Farm Talk

Area Farm & Ranch News

September 5, 2013

Farmers will learn to reduce hay wastage at MU forage field day

Parsons, Kansas — Cows waste more hay than farmers guess. Justin Sexten, beef nutritionist, learned that by asking visitors at a University of Missouri field day.

Farmers on tour wagons guessed 10 percent loss — at most.

MU researchers found 20 percent loss of fescue hay fed in common ring feeders used on most farms.

Sexten will share hay feeding tips at a field day, Sept. 25, at the MU Forage Systems Research Center, Linneus, Mo.

Last winter researchers compared three types of bale feeders on the beef farm at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia.

They used open ring feeder, sheeted feeder and cone feeder. Sheeted feeders cover the bottom of the ring with sheet metal. The cone feeder suspends a bale in the center of the ring.

Waste costs farmers money. For Missouri, wasted baled hay can total $64 million a year. The U.S. loss adds up to more than $1 billion. That was for 2012, as loss depends on hay value. “That shows that when hay supplies are short, waste becomes more expensive,” Sexten said.

“When cows waste hay, farmers learn the expense when they must buy feed to replace the loss,” he said. That happened when farmers ran out of hay after the drought of 2012.

Sexten told farmers he thinks the 20 percent loss was too low. The study at the MU farm was under ideal conditions. The fescue bales had been stored in a nearby shed. “There was no rot on the bottom and top of the bales. Rot would be sorted off by the cows.

“You probably can’t move a bale stored outside from along the fence to the feeder without losing 5 percent,” he added.

In the study, Wesley Moore, then a graduate student, picked up every sprig of hay dropped on concrete slabs around bale feeders. He dried and weighed wasted hay and subtracted that from original bale weight.

“On the open ring, he picked up 20 percent of every fescue bale,” Sexten said. “That adds up to big bucks with 20 percent lost every day of every bale.”

The sheeted feeder lost 13.6 percent and the cone feeder lost 8.9 percent.

Cone feeders cost the most to buy. The open ring cost least. “Don’t look at just initial cost. Look at long-term cost of waste,” Sexten said. Also, other feeders made of heavier steel might last longer.

Sexten agreed with a farmer who said he preferred to unroll bales for feeding. “That’s efficient, but adds waste if you unroll more hay than cows eat in a day. It might work if you feed one bale to 40 cows, but if you unroll a whole bale for 20 cows, about half will be lost,” he said.

“Oh, I hear you saying ‘I like to leave some for the cows to lie down on,’” he added. “But do you want to pay $40 a bale for bedding?”

MU research centers are part of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. They hold field days to share local research that might apply across the state. The events are free. £

1
Text Only
Area Farm & Ranch News
  • Resistant Palmer amaranth spreading rapidly in Kansas

    Populations of Palmer amaranth resistant to glyphosate were first documented in Kansas three years ago. At that time, these populations were limited in range to isolated areas of south central Kansas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Stockpiled bermudagrass can reduce winter feed costs

    Harvested forage costs are a large part of the production costs associated with cow-calf enterprises.  
    An Oklahoma State University trial had the objective to economically evaluate stockpiled bermudagrass. The research found that this practice can reduce cow-wintering costs.

    July 22, 2014

  • FSFS to feature well drilling, equipment demonstrations

    The 40th Four State Farm Show is this weekend, and exhibitors will have over 25 acres of agricultural products and services on display.

    July 15, 2014

  • Corn growers smile in June rains, haymakers fret at few sunny days

    June, noted for the start of the hot, dry days of summer, became a spring-rain month this year.
    All grasses, including corn, continued to grow.

    July 8, 2014

  • Kansas net farm income continued to slide in 2013

    Kansas farmers took a one-two punch with drought and lower grain prices in 2013 and the result was a drop in average net income to its lowest level since 2009, according to data from the Kansas Farm Management Association’s annual PROFITLINK Analysis.

    July 8, 2014

  • Ergot hits Mo. pastures

    The first two weeks of July are prime time for ergot to appear in common pasture grasses, said University of Missouri Extension forage specialist Craig Roberts.
    Wet, cool weather, followed by heat and humidity, creates favorable conditions for the disease. “With the amount of moisture in the ground and in the plants, the state turns into an incubator when it gets hot,” Roberts said.

    July 1, 2014

  • Mo. AG files lawsuit for Barry Co. fish kill

    Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed suit against Tyson Foods Inc. seeking civil penalties and compensation for state costs and natural resource damages for a large fish kill in southwestern Missouri.

    June 24, 2014

  • MU offers online grain marketing ‘game’

    Market values in farming don’t stay the same for very long. Farm prices are like Missouri weather.  We don’t have to wait very long for a change.

    June 17, 2014

  • Check grasshopper populations now

    Parts of Oklahoma that have suffered from a lack of rainfall are likely to experience grasshopper infestations the likes of a Biblical plague this summer.

    June 10, 2014

  • dairy-days-Fitting-'13.jpg Dairy Days tradition continues in NW Ark.

    Youth from around the area will head to Bentonville, Ark., for the 25th Annual 4-State Dairy Days and Dairy Camp on June 19-22.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content