Goeser: Does Your Customer’s Forage Have a Story to Tell?

Posted on December 4, 2012 in Forage Foundations
In his role as a nutritionist for Vita Plus, Dr. John Goeser developed a report card as a means to track his performance for each dairy operation he services. This report card helps him show those dairies how well he is working for them. Goeser adapted his report card to the forage industry to help custom harvesters adopt the same method.
A report card reflecting high performance can help justify a higher value to service. In a real scenario from a Michigan dairy farm, Goeser reported a dairy that saw a savings of 73 cents per cow per day when it was able to reduce its amount of feed additives fed because it now fed higher quality forage.
“Your product is a service of providing high quality and consistent feed all year long. A report card could help you get away from trying to be cheaper than competition,” he said.
Goeser’s “Straight A” report card for custom harvesters includes the following benchmarks:
  • Dry matter density greater than 20 pounds per cubic foot
  • As-fed density greater than 44 pounds per cubic foot
  • Core temperature less than 65°F for corn silage, less than 75°F for haylage, with cooler edges
  • Surface temperature less than 15°F range
  • pH less than 4.0 for corn silage, less than 4.5 for haylage
  • Greater than 3 percent lactic acid
  • Less than 2 percent acetic acid (higher if using L. buchneri inoculant)
  • 0 percent butyric acid
  • Less than 10 percent ammonia-N
  • Yeast less than 100,000 cfu/g
  • Mold less than 10,000 cfu/g
He added the following tips to achieve some extra credit:
  • Meet with customer to set expectations and goals before the crop is planted.
  • Chop high quality forage.
  • Put your kingpin on the pack tractor to monitor the forage entering storage.
  • Inoculate, seal and seal some more.

Category: Feed quality and nutrition
Forage Foundations
Forage harvesting
Forage storage and management