In Missouri and other drought stricken areas where hay is hard to come by – producers are wondering whether to harvest their soybeans for grain or much-needed forage for cattle and dairy producers.
Joe Horner, an extension economist with the University of Missouri, developed an online calculator to help with that decision…
“You make the assumptions about what you think your soybeans are going to be worth at harvest, if you combine them for grain, what you think your yields will be like and what you think it would be worth as a hay yield. And, it walks you through what you should expect to charge somebody if they want to come in and make hay off your beans and what it’s worth to the person who’s going to feed it.”
Horner tells Brownfield that soybean growers will need to make their decision in the next three weeks.
“The minute they start turning yellow you’ve got a few days before leaf drop and before the hay value and volume is pretty much gone. So, for good or for bad, farmers have got to make a choice out there and if they think they’ve got a loss they need to be talking to their crop insurance person and determine whether they’re going to make ‘em for hay.”
Horner says estimated yields above 10 bushels per acre favors soybean harvest but yields below five bushels per acre clearly show more value as forage. He says it’s crucial to read labels on any pesticides used on the soybean crop during the growing season before harvesting for forage.