This, in turn, helps buffer the pH changes in the rumen and helps decrease the incidence of health problems, such as ruminal acidosis. Please try again. Cows eat on average 44 pounds (20 kgs) of food every day. Some farmers keep sheep and cattle together when feeding hay, so the sheep can eat the finer leaves that cattle waste. At current milk prices, a dairy farmer would generate $0.20 less daily income per cow with the lower- quality alfalfa hay if the ration was not rebalanced. Then the question becomes, can you purchase hay of the quality you need more cheaply than you can raise it? Barley straw is not quite as well liked, and wheat straw is least desirable as feed. The nutritional value of hay is related to leaf content. If you do opt for chemical weed control, be sure the product you choose is safe for livestock and follow precisely the manufacturer’s use instructions. 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. The SmartLic Dairy Program is designed to provide the nutrition your herd needs at various times during the production cycle. 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). High-producing dairy cows need alfalfa hay, which, after harvest, contains a relative feed value greater than 150. Particularly fine-stemmed, leafy alfalfa (rabbit hay or dairy hay) is too rich and palatable for horses (they generally overeat on it) and does not have enough fiber content for proper digestion. Just like a confinement cow, higher dry matter intakes improve production. Either pick it up or drag the pasture to spread the manure so it will decompose more quickly. The Best Dairy Cows: Create an open forum of discussion and an easy-to-read magazine of expert information about the U.S. dairy industry. The digestibility, palatability and nutrient values are highest when the plant is young—with more leaves and less stems. Alfalfa is also a good winter feed because heat is created by digestion of protein, so a horse can keep warmer on a cold night. Most experts recommend mixing alfalfa with grass hay, rather than relying exclusively on alfalfa hay. Consequently, less energy is available to the cow when it consumes more mature alfalfa. Are these resources better used elsewhere in your farming operation? “ [During the winter] we have a herd of hand-fed cows at Jasper Hill.” He went on to explain that in addition to dry hay their cows are also fed supplemental grain, which is needed to help metabolize the protein in the feed and turn it … Always select good quality, clean straw when buying it for feed. Timothy Hay for Cows Many who raise dairy cattle find Timothy hay to be a key ingredient in an overall feed program. Feeding high-quality forages results in greater feed intake and, as a result, dairy cows produce more milk, and they oftentimes can produce this milk more economically. All rights reserved. In a bucket, mix the samples thoroughly, and send a quart of material to a certified forage testing laboratory for testing and analysis. I find that the 42- to 44-inch height is the most ideal for a family small-breed milk cow. daily intake of hay; NEm=net energy of maintenance (megacalories). Soil Quality: Plants derive their nutrients from the soil they're grown in. per cow to as much as over 11000 lbs. Some animals such as a dairy goat or a dairy cow providing milk for your family, may need the higher calorie and higher protein content provided by Alfalfa hay. However, some types of mold may cause abortion in pregnant cows. Dairy-quality hay. 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. Since the NDF content of alfalfa is lower and more digestible than NDF from grass forages, this NDF is more rapidly cleared from the rumen, which stimulates intake. “Dry hay is good feed for cheese making,” according to Kehler. Even if the outer edge of a bale has faded from sun exposure and rain, the inside should still be green. Because of limited land base, labor or personal preference, farmers may decide to purchase part or all of their herd’s forage needs. If feeding cereal grain hay (cut while still green and growing, rather than at maturity, as straw), have it checked for nitrate levels to avoid nitrate poisoning. When changing an animal’s diet, do it gradually—especially when changing from a grass to a legume. ), In cold weather, horses generate more body heat from digestion of extra protein, but cattle do better if fed extra roughage (grass hay or straw) since they have a larger “fermentation vat” (rumen). Typically, cows will eat fiber content is usually lower in Cows eat best in the grazing positions and the bunk surface should be smooth. Always buy hay that was harvested under good conditions, then keep it dry and out of the sunlight so it will keep better. Table 4 lists the recommended uses for various qualities of alfalfa. The crude protein content in the hybrid Napier grass is between 8 and 11 percent. It should smell good, not musty, sour Because alfalfa generally contains less fiber, alfalfa hay generally has a higher relative feed value than a grass hay at the same stage of maturity. Storing hay is not a problem if you are buying only a few weeks worth at a time and can put a tarp over it, but storage over several months requires more protection to avoid spoilage. If goats are fed coarse hay, they may eat the leaves but not the stems. Palatability is also important to encourage consumption. Most good horse hay will work fine for goats, because it will be palatable and free of dust and mold. Wetter hays are more prone to molding, and you pay additional money for the water in the hay. If there is a long growing season, the second and third cuttings will be coarser because they are growing the fastest, during the hottest weather. In comparison to hay, silage preserves more nutrients from the original pasture. Always stack it so that the oldest bales will be used first. However, there are significant differences in the variety, quality and availability of hay, which can make feeding your livestock a time-consuming chore. If it was rained on after it was cut, baled too green or too wet or too dry, it may not be safe to feed. In general, NDF is slowly digested in the cow’s rumen; and as the amount of NDF from a forage increases, forage intake is decreased. Winter nutritional requirements. In Loerch’s herd, the cows didn’t lose as much body condition over the winter when fed corn with hay, had calves that were 5-7 pounds heavier, but had no increase in calving difficulty. Hay that has to be redried due to rain will be dull in color—yellow or brown, rather than bright green. If we compare the difference in energy supplied by 5 lbs of hay with an RFV of 150 versus 115, the lower-quality alfalfa hay (RFV = 115) supports 1.5 fewer lbs of milk. The best way of avoiding pregnancy toxaemiais to ensure your cattle are well fed and remain at body score 3. Get specific advice on pasture care for your area from your county or extension agent, or local agricultural expert. 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. As illustrated in Table 3 , when bales are priced on size, the weight of the package greatly influences the price paid per ton. One question often asked is, “Should I raise my own alfalfa hay, or should I purchase what I need?”. 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. In many geographic regions that get only two or three cuttings of alfalfa per season, first-cutting alfalfa might be the preferred hay for horses. Rain can ruin baled hay by causing mold. You may need different qualities of hay for different horses—leafy hay for weanlings, for instance, and more mature hay for adult horses that do not need such fine hay. In order to use these supreme quality hays, consult your nutritionist to make sure you have adequate amounts of effective fiber in the diet. This miniature cow is a cross between some of the best of both worlds. Please let us know a convenient time to call you on, (*All time slots are available in CDT zone.). Alfalfa hay with an RFV greater than 200 acts like concentrates in a milking cow diet, and these diets need to be balanced as such. Since its inception in the 1950s, it is now the most adopted method for feeding high producing, indoor-housed dairy cows in the world. Coarse, thick-stemmed hay (overly mature) has more fiber and less nutrition than immature, leafy hay with finer stems. The idea was to add some of the delicious butterfat of the Jersey, but to use the Dexter to pack some meat on its bony frame. Cereal grain crops (especially oats) can make good hay when cut while still green and growing, rather than waiting for the seed heads to mature for grain. Oat straw is the most palatable; cattle like it quite well. Balancing rations for heifers, dry cows and milking cows 3. The three breeds of dairy cows most used for milk in this country are Jerseys, Guernseys and Holsteins. Look at texture, maturity, color and leafiness. Alfalfa is beneficial because it is an excellent source of both dietary energy and protein, and it has more digestible fiber and higher mineral content. Are you better off purchasing alfalfa hay and raising more silage on your farm? The plants are vigorous and can be grown in a wide variety of soil types. (A lot of hay is defined as hay from the same field that has been cut, handled, baled and stored under similar conditions.). Later cuttings tend to grow more slowly and the stems are finer and softer. The award-winning magazine's editors and contributors provide compelling features, helpful articles, insightful news analysis, and entertaining commentary about the people, practices and topics related to a dairy lifestyle. 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. These are hardy cows that may not give as much milk as the Holstein, or produce milk that is as rich as the Channel Island breeds but the milk is full of flavor and are steady producers. 1 Mature cow in the middle 1/3 of pregnancy. One way to assess the maturity of alfalfa hay is the snap test. Shutterstock. Changing to a legume hay suddenly can make an animal sick, or cause a ruminant animal to bloat. Moldy hay, or hay that heated excessively after being baled, will usually be heavy, stuck together and dusty. 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. Oh, and to … Horses can do well on grass or alfalfa (or other legume) hay. The bottom line is that dairy farmers need to buy quality hay that has been tested for its nutrient content. Not bad for a bunch of old grass, is it? Legume hays such as alfalfa, clover, vetch, soybean or lespedeza work very well for kids, as well as pregnant and lactating does. About 2¼ of the energy and 3¼ of the protein and other nutrients are in the leaves of a forage plant (whether grass or legume). 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. Anytime feed intake is improved, performance is increased, especially with early lactation cows. Breeds that didn’t make the list. Density is important to maximize dry matter intake with every bite. Important factors to keep in mind for horse hay are the nutritional needs of the animals (mature horses will not need high protein or calcium levels unless they are mares nursing foals), and the way the hay was harvested. Peter Roome/Flickr. Dairy Cattle New Generation Supplements 2020-06-30T13:11:56-05:00. To calculate reference cow, take the average peak milk of older cows and add the daily average of all cows and divide by 2. High-quality alfalfa is an excellent source of energy. In addition, hay should contain no more than 14 percent moisture or less than 86 percent dry matter. If a handful of hay bends easily in your hand, its fiber content is relatively low and it will be more digestible than if the stems snap like twigs. As the fiber content increases (both ADF and NDF), the digestibility, energy content and potential forage intake decreases. In some regions, it is hard to find good grass hay. 2 Value= Nutrient from hay minus nutrient supplied in 20 lbs. Feeding a total mixed ration (TMR) helps a dairy cow achieve maximum performance. © Copyright 2020 Progressive Dairy. Dairy cows eating a complete feed Weigh the required amount of chopped hay and put in a feed trough or feed bunker. Good palatable grass hay, cut while still green and growing, can be very adequate. Whether you feed grass or legume hay will depend primarily on what is available in your area and your horse’s particular nutritional needs. 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. ( TMR ) helps a dairy farmer ’ s greatest profit is generated during production... 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