EVERETT, Wash. — While it’s becoming more common to see round, white plastic-covered bales sitting in fields and storage sheds, the majority of western Washington livestock operations have yet to adopt the practice of making bagged or baled haylage. Haylage is made from the same crops as normal hay, but retains more moisture content. Using the proper equipment and storage, the technique significantly increases the food value retained while decreasing crop losses, always a worry in wet western Washington.
Washington State University Snohomish County Extension will present an in-depth lecture and on-farm demonstration of the art and science of making high quality haylage on Thursday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The workshop will be held at the Hereth Farm, 11930 Springhetti Road in Snohomish.
Cost for the presentation is $35 per farm, organization or business (up to four people per farm). Space is limited and advance registration is required. To register, download the form at http://www.snohomish.wsu.edu/documents/2008WSUregistration.pdf and mail with your check, or contact Karie Christensen at (425) 338-2400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants will learn everything about haylage including wrapping techniques and equipment, the fermentation process, pH requirements, making harvest decisions, proper moisture content, when to use microbial additives, and which grass species work best.
Increasingly dairy, beef, and horse operations are finding that producing their own haylage provides them with a higher nutritional content feed than typical hay, with lower labor costs and greater flexibility to harvest at ideal maturity as less rain-free weather is needed for harvest.
Instructors for the workshop are Joe Harrison, a nutrient management specialist with the WSU Department of Animal Sciences, and Karl Hereth, a fifth generation Snohomish Valley farmer who manages more than 350 acres for hay, pasture and haylage production and was the first farmer in the area to produce and use bagged haylage.