Hay that has to be redried due to rain will be dull in color—yellow or brown, rather than bright green. As a general rule of thumb, grass hay is best for horses—alfalfa or other legume hay can be an excellent feed to mix with grass hay for animals that need more protein. If goats are fed coarse hay, they may eat the leaves but not the stems. Mature goats do very well on a grass-legume mix and some grass hays, but generally do not eat coarse grass hay; having small mouths, goats do not like it. Are your labor resources better directed toward managing cows or other operations on your farm? Only the ADF and NDF content of the hay is used to calculate the relative feed value of the hay. In central and southern parts of the country you are more apt to find coastal Bermuda grass, brome or orchard grass because these tolerate heat and humidity better. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Wetter hays are more prone to molding, and you pay additional money for the water in the hay. Third-cut alfalfa typically has a higher leaf-to-stem ratio because of slower growth during the cool part of the season. Required fields are marked *. Alfalfa cut at full bloom drops to 15.5 percent crude protein, compared to 6.9 percent for late bloom timothy and 7.6 percent for late bloom orchard grass. It does not do well in hot climates, however. Good grass hay is the most ideal feed for mature horses; it is the most natural feed, and contains the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio (preferably 1:1 to 2:1). Differences in government policies and climate make Progressive Dairy – Canada useful to subscribers up north. It is also the most costly alfalfa. Some types of mold may cause colic or can cause a pregnant mare to abort. In some areas, however, rain often delays harvest and/or decreases the quality of at least one cutting. Red clover has been and is an excellent feed for many classes of livestock including dry dairy cows, dairy heifers, dairy beef, or beef cows. Balancing rations for heifers, dry cows and milking cows 3. Whether you feed grass or legume hay will depend primarily on what is available in your area and your horse’s particular nutritional needs. Heather Smith Thomas is based on her ranch in Salmon, Idaho, and has written many books on livestock. This miniature cow is a cross between some of the best of both worlds. Milk fever (hypocalcaemia). Thus legume hay, cut early, is more apt to meet the protein and mineral needs of young growing, pregnant or lactating animals than will many of the grass hays. The best grass for hay production depends on the animals you will be feeding and your climate. Specifically, you need to evaluate: Economic budgets (on an annual basis) indicate it costs about $330 to raise an acre of alfalfa, assuming that the establishment costs are spread out over four years. Cattle in late pregnancy when the pasture is â¦ First-cut alfalfa can be stemmy, but only if it is too mature when harvested. The top and bottom layers of unprotected baled hay are particularly susceptible to mold since the top layer is exposed to the elements, and the bottom may have sat on the ground, drawing moisture. One way to assess the maturity of alfalfa hay is the snap test. The bottom line is that dairy farmers need to buy quality hay that has been tested for its nutrient content. When chopping, avoid very fine or short slices and very long and rough slices. Hay falls into several categories: grass, legume, mixed (grass and legume) and cereal grain straw (such as oat hay). If you create a ridgepole roof effect (using a row of bales down the center of the top of the stack, so that your tarp slopes off each way), the tarp will shed water better than a flat-topped stack. If you are considering purchasing this type of hay, it can be tested for nitrate content. Start by mixing the two hay types for several feedings, adding more of the new hay in each subsequent feeding. This, in turn, helps buffer the pH changes in the rumen and helps decrease the incidence of health problems, such as ruminal acidosis. When balancing rations, the reference cow should be at the 75th percentile of the herd. In addition, alfalfa forage provides more buffering capacity in the rumen. Other popular dairy cow breeds are Brown Swiss, Ayrshire and Red & White, a breed genetically related to the Holstein and similar to it. As the fiber content increases (both ADF and NDF), the digestibility, energy content and potential forage intake decreases. Alfalfa contains a greater concentration of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, zinc and selenium than grasses. Progressive Dairy - en français expands PD’s mission of providing useful dairy information by offering a publication specific to French-speaking dairy producers in Canada with a local touch. The best way of avoiding pregnancy toxaemiais to ensure your cattle are well fed and remain at body score 3. Anytime feed intake is improved, performance is increased, especially with early lactation cows. Alfalfa is a forage crop that is not only high-yielding but (more importantly) is also an excellent source of energy, protein, fiber and minerals for dairy cattle. During the cold winter months when pastures contain scant forage, hay is the typical diet for cattle, horses, sheep and goats. Some of the more common grass hays include timothy, brome, orchard grass and bluegrass. Look at texture, maturity, color and leafiness. Feeding additional grain with lower-quality forages did not increase production to the amount seen when early cut, higher-quality forages were fed with lower amounts of grain. PD, —Excerpts from University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. 3 Total digestible nutrients.. per cow to as much as over 11000 lbs. If we take into account a decrease of 3 lbs in intake of the poorer-quality hay, milk production could decrease by as much as 7 lbs of milk, especially in early lactation cows. Forage testing laboratories currently certified for either wet chemistry or NIR analysis can be found on the NFTA website ( www.foragetesting.org ). When hay costs rise, beef cattle can often get by eating a mix of straw and some type of protein. Our experts will call you on your preferred time. Some farmers keep sheep and cattle together when feeding hay, so the sheep can eat the finer leaves that cattle waste. âDry hay is good feed for cheese making,â according to Kehler. Our definition of a high quality pasture is a pasture that is very dense, palatable, and high in energy. 3) Pasture and Forage Hay quality can vary greatly, depending on growing conditions and stage of maturity, weather and moisture conditions at harvest. Also, alfalfa contains more energy than grass hay. Table 1 illustrates how decreasing yields of quality hay impact the costs of producing hay for the milking herd. Shutterstock. The ADF content reflects the digestibility and amount of energy cattle can obtain from the forage. Then the question becomes, can you purchase hay of the quality you need more cheaply than you can raise it? Mature sheep can get by on good-quality grass hay, but lambs do better with a legume—harvested while still growing so that it has finer stems. A dairy farmer’s greatest profit is generated during the early lactation period. The Best Dairy Cows: If the probability of correctly treating a cow (finding and injecting her with the appropriate product on the correct day) is 95 percent, then the probability that all cows are handled correctly at each of four handlings is only 81.4 percent (0.95 x 0.95 x 0.95 x 0.95). Is well past bloom stage may be too coarse for horses other,... Provide in adequate amounts to support milk production can be very adequate be. 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