Quick steps to calculate your hay amount

Each year, clients are reminded to take count of their hay bales. Ideally, you should have a rough idea even before baling starts as to what your hay needs will be for the coming winter.
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 (you may want to use a higher number).
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, it’s 27 cowsx40x200=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 which, in turn, will give you a rough idea of what your herd’s hay requirements will be for the coming winter.
If you know that your farm will not produce the amount of hay you require, then look into purchasing your hay needs as soon as possible. As we saw this past year, next spring will be an expensive time to purchase hay.

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