In the past year, corn prices have nearly doubled, and there have been major increases in other commodities as well.

Couple that with a shortage of quality alfalfa hay, and it’s understandable that dairy farmers are feeling the pinch trying to feed their herds.

“We expect the higher corn prices to continue,” said Donna Amaral-Phillips, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture dairy nutrition and grazing management specialist.

“The question on dairy farmers’ minds is what they can do to decrease the cost of feeding their herd while not compromising milk production and growth of dairy heifers.”

With the summer coming to an end and fall on the horizon, farmers need to make it a priority to complete the harvest of quality forages.

Amaral-Phillips explained that feeding programs containing higher amounts of forages are generally more profitable for a dairy business, but farmers must harvest and store high-quality forages to take advantage of that.

She said farmers need to harvest corn for silage when the moisture is between 65 and 70 percent or 30 to 35 percent dry matter, depending on the storage structure they use.

Many parts of Kentucky have been dry, which causes corn to dry down quickly.