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Tips to Stretch Short Hay Supplies
Ohio Ag Connection - 02/09/2024

Below are a few tips to consider stretching limited hay supplies. For additional information contact your local Extension agent. It is recommended to consult with your feed nutritionist or County ANR Agent before making drastic changes in your feeding program.

Inventory hay – know how much hay you have available; weigh a few bales to get an average weight or estimate the weights based on available information from Extension publications.

Minimize storage losses – keep hay off the ground on a surface that will allow water to drain away; keep bales covered or stored inside a barn; if bale grazing limit the number of bales placed in the field to provide 2-4 weeks of feeding to reduce weathering losses.

Reduce feeding loss – consider minimizing feeding losses; using hay rings with skirts / metal on the bottom, tapered ring designs, chains to suspend bales, or cone inserts to keep hay inside the feeder has been proven to reduce hay feeding losses compared to hay rings with openings at the bottom; using an electrified temporary poly-wire placed down the center of unrolled hay will reduce losses from cows laying on the hay, trampling it into the mud, and defecating on the hay; feeding processed hay into a bunk or large industrial tire reduces waste compared to feeding processed hay on the ground.

Cull – consider selling less productive females, open cows, and cows with structural/functional issues to reduce the number you must over winter; consider selling the bull as the market may provide the opportunity to sell a mature bull and replace him with a younger bull next spring.





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