Farming Magazine - February, 2009
I just received the January 2009 issue of Farming, and
sat down at lunch eager to read about the “New Forage Crops”
What a disappointment! You need to tell the author,
Mr. Thomas, that “forage crops” consist of grasses, legumes and
some cereal crops. Instead, half of the article reviewed corn grain
varieties, and the latter half was about the various silo covers and
accessories on the market.
Did I miss something? Were there some pages not
included in my issue that actually mentioned forages? If not, then I
suggest you don’t mislead us with front page publicity for something
different than what is printed inside.
Thank you for your time.
Ev Thomas Responds:
“Mr. Brown may be correct that a discussion of
silo covers is a bit of a stretch in an article referring to ‘forage
crops,’ even though that is indeed what they are covering. However, I
don’t agree that forage crops are limited to ‘grasses, legumes
and some cereal crops.’ I’ve always considered corn harvested
for silage (the predominant way we harvest the crop in the northeastern
U.S.) as a forage, but I checked the dictionary for a definition. Sure
enough, a forage is ‘a crop eaten by horses or cattle.’ The
term ‘forage’ was once limited to pasture plants, but as
agriculture modernized and most plants fed to livestock were mechanically
harvested, the definition was expanded to include both pastured and
mechanically harvested plants. My definition of a forage crop is any whole
plant harvested and fed to livestock. Therefore corn or oats harvested for
grain are not forage crops, while the same crops harvested as whole plants
for silage are forage crops. So, the term ‘forage’ refers to
how the crop is used, not the particular species.