More grasses & small grains can replace corn silage & improve soil

An agronomist says farmers can use more than corn silage and alfalfa for forage and get excellent results while improving the soil.

Matt Oehmichen With Short Lane Ag Supply says his home region of Marathon and Clark Counties in Wisconsin produces the most corn silage in the world, but the popular dairy ration can lead to challenges for manure management and soil health.  Oehmichen says incorporating annual and perennial cover crops makes a drastic difference in soil health and creates more opportunities for manure application. “Even if you incorporate 10 to 15 percent of this practice into your systems, you’ll be able to allocate a large portion or a good percentage of that manure so you don’t feel pressured to have high application rates in the fall time.”

Oehmichen recommends six or more cover crop varieties in the mixture, and this can include some small grains. “You can get a high-quality forage or you can do a cut system. You can get protein levels on it (and) great digestibility levels on it.”

Oehmichen spoke to the Professional Dairy Producers business conference in Wisconsin Dells.

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