Forages are not created equally, but fortunately for producers there are ways to analyze the make-up of the forages to see how to best utilize them for livestock in various stages of production.
“Forage testing helps us meet the bottom line on profitability,” said Isaiah Shnurman, owner of SP Genetics & Shnurman Sire Services at Prole, Iowa. “Forage testing helps us manage our input costs more closely.”
For example, a producer might buy 100 tons of hay from two different sources. The hay from those two sources could look identical, but without proper testing, the producer doesn’t know it’s true nutrient value.
Shnurman says it is important to ensure you maximize the nutrient value from the forages, and feed cows in various stages of production the quality of feed they need. A cow in late gestation has higher nutrient requirements and needs higher quality forages than one that has just weaned her calf.
“There’s no need to feed high quality forage if you don’t have to, but forage testing is a cost-effective way to know what you’ve got so you can choose the right supplement,” Shnurman said. “With everyone concerned about pasture quality and how to best utilize their forages, taking a forage sample is the least-cost way to figure out how to best utilize available forage and still maintain our cows.”
For producers who are interested in forage testing, BioZyme® Inc., the maker of VitaFerm®, provides complimentary forage testing and ration balancing to its customers. Once a producer receives his or her forage analysis back, a complete ration can be formulated to maximize performance in your herd.
For more information about the importance of forage testing or how to get your forages analyzed for free, contact your BioZyme Area Sales Manager or your local BioZyme dealer. A list of ASMs can be found at www.biozymeinc.com/our-staff