Country Living Series

Sunday, April 3, 2016

More hay

Because we had such a hot dry summer, we had to start feeding the cattle in August of last year, rather than October as usual. This meant we ran out of hay a lot sooner than we otherwise would have.

We got a few more bales a couple months ago, and it turned out to be lousy stuff -- practically blond in color, and if the cows' reactions were anything to go by, not especially tasty either.

Not wanting to waste it, however, we've been mixing it half-and-half with our remaining good hay, and giving the animals a hay salad. They've accepted this and have been eating everything up, but it's a laborious process to shred and mix the hay twice a day.

But the "good" hay was nearly gone, so this week Don borrowed a trailer from a neighbor and went in search of something better. He came home with two tons of grass hay. (He paid for six and will go back for the other four tons shortly.)

He shoved it into the barn with the tractor.

When we broke open a bale, it turned out to be beautiful stuff. The cattle snorted it up like candy. We're still mixing it with the blond hay so we can use it up, but I told Don I wouldn't mind getting another 30 tons of this grass hay and stuffing the barn full.

The price this farmer was selling it is right, and the quality is good. If he has more available (he said a good amount of what he had left is spoken for), we can fill our barn now, then round it out in the late summer with this year's crop at what will no doubt be a higher price.


  1. When we had hay that the cattle didn't care for, we'd spray a little salt water on it or dribble on some molasses. Both seemed to work well.

  2. We found some really great hay last summer but ran out also. Settling for crappy stuff in the wintertime almost makes the thought of building more hay storage space seem more affordable.

  3. Is the lighter colored hay less nutritious? I am just curious; I do not have any livestock. I used to live within a stone's throw of two small dairy farms, but I never learned much about cows. (And I am highly allergic to hay-especially timothy). And what is meant buy the term "spoilt hay?"

    1. As a rule of thumb, greener seems better; at least the livestock like it more. Timothy is a wonderful feed.

      Spoilt hay is just that -- black, moldy, yucky. If hay gets wet, it will rot.

      - Patrice

  4. I noticed that the hay is not setting on pallets, or they are buried under the hay from when you opened your bales.

    Have you and Don thought about putting down a cement pad in that section of the barn then placing pallets on the concrete to keep it up out of the moisture from the soil? Just a thought.

    1. Better than pallets would be a thick bed of #5 rock. That's how I do it here in KY.You run the risk of nails in tires with pallets.

  5. Did your drought get bad enough so they were selling round bales of corn stalks for hay? That is what happened here in north Texas when we had a dry year several years ago,