Top Baleage Began with Healthier, Greener Plants
Farming neighbors often share both good times and bad when it comes to commodity prices, luck of the weather and harvest results. But for Raymond, and sons Howard and Sid Van Der Wey, their mixed field of alfalfa and grass near Ferrisburgh, Vermont only evoked some kind-hearted jealousy.
“Word got back to us that our neighbor was mad about our stand being visibly so much greener than his,” Howard said. “So far as we can tell, the main difference was Generate®.”
The side-by-side fields showed easy-to-see results before harvest, after harvest, and continue now as they feed the award-winning forage to their cows. With Generate® added to the liquid fertilizer tank before spring planting, the investment required no additional time for superior soil and forage.
Generate® is a product from Agnition that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and plants. Growers that use Generate® typically notice greener, more vigorous plants with better end results in terms of quality and yield. The Van Der Weys started using Generate® in their corn ground, and after success, they began applying the highly versatile product to their forage acres.
“We do almost all our forage in baleage. So when our neighbors can see how many wrapped ‘marshmallows’ we have, everyone can tell that something made our field more nutrient-rich,” Harold added.
“It’s kind of nice when a neighbor complains that your field looks better than his,” Sid joked.
Best of the best
In 2013, the farm was honored with the Best of Show award in the forage competition at Vermont’s largest farm show. Their fourth crop baleage, a mixture of grass and alfalfa, first beat out all the other baleage entries and then went on to take first prize against the many corn silage, haylage and dry hay entries. The farm, called Nea-Tocht, a Dutch translation of “We never thought…,” owns 600 acres of crop land and rents an additional 200 acres.
“In the corn, we immediately noticed more root mass in fields where we used Generate®,” Raymond said, who moved to the farm in 1976 from New Jersey.
The Van Der Wey’s forage is not just for show, however. It needs to produce results in the barn, and so far they like what they see. The milking herd, averaging 3.8 parlor visits per day using dairy robots, stays consistently over 90 pounds per cow per day.