Pub.811 Agronomy Guide for Field Crops: Chapter 3

Pub 811: Agronomy Guide > Forages

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Table of Contents

Forages are a major Ontario crop, using over one-third of Ontario's improved land. Hay and haylage are grown on 1,012,000 ha (2,500,000 acres), while there are 303,500 ha (750,000 acres) of seeded pasture and 445,000 ha (1,100,000 acres) of natural pasture. Approximately 129,500 ha (320,000 acres) of corn silage is grown in Ontario - 17% of the corn crop. The value of forage production is estimated to be about 10% of the agricultural production in Ontario.

Forages are whole plants harvested for livestock feed. They are an important component of crop rotations on many farms, and their benefit has been demonstrated by numerous research trials and grower experience.

Crop management is more complex with forages than with many other crops, for several reasons:

  • Forage usually consists of a mixture of different species.
  • Forage may be used as either stored feed or pasture.
  • There is a wide range of harvest and storage systems used.
  • Perennial crops require management to ensure over-winter survival.

For information on corn silage production, see Selecting Hybrids for Silage. Information on corn silage harvest and storage is discussed in Haylage and Corn Silage. For more detailed information on pasture, see OMAF Publication 19, Pasture Production, or the OMAF website at


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Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 30 April 2009
Last Reviewed: 30 April 2009