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Do Soybeans Make Good Silage?
Soybeans might make a good high-protein silage crop, says one researcher who's working with several different varieties to determine which ones might be best suited for feed.
  Jim Johnston at the New Liskeard research station in Ontario, Canada, last year worked with two 90 to 95-day soybean varieties and is working with a couple more this year.
  Small test plots of soybeans were drilled at 100 to 120 lbs. per acre the second week of May and were harvested from late August through mid-September.
  Yields averaged 2.8 tons per acre, with grain comprising about 15 percent of total weight. Leaf content was a low 23 percent in late August and dropped sharply afterward.
  Johnston expects the total grain ratio to increase most years and says a higher leaf content would likely improve forage quality.
  Crude protein was 13.5 percent, ADF 28.1 percent, NDF 40 percent and total digestible nutrients 70.6 percent.
  Quality was similar to mixed hay for crude protein with fiber levels on par with legume hay, Johnston says, and energy was higher than top-quality alfalfa.
  "With moderate protein and high energy, it would be a decent backgrounding ration for beef cattle," he says. "Other options are dairy cattle and sheep."
  Total silage yield was 75 to 100 percent of the 4 tons per acre growers expect from two cuttings of alfalfa in the area, Johnson says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Johnston, New Liskeard Agricultural Research Station, P.O. Box 4020, 340 Armstrong St., New Liskeard, Ontario, Canada P0J 1P0 (ph 705 647-8525, ext. 223; fax 9220). (Farm & Country)

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1999 - Volume #23, Issue #4