• prairie harvest-Wilke

    Jan. 30, 2018 - Renovated prairies established as part of Great Lakes Biofuel Research Center efforts can also be harvested for use as bedding and dry cow feed as well as a renewable fuel source (Photo: Brook Wilke, Kellogg Biological Station)

  • POTW Dec. 20, 2017

    Dec. 20, 2017-Just four inches of fluffy snow can protect crowns and roots of alfalfa from damage when air temperatures are frigid. Unfortunately, if snow melts and refreezes into a sheet of ice, it prevents oxygen from reaching the roots and plants may suffocate. Leaving a tall stubble in the fall helps trap more snow and stems may also serve as air conduits through ice sheets, thus reducing winter damage to stands.

  • Jan 22 – hay supplies Lindquist Ag News article

    Jan. 22, 2018 - According to USDA surveys of farms conducted on December 1, 2017, hay stocks in Michigan were down 16.7 percent from the previous year. Many Midwest States have experienced similar declines with Wisconsin being down 17.2 percent, Iowa down 14 percent, South Dakota down 10.8 percent and North Dakota down 28.7 percent. Across the United States, total hay stocks are 10 percent lower than 2016 and are almost as low as what they were in the drought year of 2012. The states to our south may have more hay available as Ohio hay stocks are up 18.7 percent and Indiana stocks are up 35.4 percent. Click on the photo for more information about local hay supplies. Photo: Kim Cassida.

  • Feb. 22., 2018 GLFGC announcement Ag News

    Feb. 7, 2018 - Forage producers continually strive to produce the highest quality forages and yields year in and year out. Producers that want to learn more about growing high quality forages are encouraged to attend the 2018 Great Lakes Forage and Grazing Conference Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at AgroLiquid Fertilizer, 3055 W. M-21, St. Johns, MI 48879. Registration is 9–9:30 a.m. and the program ends at 4 p.m. The annual conference and trade show is open to all forage producers, farmers, graziers, custom forage harvesters, livestock owners of all types, veterans and forage enthusiasts. The event is a partnership between Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Forage Council and North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. The keynote speaker for the event will be Gary Zimmer, chief visionary officer of Midwestern BioAg based in Madison, Wisconsin. His keynote address will be, “Soil Fertility and Nutrients for Top Quality Forages.” Following lunch and the Michigan Forage Council annual meeting, Zimmer will present “Producing and Feeding Top Quality Forages” in our afternoon session. Registration at the door is available. Photo: Phil Kaatz.

  • alfalfa value and variety test

    Feb. 14, 2018. Hay and haylage forage crops like this alfalfa are the third leading field crop by acreage in Michigan with an estimated annual value of $312 million. MSU tests forage varieties to determine yield potential in Michigan. The new 2017 Forage Variety Test Report is posted on this webpage, or click on the photo to go directly to it.

  • Feb. 16., 2018. One farm enterprise that seems poised to be a bright light in 2018 is dry hay sales, especially with a good growing season. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, inventories of total hay stocks in Michigan and the United States are at the lowest levels since 2012 and prices are increasing. For farmers willing to produce dry hay, there is usually a long-term commitment due to the initial cost of planting a perennial crop that also has high labor and machinery costs. This is good for those in the hay business when demand is high and supplies are low since not everyone can rapidly switch acres towards this commodity. Forage meetings throughout Michigan during March 2018 will highlight profitability opportunities with alfalfa and corn silages for farmers. Click on the photo for more information about the meetings. Photo: Phil Kaatz.

Welcome to the MSU Forage Connection

This web site is the homepage for the MSU Forage Research Program and an information hub for forage production and use in Michigan and the Great Lakes region.

Forages are the third most valuable agronomic crop in Michigan, encompassing over 3.5 million acres dedicated to permanent hay and pasture, and a variable acreage devoted to annual forage and pasture crops. In addition to traditional use as stored or grazed livestock feed, forage crops improve soil health via use in crop rotations or as cover crops, are a vital link in preserving water quality, and provide biofuels. Forage crops thus have a direct or indirect connection to many facets of Michigan agriculture and to ecosystem services that affect all residents.

We hope you will enjoy exploring these connections through this website.

Recent Publications

Helpful Links

Send suggestions and comments regarding this webpage to Dr. Kim Cassida, MSU Forage Specialist.