Submitted to: Pennsylvania Grazing and Forage Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Major options for the harvest and storage of excess pasture forage include dry hay stored in a shed, dry hay stored without protection, bale silage, and chopped silage stored in bags, tower silos, or bunker silos. The best or most appropriate method on a given farm depends upon the available equipment and facilities and other management preferences. For example, production costs are generally highest for chopped silage systems, but if silo capacity is available on the farm and/or custom operations are used, this may be the most profitable option. The following issues should be considered when selecting the appropriate method for conserving excess pasture. Dry hay and bale silage systems require a lower investment in equipment and facilities. Labor requirements per unit of feed are generally greater for dry hay production than chopped silage and greatest for bale silage. One person can harvest dry hay in large round bales where etwo or more are required for other options. Dry matter losses and nutritive changes in forage are generally lowest for bagged silage and greatest for dry hay stored outside without protection from the weather. When all costs of owning and operating equipment and facilities are considered, production costs for dry hay are less ($20 to 30/ton DM) than those of bale silage and chopped silage. Custom operations should be considered as a means for reducing hired labor and production costs.