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With tough forage conditions, herd management is key

Photo by Anna Hastert

We have talked about the wet conditions extensively this year, and its effects on row crops. However, one area we haven’t talked about is what it did to forage quality. Dairy Nutritionist Steve Woodford says the wet weather patterns affected the whole season of forage harvest, starting way back in June.

Woodford says herd management is going to be the key this year. We cannot control the weather and its effects on alfalfa, corn, and other forage plants. However, Woodford says we can control the quality of forage we grow and watch for nutritional needs in the herd. Woodford says it is still going to be too early to tell what those needs are. He says to monitor your herd well into feeding the 2018 grown forage.

Woodford says managing your herd’s genetics is also important. Holsteins are capable to be productive even when faced with less than ideal forage conditions.

Woodford says he has witnessed one farmer make significant increases to herd productivity by managing carefully.