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Plan to feed your hay efficiently

published: September 29th 2017
source: Arkansas University Extension

Feeding hay without the protection of feeders can result in 20% or greater hay waste. This can increase the cost of hay consumed by more than $30 per cow over winter.

Consider using a bale feeder that has a metal sheet around the bottom or a feeder that cradles the hay in the center of the feeder to minimize waste. Unrolling hay is a good way to prevent excessive mud bog and disperse nutrients; however, University of Arkansas demonstrations have estimated as much as 15% waste with unrolling. To reduce waste with unrolling hay, producers have devised methods to control waste. One method includes limiting the amount unrolled to no more than what is estimated based the herds daily intake.

Another method involves placing a single strand electrified polywire down the middle of the unrolled hay swath causing the herd to stand and eat at the swath like standing at a trough, and the electrified wire also helps prevent cows using the swath for bedding.

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