Interested in participating in alternative forage research?

The University of Wisconsin Madison Division of Extension is looking for farms to participate in a
research project involving alternative forages. Over the past several growing seasons forage
shortages have become a challenge for many producers.

Polar vortices and inconsistent snow cover have resulted in several years of alfalfa
winterkill. Furthermore, frequent and heavy rains have delayed corn silage planting and harvest,
creating forage quality and quantity issues. There has been an increase in planting of winter rye and winter triticale after corn silage as well as sorghum or other crop species to replace damaged alfalfa fields. While the alternative forages have helped increase the forage inventories of producers, there is a need for research based feeding guidelines and to better understand the economic implications of planting and harvesting these forages. The purpose of this research project is to collect data to help answer these questions.

The protocol for this study will involve collecting forage samples at the time of harvesting as well as one
to three fermented samples during feed out. The samples should be labeled with farm name, date
of sample, and species of forage. These samples will be analyzed for quality. Yield will also be
measured with drive over scales where available or through estimates of storage inventories or in
field measurements before harvest.

Farms that participate will have to:

  • Coordinate with Extension educator
  • Provide farm, crop, and animal data
  • Participate in end of project interview/evaluation

Farms that participate will receive:

  • Monetary compensation – $200
  • Summary of reports with feeding guidelines

If you are a farmer that is growing an alternative forage such as winter rye, winter triticale, sorghum, or other species of forages besides corn silage and alfalfa and would like to participate in this study, or if you have any other questions about this project, please contact:
Alison Pfau – Regional Dairy Educator (

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