At the end of January, I taught a session about evaluating hay quality and use of hay in beef cattle rations at a local beef school, writes Rory Lewandowski, Athens County, IA, Extension educator.
Farmers had submitted samples of their hay, mostly first cutting, for lab quality analysis before the meeting. At the meeting, we were able to do some physical evaluation of hay samples and then compare that type of judging to lab quality results.
This was interesting, but the real value happened when the lab quality results were used to balance a ration for the nutrient requirements of a late-gestation and early-lactation cow.
None of the first cutting samples submitted for analysis could meet the nutrient needs of cows in late gestation, and energy was consistently deficient.
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