Tag Archives: Forages

The Great Debate: Harvesting vs. Grazing Forage

Contributed by Carl Stafford, Senior Extension Agent, Animal Science, Culpeper County

Wintering cost is one of the biggest expenses in producing beef cattle. John Howe, Spotsylvania Extension Agent, explained the difference in the cost of a pound of dry matter from pasture vs. that from harvested feed. He found that the equipment harvested feed can run 3 to 4 times the cost of that harvested by cattle.  Gordon Groover supports Howe in his article, “What I Know about Forage Economics,” Virginia Forager, Fall 2016, page 7.  He finds that each ton of hay could have more than $200 per ton equipment depreciation before “out-of-pocket” expenses are added.

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What I Know about Forage Economics?

Gordon Groover Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

First, the key assumption behind this article is that the farm business in managed to make a profit. A second assumption is that the environment farm business managers face is not constant, or to quote Heraclitus, (535 BCE), “The only constant is change.” That is, as prices and technology change then management strategies, enterprises, and capital investments must change for the farm to remain profitable.  For example, few cow-calf producers harvest and feed corn silage to their beef cow herd as opposed to what was a common practice 40-50 years ago. Corn silage was and is still a high quality feed for ruminants, yet the capital investment to plant, harvest, transport, store, and feed has increased the total costs of corn silage. On a relative costs basis and with the help of round bale technology the cost of making hay was less than corn silage, leading to wholesale Continue reading

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2016 Winter Forage Conferences to Feature Experts on Tall Fescue

Theme: Tall Fescue in the 21st Century: Understanding and Managing Tall Fescue in Grazing Systems
Gordon Groover, Extension Specialist, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech

Dates: January 26-29, 2016

Tall Fescue in the 21st Century is the theme for the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council (VFGC) and Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) winter forage conferences. This year’s conference highlights current knowledge and practice that producers can apply to management of their tall fescue based grazing systems. This year’s speakers are nationally recognized experts in tall fescue production and management. The morning program will focus on understanding issues and problems with tall fescue and the afternoon program will explore potential solutions to these problems. Continue reading

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2014 VA Forage and Grassland Council’s Winter Forage Conferences


The Role of Healthy Soil in Profitable Ruminant Livestock Production is the Focus for the 2014 Winter Forage Conferences

Gordon Groover, Extension Specialists, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech

Soil Health: The Foundation of Profitable Ruminant Livestock Production is the theme for the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council (VFGC) and Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) winter forage conferences.  We take for granted the ground under our feet and call it dirt. We should realize that quality of life is dependent on the health and quality of our soils. Farmers understand the management principles necessary to produce healthy forages, ruminants, and profits, yet many are unaware of what additional benefits are gained from managing to improve the health of their soils. This year’s program will provide training in soil health and participants will gain greater knowledge of the soil’s potential, the foundation of all agriculture.  Continue reading

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