Striking the Balance between Forage Quality and Yield
Because we work in the living biological world, striving to get this unique balance is like solving an algebraic equation. We’re are always trying to solve for “x.” It seems “x” is something different each season due to the most mysterious factor in raising a crop, which is weather-related issues.
Recently I met with a farm team on a large dairy. I asked the Crop Manager, the Herd Manager, and the Principal Owner which factors were most important to them when selecting corn silage varieties. Here’s how they responded:
Crop Manager: “Strong agronomics and top dry matter yields.”
Herd Manager: “Starch levels in the 30s with super high fiber digestibility.”
Owner: “Lowest possible input price.”
This is a great example of trying to balance the delicate nature of finding harmony in the most challenging times. The key is reducing risk. Here’s how I addressed concerns raised by the crop and herd managers:
“Given the current economic ag climate, risk reduction is more important than ever. I grew up on a family dairy, so I understand how you feel. We can help you select corn silage products that are agronomically sound. I’ve found that hybrids with strong roots, excellent disease resistance and traits for insect resistance help produce healthy forage with larger tonnage.”
To address the principal owner’s concerns, I responded with:
“Early order discounts help reduce the corn silage and alfalfa investment.”
We are trying to find balance between yield and quality. Keeping the plant healthy and strong reduces the danger of molds and mycotoxin growth, which inhibit weaker, disease-prone hybrids. It’s important to avoid the temptation of selecting hybrids the may just feed well but lack the agronomic package needed to withstand the growing season.
Finding a balance isn’t always easy, but Latham Hi-Tech Seeds’ extensive precision testing of our products for starch digestion and fiber digestion helps provide information to better equip your team with making those delicate decisions.