Simulation of forage harvest and conservation on dairy farms

P. Savoie, L. D. Parsch, C. A. Rotz, R. C. Brook, J. R. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A computer model was developed to simulate forage systems on dairy farms. The model simulated alfalfa growth, corn silage and corn grain yields, harvest, storage, feeding and ration formulation for a dairy herd. A 26-year series of historical weather data from East Lansing, Michigan, was used to compare management and technological alternatives on the basis of average net return and year-to-year variations. For example, a four-cut alfalfa system was found to be more profitable than a three-cut system 90% of the time. The comparison of a hay system with a silage system was very sensitive to forage intake assumptions; the break-even point shifted from 120 ha to 40 ha when silage intake was increased by 5%. The model can be used to assess the impact of new forage conservation methods under a wide range of climatic and management conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-131
Number of pages15
JournalAgricultural Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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