To make improvements to dairy farm margins in challenging times, dairies should look “lower” to increase profitability — all the way down to the ground, according to Midwestern BioAg’s nutritionist.
“If you grow your own forages,” says the BioAg nutritionist, “we can help you improve profitability by building a fertility plan to grow a better quality, higher-yielding crop. There’s a lot of revenue potential in the soil, and we can help you unlock it.”
By taking a systems approach to dairy farm management, Midwestern BioAg consultants …
The most important question you need to ask yourself if you are interested in planting alfalfa this fall is the following: What do I want to obtain from this alfalfa? Answering that question leads us to these case scenarios:
Seeding alfalfa as a forage crop in new fields
The most important decision when establishing a new alfalfa field is variety selection. A good variety not only guarantees better yield and forage quality but it also helps with crop establishment and crop management.
Depending on where and when tillage is applied, it can both help and hinder soil structure and soil biology. Tillage systems are not one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to have a specific goal in mind before tilling in the fall or spring.
Illinois-based sales consultant and Certified Crop Adviser Ben Adolph offers the following advice when selecting tillage strategies for your farm.
How can tillage impact soil structure and life?
Adolph: Over tilling can damage soil structure, which decreases pore size …
Midwestern BioAg President Gary Zimmer has planted cover crops on his farm for years. In this Q&A, we sit down with him to learn the basics of cover crop management and the resulting benefits they bring to the farm.
How do I select a cover crop for my farm?
Zimmer: First, identify the purpose for your cover crop. Will it provide nitrogen or scavenge it? Do you want to use it for grazing? How about to build organic matter?
Needing more hay for his beef cattle, northwestern Illinois beef producer Randy Adolph was ready for a different approach. “I wasn’t happy with what I was currently doing and wanted to try something new,” said Randy.
Four years later, he’s a lot happier with his fields — his alfalfa yields are up to 7 tons from the 5 he was getting back in 2012.
That was when he learned about Bio-Cal® from his cousin, Midwestern BioAg Certified Crop Advisor Ben Adolph.
Forty-year farmer and Marine veteran Gary Rademacher never stops improving. When he first started farming near Holdingford, Minnesota in the 1970s, 100-bushel corn yields and 40-bushel soybean yields were the status-quo. “Those were bar-stool yields,” said Rademacher, “yields you could go into town and be proud of.”
Rademacher’s farm has come a long way in the past 40 years. Today, he averages 200-bushel corn and 66-bushel soybeans in the short Minnesota growing season. “If you always do everything the same, you’ll get the same yields.
The Hunger Task Force works to end hunger in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, metro area. Their farm, located just southwest of the city, serves over 40,000 people in need each month. The farm produces over 800,000 pounds of fresh produce each year, cultivating nearly 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Formed in the early 1980s, the Hunger Task Force’s mission is to provide food to people in need today, to achieve a hunger-free community tomorrow. Some 75 percent of their produce recipients are a particularly vulnerable population: …
Farmers all over the Midwest are looking to farm cover crops to fill several niches — soil conservation, soil nutrient management, and production of an extra forage crop. Whether planted in late summer or after fall harvest, now is an excellent time to start researching cover crop applications and seed varieties.
Kevin Shelley, outreach manager for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW Extension’s Nutrient and Pest Management program, says farmers are increasingly using cover crops after relatively short-season crops like wheat or small grains.