Term: feed crops
Feed crops--corn, oats, and hay--have dominated Wisconsin agriculture since the late 19th century, reflecting the decline of wheat and the importance of livestock to the economy. These crops were essential to the dairy and livestock industry and Wisconsin farmers became feed crop pioneers as they tested and refined the process to successfully support a herd and increase profits. The development of the silo in the 1880s was a revolutionary advance that provided an inexpensive and efficient way to store food to feed dairy cows throughout the year. The cultivation of feed crops was championed by the Wisconsin Dairyman's Association, the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, and in progressive farming journals. Scientific advances from the University of Wisconsin provided insight into the dietary needs of dairy herds and the nutritive value of feed crops. By 1900, nearly 90 percent of the state's cropland was devoted to corn, oats, or hay with most of the harvest consumed on the same farm where it was grown. Wisconsin today ranks first in the nation in corn grown for silage and hay and is a leader in oats and corn grown for grain.
View pictures related to agriculture at Wisconsin Historical Images.
[Source: Wisconsin's Cultural Resource Study Units, Wisconsin Historical Society.]