How much hay?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Valmai, May 12, 2006.

  1. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    I have never housed cows over winter and was just wondering how much hay does a cow need per day if they dont have access to grazing. How long would a medium square 6x4 ft last one cow if that was all you were giving her?
     
  2. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    A dry cow or a milking cow? A 900 lb. Jersey or an 1600 lb, Holstien?
    Most medium square bales here are 3X3X8, and weigh 750-800 lbs. Any idea what your 6X4 bales weigh?
    An "Average" Holstien milk cow(1500 lbs.) in Wisconsin would eat about 65- 75 lbs of dry baled hay and 24 lbs of dairy grain mix a day in winter months when no grazing available. So one of our big square bales would feed an average(lactating) cow for roughly 10-12 days.
     

  3. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    Hi my 6x4 bales are probably around 360 400kg (930 1040lbs) One of these bales in the depths of winter would feed my 4 cows (Jersey & Friesian empty) 3 horses (1 cob 1 SB 1 clydie) and 19 sheep for about 16 days.
     
  4. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Valmai sounds like you own one of those "bale stretchers" as you sure make a bale of hay go a long way.,LOL. One big difference is the amount of energy used up by cows just to produce body heat here in cold climate. You can see why for a grazing dairy farm here our winter milk has highest cost of production. Most profitable year here would be to calve all cows in April, then milk during green season thru Oct. 5th, then put cows on cereal grains/turnips
    until Dec. 5th., have them all dry in winter .
    Thinking your climate their( Australia or NZ ?) is more moderate temps and less extremes. BTW I think Clydie means Clydesdale draft horse, don't get cob or SB? But then I'm not well versed in Horse world. Cheers
     
  5. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about it after I posted above, and have to say I have no idea of weights of hay bales. If you know what a conventional bale is, (approx 25/30 kg) my cows get between 1/3 and 1/2 a day for the four of them if there is plenty of grass, and the same amount for 3 horses. Yep clydie is clydesdale, cob is Welsh pony and SB is standard breed. Standard breed is around the same height as a Quarter horse(which you may be more familar with) but not as bulky as a QH. This year I will be feeding out a lot more than last year (I could have gotten through last winter with out any hay, I just gave it as comfort food.) because the rain came too late, we didnt get the autumn flush, my animals are not as fat as I like them to be heading into winter and today it started snowing. :grump: As for calving most people plan for calving to start August which is the start of spring. A few dairy farms do autumn (April/May)calving for a small part of their herd, perhaps only 200/300. This has just started because there is now a law here in NZ that they cannot induce calves anymore as a management tool to keep calving to 2 1/2 months.
     
  6. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    In U.S. the herds that are totally seasonal often stay this way by selling a group of cows that didn't breed on time for their desired calving window and buying a group that fit. This is easily done here because seasonal dairies are a small minority, so there are lots of dairies milking 12 months to buy these out of window cows. I can see where the new law against inducement would put a lot of dairies back to 2/3 Spring 1/3 fall calving.
    That inducement sure was controversial, guess it is sorted now, EH?
    We had snow last Thursday- hopefully our last till next November.
    Them Clydesdales are magnificent animals.............Cheers.
     
  7. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    Valmai I would guess the 4x6 bales to be around 1200 pounds maybe, most 4x5 are around 1000 and 5x6 are around 1500 if packed reasonably well.

    What kind of climate are you in? To stretch your hay that far I was thinking you must be in a pretty warm climate in the winter or you have a lot of pasture set aside with stockpiled forage.

    The formula I have used is 3-5 percent of the animals weight in hay per day during the winter. So for a 1000 pound cow or horse, 30 - 50 pounds of hay. This will vary by quality of hay, weather, available forage, all sorts of things.

    So for this coming winter, I will have 2 horses at 1200 or so, one bull at 1000, one heifer at 500. So 3900 pounds of animals at 4 percent means I need to feed 156 pounds of hay per day. Most of they hay bales I use are around 40 pounds when dry, so 4 bales a day.

    4 bales a day x 120 days ( feeding hay from December 1 to March 31 ) puts me at 480 bales. I try and have extra so we can have some extra in case I need to dry lot the horses if they start getting to fat in the spring/summer or put one in a stall for one reason or another.
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Hammer4's percentages are on the money. A key to keeping the consumption efficient is to minimize the wasted hay. Then again, if you live in a moderate climate area such as I do then you may not have to feed any hay if you do rotational grazing!
     
  9. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We figured 25 pounds of grass hay a day when we lived in Montana. I still figure that much now that I live in WA.

    Bobg
     
  10. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Small bales, I figure 1 bale a day for 1000 lbs. More if it is really really cold! :)