Fertilizer Value of fed hay

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Otha

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We have around 3 times the amount of hay we will need to make it through the winter this year. We will be keeping some as roll over for next year in case cost rise or we have a drought, but with irrigated hay fields we will always be able to make enough to get by. We've decided we don't want to sell any hay if we can help it, however we could use a little extra cash flow this fall and winter. We've discussed various ways to manage these needs with little ground being made on a solution. The main idea we've come up with would be getting extra cattle on the farm to eat more hay. The two ways to accomplish this are of course buying some cows or we likely have the option to run some heifers for a neighbor. The neighbor isn't short on hay either so the price we arrived at wouldn't be anything that would make us much money but we could at least make back some of the cash we spent making the hay. So the question is, what's the value of feeding the hay on our ground? We've seen the benefits of unrolling hay and what it does to the ground for the next few years but we don't have a way to put on a dollar amount to that effect. I understand we could possibly make more money by feeding the excess hay to some class of trader cows but there would be much more risk involved in that route.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

Stocker Steve

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Lots of articles out there on the NPK content of hay.

But VALUE is based on how much you can utilize. If you have 400 ppm of K around the bale ring but you are short on something else, then most of that K has no VALUE, because your production is based on the limiting item.

So you need before and after soil tests to get close.
 
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Otha

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Lots of articles out there on the NPK content of hay.

But VALUE is based on how much you can utilize. If you have 400 ppm of K around the bale ring but you are short on something else, then most of that K has no VALUE, because your production is based on the limiting item.

So you need before and after soil tests to get close.
A good soil sample is the answer more often than not when talking about soil and hay. I guy might out to think about the use of a soil sample before he post a question.

That website has some interesting articles on it, thanks for the link. I'll be watching what they post there from now on.
 

Dave

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To see what the nutrient value back to the soil from feeding hay test the manure. There are tables to show how much manure an animal of a certain size will produce in a day.
 
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Otha

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To see what the nutrient value back to the soil from feeding hay test the manure. There are tables to show how much manure an animal of a certain size will produce in a day.
The manure is part of the equation but the wasted hay will have a value to the soil too.
 

Nick Wagner

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The manure is part of the equation but the wasted hay will have a value to the soil too.
Yes, N, P, and K values are measurable but are only part of the equation. Hard to put a dollar value on it but manure and rotted hay greatly improve your soil, potentially at least. On the other hand, I saw a dairy farm crop yields improve when they sold the cows, but Andy spread manure 365 days a year, no matter what.
 

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