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FIRST WINTER!

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Hey all!,

NEED SOME HELP Please.

How much hay should i get per head of cattle on my farm for our cold southwestern Ontario winters,
Is there a ratio that is used,Also which type is recommended, any help would be amazing,

P.s. I have 9 cows and 1 Bull. Limousin Cattle.

Thank you very much .
 

Jalopy

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Depending on the year it could vary. But you should estimate high when you buy. I am not saying that these are firm and fast amounts just as a way that you can get started estimating. For an example assume feeding hay for 7 months or 210 days and for an average of 32 ponds of hay per day. that is a total of 67,200 pounds. I think that would be plenty depending on the quality of the hay and whether you have access to harvested fields or stockpiled pastures. I guess when I plan for winter use I always like to have extra hay lined up either purchased, raised , or know where I can get it should I need it. I know other individuals will have different ideas and thoughts that they will share with you also, therefore you can decide what works for you. Good Luck. JLP
 

Running Arrow Bill

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In winter season (between summer and spring thaw), in a cold climate, you probably need to plan on 3% of body weight per day. In your area you're probably looking at 6 months?? of feeding hay?
 

Bez+

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CanadianCowboy":30bfaog5 said:
Hey all!,

NEED SOME HELP Please.

How much hay should i get per head of cattle on my farm for our cold southwestern Ontario winters,
Is there a ratio that is used,Also which type is recommended, any help would be amazing,

P.s. I have 9 cows and 1 Bull. Limousin Cattle.

Thank you very much .

Budget about 7 five foot round bales for your part of the world - we do 9 - 10 where we live

That is per head

One or two extra bales per head is nice to have on hand for extremes that can happen in your area so do it if you can. Otherwise you get a tougher winter you could be scrambling for hay. You can always feed out any extra the next year.

That way you can also delay putting them on pasture in the spring if need be.

Stop feeding them and put them out too early in the spring and you can ruin your pasture. Get yourself a plan on how to keep that pasture healthy - fertilizer is always a nice touch and many do not do it - the carrying capacity will drop over the years and grass will fade away while weeds take over.

You may raise cattle but you actually farm grass - never forget that.

Decent mixed hay - orchard grass, timothy, brome and alfalfa hay and you will not have to supplement - you do not usually deal with extreme temperatures

Test it - if better than 8-9% you are good to go. Higher is better - much over 11-12% and they just pizz it out on the ground so do not worry about the dairy quality hay

Lots of info on hay here - all you have to do is look for it.

How far south west in Ontario - Guelph area? At 415,000 square miles it is a big province and larger than almost every state in the US - so a bit more info might help

Ask your neighbours what they do - they will be your best source of info

Winters are not all that bad there - lots have it tougher - your cows will be fine if you keep their bellies full.

Glad I am not paying your hay bill with the return cows are bringing right now. And I hope you have room for tractor trailer units when delivery starts - plus the front end loader to unload them.

Cheers

Bez+
 

grannysoo

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Bez+":18trx9nj said:
One or two extra bales per head is nice to have on hand for extremes that can happen in your area so do it if you can. Otherwise you get a tougher winter you could be scrambling for hay. You can always feed out any extra the next year.

Make sure you read what Bez+ said carefully. That's one or two extra per cow, not just one or two extra.

You could easily be feeding 2 - 3 rolls per week, depending on size, so having an extra 20 or more bales beyond what you predict would be a minimum amount.

You can't ever have too much hay. All it takes is an extra long winter or no rain, and you'll be looking for all you can put your hands on.

10 cows can eat a lot of hay when there is none to be found and the price is high.
 

Alberta farmer

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I agree with Bez, in that I sure don't envy your hay bill. How much is hay selling for in your area? The traditional 1200 lb. first cut round bale is right around $100-$120 in central Alberta this year. Add another $5-$8 for delivery. This means if you could get away with 6 bales per cow it would cost anywhere from $630 to $738 for winter feed alone. If you needed 9 bales it would cost $945 to $1152 per cow for winter feed alone! What are weaned calves selling for in your area...steers and heifers? If you wean an average weight of 600 lb. and an average price of $1/lb(strs and hfrs) you are looking at $600 less your selling costs. Going to be real tough juggling the figures to convince yourself you made any money? But hopefully your hay prices are cheaper than the prices in Alberta.
 

mnmtranching

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Maybe I'm wrong, but to me South West Ontario is directly North of Minnesota and northern MN is COLD VERY COLD. Or maybe Y'all consider all that NW Ontario :oops: There would be quite a weather difference. :nod: I would call it extreme weather, long VERY cold Winters. In most cases we feed from Oct-May and figure min. 35 pounds of medium type hay per cow per day. Or a 1200 pound bale put out about every 3 days and according to waste. I would feed full good hay with no grain in this cold climate.
 

Aaron

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mnmtranching":2h8bu0x6 said:
Maybe I'm wrong, but to me South West Ontario is directly North of Minnesota and northern MN is COLD VERY COLD. Or maybe Y'all consider all that NW Ontario :oops: There would be quite a weather difference. :nod: I would call it extreme weather, long VERY cold Winters. In most cases we feed from Oct-May and figure min. 35 pounds of medium type hay per cow per day. Or a 1200 pound bale put out about every 3 days and according to waste. I would feed full good hay with no grain in this cold climate.

North of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan is NW Ontario. SW Ontario is the little area north of Ohio. Eastern Ontario is North of New York. Northern Ontario is East of Northern Michigan.

The further south you get, the more they fight and disagree, so they chop themselves up into little areas. "Northern South Central Ontario". :cowboy:
 

SRBeef

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As one who has recently been through these calculations:

If you have (9) 1500 lb cows and (1) 2000 lb bull that totals about 15,500 lb of animals in your herd.

Assuming they consume 3% of their body weight per day, 3% of 15,500 lb = 465 lb of hay per day.

Depending on what size bales you use and what they weigh, somehow you need to provide about 465 lb of good hay per day, plus minerals, plus salt plus water. Hay protein is also important as mentioned above. There is a huge difference between bales of hay from different sources.

Then figure the (number of days you will probably need to feed hay x 465 lb/day)/ weight per bale = min number of bales you will need then add a cushion factor of extra bales just in case it's a longer winter, say 10-15% more? If you cover these bales you can use any left over next season or if there are any very dry spells in summer. As suggested, buy more hay than you calculate. Scrambling for hay in the spring is NOT fun....especially since everyone else is trying to find some too about that time. Ask me how I know that....

I hope this from another beginner helps. Good luck.

Jim
 

Bez+

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Canadian Cowboy - you are going to get a rep if you do not step up and into this conversation pretty soon - that rep is not one that you will want

I am a neighbour of yours in some small way - so do not embarass me - at least come by and thank these folks for their input.

Bez+
 

hillsdown

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My herd for winter feed this year has 235 large bales (in that is 70 bales of 14% protien green feed) 285 small sqaure second cut 18% protien alfalfa bales and 110 1st cut small squares. 111 large straw bales and 10000 lbs of steam rolled barley.

They will also get protien tubs and of course the minerals and salt they need.

I sure hope that is enough to get us through. My 130+ head herd now consists of 23 bred cows 10 replacement heifers ans 3 bull calves.. :( All the rest were sold due to lack of feed. Last year because of the bitter cold longgggggggg winter we went through 600 bales of hay.

So do like everyone has said and always plan for more hay than you will need. It is not fun to get caught with your pants down in -40 weather.
 

Bez+

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hillsdown":2k5thrbf said:
My herd for winter feed this year has 235 large bales (in that is 70 bales of 14% protien green feed) 285 small sqaure second cut 18% protien alfalfa bales and 110 1st cut small squares. 111 large straw bales and 10000 lbs of steam rolled barley.

They will also get protien tubs and of course the minerals and salt they need.

I sure hope that is enough to get us through. My 130+ head herd now consists of 23 bred cows 10 replacement heifers ans 3 bull calves.. :( All the rest were sold due to lack of feed. Last year because of the bitter cold longgggggggg winter we went through 600 bales of hay.

So do like everyone has said and always plan for more hay than you will need. It is not fun to get caught with your pants down in -40 weather.

Not to discourage you - and the barley will help - but you are going to be close - so make them clean up!

Best

Bez+
 

hillsdown

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Oh they will be cleaning every last peice up Bez, and the replacement calves will get creep as well so that will help.

I can always order more grain , that is not a problem to get; so straw and grain will help. I lucked out on straw, my regular guy that I have bought from for the last 5 years put me on the top of his list and I got first dibs on the bales. :)

I also have 48 1800lb canola bales that I can throw at them every once and a while, it is probably only about 7 or 8 percent protien but if they are hungry they will eat it. The good thing about the straw is that it has tons of grain in it still.

I moved them to the 90 acre hay field yesterday to clean that up and everytime I look out I think, where the heck are all my cows.. :???:

After the crappy pasture season and how well they and their calves held their condition I think they will do fine. I will start out with the crappy feed and save the best for 1&1/2 months after they calve so they will breed back on time, especially since everyone will be AI'd at least once next year..
 

Alberta farmer

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Hillsdown: I am assuming your quoted prices for 10,000 bu. of steamed rolled barley was a misquote and was really 1,000 bu of barley?
Taking your numbers for feed fed I assume you are in my general area and I would like to try to assign some costs.
165 round hay bales X $100/bale $16,500
70 greenfeed bales X $80/bale $ 5,600
285 2nd cut sm. hay X $6 bale $ 1,710
110 1st cut sm. hay X $5 bale $ 550
111 lg. straw bales X $25 bale $ 2,775
1,000 bu stmed barley X $3.50 $ 3,500

Total $30, 635

23 cows, 10 [email protected] 2/3 feed for cows, 3 [email protected] 1/2 feed of cows = slightly over the equivalent of 31 cows! Or $983 per cow to feed through winter! Incredible.
I sure hope those three bulls are going to be grand champ, reserve champ, and high seller.
 

Bez+

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Alberta farmer":3hdndrw2 said:
Hillsdown: I am assuming your quoted prices for 10,000 bu. of steamed rolled barley was a misquote and was really 1,000 bu of barley?
Taking your numbers for feed fed I assume you are in my general area and I would like to try to assign some costs.
165 round hay bales X $100/bale $16,500
70 greenfeed bales X $80/bale $ 5,600
285 2nd cut sm. hay X $6 bale $ 1,710
110 1st cut sm. hay X $5 bale $ 550
111 lg. straw bales X $25 bale $ 2,775
1,000 bu stmed barley X $3.50 $ 3,500

Total $30, 635

23 cows, 10 [email protected] 2/3 feed for cows, 3 [email protected] 1/2 feed of cows = slightly over the equivalent of 31 cows! Or $983 per cow to feed through winter! Incredible.
I sure hope those three bulls are going to be grand champ, reserve champ, and high seller.

Ouch!

With those prices there are no cattle on the place that would stay

I would take that money and pay off something and look at replacing cows down the road.

Have a good one

Bez+
 

hillsdown

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Alta farmer you are wrong with your prices and way off base here..

We raise most of our own feed and if this is how you look at an operation all I can say is that it is a good thing you got out when you did if you were ever in it at all.

I am thinking from your responses and how you piggy back a couple of others here that you most likely were never in it to begin with.. :tiphat:
 

hillsdown

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I will ask you this also ab, how much money did you make off of your hay etc. this year.. :lol2:

BTW you are talking to someone with real experience, not a faker on the boards.
 

SRBeef

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Those costs are a bit high for around here, at least in US dollars. Very good 1600 lb round bales sell for more like 75. Average 1500 lb round bales (all 5x6) are around 50.

Still there is a lot of money in winter feed in the north.

I just bit the bullet and bought a 3-point mounted bale wrapper. Not the expensive kind that wraps all the way around for baleage, just a simple one where you spear the bale and tractor hydraulics spins the bale while you move a roll of plastic wrap back and forth. Tried it out today and seems like it will do a good job. Plastic stretch wrap will cost about 1.50 - 2.00/bale.

I don't have a hay shed, have tried the bale sleeves with some success but they are just too slow and you need bales that are just the right diameter - hard to do if you buy all hay. I've tried plastic sheeting over the bales and those don't have a high probability of success with me on a windy ridge so far anyway.

Over the past two years with all the fall rain, snow , etc, netwrapped bales sitting on the ground often had
almost a foot of the outside diameter which was either moldy or very poor quality and was not useful. This is a big percent of the total volume in a bale. The bales that I had put sleeves on as they were unloaded from the hay trailer looked great with almost no waste.

Here is a picture of me feeding two plastic sleeved bales last winter. This hay had almost no waste.



What I am trying to say is that with costs such as they are for winter feeding it seems very worthwhile to minimize waste. It looks like wrapping the outside diameter of 5x6 bales can save a lot of hay from spoilage. I'll try to get some pictures of the new wrapper in action. Simple machine which should pay for itself pretty quickly. As I grow the herd it is obvious I need to do something different as far as hay storage goes rather than just stacking them in the snow and rain. Wrapping looks much less expensive than building a hay storage shed. Jim
 

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