Hay fields in most areas of Oklahoma are producing an average to above average number of big round bales this summer. The quality of the hay will be quite variable. Some will supply a great deal of the nutrients needed to maintain body condition on beef cows this winter. Other hay will be lacking in protein and energy and will require a substantial amount of supplement to be fed or the cattle will lose weight and body condition during the winter months. Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist shares this information on forage testing.
Forage analysis can be a useful tool to remove some of the mystery concerning the hay that producers will feed this winter. The out-of-pocket costs of protein and energy supplements are further fuel to this advice. Testing the grass hays this year for protein and energy content will help the producer design winter supplementation programs most appropriate for the forage supply that is available. To learn more about matching supplements with available forages, download and read Oklahoma State University Fact Sheet ANSI-3010 “Supplementing Beef Cows”.
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