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Another hay quesion.....

A

Anonymous

Guest
After making a few phone calls yesterday on a few newspaper ads concerning burmuda grass bales, I found out that most folks have 1st, 2nd and 3rd cuttings available. Is there a quality difference in the timing of the cuts, such as does grass lose nutrient value if it sits all summer, and if it does, would you pay full price for first cutting, or should I ask for a few bucks off a roll, or should I just stay away from first cutting all together?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'm not that knowledgeable on the nutrient levels of various cuttings by any means. On the other hand, my guess would be that leafier cuttings would have more protein content. We use bermuda small squares as well as small squares of alfalfa for our horses and occasional supplement for a specific bovine.

Our hay sources irrigate and fertilize their hay crop. We try to purchase our alfalfa before July to avoid a blister beetle problem around here. Then, their last cutting (early fall) is purchased also.

As far as prices are concerned, I think that whatever price the hay seller quotes is the "best price," considering the trend to hay shortages due to drought, etc. You might get a little better price if you loaded and hauled the hay; or, if you bought couple of semi-loads, etc. Bill, Running Arrow Farm.

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A

Anonymous

Guest
> After making a few phone calls
> yesterday on a few newspaper ads
> concerning burmuda grass bales, I
> found out that most folks have
> 1st, 2nd and 3rd cuttings
> available. Is there a quality
> difference in the timing of the
> cuts, such as does grass lose
> nutrient value if it sits all
> summer, and if it does, would you
> pay full price for first cutting,
> or should I ask for a few bucks
> off a roll, or should I just stay
> away from first cutting all
> together?

If the hay is stored in a barn or shed the nutrient value of the various cutting is not as important. The difference is the 1st cutting will have more winter/spring weeds in it. The second cutting will be the best hay and the third cutting will offen have a little drough stress. I would opp for the second cutting if the price is competative.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
> If the hay is stored in a barn or
> shed the nutrient value of the
> various cutting is not as
> important. The difference is the
> 1st cutting will have more
> winter/spring weeds in it. The
> second cutting will be the best
> hay and the third cutting will
> offen have a little drough stress.
> I would opp for the second cutting
> if the price is competative.

Eric, I agree with what Sillco posted, the first cutting generally has more winter weeds, spring flowers, etc. Also, if it has been stored outside in uncovered rows and with direct contact with the ground, by the late fall/early winter there will be a fair amount of spoilage, particularly if the summer was very rainy. On the other hand, the first cutting usually has the best fertilizer application. I like to buy my hay from later cuttings that has had some supplemental fertilizer put down after the first cuttings.

Keep in mind that protein content, TDN and overall quality can vary a lot. For optimum protein the recommended cutting for bermuda is approximately every 28 days. A lot of hay men wait considerably longer than that between cuttings. Some wait so long that you are getting much lower protein hay and therefore less feed value, and their hay is very old and stemmy. And there is also tremendous variation in bale weights of hay that is advertised as "large round bales". All in all, there are a lot of factors you need to consider when evaluating what you get for your money from the many hay suppliers out there. And $10 or $15 spent to have some hay samples analyzed is money pretty well spent, in my view. Try to find and establish a business relationship with somebody that supplies quality hay for a fair price. But remember that a "fair price" can change from year to year depending on drought conditions, local supply and demand dynamics, etc.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Whom or where would I go to get the hay tested?....We wont have an extension agent here in Denton County until after the first of the yr. Is that somethng a feed store could do?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
> Whom or where would I go to get
> the hay tested?....We wont have an
> extension agent here in Denton
> County until after the first of
> the yr. Is that somethng a feed
> store could do?

I doubt that your feed store would have the capability of doing the testing. I have mine done by the ag department at a junior college that is pretty near my place. If there is a jr. college near you that has an ag dept. they can probably help --- or, it takes a little more time, but you could also contact A & M and have it tested at their testing facility which (I think) is at Bryan-College Station. I think most of the county extension agents just send samples off to A & M anyway. Or maybe ask a few of your neighbors or folks at the local feed store to see if they know of the most convenient source for testing.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'd op to contact Texas A & M University Soil & Forage Testing Lab at College Station, TX. They can provide further info on this. Price is very reasonable. A&M (at least for soil testing) will get computerized report back to you within about 10 days or so. Going thru a "middleman" only increases time factor and may add some up charges for the services.

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