By Deanne Meyer, Ph.D., Livestock Waste Management Specialist, UC Davis, Department of Animal Science, UC ANR

Winter rains were few this year. Forage harvest is a bit light, depending on your location and water use. It’s important to remember to sample forage. Sampling forage from each field is an important component in managing nitrogen on your dairy. This information is useful to you and important for nutrient management compliance. For dairies in priority 1 or priority 2 nitrate management zones, the data will be essential. A quick reminder for dairies in the Central Valley:

☐ Record harvest weight (tons) by field.

☐ Take representative samples of forage from each field where manure was applied.

☐ Submit samples for laboratory analyses.

☐ Sample soil on required fields (likely 20%).

☐ Sample solid manure.

☐ Sample manifested manure.

☐ Track quantity of manure applied to fields and where it goes.

☐ Take quarterly samples of liquid manure.

For dairies on the North Coast you’ll want to record manure applications and harvest yields too.

Keep the samples coming and your records up to date!