cutting hay

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Country Mama, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. Country Mama

    Country Mama New Member

    Dec 5, 2003
    Does anybody know if there is any difference in the quality of hay from the first cutting to the second or third?
  2. paden

    paden Well-Known Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    North Central Montana
    First cutting is usually more stem and fewer leaves than second. As a result of the more leaves in second you should have some higher nutrition than the more stemmy first but less quantity and usually higher price. We don't get a third cutting but I suspect it will be even less quantity but compareable leaf per volume to second.

  3. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

    Jun 29, 2002
    River Valley, Arkansas
    Here, where we are, we get three cuttings and I have been told cutting number two is what I should Buy. I raise sheep and goats and hogs. i don't have any horses or steers so maybe someone who does can tell about the hay they prefer
  4. lilsassafrass

    lilsassafrass Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    2nd , 3rd and even 4th and in some cases 5th cutting hay has the more nutrition is softer more leafy and more palitable qualities than 1st cutting hay consquently is more desirable in situations where going to teh expense of feeding it would useful .. dairy animals of any species , very young livestock where you are trying to get them to eat hay , animals that are doing poorly and need the extra , and performance animals such as race horses or show horses .. but a high quality 1st cutting can be just as benificial and just as palatable if all conditions where right when the hay was made.
    For most situations a good quality 1st cutting has better value in terms of cost ...
    and is certinly much easier to find
    Also second cutting hay usually consists of mostly legumes .... at least in ne ohio ...If we get to our fist cutting timothy fields early enough we can get a second cutting somewheres at teh end of summer ...
    but folks who are running straight alfalfa .. will have taken fist cutting off a month ago .. well sometime in the past month as teh blooms spike as green chop or haylage .. thus teh second cutting will be ready in a week or so , and then if the field is managed well 3rd , 4th and later if the weather holds a 5th ...

    I figure in quantity harvested here .. a 100 bales per acre fist cutting , and divide each cutting in half of teh previous in terms of amount .. that is if the field is well limed and you make applications of some type of fertilizer between cuttings and you get rain in between a rough estimate .... but of coarse weather and time of cutting will effect all things
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    Without a hay test for protien, TDN, and so on everyone is just horse-trading blindly, you don't really know. Timing of the cutting of hay has more to do than which cut it actually is....

    All other things being equal, the fist cutting will produce more volume, have a bit more weeds in it, and be a bit more stemmy, slightly lower in protien. Also it is typically havested during a rainy season & hard to get baled up timely & dry.

    The rest of the cuttings often are finer stemmed, less weeds, and might be timed better for higher protien because of hotter drier weather. There will be less volume from each these cuttings.

    That is a very, very general broad brush way of looking at hay if you have no actual hay test to go by. Many times weather & timing will negate all that.

    Now, steers you might as well use the first cutting, more volume for the $$$$ and steers do well on that. Horses that don't work also don't need the bonus protien, might actually be better to have more fiber???? Dairy cow you are trying to get the most milk from, you want the fine stuff, protien & digestablity is the name of the dairy game, price is no object (sort of!) for their hay.

    Try to match your livestock to what it needs, and don't pay extra for hay quality you will only be wasting anyhow.