Double-cropping winter annuals after corn silage harvest is increasing in popularity among dairy farmers who have found that it provides numerous benefits, including increased per-acre forage production, reduced feeding costs, better cycling of manure nutrients and improvements in the farm's overall bottom line.
Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences' research and extension personnel, along with farmers and farm advisors, will share some of what they have learned from incorporating winter annual forages into a dairy production system during a full-day conference on Wednesday, March 28, from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 867 Grays Woods Boulevard, Port Matilda.
The conference will highlight the experiences of many dairy farmers who are learning and continuing to learn about making use of winter annual forages, which are planted after corn silage harvest, and harvested in the spring prior to rotating fields back to corn production.
Jonathan Binder, Eric Ranck, and Heather Karsten of Penn State will summarize some recently collected agronomic and dairy-feeding data for winter annuals from on-farm research trials. Dairy farmer Gordon England, of Blair County, and dairy farmer/nutrient management consultant Dean Patches, of Lebanon County, will share their on-farm experiences when winter annuals are double-cropped with corn silage.
Noah Hughes, a dairy nutritionist with Cargill, will relate his experiences from working with dairymen who feed winter annuals. Finally, Lancaster dairyman Lamar Stoner and Penn State Extension educator Timothy Beck will conclude the event by sharing some of the financial outcomes possible when dairies include these double-crops in their systems.