MANY dairy and beef producers take a look at their feed stockpiles at this time of year and wonder how long they will last.
Dairy and livestock specialists from DuPont Pioneer recommended that producers determine the volume of feed currently on hand in order to adjust rations and make crop plans.
First, the specialists suggested that producers measure their storage structures and the remaining height of the feed column. The next step is to measure the actual density of the feed with a silage density probe or to use a commonly accepted estimated value.
By multiplying the volume in cubic feet by the density, producers can calculate the approximate pounds of dry matter of feed on hand. Dividing that result by 2,000 lb. gives the dry matter tons of feed. Producers can convert that to as-fed tons by dividing dry matter tons by the feedstuffs' dry matter percentage.
They should also include an estimate of the percentage of dry matter lost during storage (shrink) as part of the calculation. The result is the amount of feed in storage.
Armed with this information, producers can answer the following key questions:
* Are any ration adjustments required?
* Is there a need for an emergency forage source to help cover gaps between old-crop and new-crop corn silage that is fully fermented and ready to be fed?
* What are the options for forage products?
* What feedstuffs need to be produced, and at what quality?
* What inventory levels are needed this year?
Cropping plans can be adjusted to take one cutting of alfalfa and then plant shorter-season corn for silage, for example.
The specialists reminded producers to follow all safety protocols when working in front of silage faces as the feed may shift.