With the possibility of a dry spring leading to an even drier summer, getting the most out of your hay is critical.
By Larry Stalcup
With those conditions, ranchers can only make good winter forage go so far without depending heavily on hay. But poor hay quality, storage and feeding practices can easily cut into an already tight profit potential.
“The grass a cow harvests herself costs about 1.5 cents per pound. Hay costs 4 to 5 cents per pound,” says Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist. That translates to an even higher expense if would-be-nutritious forage is trampled into mud or soil or covered with animal waste around the bale feeder.
Along with alfalfa, a variety of grasses are harvested as hay, ranging from warm season Bermuda further south to cool season grasses further north. Other feed, such as cornstalks and forages planted for hay, all provide cattle with supplemental protein and energy. “The quality of grass hay varies widely depending on the type of forage, management and condition of the forage, baling conditions and quality degradation during storage,” Peel says.
Stalcup is a freelance writer based in Amarillo, Texas.
via source BEEF | How to get the most out of your limited hay supply
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