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3 Way Winter Forage Hay?

2/B or not 2/B

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Hay prices have come down so much we want to fill the barn and not worry about it come winter when we need to supplement. We can get winter forage hay - wheat, oats & barley - for $100/ton direct from a farmer we know. It's supposed to be fine stemmed and heavily grained. Is this a good hay nutritionally? We usually feed alfalfa in the winter, but if winter forage is a good hay for cattle it would allow us to get a lot more bang for our buck.

One more question...we've never stored a grained hay and I imagine it attracts tons of mice. Is this important to consider?
 

dun

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The quality of the hay depends on the nutritional requirements of the cattle. Dry cows lower requirements, nursing cows and weaned calves higher.
The mice deal depends on how you feel about snakes. Yes you'll have mice, you'll also have snakes.
 

grannysoo

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Provided it has grain, it will have value. Everyone around here just sells the straw after it has been harvested. It's filler....
 

2/B or not 2/B

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Thank you, the hay will be fed to weaned calves and dry cows that are bred for spring calving. Snakes are not a problem in winter but we have rattlers in the summer and no, I don't want extras. Was thinking about getting some more barn cats anyway...

So are you basically saying it's a good hay for maintenance but not really for milk production or growth? If that's the case, I should maybe be getting winter forage hay for the cows and some alfalfa for the weaned calves. Feed stores here don't sell this kind of hay so I'm not familiar with it. Normally this farmer sells his directly to the large dairies. We have only recently gotten to know various local growers to buy from directly and it's a big cost savings.
 

1982vett

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2/B or not 2/B":1p3hpxmm said:
Hay prices have come down so much we want to fill the barn and not worry about it come winter when we need to supplement. We can get winter forage hay - wheat, oats & barley - for $100/ton direct from a farmer we know. It's supposed to be fine stemmed and heavily grained. Is this a good hay nutritionally? We usually feed alfalfa in the winter, but if winter forage is a good hay for cattle it would allow us to get a lot more bang for our buck.

One more question...we've never stored a grained hay and I imagine it attracts tons of mice. Is this important to consider?

:???: To me, fine stemmed = young, fast growing, high protien hay. Heavily grained = mature or near mature seed heads.
Fine stemmed and heavily grained don't fit together. Only other possibility is misinterpretation. Could it mean mixed grass hay with a large quantity of small grain varieties in the mix?
 

dun

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2/B or not 2/B":1zve8imn said:
Thank you, the hay will be fed to weaned calves and dry cows that are bred for spring calving. Snakes are not a problem in winter but we have rattlers in the summer and no, I don't want extras. Was thinking about getting some more barn cats anyway...

So are you basically saying it's a good hay for maintenance but not really for milk production or growth? If that's the case, I should maybe be getting winter forage hay for the cows and some alfalfa for the weaned calves. Feed stores here don't sell this kind of hay so I'm not familiar with it. Normally this farmer sells his directly to the large dairies. We have only recently gotten to know various local growers to buy from directly and it's a big cost savings.
Chat with some of the dairys that have used it in the past, see what they think of it. Keep in mind that they will be graining their milkers AND their replacement heiferrs. That has to be figured into the equation.
 

novaman

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I'm not excited when I hear the heavily grained part. I like to have it cut earlier so the plant has more feed value. By the time the grain is formed the rest of the plant is worth little more than a filler, although I have feed it this way with decent success. If I were you I would have a test run on it to see what feed value it really has. As far as the mice, you'll have lots. My dogs sit around the bale just waiting for me to lift it so they can snatch up all the mice that scramble when their roof is gone. I suggest feeding it all up by spring as they usually don't carry over very well from all the damage the mice and birds do.
 

2/B or not 2/B

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Thank you, I'll ask if it's been tested. I hope it has been since 2/3's of it was grown on a UC Davis research farm and the other 1/3 was grown by the same grower, just privately at his own farm instead of at work. We normally buy alfalfa, but it costs so much more. I don't mind if that's what they need, but if they could get by on something cheaper I don't want to be throwing out money.

I guess dun, one of your points is that if dairies normally feed it, they're also feeding other things to add more nutrients and energy to meet the needs of the animals. And another point is that the grain attracts pests and prevents it from storing as long.
 

dun

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Did I happen to mention that besides snakes the skunks love to hunt the mice too. Anyway they sure hang around the stuff a lot.
 

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