Guide on Choosing Hay for Dairy Cattle
Cattle tolerate hay that is dustier than what horses can handle. This livestock is even able to eat slightly moldy hay without any problems. If you are feeding pregnant cows, you need to pay attention to mold that does develop, as some varieties cause abortion. Young calves, dairy cows, and mature beef cattle require different qualities of hay. Mature beef cattle are fine with plain types, while lactating cows need a higher level of protein.
Good palatable grass hay that is cut while it’s still green and growing is a solid option for lactating cows. If you are feeding the lactating cows dry, coarse product, add some legume hay to their diet. Also, dairy cows produce more milk than beef cows, which means that they need a superior variety with ample nutrients. They also need to eat as much as possible to produce adequate quantities of milk. Fine, palatable alfalfa hay is a superior choice over coarse or grassy types.
When you are facing high costs, consider feeding your beef cattle a mixture of straw and some variety of protein. Straw provides energy while a small quantity of alfalfa or a commercial supplement offers the required vitamins, minerals, and protein. When you are buying straw for feed, look for high quality, clean varieties. Many cattle prefer oat straw over barley straw and wheat straw. If you want to feed your cattle cereal grain hay, cut it while it’s still green and growing, just as you would with grass types. Also, you should have this choice assessed for nitrate levels to steer clear of nitrate poisoning. During the winter months, cattle thrive better when fed extra straw or grass hay as opposed to legume types. This accommodates for their larger rumen or fermentation vat.