High level of nitrates have been detected in forages this year in South Dakota and other states. Depending on where you live, it could be due to weather conditions, fertilizer, previous crop, or a combination.
Every individual bale of hay is a mini fermentation unit. It's important to manage each like a silage unit - maintaining good, even fermentation from bale to bale. This provides better overall quality and consistency.
In less-than-ideal harvest conditions, producers may be forced to ensile forages at high-moisture content. Early harvests — with moisture levels higher than 70% — can lead to increased effluent runoff.
A low pH is needed to create stable, high-quality silage. It helps create the environment to essentially “pickle” the forage and helps prevent growth of spoilage microbes like clostridia, yeasts and molds.
Alfalfa contains sugars that start to degrade after mowing, and sugars are needed to drive the ensiling fermentation. The key to high-quality hay silage is to wilt the crop to the proper DM level as quickly as possible.