Uptick in silage production forecast to meet cattle nutritional needs

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While much of the focus heading into July has been about wheat production those who depend on silage are also watching crop conditions.

Silage is big business in the High Plains, particularly in western Kansas, where feedlots need the feed for beef cattle plus the region is continuing to add dairies.

Holly Thrasher, who is a DEKALB Asgrow technical agronomist based in Stafford, Kansas, also expects continued growth and that enthusiasm is shared by her company, which has a strong focus in its silage breeding program.
“We are trying to bring a lot of tonnage and quality that growers and the market is asking for,” Thrasher said.

Corn growers, for example, may look to have grain picked by a combine but also need the option to have a forage harvester chop it for silage in case the ongoing drought continues. Also, growers have benefited from silage-specific seed hybrids.

She expects the need for additional feed stock to increase because of the growth of the dairy industry in western Kansas, which means more silage-specific hybrids. DEKALB also offers dual-purpose hybrids that can produce grain or silage so growers have options.

As they evaluate their spring program, growers often want to dedicate acres specifically for silage and have other acres with dual options for later in the growing season. This year, Thrasher said, as growers have faced more stress—most notably from heat and drought—a silage component can help them to diversify.

Once the producers choose the right hybrid she encourages them to continue to manage with mindset of using all the tools needed for a successful crop. Cutting back on inputs maybe counterproductive during the growing season.
As reported in the High Plains Journal.

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