Can dairy cows have sorgum hay?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Momof8kiddoes, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Momof8kiddoes

    Momof8kiddoes Well-Known Member

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    Dh is thinking that it isnt good for them (he thinks he read it somewhere, but isnt posative). Something about it being toxic to dairy cows. Anyone know? Im going to be having some delivered in a few days, want to double check.
    Mary F.
     
  2. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    Cows LOVE sorgum type grasses (includes Johnson grass.) They love the sweetness of them. There are two situations when these grasses are toxic to cows. One is during droughty times if the grass has had high nitrogen fertilizer - the nitrogen gets very concentrated and the cows can get nitrate poisioning. The other time is if the grass has been through a frost. I'm not positive, but think the problem with them eating that is it causes prussic acid poisioning. I think they can still eat hay made from frosted grass, but it has to sit a couple of weeks to detoxify. I'll have to ask DH on that one. These type grasses produce incredible amounts of forage, but really drain your land of nutrients.
    One old farmer we know says his cows will try to knock the barn down to get to a fresh cutting of sorgum/johnson grass hay.
     

  3. Momof8kiddoes

    Momof8kiddoes Well-Known Member

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    Paula, thanks so much...very good information to know!
    I talked with the hay gal, and she assured me that where she is getting it from, the farmer gives it to all his cattle, and makes sure its tested for the nitrates you talked about. Im glad I knew what to ask her-thanks!
    Mary F.