See Video Here: Rye Silage Harvest on YouTube
Area farmers are beginning to harvest small grains for silage in North Florida. One of our Columbia County farmers recently had a custom harvester in to mow, fluff, rake, chop, and bag a rye crop which will be fed to dairy and beef cows in the area. While rye is not the optimum choice for dairy feed, it is well adapted and fits a niche in the area on our sandy soils. It is an efficient scavenger of nutrients without high levels of inputs, resist fungal diseases, and was tolerant of the cold conditions that we experienced this winter. While this crop was harvested at an early growth stage, which resulted in lower harvested yield levels, producers must balance yield and forage quality. UF/IFAS has an EDIS document which helps understand the balance between yield gains with crop maturity versus declining quality with maturity. Small Grains for Silage Following the timely silage harvest, area farmers can get to the business of spreading lime and poultry litter, apply burndown herbicides, and be ready to plant cash crops at the optimum planting dates while taking advantage of double-cropping opportunities.