Forage production

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forage production is the agricultural cultivation of forage plants for livestock , which are fed fresh as green fodder , acidified as silage or dry as hay . It is mostly operated by livestock farms such as grassland farms on permanent grassland as meadow or pasture or on fields as field forage . In contrast, the designated cash crops to the cultivation of food crops intended for food production, as a food or for the production of animal feed such. B. concentrate feed or for the manufacture of industrial products are sold.

Goals of forage production

Basically, the aim of forage production is the production of inexpensive and digestible basic forage . The resources of a location apply, such as B. radiation, water and nutrients, to convert the plant into a maximum amount of convertible energy. The feed should contain a high content of protein as well as a sufficient supply of important substances that enable a high animal performance.

Forage cultivation has additional tasks for land use:

  • Prevention or reduction of soil erosion
  • Improvement of the soil structure
  • Position of a favorable previous crop for a subsequent marketable field crop
  • Increase in organic matter in the soil
  • Landscaping

Forms of forage production

Catch crop production

The catch crop cultivation serves to utilize the part fallow between two main crops. In farms with animal husbandry, it is used to acquire sufficient feed without additional land and without reducing the number of livestock. The existing production reserves of a company are thus better used.

Second crop forage production

For second crop forage production, a second crop is grown following a first crop harvested early in spring (e.g. early potatoes) or after winter catch crops. For this reason, catch crops must be compatible with late sowing and must not react sensitively to the greatly reduced soil moisture. A quick and careful preparation of the seedbed with subsequent sowing has a beneficial effect. On the other hand, sowing too late reduces the yield security.

Second crop forage production takes up a large part of the vegetation period (approx. 140 days), it competes with market crops and has to achieve a high output (50–60,000 MJ NEL at 50–80 dt dry matter / ha). Manure is usually well recycled.

Examples of catch crops are e.g. B. silage maize, grasses, marrow trunk cabbage, turnips, grasses or grass-clover mixtures.

Main crop forage production

Main crop forage plants occupy the soil from spring onwards or after a winter catch crop has been harvested for most of the growing season.

With annual main crop forage cultivation, sowing and harvesting take place within one year. The plants therefore do not have to be winter-proof. Typical are e.g. B. Silage maize and fodder beet. The annual main crop forage production mostly serves to cover the feed requirements in the processing industry. It is characterized by high area and labor productivity.

Long-term main crop forage, on the other hand, means that hardly any yield can be generated in the first year and that the main use only takes place in the second year. Examples are Italian ryegrass or red clover.

The perennial main crop forage production is characterized by field use for two to several years. Only plants that are hardy and can withstand repeated use can be grown. The plants should also have a short regeneration time. For perennial cultivation z. B. alfalfa, grass clover or oats are suitable. Sown meadows consist of pure or mixed cultivation of grasses and / or legumes, which are used for one or more years. The sowing meadow is often an important link in the crop rotation. With sufficient water supply and fertilization, high performance can usually be expected.


  • Lexikon Landwirtschaft, Verlags-Union-Agrar, 3rd edition, 1995
  • Nösberger, Josef and Wilhelm Opitz von Boberfeld : Basic forage production . Blackwell scient., Bln (1986)
  • Opitz von Boberfeld, Wilhelm: Grassland theory. UTB-Verlag (Eugen Ulmer), Stuttgart, 1994
  • Vegetable production, Die Landwirtschaft Vol. 1, BLV-Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Munich, 1998