Tips for Fall Allergy Sufferers

ky fall allergy tips

Tips for Fall Allergies

From festivals to marathons, colorful leaves to pumpkin spice, there’s a lot to look forward to in the fall. If you suffer from fall allergies, however, it can be difficult to enjoy the joys of the season.

Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, starts with cold-like symptoms. Unlike a cold that goes away within a week, hay fever lingers until the cause of the allergic reaction is identified and treated. One of the most common causes, especially during the fall allergy season, is ragweed. Ragweed begins to pollinate in mid-August and sticks around until a hard freeze.

Mold can cause problems for allergy sufferers any time of the year, but a warmer-than-normal fall, high humidity, or windy conditions can allow mold spores to be released into the air for an extended period of time.

Raking leaves, a common fall chore, can also stir up mold and pollen in the ground. Allergy sufferers who rake their yard can use an N-95 respirator mask when raking leaves to lessen the impacts of allergens. Children who have allergies should avoid jumping or playing in leaves.

ky fall hay fever

Many indoor allergies can worsen in the fall as you stay inside more. While you can’t get rid of all the allergens in your home, you can minimize them. Here are some tips:

  • Wash your sheets weekly in hot water and your blankets every two to three weeks to kill dust mites.
  • Replace pillows every two to three years.
  • Encase your mattress, pillows and other padded furniture with allergen-proof covers.

Sometimes signs of allergies aren’t straightforward due to the difficulty in distinguishing allergy symptoms from the common cold. This is especially true with children. If you or your child has cold symptoms that last more than a week or seem to occur at the same time every year, you may want to talk with your health care provider about the situation. Only a certified health care provider can truly diagnose allergies and prescribe treatments.

More information on healthy living is available at the Oldham County Extension office. Call (502) 222-9453 to speak with Chris Duncan, Oldham County Family & Consumer Science Agent.

ky fall allergies

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Written by Nicole Peritore, Senior Extension Specialist. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

OC 4-H’ers Shine in Competition

The following 4-H Youth Development articles printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Summer OC 4-H Competitions

oc dog show

OC 4-H Dog Club

Oldham County 4-H and Kentucky State Dog Show Results

The 4-H Dog Show was held at Full Circle Farm on Saturday, July 23rd, one of the hottest days this summer. Special thanks to the owners of Full Circle Farm for making the day possible — without their support we could not have continued with the show due to the heat.

Congratulations to the 4-H members who were county competition champions: Will Barber, Rebekah Degnan, Beth Huffman, and Ella Olds.

Congratulations as well to those who competed in the State 4-H Dog Show:

♣♦ Will Barber ♦ Carrie Olds
♣♦ Rebekah Degnan ♦ Ella Olds
♦ Kailey Greenwell Keira Puckett
♦ Beth Huffman ♣♦ Audrey Roberts
♣♦ Anna Laverty Brianna Ross

♦ Denotes a blue ribbon winner.
♣ Denotes a class champion.

OC 4-H Shooting Sports Club

Oldham County 4-H Shooting Sports Competition

The Oldham County 4-H Shooting Sports Club held their county competitions in August. Congratulations to all participants!

Rifle, Age 9-11 Rifle, Age 12-14 Rifle, Age 15-18
1st Place – Sarah Grace Jackson 1st Place – Dain MacDonald 1st Place – Shane Bickett
2nd Place – Cole Powell 2nd Place – Brian Ball 2nd Place – John Clore
3rd Place – Andrew Myers 3rd Place Parker Jones 3rd Place – Cameron Rice
Pistol, Age 12-14 Pistol, Age 15-18 Trap, Age 9-11
1st Place – Brian Ball 1st Place – Cameron Rice 1st Place – Grayson Hume
2nd Place – Kaitlyn Snyder 2nd Place – Shane Bickett
3rd Place Logan Roberts 3rd Place – Hannah Anderson
Trap, Age 12-14 Bowhunter, Age 9-11 Bowhunter, Age 12-14
1st Place – Hayden Bailey 1st Place – Nick Sauer 1st Place – Jonathan Gadberry
2nd Place – Will Shannon 2nd Place – Lily Anderson 2nd Place – Kali Anderson
3rd Place Eli King 3rd Place – Sean Johnson 3rd Place – Hayven Lentz
Bowhunter, 15-18 Bare, Cloverbuds Bare, 9-11
1st Place – Cameron Rice 1st Place – Catalina Perez 1st Place – Cole Powell
2nd Place Drew Laverty 2nd Place – Sam Laverty 2nd Place – Izzy Perez
3rd Place – Brandon Howard 3rd Place – Emma Reader
Bare, 12-14 Bare, 15-18 Recurve, 9-11
1st Place – Spencer Wieland 1st Place – Brandon Howard 1st Place – John Morgan Morales
2nd Place Will Shannon 2nd Place – Max Renner 2nd Place – Spencer Duke
3rd Place – Ethan Willis 3rd Place – Megan Snyder
Target, 9-11 Target, Age 12-14
1st Place – Trent Fitzner 1st Place – Justin Ensor

In Rifle, Shane Bickett achieved the highest score. Cameron Rice was the highest overall in Pistol.

OC 4-H Horse Club

Ballardsville High Riders Excel at State Events

The Kentucky 4-H Horse Contest was held in Lexington on June 9th and 10th. Congratulations to the following members for their accomplishments:

Heidi Keck Ella Olds
3rd in Craft Equipment 1st in Event Photography
5th in Original Design Art
Isabelle Von Busch Victoria Winn
6th in Craft Equipment 1st in Digital Collage
8th in Original Design Art 2nd in Photography Showing Movement
4th in Photo Collection
4th in Original Design Art
7th in Craft Equipment

The Kentucky 4-H Horse Show was held at the State Fairgrounds July 3rd thru 9th. Congratulations to the following members for their accomplishments at the Kentucky 4-H State Horse Show:

Emily Bennett Carrie Olds
1st in Hunter 2nd in Hunter, Under Saddle W/T
3rd in Jumper, 34″ and Below 4th in Dressage
7th in Showmanship 5th in W/T, Over Crossrails
6th in Hunt Seat Equitation
7th in Showmanship
Miranda Smith Emmett King
3rd in Hunt Seat Equitation, Over Fences 2nd in Green Horse, Over Crossrails
4th in Dressage
6th in Beginner Horse, Over 2′ Fences
7th in Hunter, Under Saddle

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2016 District and State Horse Shows!

For more information regarding the 4-H Horse program contact the Cooperative Extension office. To qualify for participation in horse related competitive events, 4-H members must complete equine educational requirements and be registered with the Extension office by April 15, 2017.

4-h fashion

Oldham County 4-H Fashion Revue

The 4-H Fashion Revue was held on Monday, July 25th at the Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church. The Delicious Delights 4-H Cooking Club provided refreshments at the event. Rebekah Degnan received Senior Fashion Magic Champion Award. Molly Logsdon won the Senior Sewing Champion Award. Maggie Anderson earned the Junior Fashion Magic Champion Award. Kendall Kennedy received the Cloverbud Champion Awards in Sewing and Fashion Magic.

Congratulations to all who participated!

Written by Kelly Woods, 4-H Youth Development Agent. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

Fall OC 4-H Events

The following 4-H Youth Development articles printed in the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

Attention Club Leaders

4-H Club Leader Meeting

Club enrollment packets will be provided to all 4-H Club Leaders at a meeting on Tuesday, September 6th at 6:30 p.m. at the Extension Office. Club leaders, please plan on attending this very important meeting to receive your club enrollment materials. Every club must have a representative. If you cannot attend, please send a volunteer from your club. Do not use enrollment forms from past years as the form has been updated. All enrollment forms (for new as well as returning members) are due October 14th.

4-H Shooting Sports Coaches Certification

Are you interested in becoming a 4-H Shooting Sports coach? The Kentucky Leadership Center in Jabez, Kentucky will host the certification workshop designed to familiarize coaches with the National Shooting Sports materials and grant certification. Topics to be covered include the role of shooting sports in 4-H, productive club meetings, teaching resources, how to teach safety, and information on state competition.

A workshop will be held at Lake Cumberland 4-H Education Center, October 7-9, 2016 for 4-H coaches seeking their first 4-H Certification. For more information about the workshop, please contact the Extension Office before September 16th.

Attention OC 4-H’ers

4-H Awards Night

The Delicious Delights 4-H Cooking Club will host the 4-H Awards Night on the evening of Tuesday, November 22nd, at the John Black Community Center. Save the date!

Nominations for 4-H Awards will be due on October 14th. Club leaders will receive more information about the awards in their club packets at the Club Leaders Meeting on Tuesday, September 6th. 4-H Awards to be granted during the awards dinner will include: Ten Year Award, 100 Ribbon Club, 250 Ribbon Club, Achievement Awards, Horse Level Books, Club Secretary Book, and Community Service Award.

The applications for the Oldham County Outstanding 4-H Member Award for Junior and Senior members are available online.

Be the Next Emerald Award Recipient

The Achievement Program provides the opportunity to receive scholarships to Teen Conference, 4-H Congress, and college. Certain levels require interviews at the state level. You can get started in the Achievement Program when you are in the sixth grade and continue throughout the rest of your 4-H career.

Call today to schedule an individual or club work session to start your Achievement Application. We have many 4-H members who can excel in this program, and now is the time get started!

All Achievement applications are due October 14th. Download the Achievement application from the Extension website.

Written by Kelly Woods, 4-H Youth Development Agent. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

KY Dairy Cattle News

ky dairy cattle

Kentucky Dairy Notes

The University of Kentucky Dairy Extension team circulates a monthly e-newsletter called Kentucky Dairy Notes. The following article “Heat Stress is a Hot Topic” comes from the May 2016 issue of Kentucky Dairy Notes.

Heat Stress is a Hot Topic

Written by Barbara Wadsworth, University of Kentucky Dairy Graduate Research Student, and Dr. Jeffrey Bewley, University of Kentucky Dairy Assistant Professor.

Heat stress negatively affects many cattle around the world. In the United States, heat stress is particularly bad in the southeast. Heat stress decreases dry matter intake, production, and reproductive performance. Below are reviews of new and interesting research conducted at various research institutes.

University of California, Davis researchers conducted a study where the objective was to determine the relationship between signs of panting and respiration rates, both of which may be indicators of cow’s heat load. Respiration rates and panting signs (drooling, mouth open, or tongue out) were measured every five minutes for thirty-two cows. The researchers determined that all signs of panting were accompanied by a higher respiration rate. Take home message: When cows are panting and breathing heavily, they may be trying to dissipate their heat load. This study reaffirms that if a cow exhibits these signs, a producer will want to provide cows with more heat abatement resources (fans, shade, and sprinklers).

Cornell University researchers studied the relationship between milk yield with rectal temperature, respiration rate, udder skin temperature, and body surface temperature on eight cows. Four cows were housed in a cooled environment and four cows were housed in an environment with a temperature humidity index of 79.5. The researchers discovered that udder skin temperatures and respiration rates were equally related with rectal temperatures. They also discovered that rectal temperatures had the highest correlation with milk yield. Udder skin temperature was a better indicator of milk yield then respiration rates. Udder skin temperature may be a useful indicator of heat stress as udder skin temperature is fast to measure and non-invasive. Take home message: Udder skin temperatures are comparable to respiration rates as a heat stress indicator.

California Polytechnic State University researchers studied differences in the degree of heat stress based on cow cooling methods. Fifteen cows were housed in two different barns. One barn had fans and soakers and the other barn had soakers only. Rectal temperatures were measured three times per day to assess cow heat stress. No difference in the rectal temperatures of the cows housed in the two barns was shown. However, differences in rectal temperatures of the cows that were housed in the barn with soakers only (101.5º F) occurred when they were moved to the holding pen which had fans and soakers (100.8º F). This result highlights that having fans and soakers may be effective in decreasing heat stress. Take home message: This study reiterates that housing cows in barns with fans and soakers may help alleviate heat stress.

University of Florida scientists examined the cellular structure of calves’ intestines after being in utero in heat stressed cows. Thirty bull calves were sacrificed either at birth, or 1 and 2 days after birth. Their intestines were removed and tissues sampled. The researchers discovered that calves in utero of cows exposed to heat stress had limited passive immunity capability. Take home message: Cooling dry cows may help calves born to these dams increase their IgG uptake and increase their passive immunity capability.

Cornell University researchers conducted a study where they used temperature humidity index to evaluate its impact on pregnancies per AI and postpartum disease. The researchers determined that when cows were inseminated in times of heat stress compared to non-heat stress they had reduced pregnancies per AI from 38.7% to 32.5%, respectively. Cows that calved during a period of heat stress had an increased risk (30.2%) of having a postpartum disease than cows calving during a period of non-heat stress (26.3%). Take home message: Inseminating cows during heat stress may decrease the rate of pregnancies per AI. Calving during heat stress may increase the cow’s risk for disease.

In conclusion, heat stress can negatively affect cows. Heat stress increases cow’s panting and respiration rate, rectal temperature rate, postpartum disease rate, and decreases their pregnancies per AI rate. Heat stress on the dam can also negatively affect calves by decreasing their passive immunity capability. This new research was presented at the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting of American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association in Orlando, FL. What a great environment Orlando made to discuss heat stress!

Master Clothing Volunteer

The following Family & Consumer Science article printed in the March 31, 2016 edition of the Oldham Era.

Extending Knowledge

Become an Extension Master Clothing Volunteer

If you’re interested in making sewing more than just a hobby, Cooperative Extension’s Master Clothing Volunteer program might be right for you. Recruitment for the Master Clothing Volunteer Class of 2016 is ongoing through the end of June.

A master volunteer is an individual who goes above and beyond the traditional volunteer role. Master Clothing Volunteers have basic knowledge of sewing and garment construction skills. They are interested in receiving in-depth training in the subject and are dedicated to helping others learn their art.

The Kentucky Master Volunteer in Clothing Construction Program has been certifying individuals since 1990. A new class of volunteers is selected every two years. The class of 2016 will be the 13th class to begin the certification process.

Participation in the Master Clothing Volunteer program is highly selective. Only two individuals are selected from each of the state’s 14 extension areas. Individuals must first apply to the program at their county’s extension office, where they are already an approved volunteer. From there, a county committee will screen the applicants. Individuals will be notified by mail about the status of their application. Those selected will advance to an area screening committee. The committee will make their selections based on an individual’s sewing knowledge and people skills drawn from the application and an interview.

Those selected to participate in the program will attend a statewide training, Oct. 18-21 at the Lake Cumberland 4-H Educational Center in Jabez and begin the certification process. During this process, they will receive training on subject matter, record keeping, teaching, and people skills. They will also make a written commitment to give back a specific amount of time to Cooperative Extension and the community by teaching basic sewing skills to groups of individuals. After completing the volunteer requirements, the individual will become a Certified Master Clothing Volunteer recognized by the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service as a trained professional aide.

Applications are available at county extension offices. For more information on becoming a Kentucky Master Clothing Volunteer, contact the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.

Source: Marjorie Baker, extension associate for clothing and textiles

KY Forestry News

ky tree flowers

Spring 2016 Kentucky Forestry News

To promote stewardship and sustainable management of Kentucky’s non-industrial private forests, the Kentucky Forestry Extension Service and Kentucky Division of Forestry publish multiple forestry resources including the Kentucky Woodlands Magazine. The current issue approaches a variety of topics: GMOs, mussels, logging, best management practices, the Northern long-eared bat, and more.

Download the full edition of Kentucky Woodlands Magazine.

KY Forestry

2015 KY Forest Economic Report

Kentucky Forestry Extension released the Kentucky Forestry Economic Report for 2015 which estimates Kentucky’s growing role in the national forest industry. Some of these stats include:

  • $9.1 billion in direct economic contribution.
  • $14.6 billion (9% increase) in total economic contribution.
  • 28,408 jobs in the forest industry; estimated 57,750 jobs overall.
  • 713 facilities located in 109 (of 120) Kentucky counties; gain of 10 facilities.

Dr. Jeff Stringer, Kentucky Extension Professor, reported on Kentucky’s progress.

KY tree park

KY Forest Leadership Program

The Kentucky Forest Leadership Program offers first-hand forestry experience to high school students. The program encourages the development of life-long learning skills, focusing on observation, action, and evaluation. This year’s participants will also have the opportunity to study entomology and wildlife. Students are also introduced to a variety of forestry-related careers such as civil engineering, entomology, soil science, wildlife habitat assessment, and water quality.

For more information on the Kentucky Forest Leadership Program, contact Extension Associate Laurie Thomas.

ky evergreen trees

KY Forestry Events

Ohio River Valley Woodlands & Wildlife Workshop
April 2, 10 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Cliffty Falls State Park
Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio forestry and wildlife specialists will be available to answer land management questions.

Kentucky Forest Industries Association Annual Meeting
April 5-7
The Brown Hotel in Downtown Louisville, KY
Discuss current forestry issues, and enjoy numerous forest-related activities. Over 400 regional company representatives will be in attendance.

Kentucky Woodland Owners Short Course
July 16
Henry County Extension
Individuals and families have the opportunity to learn more about enhancing the woodlands on their property.

ky trees flowering

KY Forest Resources

The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry is responsible for Kentucky research, instruction, and extension programs in forest and wildland natural resources.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is a non-profit organization helping promote sustainable management of U.S. forests. Partnerships allow the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to award grants for forestry management improvement projects.

Through various programs and services, the Kentucky Division of Forestry informs the public of the environmental, social, and economic importance of forest resources. In addition to forestry education, the Kentucky Division of Forestry is responsible for wildland fire management.

The National Association of State Foresters encourage the protection and sustainable management of state and private forests. Kentucky is part of the Southern Group of State Foresters.

Since 1900, the Society of American Foresters has informed and provided networking opportunities for American forestry professionals.

Protecting nearly 200 national forests and grasslands, the U.S. Forest Service teaches sustainable practices for the health, diversity, and productivity of U.S. forests.

Written by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Reviewed by Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent.

4-H Communications Event

The following 4-H Youth Development article printed in the 2016 spring edition of our quarterly newsletter.

Oldham County 4-H clover

Gain Confidence through 4-H Speech Program

Public speaking – one of Americans’ biggest fears. 4-H presents the opportunity for youth to conquer this fear at a young age with the public speaking program. Learning public speaking skills helps children and teens gain the confidence, organizational skills, and composure to become the influential leaders of tomorrow.

The important thing is for young people to give 4-H public speaking a try. The earlier they begin the program and the longer they stick with it, the stronger their public speaking skills become. Youth can deliver speeches on any topic they find interesting. Looking for more information on the topic helps develop valuable research skills. Composing a properly structured speech promotes organizational skills, and youth learn creative techniques to engage an audience.

Competition begins at the club level, qualifying for the county competition on April 18th. County winners advance to a district tournament on April 23rd, and district winners compete at a state tournament in July at the University of Kentucky. Judges evaluate presentation and ability to clearly deliver a message.

It’s not too late to get involved in a 4-H speech program! Call 222-9453 for details.

Additional judges needed on April 18th and 23rd. If you are interested in volunteering to judge a speech or demonstration contest, please contact our office. Help make this a rewarding experience for the kids!

Written by Kelly Woods, Oldham County 4-H Youth Development Agent. Edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

2016 Ag Tags

The following 4-H Youth Development article printed in the 2016 spring edition of our quarterly newsletter.

Oldham County 4-H clover

Renewing Farm License Tags Benefits 4-H

Oldham County 4-H has an opportunity to raise funds for local and statewide 4-H programs through the Kentucky Ag Tag Donation program.

Since 2012, Kentucky Farmers have had the option to make a $10 donation when purchasing or renewing farm vehicle license plates. Commissioner of Agriculture, Ryan Quarles, will again equally divide the amount raised among 4-H, FFA, and Kentucky Proud. This voluntary donation helps 4-H grow strong leaders for tomorrow, advance agricultural education in Kentucky, and promote Kentucky farm products.

Beginning March 1st, farmers can make the donation when renewing their farm license plates at the county clerk’s office. With more than 184,000 farm plates renewed each year in Kentucky, the commissioner’s action can generate significant funds to support these three outstanding programs.

Last year, Kentucky 4-H received $180,119.05 from Ag Tag donations. Funds are split between the counties where the funds originated and the Kentucky 4-H Foundation for state level programs. That means half of the Ag Tag donation stays in Oldham County, funding programs and activities that teach youth about leadership, citizenship, science and technology, communications, public speaking, agriculture, and more.

News release edited by Lauren State, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant. Reviewed by Kelly Woods, Oldham County 4-H Youth Development Agent.

2016 KY Horticulture News

KY horticulture news

2016 Winter KY Hort News

Keep up to date on Kentucky horticulture with the State Horticulture Newsletter. In the winter edition, you’ll find feature articles such as:

Upcoming Horticulture Classes

Countless workshops and seminars across the state are extending knowledge about Kentucky horticulture. The following are but a few upcoming Kentucky horticulture events:

February 17, 2016
A Thing or Two About Gardening
Hardin County Extension Office (Elizabethtown)

February 23, 2016
Planning a Butterfly and Pollinator Garden
Hardin County Extension Office (Elizabethtown)

February 24, 2016
Milkweeds for Monarchs
Kenton County Extension Office (Covington)

Oldham County Horticulture

Traci Missun, Oldham County Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, and Michael Boice, Horticulture Assistant, work to spread horticultural knowledge in Oldham County, Kentucky. Accepting soil samples, identifying insects, and diagnosing plant behaviors are some of the ways they serve the community. The Oldham County Master Gardeners Association supports the extension agents and help teach Oldham Countians more about home horticulture.

Upcoming horticulture and agriculture events in Oldham County include:

Beeswax & Honey Bath/Body Products
Friday, February 12, 2016 8:00 PM
Free demonstration by Lauren Pulz of Single Barrel Soaps, an Oldham County small business. Sponsored by the Oldham County Beekeepers Association.

Master Gardener Classes Begin
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Contact the extension office for further information.

Spring Vegetable Gardening Workshop
Saturday, March 19, 2016 10:00 AM – noon
RSVP: (502) 222-9453

January KY Dairy Notes

ky dairy news

The University of Kentucky Dairy Extension team circulates a monthly e-newsletter called Kentucky Dairy Notes. The following article “Interpreting a Forage Analysis” comes from the January 2016 issue of Kentucky Dairy Notes.

Interpreting a Forage Analysis

Written by Mickayla Myers, University of Kentucky Dairy Undergraduate Research Student, and Donna M. Amaral-Phillips, University of Kentucky Dairy Extension Professor.

Interpreting a forage analysis can sometimes feel as though you are translating a random code. Despite this, being able to understand a forage analysis is absolutely crucial to understanding the quality of your feed. Understanding quality of forages is important because they are the backbone of the rations for dairy cows and determine how much extra nutrients we need to add into rations.

Here are some of the first things to pick out when you are looking at a forage analysis.

  1. Dry Matter (DM): Dry matter at harvest is especially important for forages harvested as silage, haylage, or baleage, it can determine packing density (ability to exclude oxygen from the chopped or rolled forage) and thus whether a desirable fermentation of the forage will occur. For corn silage, we recommended a range of 32 to 35% DM while alfalfa silage should be at 35 to 40%. Forages harvested as baleage should be 40 to 60% DM. Dry matter will also determine how much of each forage needs to be included in the ration when weighed on an as fed basis.
  2. Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF): ADF is made up of cellulose, silica and lignin. Lignin is indigestible by ruminant animals and as plants mature the amount of lignin increases. Cellulose is found in the cell wall of plants and the rumen bacteria can digest approximately 30 to 40% of the cellulose. Therefore, high levels of ADF in forages mean less digestibility and less energy available for the cow.
  3. Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF): NDF is the percentage of cell wall material in the forage and is composed of hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin. NDF is very important in forages because it can increase rumination, improve rumen health and increase milk fat. However, remember that some is good but too much can limit intake, energy intake, and ultimately milk production. NDF also can be broken down and used towards energy for milk production. NDF is a more consistent predictor of energy between testing laboratories when compared to NEL (Net Energy for Lactation), which may have been calculated using different equations in different laboratories.
  4. NDF Digestibility (NDFd): Forage NDFd is measured as a percentage of total NDF and describes the digestibility of the forage. NDFd is not used when balancing rations but describes how fast this fiber can be digested by the rumen microbes. The faster NDF is digested, the more feed a cow can eat which can increase her total intake of energy and thus may increase milk production. Generally, as the maturity of a legume or grass plant increases (before harvest), the NDF digestibility will decrease. Environment or growing conditions also plays a role in fiber digestibility. Hot, humid weather has been shown to increase NDFd. NDFd can differ between laboratories, thus results need to be compared from the same laboratory and not between different forage testing labs. The most common way of estimating NDFd is an in vitro procedure. In this procedure, rumen fluid and a buffer are added to the sample and it is allowed to ferment for several hours. There are three different time frames that are used to measure NDFd, which include a 24-hour (h), 30-h and 48-h fermentation. Most nutritionists or producers choose the 24-h or 30-h time frame because it is uncommon for feed to stay in the rumen of a dairy cow for 48 hours. For corn silage, NDFd should be used to compare the quality of corn harvested as silage instead of NDF content.
  5. Crude Protein (CP): CP is calculated by multiplying the nitrogen concentration by 6.25. It is a good indicator of the amount of protein in the forage that can be utilized by the animal for maintenance, lactation, and growth requirements.
  6. Starch: When evaluating corn silage, starch should also be evaluated. Most of the energy in corn silage comes from the starch content and digestibility. A good range for starch percentage is from 24 to 39% for corn silage.
  7. Relative Feed Value (RFV): Another factor to consider when looking at alfalfa is RFV, or relative feed value. Values that are greater than 180 are deemed quality forage.
  8. pH: Another value that can be considered for silages overall is pH. The pH is one predictor of quality of silage fermentation. Normal pH ranges are 3.7 to 4.2 for corn silage and 4.3 to 5.0 for alfalfa haylage.

Average Values for Forages- Does not denote values for quality forage, just average values for tested samples

Forage DM% NDF% ADF% CP% NDFd (30h) Starch% RFV pH
Corn Silage 34 44 26 8 52.3 32 N/A 3.95
Alfalfa Haylage 40 44 34 22 50.1 N/A (<2%) 134 4.65
Legume Hay 90 39 30 21 40.8 N/A 160 N/A
Grass Hay 92 62 39 11 47.6 N/A 89 N/A
Small Grains Hay 89 26 13 12 31 >43 N/A N/A

*N/A is defined as Not Applicable

*Small Grains are defined as oats, wheat, barley, etc.

Values from Dairy One Feed Composition Library from 5/1/2000-4/30/15

*NDFd 30 is a comparison within labs, not between labs.