Hay Substitutes For Winter Cattle Feeding - From the Ground Up

“In the past I’d feed dry coastal Bermuda grass hay, or whatever hay we produced, and we used a liquid feed for our protein supplement. This should be a more complete feed when we feed that’s it, you put it out there, the cattle have their ruffage, and their protein, and their energy source all in one spot.”

Lee Denena farms and ranches in the Brazos Valley and the more complete feed he’s talking about feeding his cattle is silage.

“You take a commodity, such as grass, or a grain commodity like corn, and cut it at a higher moisture content, and you take the whole plant, from as close to the ground as you can cut it on up, and chop it up, run it through a silage processor and chop it up, and you need to put it in a silo.”
“We use these bags, it’s kind of relatively a new thing.”

Once the silage has fermented, feed quality analysis will be done.

“Then we’ll take that to our nutritionist who will then tell us what we might need to add, or whether it be more forage, more protein to our diet, based on what we’re feeding, whether it’s an over-wintering dry cow, a wet cow, or possible calves that we’re trying to condition and feed.”

Last year Denena put a weak milo crop into silage, but had to supplement quite a bit of protein and also feed hay.

“This year, being a little bit better growing conditions, a little bit better yield on our corn, and we went to a corn silage and planted with the intention of making silage out of it, and we cut it at what we feel to be the correct time, around 60, 65% moisture on the total plant, and we’re hoping it will be a more complete feed and we won’t have to add as much protein supplement.”

Just another example of how agricultural producers are constantly looking for ways to do what they do better. I’m Bob French, looking at Brazos Valley Agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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