Should I hay after a freeze

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ny_grass

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So Monday night it got down to 28F for a couple of hours. Walking through the pasture I see surprisingly little frost damage (maybe it takes more than a day to show up). My hay guy wasn't able to get up here to do it the last window of good weather we had 1.5 weeks ago and is going to try again this coming week (when we should have a couple of clear days).

My question: is haying after a frost pointless? Will the hay be substandard? I'll be paying him $1.25/sm. bale to make it for me; might it be better, in this case, to buy someone else's $2/bale hay since it won't be damaged.

Or, am I worried about nothing?
 

novatech

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If you can buy hay at $2.00 then turn your cows on the stockpiled forage and buy the $2.00 hay. That is if they can eat it down before the snow, otherwise you will still be baling it with your spring cut.
We have baled a lot of frosted hay after waiting a few days after the frost. Never had a problem.
 

Bez+

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ny_grass":1iw8sq45 said:
So Monday night it got down to 28F for a couple of hours. Walking through the pasture I see surprisingly little frost damage (maybe it takes more than a day to show up). My hay guy wasn't able to get up here to do it the last window of good weather we had 1.5 weeks ago and is going to try again this coming week (when we should have a couple of clear days).

My question: is haying after a frost pointless? Will the hay be substandard? I'll be paying him $1.25/sm. bale to make it for me; might it be better, in this case, to buy someone else's $2/bale hay since it won't be damaged.

Or, am I worried about nothing?

I would have thought it would be a bit late to be baling in your part of the world - however .....

As long as you can get it to dry - which will likely be your main problem as the dew is often very heavy - then go for it.The frost is not enough to cause a real problem - your grass will already be very low quality anyways. It may be green and it may look good - but it is almost done for the year - so quality really drops.

Personally though, I would graze it.

Haying is not your most important issue at this time of the year where you live. Field condition is the top priority for you now. Cutting it and baling it may leave the grass too close to the ground for decent spring recovery should you have a tough winter with ice on the fields.

Your part of the world gets some reasonable rain and ice storms that play havoc with short grass crops. A couple inches of surface water freezes and it kills everything under it unless there is some longer grass to help it along.

Cut it in the spring when it is up and take all the other stuff remaining with it - this is done a lot in Canada and does not hurt the hay quality very much - it also adds bulk to the hay crop. Do it right and do it early enough you will get a stellar second cut. With luck maybe even a third.

All things considered - buy the 2 buck hay - heck of a deal - and it will not likely be cheaper in the spring.

Buy more than you can use - better yet - buy as much as you can afford - and store it well.

Heck buy every bale the guy has if you have the money.

Cows can eat and will eat hay - with pleasure - that is many years old and do very well on it - especially if it has been stored properly.

Look after your grass - and it will look after you.

Bez+
 

Limomike

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novatech":2kbhimlg said:
If you can buy hay at $2.00 then turn your cows on the stockpiled forage and buy the $2.00 hay. That is if they can eat it down before the snow, otherwise you will still be baling it with your spring cut.
We have baled a lot of frosted hay after waiting a few days after the frost. Never had a problem.

Good advice from Novatech and BEZ... I agree, let your cows in to graze it, and buy the $2 hay.
 

dyates

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Whether or not to buy someone else's hay is your decision, but the frost hasn't hurt it. Some of the best hay you can bale is cool season grasses after a good frost. If it was good before the frost, its good now, but don't wait long. If you get it up in good shape, TDN will likely be very good.
 
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ny_grass

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Red Bull Breeder":1mpsw4gg said:
What kind of grass you got to bale? The light freeze likely didn't hurt it.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not exactly sure what the dominant grass is. I've heard people say I have red top, timothy, orchard grass, reed canary. There's also a lot of red clover, bed straw, plantain, dandelion and, in the wetter parts, what seems to be called cut grass (or swamp grass).

It's been a couple of days now since the freeze; I was out there earlier and it seems to have weathered the freeze very well; a little bit of yellow/brownish but not bad.
 

grannysoo

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A short time under freezing temperature is not so bad. Frost is the real enemy for grass.

I had some a few years ago that frost got to before I did. Killed it dead. Browned it completely. Baled it anyway. Didn't want to leave it on the field for next year and too much to burn.

I've fed a few bales of it to the cows and they will eat it if they don't have anything else. The problem with this is the nutritional value is probably very low.

Companies doing road construction are always looking for sorry hay. Someone will buy it at the right price.
Whether round baled or square baled, there is always a market for "junk" hay.
 

Red Bull Breeder

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If it were fescue it would never be better than after a freeze and or good frost. Stock piled fescue for winter grazing is hard to beat.
 

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