Take Time to Self-Evaluate Your Hay Production Management System

Bailing Hay

This information is in honor of Fred Lloyd and Garland Frey, cash crop hay producers that understand how to make excellent hay.

Managing forages for hay production requires much skill. Excellent hay producers understand that yield, quality and persistence are key for a perennial forage production system to be successful.

The following table includes several statements that are essential for a very successful hay  program. Take the time to do a self evaluation of how good a job you are doing with each statement given. Rankings “Strongly Disagree” or “Disagree” require some attention to have a topnotch hay production system.

If you have not developed a team of resource people that can help you with your questions about forage management, a good starting point is to contact your county’s Purdue Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator and Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel. These individuals have a network within their own organizations and know local-regional agribusinesses and producers that will be able to help you with your questions.

Developing excellent hay management skills require much effort, but improving your knowledge and using it will improve profitability.


Hay Management Considerations

What are you doing right; what can be done better?

Statement Strongly Disagree Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly Agree
I soil test at least every third year and add lime and fertilizer based on the test results.          
I can produce hay profitably “on paper” with reasonable assumptions about yield, quality and input costs.          
I scout my fields for the presence of weeds, insects and diseases.          
I know the proper moisture levels to ted, rake and bale hay to retain top quality.          
I utilize available technologies to reduce the amount of rain-damaged hay.          
I really try to harvest first cutting hay before the grass begins pollination.          
I protect high quality hay from weather damage.          
I have a marketing plan to sell hay.          
I harvest perennial forages for the last time six weeks before a killing freeze occurs.          
I use forage testing to determine what hay should be fed to different livestock types and how it is best supplemented.          



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