Close Watch On Feed

May 15, 2009 07:00 PM

*Extended comments highlighted in blue.

Randy & Jennifer Gross
Elkton, S.D.
Putting up quality forage is important since it impacts the success of our dairy each and every day. We don't grow any of our feed since all of our corn silage is grown by neighboring farmers, and dairy-quality alfalfa hay is purchased as locally as possible.

We focus on choosing better varieties for corn silage. In the past, we figured "corn was corn,” and if it was harvested at the right moisture, packed very well and covered in a timely fashion, we would have good silage. However, in the past year, we've seen the positive results of feeding brown midrib [BMR] corn hybrids. We are working to increase the amount of BMR that is locally grown and harvested.

Close monitoring with Feed Watch, regular communication with feeding personnel and daily bunk readings help ensure cows are fed the ration designed by our nutritionists.

Our goals for the future include reducing or minimizing forage and feed shrinkage. Oxygen barrier tarp has made a difference with the corn silage piles. In packing the piles, we aim for densities of 20 lb./cubic foot.

Grosses' March Prices  
Milk (3.55% bf, 3.01% prt): $11.25/cwt.
Cull cows: $44/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,450/head
Alfalfa $140/ton
Cottonseed: $250/ton
Ground corn: $142/ton

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