April 2019
Will Nitrates be an Issue in Forages Harvested this Spring?
Spring weather is finally here, after a late cold snap this winter. How will the weather affect forage production this spring?

Forage growth is around a month behind a typical year. Will there be enough triticale to harvest prior to corn planting? If so, the triticale will be less mature than a typical year. In general, less mature forages tend to be of higher quality. The protein level should be higher in the triticale this year. Higher protein levels can increase the potential for higher nitrate levels especially in small grain forages, such as triticale.

Another factor that can affect nitrate accumulation in plants, such as triticale, is growing conditions that slow growth or stress the plant. In normal growing conditions, the plant converts nitrate that has been taken up through the soil to other nitrogenous compounds (amino acids, peptides, proteins) in the green leaf portion of the plant. If this conversion process is NOT taking place as quickly as nitrate is being taken up from the soil into the plant, nitrates will accumulate in the stalk and stem.

It may be good idea to check a few samples for nitrates to see where the levels are at prior to feeding this summer. 
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