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Wheat hay question

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IGotMyWings

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I sewed winter wheat lat fall then a pasture mix this spring on 5 acres for pasture. My original plan was to cut the wheat grass for hay, then turn the cows loose on it. I know that wheat grain is not good for them, but due to mother nature's cruel sense of humor, when it was a good time to cut it, it had rained tons and was too wet to get into. The rains have ceased, the ground is finally dry enough to go on, but about 80% of the wheat has headed. What I am asking is, would it be safe to cut, bale and feed it because the grain is not mature, or is the wheat grain bad for them no matter what stage it's in?
 

cfpinz

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I put up a bunch last year about this time, same situation with rains. Cows loved it. The only thing I noticed is that we had a few with runny eyes when I fed it.
 

dun

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Wheat hay used to be our winter staple. Put up when it's in the dough stage and the cows did great on it.
 

novaman

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I would test it for nitrates. We had drought/hail last year across a broad area. Lots of wheat went up for hay or grazing. Some didn't test and had dead cows.
 

bigbull338

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as said bale in the dough stage an itll be great hay.even if you have to let it head out.bale it anyway its still good hay.
 

novaman

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Portalesman":1mpsmzrk said:
gertman":1mpsmzrk said:
Just curious why is wheat grain not good for cows?

The beards can and will get stuck in throats, tongues etc and WILL cause issues.
He's talking grain, not the whole plant. Yes the beards can cause issues but I haven't seen it to be a major issue. As far as the grain I'm not certain but I talked to my nutritionist a while back about using some wheat screenings in my ration. Nutritionists said it wasn't a good idea because the wheat breaks down very fast and causes more problems with acidosis,etc.
 

Angus Cowman

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novaman":1ztj50t3 said:
Portalesman":1ztj50t3 said:
gertman":1ztj50t3 said:
Just curious why is wheat grain not good for cows?

The beards can and will get stuck in throats, tongues etc and WILL cause issues.
He's talking grain, not the whole plant. Yes the beards can cause issues but I haven't seen it to be a major issue. As far as the grain I'm not certain but I talked to my nutritionist a while back about using some wheat screenings in my ration. Nutritionists said it wasn't a good idea because the wheat breaks down very fast and causes more problems with acidosis,etc.
you can plant beardless wheat
we have used wheat hay for years if you bale it at the correct time the beards aren't a problem it is when it is baled too late that the beards become a problem from my observations
 
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IGotMyWings

IGotMyWings

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I've never fed wheat hay before, but here's what I've been told. When I went to set up my pasture, my seed rep talked to his people about the best way to start from scratch. They recommended winter wheat as a cover crop, then in the spring drill the pasture mix in the wheat, then before the wheat headed, cut it for hay. All they said was that wheat grain was bad for cattle. When I talked to the guys who used to farm my little patch and was telling them what I was doing, they also said that I had to watch the wheat and not let it head because it was very bad for the cattle. I didn't ask what was bad about it, whether it was an acid problem, or if the grain doesn't break down right or what. I took them all at their word! My problem was that bad weather kept me from cutting it at the right time, and it headed. Nobody around here was sure if I was looking at poisoning my cattle as they weren't certain if it's the grain in any stage, or just fully mature. My local advice givers are under the impression that I *should* be fine, (most said, "I don't know, but you should be okay.") which is pretty much what y'all have said on here as well, so I'm going ahead and getting ready to bale it. Mother nature got me again, though, the hay has been cut, and the rains came!
 

novaman

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You won't have a problem. People do that all the time. Last year we cut and baled wheat that was nearly ripe and had no problems. As far as the grain, there are feedlots that use wheat grain in their rations. I think the biggest fear is that you must be careful with how much wheat grain is in the ration. I hear many times how some of the corn is replaced by wheat when the price is right. Anyway, you'll be fine with the hay. If you're worried about it, alternate feeding the wheat hay with another type of hay. Your cows will love the wheat hay though.
 

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