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Discussion Board - soybeans for hay

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08-04-2012 15:35:04

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My soy crop is stunted by the drought. A neighbour asked if I consider cutting it for hay (which is in short supply).
Question. Does it decient hay?

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08-13-2012 21:54:10

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
Soybeans were first brought to the US for hay. Just last year I cut some for hay and the animals would eat it before the alfalfa or grass. But be careful raking it because the leaves will fall off pretty easy

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Erik Ks farmer

08-05-2012 08:35:48

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
Thanks Eldo Case, I just posted a similar topic in tractor talk.

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08-05-2012 07:01:26

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
All the beans here are a loss. Some don't look too bad but never set pods. Neighbor is getting ready to make hay with hers. She had the ag guy out and he's just baffled by it all. He's never seen it like this. Sounds like a dance to get them just before they drop leaves.

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08-04-2012 20:06:00

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
Forage type Soybeans planted and managed for hay make hay as good as Alfalfa, stunted, douthed out row crop beans make a passable brood cow wintering hay if cut before all the leaves dry out and fall off. Even green lush soybeans are not hard to cure if cut with a moco -- windrow and roll the hay and you won't lose many leaves.

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eldo case

08-04-2012 19:42:35

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
Also make sure they have not been sprayed with something that needs a with drawl time. Like a pesticide. Could be trouble. Just and after thought. Hope I was some help.

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eldo case

08-04-2012 19:36:14

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
Hope this helps you!!!!!

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July 27, 2012
Salvaging Soybeans as Hay or Silage

Rain-fed soybeans may still have an opportunity to produce yield in areas that receive sufficient and timely rains. If thatís not the case for your dryland soybeans, you may want to salvage them as hay or silage.

When made correctly, soybean hay and silage can have feeding values similar to those for alfalfa.

Harvest soybean forage when leaves start to turn yellow, just before they drop off. Itís especially important to harvest before a freeze to prevent rapid leaf loss.

Making Hay. Soybean hay is challenging to make. The stems are quite woody and dry slowly. Be sure to condition or crimp the hay to hasten stem dry down. In contrast to the stems, soybean leaves dry quickly and then become crumbly. Avoid raking the fragile leaves, which can contribute to yield loss and a much lower feed value. If you must rake to merge windrows for baling, do it within one day of cutting. Do not rake to hasten drying as leaf loss will be severe.

Making Silage. Making good soy silage is less risky if you have silage equipment and do it right. I prefer mixing chopped soybeans with corn or sorghum as they are being ensiled, but thatís not always possible. For straight soy silage:

Get a good, clean chop. Uniformly add a silage inoculant designed for legumes like alfalfa. Add about one bushel of cracked corn or 50 pounds of molasses to each ton of wet silage to aid fermentation. Pack soy silage especially well.

Obviously, you would rather harvest a good bean crop than make hay or silage from it, but when drought and heat prevent a good bean crop, hay or silage may be a good alternative.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist

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08-04-2012 19:32:51

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
There was a lot of bean hay put up in our area last year and it is going on again this year due to the drought. I've heard that you need to cut them before the leaves turn too yellow; otherwise, you end up with sticks and powder. If handled correctly it appears to make decent hay, at least better than nothing.

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08-04-2012 18:02:33

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
Dad told me they baled them back in the 50s for the dairy cows . By the time the stocks were dry the leaves were powder dry and ya had to bale them with the dew on so the leaves did not blow away . Said the cows loved them .

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08-04-2012 16:01:35

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 Re: soybeans for hay in reply to Chas.Ont., 08-04-2012 15:35:04  
I have heard about cutting soybeans for silage but not for hay.

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