Drought and Forage Shortages
Drought presents the dairy producer with some major challenges. Both quantity and quality of forage are often compromised, and acceptable substitutions must be found to provide enough forage for all animals. Drought also increases the risk of nitrate and prussic acid accumulation.
Shortages of home-grown forages on dairy farms can occur because of drought or other adverse conditions. Filling the forage gap may require several strategies, such as reducing forage intakes and purchasing additional forage or high-fiber feedstuffs. Economics and the nutritional value of potential feed ingredient sources should be considered when developing a plan.
The Feed Value Calculator spreadsheet calculates the value of various forages and concentrates using Petersen's constants. Values for forage are based on the price of corn, soybean meal, and average quality alfalfa hay. Values for concentrates are based on the price of corn and soybean meal. Users enter these prices and the feed value ($/ton) is calculated. Feed values can then be compared to market prices for ingredients.