With the cool days of November comes the need to prepare for feeding livestock through the winter. This year was not optimal for making hay, so evaluating hay to determine its quality will enable farmers to ensure their cattle are receiving the proper nutrition.
Spring hay was generally cut late and may be of poor quality. You must supplement as needed to keep cows in good body condition for strong healthy calves. Have your hay analyzed for nutritive quality and formulate a feeding program that provides adequate nutrition using hay and supplements.
Remember that on an energy basis, corn and byproducts such as soyhulls may be a better buy than hay. You might be better off basing your feeding program on the amount of hay you have available and purchasing extra nutrition in the form of concentrates.
It also is important to inventory your hay supply. Farmers need to know how many cattle they plan to feed and for how many days. They also need to know the quality of feed needed for different animal groups such as dry cows versus bred cattle.