October 2018 Newsletter - #69
 
 
In This Issue
About Us
The Dairy One Forage Lab excels in providing high quality analyses  
and customer service. Our goal is to provide analytical services designed to meet the expanding demands of modern agriculture.  
New technology and traditional methods are combined to deliver fast, accurate results.
 
Flooding and Crops
Sarah Fessenden, Forage Tech Support and Sales Specialist

 
 
 
This past year has seen tough growing seasons across the US. The high plains suffered drought and wildfires, the Midwest and Northeast had rain that delayed planting and first crop harvest. Recently, the Southeast was hit with rain from Harvey and other storms that have caused severe damage in Florida and up the coast. In past newsletters, we have focused on forage quality and quantity due to delayed planting and a wet, cool growing season. The following is an excerpt from a previously written factsheet by Janet Fallon in 2014.
 
In general, affected fields may have a lot of debris and dirt on them. This places them at greater risk for fungal and bacterial contamination that may have a negative impact on fermentation and feed quality. It may also cause dusty, dirty harvest conditions that may result in added costs from wear on machinery. If corn plants have a lot of silt on them, grain harvest may be a better choice since corn for silage will be at greater risk for fungal and bacterial contamination.

The following guidelines may help reduce risk on damaged fields chopped as silage.
  1. Scout fields before harvest to identify potential problem areas and schedule harvest.
a. Check whole plant moisture, kernel development, and presence or absence of any ear or stalk rot.
 
2. Tighten up management at harvest to promote a good fermentation.
 
a. Chop at the right length of cut.
b. Use an appropriate inoculant.
c. Fill fast, pack well, cover tightly.
 
3. Harvest above the silt line to avoid soil contamination.
 
4. Avoid chopping fields with heavy dirt or silt on it.
 
5. Keep flooded forage separate so it can be evaluated before feedings. Testing for energy, ash and mycotoxins is highly recommended.
 
6. Monitor animal health closely. Contamination from manure, sewage, and other chemicals is possible.
 
 
 
Harvesting flood damaged corn for grain should be carefully managed as well;
 
1. Monitor the field prior to harvest. Look for stalk and ear rots that may indicate an elevated potential for mycotoxins in the harvested grain. Fields that remained flooded for more than 12 hours are at greatest risk.
 
2. Change combine air filters more frequently, and operators should avoid breathing too much dust.
 
3. Limit dirt coming into the grain bin by harvesting grain as dry as possible and avoiding the hardest hit areas in fields.
 
4. Monitor grain quality. Mold and mycotoxin levels may be higher in damaged or stressed con fields and should be tested.
 
Once things have dried out enough for harvesting perennial forages, check the field for a few things:
 
1. Remove any debris that may damage farm machinery or harm animals. It is amazing what you might find in your fields after a flood!
 
2. If it is time to harvest the forage but it is covered in silt and sediment, it may be best to simply mow and chop the forage right back on the field, top-dress it to stimulate regrowth and move on. The risk due to pathogens, limited palatability and poor fermentation is just too great. Of course, wait until your crop insurance adjuster has had a chance to see it first!
 
3. If several weeks will elapse before harvest, wind, rain, and sunlight will help remove sediment and kill off some of the potentially harmful bacteria that may limit fermentation. Proceed as usual but keep forage separate from non-flooded forages if possible. Ag bags or separate storage areas will allow you to sample, evaluate and adjust rations accordingly.
 
4. Follow best management practices-monitor harvest moisture, length of cut, fill fast, pack well, use an appropriate inoculant to make sure you have the right bacteria for the job and seal the silo to keep oxygen out.
 
5. Test all forages as usual but keep a close eye on the VFA score and ash content.
 
6. Top-dress fields that appear to be in good condition. At least 4 healthy alfalfa plants per square foot are needed to justify additional inputs of fertilizer and herbicides.
 
In summary, practice extreme caution when harvesting and feeding flood damaged forages and grains. We recommend keeping all flood damaged feeds separate from undamaged feeds and test for feed value and toxins to avoid animal health and production problems down the road. Our (321) Forage NIR package is probably your best bet to quickly and accurately test the feed value. It also provides a VFA score for your ensiled feeds. Mycotoxin testing is another recommended procedure for flood damaged feeds.  
Local Hay Crop Quality

 
 
The cool, wet spring and summer resulted in delayed planting of corn and later first cutting harvest. Table 1. compares 2016/2017 haylage data found on samples analyzed between May 1st and August 31st. Across haylage types, 2017 NY forages averaged 1.2% and 2.1% higher in ADF and NDF, respectively. PA data was more variable. Due to delayed planting of corn, samples of green chop corn have only begun to trickle into the lab. A recent Cornell Pro-Dairy newsletter has indicated that harvest may be delayed until the second week of November, due to a lack of growing degree days needed to reach the proper maturity for corn silage.


Table 1.  2016/2017 Haylage Comparison
Customer Support Team Member, Jennifer Burlew



Hello, my name is Jennifer Burlew and I'm the newest member of the Dairy One Forage/Soils Lab Customer Support group. I've worked in customer support and administration for most of my career and I'm looking forward to bringing these skills and abilities to Dairy One. My first challenge is learning the Dairy One system. Dairy One has its own proprietary software system that incorporates laboratory, customer and accounting functions. It's an incredibly flexible program and it's the flexibility that enables us to meet the wide demands of our customers.
 
I'm enjoying learning about the diversity of customers and sample types that are analyzed by our lab. Who knew that the same lab would be analyzing alfalfa hay, squid and potato chips! The oddest sample that I've seen so far is pine cones. A zoo provides them to their rhinos as a treat. Though not very nutritious (3%CP, 79% NDF, DM basis), the rhinos love to crunch on them. I've also been impressed with the number of international customers and the variety of samples that they send. Did you know that copra meal is a byproduct of coconut processing averaging 22.8%CP and is a common feed in Indonesia?
 
I'm constantly learning about the wide variety of procedures and services that we offer. The other day I was introduced to particle size analysis including the Corn Silage Processing Score (CSPS) and the Grain Particle Size (GPS). I was shocked at how fine the lower screens are in the GPS. It doesn't seem possible that anything could pass through the 53 micron screen (0.0021 inch)!
 
Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my 8 year old son and like hiking, swimming and horseback riding. My favorite vacation spot is Top Sail Island, NC. It's quiet with beautiful beaches and we enjoy hunting for fossilized shark teeth amongst the seashells.
 
I'm looking forward to speaking with all of you on the phone and doing my best to meet your analytical needs.
Did you know?



The Agricultural Management Resources (AMR)/Farm IT business unit at Dairy One is responsible for sales and support of herd and crop management software, hardware, related technology products and network solutions. Herd management software products available include Dairy Comp 305, Scout, DCCON Analyzer, PCDART, Parlor Watch and Feed Watch. E-mail your software/hardware questions and inquiries to support@dairyone.com or call 1.800.344.2697 ext. 1.
Upcoming Events - Come see us!
 
 
October 17-19
Cornell Nutrition Conference
East Syracuse, NY
 
November 15-16
Penn State Dairy Nutrition Workshop 
Grantville, PA 
 
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Dairy One - Forage Laboratory
730 Warren Road ~ Ithaca, NY ~ 14850
Phone:  1-800-344-2697 Ext. 9962