All you can eat....buffet hay

Help Support CattleToday:

Banjo

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
1,655
Reaction score
398
Location
Ky
Almost always....the first thing somebody wants to know....in a farming related conversation is...."do you have plenty of hay"?
Nothing wrong with that. But I hear people fretting every year about whether or not they're gonna have enough hay.
Talked to a neighbor while at the stockyards Sat. This guy puts up enough hay every year that would last me 5 years. He said he didn't know if he would have enough or not.
He has a hundred cows and feeds 25 rolls a week...5x6 rolls. i did some figuring. If a 100 cows weighed 1200 lbs. each that is 120000 lbs at 2.5 % of their body weight = 3000 lbs. of hay.
I would think 2 rolls a day(1500lb roll) would be a plenty. That would be 14 rolls a week.
If cattle farmers spend 5k to 10k dollars on fertilize on average and waste 5 to 10k worth of hay.....no wonder farmers complain about not making any money.
i told this same guy he could feed a lot less hay if he unrolled it....but he had several reasons why he couldn't do that.
 

kentuckyguy

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
711
Reaction score
290
I can’t see getting by on the small amount of hay. We have 15 cows with calves on most of them. 2 4x5 bales make it about 4 days.

I can’t see unrolling hay working out good on my farm due to wet ground. The damage I would do with just the tractor or side by side unrolling the hay would be bad.
 
OP
B

Banjo

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
1,655
Reaction score
398
Location
Ky
Wow! I guess i've been unrolling hay so long that i don't even think about the mud anymore. i always unroll in a new spot each day on grass unless its frozen. Unrolling in a small lot day after day would not be good.
 

pricefarm

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2013
Messages
1,600
Reaction score
55
Location
Southwest Va
Banjo said:
Wow! I guess i've been unrolling hay so long that i don't even think about the mud anymore. i always unroll in a new spot each day on grass unless its frozen. Unrolling in a small lot day after day would not be good.

How many acres per cow are your running?
 

Bigfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
13,282
Reaction score
660
Location
Kentucky
If he unrolled 2 1200 pound rolls of hay a day, that'd be more hay than my cows get. If my plan is right, mine get 18 pounds of hay a day. I would have argued until the end of time, that: unrolling wasted hay, a cow can't live on 18 pounds of hay, if you did it your cows would be skin and bones by spring. Last year out of necessity, I started unrolling. I have unrolled every bale this winter. Many won't believe it, but my cows are in great shape. Evidently bred back good, I've got a ton springing and bagging. My best guess is that I have saved 300 rolls this year. I call my hay $45 a roll. That means I pocketed $13,500. I have actually started spending the savings on more/better hay equipment. I would add you had better feed some good hay if your going to cut them back like that.
 

bird dog

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
2,575
Reaction score
879
Location
Navarro County, Texas
Agree totally with Bigfoot. I have a 60 cow herd with 55 fall calves, 4 replacement heifers and 2 bulls that get 9, 4 x 5.5 rolls per week. All of it unrolled. All of it Oat and Ryegrass hay yielding 8%. They also have some protein tubs. They are by no means fat and they are mostly modest sized cows but they are in good shape for this time of the year with big calves nursing on them. When its muddy, I unroll at the highest point in the pastures or on top of old terraces. Always in a new place and always on grass if its muddy. If its dry it gets unrolled in a erosion spot or on some place that needs some nutrients.

I have green strips coming up all over the place. When the hay season ends the unroller comes off and I'm done. No cleanup, no composting, no wet smelly places for flys to breed in.

Even with a small herd you can easily unroll just what they will clean up.
 

Bigfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
13,282
Reaction score
660
Location
Kentucky
bird dog said:
Agree totally with Bigfoot. I have a 60 cow herd with 55 fall calves, 4 replacement heifers and 2 bulls that get 9, 4 x 5.5 rolls per week. All of it unrolled. All of it Oat and Ryegrass hay yielding 8%. They also have some protein tubs. They are by no means fat and they are mostly modest sized cows but they are in good shape for this time of the year with big calves nursing on them. When its muddy, I unroll at the highest point in the pastures or on top of old terraces. Always in a new place and always on grass if its muddy. If its dry it gets unrolled in a erosion spot or on some place that needs some nutrients.

I have green strips coming up all over the place. When the hay season ends the unroller comes off and I'm done. No cleanup, no composting, no wet smelly places for flys to breed in.

Even with a small herd you can easily unroll just what they will clean up.

I don't miss the mess of the hay rings. used to run a field cultivator over it a half dozen times to get the hoof prints and ruts out. Then had to keep it sprayed with 2 four D while it recovered. Convinced myself that it would be the best grass on the place in time, and it was. Unrolling is so much better. I'm choosing broomsedge acres. It doesn't completely knock it back,, but makes a huge dent in it.
 

WFfarm

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
464
Reaction score
424
Location
Weastern NY
25 bales for 100 head /week seams like a lot. Is he sure they are 5x6, or is it really poor quality hay? We feed 33 head of cows thru winter on 5x6 bales and usually feed 5 to 6 bales a week in round feeders. When the temperatures here are down below 20F they will go thru an extra bale to keep their body temperature up.
 
OP
B

Banjo

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
1,655
Reaction score
398
Location
Ky
pricefarm said:
Banjo said:
Wow! I guess i've been unrolling hay so long that i don't even think about the mud anymore. i always unroll in a new spot each day on grass unless its frozen. Unrolling in a small lot day after day would not be good.

How many acres per cow are your running?

About 2 - 2.5 ac. to 1 cow
 
OP
B

Banjo

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
1,655
Reaction score
398
Location
Ky
Bigfoot said:
If he unrolled 2 1200 pound rolls of hay a day, that'd be more hay than my cows get. If my plan is right, mine get 18 pounds of hay a day. I would have argued until the end of time, that: unrolling wasted hay, a cow can't live on 18 pounds of hay, if you did it your cows would be skin and bones by spring. Last year out of necessity, I started unrolling. I have unrolled every bale this winter. Many won't believe it, but my cows are in great shape. Evidently bred back good, I've got a ton springing and bagging. My best guess is that I have saved 300 rolls this year. I call my hay $45 a roll. That means I pocketed $13,500. I have actually started spending the savings on more/better hay equipment. I would add you had better feed some good hay if your going to cut them back like that.
One thing that nobody talks about much is metabolism. When you restrict calories in people, or animals their metabolism slows down. Thats why people gain weight after dieting for a while then going off of it. So with cattle you get compensatory gain in the spring when they get all the grass they can eat.
I agree with you that the hay needs to be good quality and most is not....simply because its too mature when baled. Thats why its critical to shorten the hay feeding window as much as possible, thru rotational grazing and stockpiling cool season grasses like fescue that we have here in the fescue belt.
 

Silver

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
4,221
Reaction score
3,276
Location
BC Peace River country
I figure on 30 - 35 lbs of hay per cow per day. More if its really cold. Fed on snow and ice. Of course, if my hay was kept off the ground and under a roof it would change the equation. 5 or 6 inches of waste on the outside of a 6' bale is 10% wastage right off the top.
I know a lot of people that calculate what they think their cows need and don't realize the "experts" use dry matter as their number, not actual feed.
 

T & B farms

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
476
Reaction score
4
Location
SW kansas
There will always be doubters. I have right at 225 mommas and I’m feeding 3 5x6 bales a day. I run a lower than average stocking rate, so there is quite a bit of grass left. I have a neighbor with right around 70 cows, and he feeds more hay than I do.
This has been the wettest 2 years in history, but I can still find ways to unrole at every pasture.
 

kentuckyguy

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
711
Reaction score
290
You all have me wanting to try this unrolling hay. I guess in my mind I always felt they would trample and lay in it.
 

Bigfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
13,282
Reaction score
660
Location
Kentucky
kentuckyguy said:
You all have me wanting to try this unrolling hay. I guess in my mind I always felt they would trample and lay in it.

Key is put out what they will clean up. Target your poorest ground, and move around. My goal was to cover 8-10 acres this year. It's not looking like I'm going to get across that many. For about the next 40 days, I will be feeding some pure crabgrass with lots of seed heads. I think I'm going to retrace where I've been, in hopes of spreading it.
 

Bigfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
Messages
13,282
Reaction score
660
Location
Kentucky
T & B farms said:
There will always be doubters. I have right at 225 mommas and I’m feeding 3 5x6 bales a day. I run a lower than average stocking rate, so there is quite a bit of grass left. I have a neighbor with right around 70 cows, and he feeds more hay than I do.
This has been the wettest 2 years in history, but I can still find ways to unrole at every pasture.

As Silver stated it's hard to go by "pounds", but you and I feed about the same amount per cow. I'd say your climate is harsher to, although I'm no world traveler. I let the condition of my cows, and their ability to breed back be my guide, but it's reashuring to see how much you feed.
 

SmokinM

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Messages
2,415
Reaction score
2,741
Location
Virginia
This is my first year unrolling and I have mixed feelings on it. Not sure I see the less hay and certainly not less waste. They do trample a lot in. I wait until they are hungry, try when they are not as hungry seem to get same results. They “ high grade” thru it and pretty minimal clean up after that. I like that residue and manure are spread out and no mud pits from hay rings to come back and clean up. I am feeding about 30-35# per pair every 24 hrs. Maybe what I am seeing is the 7-10# extra that some of you others aren’t feeding? My cows are smaller most are in the 1000-1200# range calves are in the 250-350# range.

Just for a reference I tried the same hay in rings and they clean it up to the dirt so don’t feel like quality of forage is the issue and it tests well. I had grazed them this year on stockpiled fescue for @ 60 days so that cut my hay bill a ton. First year I have had that ability. I have them on a smaller field now unrolling but not a dry lot by no means. Would I get better results unrolling on the fescue residue? In the end I went from feeding 400+ rolls to 200 or less this year.
 

VaCowman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
306
Reaction score
31
It happens, but it is not concentrated like it is when you feed in rings. Giving the cattle room and moving each day helps tremendously. If a spot is starting to get a little too worn for your liking, you can move to a different spot next time. We have unrolled hay for several years, and the only places we have to overseed in the spring are areas where the brambles have crept a little too far into the fenceline for my liking...I put rolls out in those areas (no unrolling) and let the cows stomp the brambles into the ground. A little overseeding in the spring and you're back in business...cheaper than spraying and 2X as effective!
 

Latest posts

Top