Hay is often one of the most overlooked and neglected crops on the farm. Funny thing is... it’s often one of the largest crops grown on the farm. When hay is grown with a purpose it can help drive value and profit either by providing critical nutrients as feed or selling into specialty markets.
Check out our list of the top 5 things nutrient-rich hay can do for your farm.
Improve Weaning Rates.
Did you know that weaning is the #1 reason for death in cow-calf operations? The calf must get the necessary nutrients, typically provided by the mother, during the weaning process. If a calf is fed a nutrient-rich hay it can reduce the abnormal behaviors during weaning such as: pacing, bellowing and even weight loss. A proper diet can also reduce the amount of time it takes to properly wean a calf. These key nutrients can be produced directly on the farm with the proper hay program.
Increase Milk Production.
A cow needs proper nutrients for 3 things: life, reproduction and milk. Proper milk production only takes place when the necessary nutrients for life and reproduction have been satisfied; only then, with the proper nutrients, can a cow produce quality milk. When you feed a hay that is packed with the right nutrients you can affect the quality and quantity of milk produced. It’s important that the breakdown of nutrition be 70% protein and 30% fat, this replenishes the vital nutrients needed to produce quality milk. With the proper hay program, you can feed your herd the exact nutrients they need to not only increase milk production but also improve the quality.
Organic Field Transition.
Hay is a great crop for fields transitioning to organic. With the right program, hay can pull impurities out of the soil leaving key nutrients necessary for the ground to be certified organic. Not only is it good for the soil but there are specialty markets available for quality hay with the right nutritional makeup, which allows you to continue driving revenue while working to certify your soil.
Improve Breed Back.
If you breed cattle as a way to drive revenue on your farm, then improved breed back is extremely important to you. You need all your cows to breed more than once and you need them to be ready when it’s time. Proper nutrients are key to improving breed back. With the right hay program, you can produce top quality hay that will provide those key nutrients for improved breed back.
Faster Finishing Gains.
Farms that sell cattle to feedlots are looking to put weight on quickly so they can bring a higher price at sale time. It’s important to know the quality and makeup of the hay you feed; the proper hay for fattening is made up of 70% fat and 30% protein. By increasing the Average Daily Gain (ADG) a farm can get cattle up to weight faster, therefore reducing the amount of time and resources they need to spend on each animal and improving their profit.
What would it mean to your farm if you could reduce the amount of expensive grains and supplements you feed just by growing your hay for your purpose? Think of the money you could save and the health benefits to your livestock. It’s time to stop taking your hay fields for granted and put them to work for you.
Interested in learning more? IntelliFarms is hosting a SureTrack - Hay Clinic on May 17th and 31st; click here to learn more.