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Three, four-wheel drive John Deere tractors, pushing up chopped corn silage into a drive over pile on a dairy farm.

Harvesting Silage on a Wet Year: Moisture is Critical

Fall is on its way in South Dakota. However, with many flooded and saturated fields, some producers are growing concerned that there will be little opportunity to harvest silage before corn dries down past desired moisture levels or frost occurs.

High-moisture corn being stored in a bunker for use as cattle feed.

Harvesting High-Moisture Corn and Earlage

Producers who raise both corn and cattle have the option of harvesting some or all of their corn acres as a high-moisture grain crop to be marketed through cattle. There are several advantages to harvesting corn earlier at a high-moisture content.

Group of calves grazing in a fenced-in area.

Weaning Calves on Cover Crops

What do we do if it is time to wean calves, but the pen isn’t ready? That can be a real concern during wet fall seasons, such as 2019. Putting calves into muddy pen conditions is far from desirable, but holding calves on the cows deep into fall increases the risk of adverse winter weather and tends to pull body condition off the cows.

A patch of western wheatgrass with ergot fungus growing throughout.

Ergot in Western Wheatgrass and the Potential Effects for Winter Grazing

2019 has been a year fraught with challenges for ranchers across South Dakota. Abundant precipitation is usually a blessing, however, wet conditions coupled with a cool spring followed by warmer temperatures has caused another problem across the rangelands of South Dakota: ergot poisoning.

A field of standing corn covered in snow.

Standing Corn Considerations

The January 2020 South Dakota Crop Progress Report indicated four percent of S.D. corn acres remain in the field. Given the record rainfall of 2019, current snow pack levels and the 3-to-6-month precipitation forecasts, farmers will likely be dealing with a wet spring in 2020, thus making the removal of those acres important but hard to accomplish.

screened image of South Dakota State University campus with News text

SDSU Extension Hosts 2018 Nitrate Quick Test Training

December 18, 2018

SDSU Extension will be hosting Nitrate Quick Test Recertification and New Certification Training throughout June.

An ear of corn in a field with visible white mold on the tip of the ear.

Can Livestock Utilize Moldy Grain?

While livestock producers know that moldy grain and forage are not ideal feedstuffs, they also know that stored feed occasionally contains a small amount of visible mold, and that their animals consume it with no obvious adverse effects. The question arises, how much mold is too much for a feed to be unsuitable for animals?

Several wrapped bales of hay lined up near a barn.

Importance of Proper Forage Sampling

As dairymen and livestock caretakers, we are trying to optimize the performance of our livestock, whether it is producing milk or meat. Without knowing the quality of the feedstuff or forage we are feeding, it becomes difficult to balance a ration to ensure the animal is receiving the proper amounts of needed nutrients.

black cow drinking from a nearly empty stock pond.

Feed & Water Testing Laboratories

A partial listing of available feed testing laboratories.

A large square bale of Alfalfa hay that has been put up for storage.

Understanding Hay Inoculants and Preservatives on ‘Dry’ Hay

As haying season approaches, producers across South Dakota will begin preparing to get out the baler. In recent years, it has been quite difficult for many producers to put up quality, dry hay. This often results in growers considering using inoculants and hay preservatives.