When do you start feeding hay?

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rcstokes

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Just wondering how you tell when you should start feeding hay for the fall and winter months or end of grazing season I think they call it. I do still have plenty of pasture and live in Kansas. Will I want to feed some grain during winter months and what would be a good combination? Thanks for replies and comments.
 

msscamp

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Hay is generally fed when the stockpiled grass starts getting short. How short is going to depend on your particular area, your annual rainfall, whether it is "improved" grass or native(improved tends to take more water, and is slower to rebound following stress), and whether you're talking irrigated pasture vs non-irrigated. I don't think I would let the grass get shorter than 3-4". Assuming your hay is high quality(I would mix alfalfa with grass at a ratio of 1/3 alfalfa to 2/3rds grass), and feed approximately 25-30 lbs/12-1300 lb animal every day, grain should not be necessary unless your winters are very harsh. If your winters are harsh, you might want to think about comparing the price of cattle(cotton) cake vs grain, and feeding the cake once or possibly twice a week. It can easily be fed in the pasture - just open the bag and scatter it in a long solid line, so the cows get 1-2 lbs each, and I think the protein content is somewhere around 16-18%. It's been so long since we fed it that I could be wrong on that, though.
 

grannysoo

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I've been feeding for about a month already. It got really dry and the pastures were not growing well, so I've been keeping a couple of bales out there. This keeps them from grazing all day and still being hungry. They graze the pastures, then come and top off on the hay.

Quite a few little ones running around and mama needs nutrition to keep that milk flowing.
 

1982vett

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Grannysoo, is Jogee and Alacattleman hogging all the rain? Something needs to be done about that. :p

We do the same. Watch the grass and when it starts getting scarce or not to appetizing I'll supplement with good hay. Good way to streatch out the pasture when waiting for rain and better pasture. Beats feeding them out of a sack.
 

grannysoo

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1982vett":ks90ptu6 said:
Grannysoo, is Jogee and Alacattleman hogging all the rain? Something needs to be done about that. :p

We do the same. Watch the grass and when it starts getting scarce or not to appetizing I'll supplement with good hay. Good way to streatch out the pasture when waiting for rain and better pasture. Beats feeding them out of a sack.

No, I don't think they're hogging it all. We've started getting it again, but there was several weeks that was dry as a bone. Jo is close enough to me that our weather patterns are similar. I do not have any problems blaming Alacattleman for it though. We've got to blame someone........ :mrgreen:
 

kscowboy

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kansas it's typically around thanksgiving if you have good pasture. This year in NE kansas we have never browned out so there will be strong grass going into winter.
 

kenny thomas

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I have that terrible fescue that everyone wants rid of. I hope to make it to March 1, 2010 before I start feeding. I should have them back on grass by April 5th. I agree to give them some before they need it and let them tell you. No grain feed.
 

novatech

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Timing on feeding hay is an important part of pasture management. I want my cattle to eat down most of the stockpiled forage that is available. I do not want them to eat it to the ground. Grazing to the ground is hard on the cows teeth. Cattle eating with ground contact also enables them to pick up any diseases that are lying in with manure or where ever. Grazing to close also leaves no cover to protect the soil and is in general bad for soil health. If they get the forage eaten down to about 3 inches I will start to feed. Stubble types of grass cannot be grazed short but bermudas can. I do not want to put out hay to early as the cows may prefer it over some of the grasses they would otherwise eat.
 

newrancher

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Well, this is gonna be an important issue with us this year, don't have any "EXTRA" hay.W e are trying to stockpile some fescue and have broadcasted ryegrass. How much growth do I need to give the fescue before turning them in to get optimum benefit? Since the fields are about 50\50 fescue/bermuda I'm trying to juggle the rotation to get the most benefit, with the rye grass growing in the bermuda stand {not up yet}. Didn't mean to hijack.
 

dun

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newrancher":3u82niff said:
Well, this is gonna be an important issue with us this year, don't have any "EXTRA" hay.W e are trying to stockpile some fescue and have broadcasted ryegrass. How much growth do I need to give the fescue before turning them in to get optimum benefit? Since the fields are about 50\50 fescue/bermuda I'm trying to juggle the rotation to get the most benefit, with the rye grass growing in the bermuda stand {not up yet}. Didn't mean to hijack.
This is where some luck ar guessing the weather really comes in handy. Once it's 6-8 inches you could graze it, if the weather will stay condusive to growth you can rotate them off and get more growth. We don;t graze it usually until it goes dormant, that's typically in November sometime. BY then we're looking at 12-18 inches of grass. But the weather has to allow the stuff to grow to get to the stockpiled point.
 

newrancher

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Thanks dun,we did have a little luck,we had the seed mixed with the fertyilizer and put it down in the rain and have had several gentle rains since, so we're optimistic about the rye grass.Been pretty aggressive with our stocking rate this year,and a lack of rain when needed most is partly why we don't have the extra cushion of hay. We have kept heifers and they should be calving soon so I'm concerned about milk production and keeping their condition/putting weight back on.
 

TexasBred

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kenny thomas":1auinnvm said:
I have that terrible fescue that everyone wants rid of. I hope to make it to March 1, 2010 before I start feeding. I should have them back on grass by April 5th. I agree to give them some before they need it and let them tell you. No grain feed.

Lucky rascal. Bet feeding hay that 5 weeks is gonna just kill you. ;-)
 

bigbull338

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here in texas we dont feed hay till the grass gets to short.an thats usually around dec 1st after the 1st hard freeze.
 

Oldtimer

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All depends on when the snow flies- and how much...I usually try to graze until after Christmas- and have went as long as 1st of Feb some years before I rolled out a bale...

But other bad snow years when winter hit early and stayed late I've fed from Nov 1 til May 1....
 

cypressfarms

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We're similar to big bull.

We'll normally have adequate grass available until the first or second hard freeze - which may come late November or late January. Many people here also plant ryegrass so cattle can be grazed late winter. If you get lucky, you could only hay for early winter - if your not lucky (rains and early freeze), you could be haying from Dec. through March 1.
 

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