Page 11 - MWC 09-9-2021s
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Know the Quality of Your Hay                                                            The Midwest Cattleman · September 9, 2021 · P11

       By Dr. Gary Bates, Director and Professor, UT Beef & Forage Center
         I have received several  fiber, and other constituents.
      phone calls and emails re-            The more difficult part is
      cently that have all had a  knowing if it is worth it for
      similar question.    They had  you to cut and bale.  I usually
      been forced to delay hay  hate to see anyone waste for-
      cutting for some reason and  age, but if you consider what
      were wondering if it was too  diesel, time, and equipment
      late to cut the hay.    They  wear and tear costs, there
      wanted to know if the hay  may be times it is better to
      was worth cutting, or should  buy hay than spend money
      they  just  mow  it  down  and  producing the hay just to
      let the plants regrow.  In each  have to turn around and sup-
      case they had tall fescue that  plement it because the quali-
      was 6-8 weeks past normal  ty is so poor.
      hay cutting stage.                    Where that point is might
         This  is often a  difficult                  continued on page 12
      question to answer.   Part of
      the answer deals with what
      the quality of the hay will be.        WHY ARE WE STILL HERE AFTER MORE THAN 25 YEARS?
      Research shows that once
      these plants produce a seed
      head, the protein and energy
      levels slowly begin to drop.
      After 6 weeks or so, the pro-
      tein level will have dropped
      from 12-15 percent down to
      6-8 percent.   It will be easy
      to determine this by taking a
      sample and having a forage
      test run.  This will measure
      the forage quality, telling you
      the level of protein, energy,



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