whatever, late in the season so that we have less than six inches of growth going into the winter.
Sevie Kenyon: Dan, how’s the quality been this season?
Dan Undersander: Well the quality for us has been pretty good. We’ve had a lot of rain but being we put up haylage it hasn’t affected our haylage making. Most of our dairyman have pretty good average to above average quality so we’ve had both yield and quality which is a little bit unusual, usually it is one or the other.
Sevie Kenyon: Dan, for people who are storing baled hay, any tips for them?
Dan Undersander: Well the main thing for storing baled hay is twofold, the hay will be preserved as long as moisture is kept out of it, how does it get moisture? Well they get it from the top so you should have a plastic on it, a tarp of some kind, or under a roof preferably. The other way that we lose baled hay are people let the hay sit on the ground and then it absorbs water from the soil like a sponge. The main thing for hay storage is to keep the water off both the top and off the bottom.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Dan Undersander, Department of Agronomy University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.