As the fall season rolls into the Northeast region of the United States, many farmers are heading out into their fields to harvest crops. Alongside them is Dairy One, and its services that assist with crop management and harvest success. Check out the following sections for how Dairy One can make the fall harvest season a success.
As farms harvest crops, many of which will be feeding farm animals throughout the winter, they want to know the nutrient makeup of these products. Receiving results from a forage analysis test has a variety of positive impacts on farmers. One, it will help determine the proper feeding ration for their animals. Much like human food, you can’t tell the nutritional makeup of a forage just by looking at it. Often farms will work with a nutritionist to create a balanced ration to feed their animals. Working with the Dairy One Forage Laboratory, farmers and nutritionists can determine what is in feed and forage and determine what needs to be added to make it a balanced ration.
Second, an analysis test can also reflect the performance of a crop management plan. Farmers are master gardeners when it comes to growing crops and will try out different growing plans to get the best yield. That plan may include the use of manure, fertilizers, or rotation of a crop being grown in a specific field. Noting what is and is not present in an end crop can have an impact on next year’s crop plans.
A final benefit of forage testing is if farmers sell their crops to someone else. Hay brokers especially benefit from having a forage test done so they can verify what is present in it which satisfies customers. Without a forage analysis test, it can be anyone’s guess what’s actually in the feed.
Corn Stalk Nitrate Testing (CSNT)
One of the most popular crops to be harvested is corn. The success of this crop depends on many factors including nitrogen. Farmers have nitrogen management practices for corn plants, and a corn stalk nitrate test (CSNT) can help determine the success of that program. However, time is of the essence for this test. Samples need to be collected either a week before corn harvest or within four days following harvest time.
CSNT needs to be done over multiple years to accumulate an accurate representation of nitrogen management practices. The data collected over the years will give a full picture and include factors such as dry and wet years and their impact on corn yield. It will also help farmers determine if a field needs an application of nitrogen prior to corn planting.
As trucks enter a feed bunk with loads from harvested fields, they may stop on a scale to record the weight of feed being brought to the farm. Knowing how much feed is available in the bunk area has impacts across the farm. A tool that simplifies weight capture and recordings is Scalelync. This technology allows drivers to use a mobile app or tablet to record weights.
As one user puts it, “Scalelync allows me to keep an eye on things even when I’m not on the farm. That’s a helpful feature when I’m out of town during harvest season, I can still monitor loads coming in from my phone. One feature of Scaleync that our farm found useful was the ability to segregate different grower tons when we had multiple harvesters running which improved the logistics of our harvest.”
All data is available in the reporting feature of Scalelync which is helpful when it’s time to order commodities or check the levels of feed ingredients. So as a farmer is on the go during harvest, they can check feed bunk reports to make orders while on the move. Scalelync is a component of Feedlync, a feed management software.
After crops have been harvested, collecting a soil sample can provide a look at what nutrients are in it. This information will have an impact on next year’s crops because if the soil doesn’t have enough of a certain nutrient to support a crop’s growth, then it will not thrive. Knowing ahead of time what fertilizers need to be applied to a field in spring will aid with crop plans and farm spending. Additionally, if a farm decides to plant a cover crop, they may choose to go with one instead of another based on what nutrients can be placed back into the soil.
Dairy One’s Soil Laboratory provides soil analysis to a wide range of industries including crop farmers, vegetable farms, and orchards. Based on the information needed by a customer, the Soil Lab can report on what is present in the soil, the soil structure, and the health of the soil. All this data gives a comprehensive picture of what’s going on in the soil which will influence next year’s crop plans.
Dairy cows are the ultimate athletes and require a specialized diet to help with milk production. Dairy farmers, along with nutritionists and veterinarians, are constantly adjusting feed rations to make it better for their bovines. Looking at the component of milk urea nitrogen (MUN) in a cow’s milk can help dairies with improving feed plans.
Using a milk sample collected from an individual cow, Dairy One’s Milk Laboratory can measure this component in milk. It indicates how effectively the cow is using the protein in her diet. Since protein is often a purchased part of the ration, it is most economical for the farm to make sure protein in the ration is being used effectively. Combined with other feed data (such as the results from a feed analysis test) dairies can start to trace what is and is not working in a feed ration or its impact on milk production.
Fall is a busy season for farms, and Dairy One offers many services to help support farm success. For more information about any of these services, visit our contact page.