Ranchers.net Bull Session

February 1-10, 2017

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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Faster horses
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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby Faster horses » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:20 pm

2nd cutting fed on snow might cause some bloat. 1st cutting would be pretty safe, we think. Will be interested in what others have to say. We have a friend that feeds a lot of 1st cutting alfalfa on snow with no problems. In fact, he quit feeding cake altogether
and only feeds alfalfa as a protein supplement, similar to what Soapweed is doing. Really cut down on his feed bill and he was already set up to feed hay anyway. He switched several years ago so has had a long time to find out.
"All the Democrats know how to do is lie and “forget.”--Trey Gowdy

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Silver
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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby Silver » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:16 pm

I had never heard this about alfalfa and deep snow either. Thankfully our cows also haven't heard as they've been eating it that way for decades.

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Soapweed
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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby Soapweed » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:45 pm

Silver wrote:I had never heard this about alfalfa and deep snow either. Thankfully our cows also haven't heard as they've been eating it that way for decades.


I'm not even smart enough to know why feeding it on snow would be any different than feeding it on grassy sod.

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leanin' H
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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby leanin' H » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:29 pm

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
A poor ride beats a great walk any day!
<Parry Taylor>

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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby Haytrucker » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:20 am

I sure could have heard a wrong story about alfalfa feeding, we feed 2nd cut before and 3rd after calving. Plan A is alfalfa is almost all they get until calving time, at 5 lbs /hd, Fed every 2 or 3 days. Then more other hay, usually some grain hays. Grass is fed also when it's turbo cold or snows a lot before calving time. I have never seen or caused a problem, just asking. We cut the 3rd alfalfa back to 4 lbs or so, just kinda balance the milking and recovery. Rough hay is handy in April.

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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby Haytrucker » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:27 am

Edit to above- alfalfa is fed for protein to supplement corn stalk grazing.

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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby Cowpuncher » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:07 pm

In all my years, I have never heard of alfalfa hay causing bloat. We fed 1st and 2nd cutting alfalfa
in snow, without snow for years. We kept 3rd cutting alfaalfa for our dairy cows - and never had any problems.
In more years than I care tp remember, we had one case of bloat and that was a milk cow on green alfalfa
pasture.

Some guys were so afraid of bloat that they sold their 3rd and 4th cutting hay for about the same as 1st cutting.
I bought all I could get.

CP
If it was easy, someone would have already done it.

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PPRM
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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby PPRM » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:13 am

Cowpuncher wrote:In all my years, I have never heard of alfalfa hay causing bloat. We fed 1st and 2nd cutting alfalfa
in snow, without snow for years. We kept 3rd cutting alfaalfa for our dairy cows - and never had any problems.
In more years than I care tp remember, we had one case of bloat and that was a milk cow on green alfalfa
pasture.

Some guys were so afraid of bloat that they sold their 3rd and 4th cutting hay for about the same as 1st cutting.
I bought all I could get.

CP


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Re: February 1-10, 2017

Postby RSL » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:26 am

I like that your outfit has the extra grandchildren (soon to be gate getter) seating. How do you like the gas vs the diesel for feeding?
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