Keep track of your hay needs

Each year, clients are reminded to take count of their hay bales, but this year, it may be more critical. On top of the BSE situation possibly causing you to carry more animals than you planned, hay yields were well below normal in most of the district.
Normally you should have a rough idea even before baling starts as to what your hay needs will be for the coming winter. But again, this rough idea may have had to be revised due to the BSE situation.
As the first and second cuts of hay are harvested, you can see how the yields will compare to the winter feeding requirements for the herd.
Here are a few quick steps to calculate the amount of hay you will need to get your herd through the coming winter:
1. Take a count of your beef cows, bulls, and heifers. The rule of thumb is that cows and bulls will require 40 pounds of hay per day and heifers 20 pounds per day.
The number of days to be fed generally used is 200 days.
2. Multiply the number of cows by 40 pounds then by 200 days to get the total pounds of hay required by the cows (as an example, for 27 cows, 27 x 40 x 200 is 216,000 pounds).
3. Multiply the number of bulls by 40 pounds, then by 200 days, to get the total pounds of hay required by the bulls.
4. Multiply the number of heifers by 20 pounds, then by 200 days, to get the total pounds of hay required by the heifers.
5. Add up the total pounds of hay required by the cows, bulls, and heifers. Then divide it by the number of pounds in the size of the bale you are harvesting on your farm.
This will give you the number of bales that are needed to feed your herd through the winter.
With conditions the way they were this year in most cases, it is not a matter of having an overabundance of hay. If you know your farm will not, or did not, produce the amount of hay that you require, and you haven’t already, look into purchasing your hay needs as soon as possible.
On the other hand, if you happen to have an overabundance of hay, now is the time to decide whether you want to keep your calves over or try sell your excess hay.
The current situation doesn’t make this a particularly easy decision.
Dates to remember
•Oct. 4—Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association calf sale, Stratton sales barn.
•Oct. 5—Farm bus tour (tickets cost $2 each). For more details, call Betty (486-3536) or Shirley (486-3622).

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