Legumes can play a significant role in grazing systems by adding nitrogen to the soil and boosting the protein content and palatability of the forage. Birdsfoot Trefoil is a legume that is not as common as many clover species but can play a specialized role in Wisconsin pastures.
This tool is intended to capture a snapshot of the immediate financial expenses and income that a farm may experience in using practices such as cover cropping and reduced tillage, particularly in grain crop systems.
“If you graze it, it will grow.” This variation of the old Field of Dreams adage is often the mantra of grazing influencers. And in many cases, adding livestock to a forage system can induce growth through disturbance and nutrient cycling.
An interview with Dr. Jed Colquhoun about his research on the Bambara groundnut. The Bambara groundnut is a new crop to the United States but commonly grown in its native Africa as a subsistence crop. Jed shares his successes and challenges during his early work breeding this legume for Wisconsin. Dr. Jed Colquhoun is a […]
Four experts from Indiana join us for a conversation on growing peppermint and spearmint for oil. Doug Matthys is a mint farmer in South Bend, Indiana at Shady Lane Farms, a fourth-generation family farm growing mint on about 1000 acres. Dr. Elizabeth Long, Assistant Professor in the Department of Entymology at Purdue University, studies plant-insect […]
There continues to be a lot of interest in corn silage harvested with a self-propelled forage harvester (SPFH) equipped with an aftermarket processor having cross-grooved processing rolls set for 2- to 3-mm roll gap and greater roll speed differential than has typically been used (32% versus 21%). Also, the developer of this processor recommends that […]
A conversation with two experts on haskaps (aka honeyberries). First up is Bernis Ingvaldson, who owns and operates The Honeyberry Farm with her husband Jim in Bagley, MN, about two hours south of the Canadian border. They grow about two acres of honeyberries along with many other alternative fruit crops. Next is a conversation with […]
Dan Bussey is an apple historian, orchardist, cider maker, and author of the seven volume series “The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada.” He has a special interest in heirloom apples and loves to get creative with his cidermaking.
Frost seeding legumes and grasses is common means to improve forage yield or change the species composition of a pasture. Frost seeding offers several potential advantages: the ability to establish forage in an undisturbed sod, a reduced need for labor and energy compared to conventional seeding methods, the ability to establish forages with minimum equipment investment, a shortened “non-grazing” period, and a means to maintain stands at productive levels with both grasses and legumes.
Alfalfa can remain productive in stands from four to ten years or more, but as plant population declines renovation eventually becomes necessary. Alfalfa is commonly grown in rotation with grain crops, however, continuous production is desirable in many areas, particularly on soils that are marginal for economic grain production. Reseeding alfalfa immediately following alfalfa is not recommended in most states due to the negative effects of autotoxicity, seedling disease and insect pests which can build up in old stands. A rotation interval is commonly recommended between killing an old stand of alfalfa and reseeding new alfalfa to help insure successful establishment.
The high price of nitrogen fertilizer has increased interest in planting a legume crop after wheat or canning crop harvest as a green manure to provide some nitrogen credits for next year’s crop. This practice can provide some nitrogen and organic matter as well as increase ground cover to reduce erosion from fields. However, it may not be cost effective.
First, we should put things into perspective by stating that alfalfa is still the best choice, in most cases, for long-term production of high quality, high tonnage harvested forage. We also expect to see increased use of corn silage, where topography and farm plans permit in dairy rations, in the alfalfa-based rations.