I have worked for years during winters feeding hay for ranchers and spent almost a decade feeding winter cattle for Utah State University at their experiment station. We have never lost a cow to bloat from feeding alfalfa hay on snow. I do get really nervous feeding it in cement mangers where all the leaves can accumulate and then get wet from rain or snow. Have neighbors up the trail a ways who seem to tip over show steers and even a few bulls quite regularly feeding really high protein alfalfa in cement mangers. Those concentrated leaves and moisture is a bad recipe. But rolling out bales or even bales out of a processor and tens of thousands of small bales of alfalfa, I have never tipped a cow over feeding on snow. At USU we used to feed good hay in the morning and feed meadow grass and tall wheat grass in the evenings. The manager liked to keep eyes on the cattle as often as he could. At other places we would stack small bales of rough hay on half the wagon and alfalfa on the other half and feed them alternately. Alfalfa is a great supplement and can be quite cost effective compared to cake and tubs if a guy gets it put up/bought right. Plus it "stretches" poorer hay out and keeps cattle in better flesh during long winters. A guy could sure go broke quick trying to fill cows up on straight alfalfa when it was $240 a ton around here a few years ago. But lately with it priced around $120 or less, its been a good buy.
Love the pictures Soap!!! We have had a beautiful winter here too with our snowpack on the mountain at 209% of normal and our total moisture at 173% of normal. What a blessing
Someday soon, a few of those Sandhill Sisters are coming over the Rockies to become desert cows. Give my regards to your fine wife and all your family. All the H's send our love