The forage industry is the major agricultural enterprise in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States. Forage crops constitute the major feed component of farm animals’ diets, making forages the backbone of Pennsylvania’s agriculture and rural economy.
Pennsylvania produces nearly 12 million tons for forage each year and ranks seventh among all states in forage production. It produces 5.1 million tons of hay annually on nearly 1.5 million acres. Alfalfa is the state’s largest single forage crop, comprising slightly over 500,000 acres and more than one-half of total hay production. Pastures make up over 2.6 million acres in Pennsylvania.
Forages are environmentally friendly in that they can reduce soil erosion, pesticide usage, and fertilizer application. In addition, forages can improve soil structure, increase soil organic matter levels, and enhance agricultural profitability. Pennsylvania agriculture is synonymous with forages and their production and use. You can find more information about Pennsylvania forages at www.forages.psu.edu on the Web.