Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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Farmfresh
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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Only 15 million... Heck lets by two! Can you imagine the staff you would need to operate that place? Wow.
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Old Fashioned
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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yeah that's the best part....all the animals & crops to be self sustainable and somebody else has to do all the WORK |em26|

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Farmfresh
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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This is super cool!

Mini Hand Baler

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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Farmfresh
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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From another thread and moved here to make finding easier...
Old Fashioned wrote: Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:09 pm Forgive me if this is a dumb question.....but does it really matter which # of cuttings the hay is??? First cutting, second cutting, third cutting? |em22|
(She always has GREAT questions that OF) |em27|

Cutting DOES matter. With grass only hay you usually (around here at least) get two cuttings with three on an exceptional season. The legume mix hays like clover and brome no more that two cuttings. Alfalfa is a heavy feeder and it grows fast. Four cuttings in a good season, three cuttings in a poor season and five in a season that is exceptional.

The quality of the forage depends on the weather as well, so if you think about it that makes most sense.

In the spring the weather is cool, typically damp and plants are ready to go after being dormant. First cutting also has to deal with wetter weather for cutting and drying time, so it often is allowed to get a bit past prime maturity levels, just because it is too wet to cut it when it needs cut. Typically first cutting hay is more stem, more weeds and not quite as nutritious as a result. In mixed hays the legume component is usually far less in first cutting hay because the clover takes longer to grow and mature than the grass does.

Second cutting hay also has a lot of moisture AND a lot of heat. That means the plant grows fast and tends to bolt. Second cutting hay is less nutritious than even first cutting (weeds being the difference in the first cut bales). There is usually more stem and less leaf where the protein is.

Third cutting and beyond is during the summer months and into the fall. It is usually hot, but dryer. This means that the plant grows slower and there is more leaf development. Also since it is dry it is usually easier to cut it at prime growth levels. This results in very high quality hay.

Now you know.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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Old Fashioned
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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YES!!! That's exactly the information I was looking for. Which means a 3rd cutting of hay should bring top dollar because of top nutrients, yes???

Now to put that into raising your own forage hay with animals being your 'cutters' in a rotational grazing system..........you let the animals do the 1st & 2nd cuttings, but YOU come in to do the 3rd cutting for dry winter hay use. And I say that because spring & summer (1st/2nd cuttings or animal) grazing rotations would still offer better nutrition than if left to dry for hay AND they need good nutrition thru the winter.

Make sense??? It's like saving the best for last sort of idea there........or would any of that matter?

Also.......what about 4th/5th cuttings nutritional breakdown???

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Farmfresh
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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Exactly. In our pasture system that we are currently practicing you mow close in early spring to remove any leftover growth because that is usually nearly nutritionally worthless. Around here that can be done as early as mid March some years. Then you let the pasture begin to grow and the grazing cycle begins. For us it works out that the sheep are lambing in March and early April (ideally), so they are in a small protected pen and the barn during this part of the cycle. That lets the grass get a bit of a start before we put grazing pressure on it.

If we rotated our grazing (which we still are not set up quite right to accomplish) you would start them out on the tallest most weedy area. Since it is spring the animals are hungry for the new greens, so they will even eat more of the weeds than they normally would. After that you keep the rotation going and try to land them in the brushy treed area for the hot part of the summer. That area takes longest to grow and they will benefit from the most available shade. Meanwhile you could bale part of the pasture that they are off of and get basically 3rd cutting type hay. By the time that starts a re-grow you can put them back out to graze it.

Here we don't have quite enough pasture to practice a hay cycle, nor really a good shade pasture (mature trees -or fruit trees- with pasture between would be ideal.) This is all a dream unless I someday hit the lottery and can buy up a few of my neighbors.

Another scene that used to be practiced in the old days was grazing a grain crop. Farmers would sow a grain field with winter wheat in July. Then in about September or early October they would start grazing it. They were able to get a couple months of good grazing without damaging the wheat crop. They would pull the animals off in hard winter and let the wheat grow to finish the next summer and spring.

Forage corn was another grazing plan and one that some farmers are trying again. You plant a corn field and let it get going. Then basically strip graze it. The cattle or sheep graze the corn plants to the ground using them as a grass. Ideally you have enough corn planted that they continue strip grazing as the corn matures and finish ready for market after eating the last few rows of mature corn. They would also plant field peas within the corn crop to climb the stalks and ad a legume to the diet. Since the corn is to be grazed there is no need for between rows to guide a tractor down. The plant cover including tasty weeds is complete.

In a slightly different take on a corn crop, the corn is planted and hand harvested then cattle or hogs (or both) are put on the field to glean and eat the stalks and weeds. Corn fields were a great place for pregnant cattle to be in the early stages of pregnancy.

A final old time grazing rotation was oats and field peas. They were sown together and allowed to grow until the oats were nearly ripe. At that point the field was cut and baled into oat hay. Old timers with work horses used to highly value this kind of hay, because it was hay and grain rolled into one feed if cured right. The peas added the legume for a more complete protein source. After that hay was baled one cutting the animals were put on the field to graze the remaining stubble.

As for nutrition of 4th cutting and later hay... much the same as 3rd cutting. Remember that a year has to have very good weather conditions for that hay to even exist.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

Rhodie Ranch
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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from one of my FB pages for Southern Oregon farming. As I'm surrounded by the skunk smell of hemp....

"Keep your eye on this situation. It is really going to impact you at the grocery store down the road.

Locally, the situation is even worse. A bale of hay now sells from $8 to $16 a bale depending on who you are buying it from. Is that expensive? VERY!

As the amount of acreage of hay continues to be reduced by hemp, the price of hay is skyrocketing. That cost IS going to find it's way to you."

Hay shortage in Oregon: 'Stock up now, because we should have a real issue this spring'

dizzy
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

Unread post by dizzy »

Last year and the year before, I had a horrible time finding good hay at the auction for a decent price. A bale was going for more than I could buy it for from a farmer and I had trouble even getting any. I finally got some that was okay, but not the greatest. And my horses are picky. They'll eat what they want out of the bale, then start tearing up the pasture.

Last year, I again had that problem. But someone hubby was working with also grows hay, so I bought what I needed from him. What a difference! My horses loved it. They basically left nothing.

This year, I didn't even bother with the hay auction. And since I have no truck, that's probably a wise decision. I have 130 bales on order. I have just enough left from last year to last until next Sunday. He's going to be delivering half of it next Saturday. I love the smell of good hay. If I was a horse, I'd eat it.

If I am ever able to move to Kentucky, I'm either going to have to find a place to buy it, or grow my own. If possible, I would love to grow it.

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Farmfresh
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Re: Hay, Hay, Hay ... All About Dry Grass For Your Livestock

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I have some in the barn right now that I would eat with very little arm twisting. Green, fresh smelling timothy hay studded with beautiful dried pressed red clover blossoms! The sheep love it!
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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