Nutritional value of oat hay?

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Dec 22, 2007
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SW Wisconsin
I seeded some new pasture down with oats as a nurse crop. I seeded about 80 lb/a which is too heavy. I decided to have a neighbor make hay out of it as soon as it is ready so it doesn't crowd out the coming clover and grasses.

What is the value of oat hay if it is made at the right time? I assume the right time would be just before grain matures? Or when is the best time to hay it for nutritional value? I would appreciate any advice.

I would cut it right before it comes into head and then bale it wet and wrap it. Would make some very good feed.
You could either wrap it wet for baleage, but I would wrap when it just starts the milky stage. The quality will still be high and the protein is already going to be high due to the fermentation process, but the yield will be significantly higher.

Baling for dry hay is usually done when it reaches the soft dough stage. The hay is very high quality, I am currently growing bulls and replacement heifers out on oats hay without any other supplements.
I feed a lot of oat hay. It is very good cow feed. I let it start turning before I cut. You will need dry weather for 4-5 days if you cut it green. Haven't used the haylage bags but I think that would work good. I cut with a mower conditioner with the rollers loosened. Rake it in as big of swaths as your baler will handle. The faster the bale is made the less loss of grain.
Thank you for the information. I'l see if wrapping baleage is a possibility with the people that I would have bale it, otherwise will have to try for dry hay, maybe with sleeves. Jim.

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