Harris County Cattlemen’s Association
Where: Harris County Agri-Center
When: June 27 @ 7:30 pm
Speaker: Tyler Harper, GA Agricultural Commissioner
1. Call Erica at 706-628-4824 or email
2. PLEASE DO NOT CALL FARM BUREAU.
3. Cut off for reservations is June 23 rd at noon.
4. Please do not come to dinner without a
reservation. We will only have steaks for those that
If you make a reservation, there will be a steak
with your name on it at the meeting. If you don’t show up,
we will have extra steaks that we have to sell below market
price. Please make every effort to attend. This will help
control costs for everyone. The cost of our steaks has
increased by 30%. Due to this rising cost, prices for dinner
will increase to $20.00 for members and $25.00 for non-
Members -- $20.00
Non-Members -- $25.00
Online Resources: https://georgiaforages.caes.uga.edu/
HARVESTING AND CURING HIGH-QUALITY HAY
By Steve Morgan
Harris County Extension Agent
The goal of hay production is to provide a feedstuff that meets the nutritional needs (i.e., energy, protein, mineral, etc.) of the livestock. To meet this goal, hay should be harvested in a timely manner to optimize the balance between yield and quality. Unfortunately, changes in the weather can ruin even the best-laid plans. As a result, hay production can be very risky. However, understanding the rules of the game can give the manager the advantage.
Hay quality is a term that can mean different things to different people. For
some, the most important factor is how it looks, smells, and feels. Others only look at the price. In this article, the focus will be on the nutritional value of the hay. It is hay that is high in total digestible nutrients (TDN) and dry matter intake (DMI). TDN is a measure of the energy contained in the forage. DMI is a measure of how much forage is consumed by the animal. There are many factors that can affect TDN and DMI. One of the most important factors affecting TDN and DMI is harvest timing.
Timing is Everything
Harvest interval is a major factor affecting the yield and quality of a hay crop. Keeping in mind that forage species are important, proper harvest timing of low-quality forage will beat improper harvest timing in high-quality species. Bermudagrass hay harvested at 4-week intervals can result in higher quality forage than alfalfa harvested in the late bloom stage. Plant maturity is crucial because more fiber develops in the plant as it gets older. As a result, the digestibility of the forage declines rapidly. Highly lignified forages remain in the rumen longer because of their slow rate of digestion, decreasing DMI, which reduces animal performance. The older the crop gets, the higher the yield. However, there is a point where the amount of digestible dry matter harvested per acre no longer increases. Harvesting the hay crop whenever the forage reaches the target maturity is critical. Delaying a harvest beyond the recommended maturity stage will result in forage that is less digestible and less capable of being consumed at an acceptable rate of intake. Understanding that the quantity may be reduced, harvesting slightly earlier than the recommended maturity is an option and may be advisable if the weather forecast is favorable. As a rule of thumb, beef cattle will consume approximately 2.5 pounds of dry matter per 100 pounds of body weight per day. Therefore, if you put a 1000-pound bale of hay out in a pasture for 20 mature cows, and the cows weigh around 1000 pounds each, it should last approximately 2 days. (25 pounds of dry matter intake per cow X 20 cows = 500 pounds per day). If the bale sits in the field longer than 2 days, either the cows are finding more desirable feedstuffs, or there could be problems with digestibility in the hay.
Cure as Quickly as Possible
During the summer months, there is a high risk of rain damage to the hay crop. One rain shower of about 1 inch on tall fescue hay during curing can cause yield losses of greater than 5%. Also, it can reduce TDN up to 6% and reduce DMI by as much as 9%. The losses occur because much of the nutrition in the plant is water soluble and can be removed by leaching.
Double-check your membership
Don’t let it expire!!!