Submitted to: Integrated Crop Management Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/29/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Soybean is a viable forage alternative when supply becomes limiting and additional forage is needed. Limited information is available about the forage potential of soybean for the Midwest. This article summarizes the available literature and describes work underway evaluating new forage soybean lines. Leaves and pods of soybean are much more digestible than stems. Digestibility of stems decreases substantially beginning with pod development, but the increasing amount of highly digestible pods counteracts with the effect of the stems on digestibility of total soybean forage. Likewise, percentage protein in soybean forage does not decrease with maturity as much as for most other forage plants because the seed contains 35-40% protein. Yields of soybean forage increases to about the R7 stage of development. For this reason, most have recommended that soybean forage be harvested at the R6-R7 stages. Soybean forage harvested at R7 is comparable in crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, and lignin to alfalfa hay harvest at the early bloom stage. Varieties utilized for forage may be those adapted for grain production or slightly later in maturity to take advantage of the higher yield potential of later varieties. It may be desirable to limit soybean forage harvested at R7 to no more than 50% of the total ration dry matter because there is some evidence that oil in the seed limits digestion of forage fiber.