If you are planning to feed your cattle with hay, you will need to know the proper method for allocation and storage. Read on to learn how to allocate hay to your cows and also about the quality and price of hay. A good quality grass hay is a very important component of cow diets. Hay that is cut just before it blooms has the best nutrients and is easier for cattle to chew than coarse hay. In addition, young calves can’t chew the coarse hay because their mouths are small.
Allocation of hay
Hay can be used for a variety of purposes and can be used in combination with grain for supplementing the diet of dairy cows. Early lactating cows and baby calves require the highest quality forage. They cannot consume enough feed during this critical time, so the hay offered must be of the highest quality. Dry cows and heifers may be able to use lower-quality forages as a supplement to grain. However, a balanced diet of grain and forage must be provided to meet the protein and energy needs of the animals.
Although there will always be losses in hay production, they can be minimized by making the feeding system as efficient as possible. By reducing the amount of hay lost during feeding, you will save feed and maximize the productivity of your cow herd enterprise. To calculate the amount of hay you need to feed each cow, use the Noble Foundation’s website. You can also enter a certain number of animals per feeding time and see how much feed you need to replace.
Storage of hay
While storing hay isn’t an ideal solution for every farmer, it does work well enough for most. The most effective storage method involves using a barn to store bales. This is especially beneficial in wetter climates where hay spoils quickly. If you’re considering storing hay for the winter, here are a few tips. 1. Make the largest bale possible
Ensure that the bales have adequate moisture content. This helps to prolong the storage time and increase quality. Moisture content is the most significant limiting factor, and hay with a high moisture content should be fed within a few days. After baling, leave the bales outdoors for several days to let them “sweat” before storage. In general, large square and round bales should have no more than 16 percent moisture. However, small square bales should have no more than 22 percent moisture.
Quality of hay
The quality of hay is important for cow nutrition because it determines the dry matter intake potential, energy content, and crude protein content of the feed. A cow with a milk yield potential of 1200 pounds requires approximately 2,000 g of hay per day during the critical months of lactation. Depending on the pasture, the amount of hay can vary from one region to another, making it essential to choose a source of high-quality hay.
When a cow is fed a diet with poor quality hay, its intake of forage will decrease, limiting her appetite and rumen capacity. Poor quality hay also limits the amount of nitrogen and protein she can use for her production. This results in poor reproductive performance and a decreased body condition score. If the cow can’t get the right nutrients from her hay, she will not be able to meet her own nutritional requirements and will begin to exhibit signs of dehydration.
Cost of hay
For a dairy farmer, hay is the lifeline for their cows. However, this valuable commodity can be expensive, so estimating how much hay a cow will need is important to avoid financial losses. Using weight and quality to estimate how many bales of hay your cows require can help you make informed decisions. And, of course, you’ll also want to consider the cost of the hay itself.
The Southeast region is known for its abundant nonirrigated dry hay production. During the past decade, production of hay per cow increased 136% in Mississippi. This increase in production has reduced the amount of stored feed in the South, as well as reducing the cost of production per head. However, producers are often reluctant to implement new practices that improve the quality of forage and lower production costs. The results, however, prove that higher-quality hay is worth the price.
Timing of hay harvesting
The optimal timing for harvesting hay for hay cow food is dependent on the forage maturity. Bermudagrass is one type of forage that should be cut when it has greened up and is between 12 and 16 inches tall, and it is important to remove winter weeds. Then, following several weeks, cut the hay at three to five week intervals, depending on the maturity of the grass and moisture. Cutting hay at the optimal time ensures a high-quality feed with minimal fiber content.
Traditionally, hay was harvested in the summer and used to feed livestock during the winter. It required less labor, and the crop matures much slower. This means that hay producers could spend more time focusing on other aspects of the farm. Timing of hay harvesting for hay cow food is important for two main reasons: it is easy to grow and harvest hay and it is a good source of protein and energy for your livestock.