A dairy farmer changes his cultivation plans with great success

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A dairy farmer changes his cultivation plans with great success

A Wisconsin dairy farmer changed his crop rotations, his forage choices and his way of managing the land with great success.

Joe Bragger told Brownfield, “Our pregnancy rates, our milk supply, everything is improving. There is always another way of doing things.

Bragger Farms near Independence near the Mississippi River in Buffalo County. “After last year’s corn silage, we put in triticale, harvested it this spring, then at the end of May we stopped it, planted a four-way dairy cocktail that has the energy equivalent of corn silage, and in some cases we’re getting even better digestibility.

He also says that switching from alfalfa to a cocktail of mixed forages has several advantages. “Sudan BMR sorghum, there is vetch in there, there is clover in there and there is annual rye. And so, you look at these two legumes I have in there and if I were to go back to later corn silage next year, that would be my cover crop and also a nitrogen source.

Bragger uses no-till for its row crops on the very hilly ground, avoids planting near tree lines, and its healthier soil allows less than 2% of annual precipitation to leave the farm as runoff. He says the end result is healthier soil, better water retention, better feed production, better milk production and a better bottom line.