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The Cattle Connection

The cattlemen's connection to timely topics, current research, and profitable management strategies

Forage Sampling and Testing

Sampling and testing forages will save producers a lot of money this year. The extreme variability in weather this year has inevitably produced an abundance of variability in our forages. Along with variability, the cost of co-products and grains is extremely high and thus small differences in supplement levels could make a huge difference in profitability.

By correctly sampling hay, a producer can formulate a balanced, least-cost ration. This can save producers hundreds of dollars by avoiding over or under supplementation costs.

A grab sample may suffice for sampling bunkers of silage or haylage. For testing round bales or square bales a forage probe should be used.

Feed is too expensive to waste and cows will be too valuable in the future to under-feed them. Again, management is the key. Here are some videos showing how to sample corn silage and round bales.

A complete list of certified forage labs to send samples is available here.

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