Most people with grazing livestock are dealing with drought-stressed pastures and are facing some decisions regarding hay supplies for the winter ahead.
For some, the best solution may be found in confining livestock to an appropriately sized lot or paddock that can be easily reseeded and providing a least cost combination of hay and supplemental feed while the pastures are allowed to recover.
This may seem counter intuitive, especially if we enjoy some rain during August that spurs some re-growth in our pastures and hayfields. Here are some reasons why “feeding hay to grow grass” may be a good strategy for someone with grazing animals:
How do we pay for hay? Selling calves early is the solution beef producers often look to when dry weather demands above normal hay purchases. This year may be different in that cull cow values are exceptionally high right now. For some cattlemen, now may be the time to sort through the cow herd and cull the older cows and those that are open that should be pregnant.
Of course, the correct strategy for meeting the nutritional needs of animals depends on the particular farm situation and the resources available. If you would like to construct a customized partial budget to determine what pasture and feeding management strategy makes the most economic sense for your situation, feel free contact your region’s Farm Management Agent through your local Extension Office.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, re-print, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Alan L. Grant, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Jewel E. Hairston, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.
August 11, 2010