Last Year's Hay

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Anonymous

I have noticed here in the central Texas area that last year's coastal bermuda hay is stored at the edge of the field with no tarp system...I am wanting to purchase my winter's supply of hay and I am wondering if this aged hay still has adequate nutrional value for the cows???????? How does it compare in value to this year's cuttings from the samne field??????

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Anonymous

From reading this board it appears that a lot of folks in other parts of the country tarp their hay. Here in Texas nobody does. That’s not to say you don’t have some loss, it’s just that in this part of the country the time/expense/effort to tarp is not justified. Sure, if you have a hay shed, use it. If you don’t, don’t worry about it.

The outside of the roll will get to looking old but the damage from weather will penetrate less than an inch. On the bottom of the bale you will loose over an inch. When you open the roll the hay under the surface will be clean and bright. Yes, there is some nutritional loss in carryover hay, so don’t pay new hay prices. But as long as you are keeping salt and mineral out, and supplementing with cake or cubes through the winter, your stock will do fine on year-old hay.

As far as prices go, it depends on what part of C-TX you’re in. Rain has been very spotty. If your area made good hay this year you will be able to dock hard for last year’s hay. If not, it will bring closer to new prices. Just make sure you’re not buying hay that’s been in the field for years.

Craig-TX
 
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Anonymous

Hay that has been exposed to the elements will always lose some nutrition. Keep in mind the outer 6 inches of a round bale constitutes 1/3 of a bale.

There is a lot of very good information re: hay storage online. Do a google search and look especially for the sites that are ag university or ag college related. The url's of most of those sites end in .edu instead of .com or .net.

> I have noticed here in the central
> Texas area that last year's
> coastal bermuda hay is stored at
> the edge of the field with no tarp
> system...I am wanting to purchase
> my winter's supply of hay and I am
> wondering if this aged hay still
> has adequate nutrional value for
> the cows???????? How does it
> compare in value to this year's
> cuttings from the samne
> field??????
 
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Anonymous

I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, even while wearing my ten gallon hat. Evidence is that the nutritional value drops by up to 30%, so if you started with adequate hay at baling, it is now inadequate. Borrow a hay test sampler from the extension and go out and take a deep core and find out what the protein, TDN, etc is. That is the only way you'll know.
 
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Anonymous

> I wouldn't touch it with a ten
> foot pole, even while wearing my
> ten gallon hat. Evidence is that
> the nutritional value drops by up
> to 30%, so if you started with
> adequate hay at baling, it is now
> inadequate. Borrow a hay test
> sampler from the extension and go
> out and take a deep core and find
> out what the protein, TDN, etc is.
> That is the only way you'll know.

If this dry weather persists in Texas much longer he'll be damn glad to get anything his cows can chew on. Of course it will only get hotter for the next few months, but we are going into the summer season with very poor moisture levels. People all around me are feeding hay already and there is precious little growth to any of the hay in the fields. This past weekend I saw several guys cutting and baling some of the raunchiest crap (essentially weed fields ripe for the developers & home builders) that you could imagine. In years past they would have been horrified at the thought of baling & feeding some of that stuff. I've had only seven-tenths of an inch of rain since late March and I felt compelled to start feeding this past weekend myself. I imagine that there will be a lot of good cows for sale real cheap around here if things don't change pretty soon.
 
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Anonymous

Yeah, I thought the same thing when I read that. We finally got an honest to goodness sure enough 3.2” rain last weekend. It was the first real rain we’ve had around here since the first half of March. The ground is still cracked open, like it usually is in August. Too late for the grass to grow much, we’re just hoping for some runoff.

As to Bill’s comments, of course the nutritional value drops. We all agree on that. It starts to decline at the moment it’s cut in the field. That’s why you can expect to pay a discounted price. But, like the old boy said, it sure beats broomweeds and snowballs.

Craig-TX
 
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Anonymous

We're finally getting adequate moisture after 3 years of drought. Folks last couple of years have been baling ragweed and broomsedge. Anything for scratch value, and feeding a lot of grain

dun

> Yeah, I thought the same thing
> when I read that. We finally got
> an honest to goodness sure enough
> 3.2” rain last weekend. It was the
> first real rain we’ve had around
> here since the first half of
> March. The ground is still cracked
> open, like it usually is in
> August. Too late for the grass to
> grow much, we’re just hoping for
> some runoff.

> As to Bill’s comments, of course
> the nutritional value drops. We
> all agree on that. It starts to
> decline at the moment it’s cut in
> the field. That’s why you can
> expect to pay a discounted price.
> But, like the old boy said, it
> sure beats broomweeds and
> snowballs.

> Craig-TX
 
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Anonymous

During our long dry season in Thailand, I follow the advice given to me by the agricultural university here. I feed rice straw (much lower in nutrition than hay but readily available) wetted by a solution of water, urea and molasses. The urea greatly increases the protein value and the amount of straw intake. This should work just as effectively on poor quality hay.

For every 100kg of straw/hay (dry-matter weight), we make a solution of 20 litres of water, 1.5 kg urea (just plain 46-0-0 fertilizer), and 5 kg (= 7 litres) of molasses. The solution is then applied with a watering can over the straw/hay and can be eaten by the cattle immediately (and safely).

Urea is very dangerous to cattle so it is important to remember not to add more than 1.5 kg of urea per 100 kg of straw/hay and also important to ensure the urea granules are fully dissolved in the solution.

Mineral blocks/tubs/licks (call them what you will) should also be made available.

John McCrosson



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Anonymous

why don't you sillage corn and grass for the dry season? that's what we do for our cattle in Indonesia, it comes out cheaper, because of the availability in the wet season. sugar cane sillaged is also an excellent product for finishing. we use the rice straw as bedding, and the cattle eat some of it, but not more than wheat straw.

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Anonymous

Hi Mike

Urea treated straw has a protein content similar to corn (ca. 8%) but corn would prove much more expensive as I'd either have to sacrifice land to grow it, or purchase the corn. I obtain rice straw virtually for free from several neighbours who cultivate rice on relatively small wet areas of their land. The rice is cut manually and hauled to their homes where it is mechanically threshed. The straw is left over as a waste byproduct (and normally burned if someone doesn't take it away for cattle feed) in a convenient mound. I collected 26,000 kg of this 6 months ago for a mere 700 baht (US$17). I aim to collect 120,000 kg next season. Cost of baling (labour & diesel) and treating (urea & molasses) pushes the cost to around 0.80 baht per kg (around 2 US cents). Corn straight from the grower would cost around 4 baht per kg ( 10 cents).

The straw can also be ensiled but my current treatment process is much simpler, and effective.

Running over 100 head on only 56 acres of pasture, I don't have sufficient grass to hay. I do have another 17 acres cultivated with cassava for feed to the cattle (to which I hope to add a further 48 acres this year). I use the dried tops (stalks, stems, leaves), which are very high in protein (20%+) and can be harvested every 2/3 months, in addition to the dried & grated roots (high in starch but low in protein). There's no grass grown in the district for haying; corn and cassava are the main crops though soya beans (from which we obtain free husks) are also grown after the corn harvest; no wheat and very little sugar cane. Having grown corn on 10 acres last year, I find cassava to offer better value financially as well as nutritionally.

John McCrosson



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Anonymous

we run 200 dairy cows, 450 beef cows and 1500 feeder bulls on 80 ha. so feed efficiency is something we learned pretty quick out there. with three corn harvest for sillage in one year, and five to six grass (elephant grass) harvests every year we can get the cattle fed consistently and properly. sugar cane is extremely cheap, since the government imports sugar just before the harvest is done every year. this mleans prices drop so fast, that it goes for 500 dollars/ha. the farmers have too many loans and they can't wait for the prices to get better. the straw we get for free too, the people burn it, but it is too low in nutricional value and taste levels are suboptimal, so they eat less and produce less. bulls need to eat until they drop, not until they're not hungry anymore. we feed cassava too. but are moving off of it, because the detoxication of the roots is a hassle, and taste levels of the stalks and leaves are not up to grass and corn. hen the price is low enough, we also buy corn grain as a supplement, of which we can keep a two year stock. the parts of the land that are two steep to farm with a tractor are used for the grass (manually cut) and for clove trees. that's about our situation.

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Anonymous

Hi Mike

I was very interested by your description of your operation. Is it strictly feedlot or do you pasture graze also? What you say about the straw is, of course, correct but that's why we treat with urea & molasses: they improve both the nutritional value and the palatability. My cattle are very keen on the cassava (all parts), though I agree that the processing of it is time consuming. 3 corn harvests per year? I presume you must irrigate. I've no idea of the cost of our local sugar cane (as I wrote, there's not much grown near me) but I'll certainly explore this. I had only 20 beef cows before purchasing an additional 100 a few months ago - it was a challenging increase in terms of the available forage. Being fairly new to this, I'm very open to ideas.

John McCrosson



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Anonymous

we run a total feedlot system, where the cows are held in groupe stables, as well as the bulls for fattening. cows near calving are held in tied stables. we don't pasture graze anything, because it is'nt very economical. we can get a much higher yield out of our land (illite clay) with just forrage growth (all C4 plant like corn and elephant grass) then if we were to install a forrage grass. we don't irrigate a lot, but if necessary we can do so (we are in the hills, and we basically made large water reservoirs on top of the hills). i don't kbow the tai situation that well, but we generally get enough rain for two corn harvests and one for corn grain. if we want three sillage harvests we need to irrigate. I can send you some pics if you want.

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Anonymous

Hi Mike

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you - only get up to the farm three nights per week (at the moment) but don't have telecommunication there; back in Bangkok now.

I've been coming to the conclusion that grass may not be the best option in my situation. Our farm is on undulating land at the foot of hill forest (no farming is allowed in the hills, which are all owned by the state). The creeks run dry in the long dry season (which lasts 4-6 months). We have excavated a large pond but must dig more to facilitate some limited irrigation. Our pastures consist mostly of Ruzi and Purple Guinea. One corn harvest is the norm in my vicinity, though two is sometimes possible, but I expect I could harvest twice for ensiling then once for grain as you do; we basically have two rainy seasons but the first tends to be short and isn't dependable. I found only two small farms, over the weekend, that grow sugar cane but a local with knowledge of the yields and prices indicated we could probably purchase at the same rate you mentioned - I'll follow that up with the farmers concerned. I'd appreciate you sending me some pics, thanks.

Thanks for your time.

John



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