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Feeding hay in Alabama

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Big Muddy rancher

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I didn't read this article but I have wondered about this as we have winter in this country and don''t seem to feed as much hay as some farther south.



Dear Kit,

Re: Feeding hay in Alabama.

Most people would rather fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.

This is why one percent of the population earns 37% of the national income. Following the crowd is NOT the way to wealth.

Allan Nation -- Mississippi
 

Soapweed

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You would think if you ranched as far south as Alabama, you could legally get by without putting up hay in the summertime and feeding it in the winter.

My wife's uncle was a veterinarian in Albertville, Alabama, and she has a girl cousin who is a veterinarian in Selma. The lady vet has triplet boys. We visited down there in June of 1993. It was very hot and muggy, and I thought expiring by the melting process would not be out of the question.
 

Mike

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Yep, we feed hay down here too! The grasses native to here don't start growing until April-May and goes dormant in mid Oct. We plant a lot of winter grazing (Ryegrass, wheat, etc.) but Fall of the year is so dry we don't usually get anything from it until Jan. It does tend to help us cut back on feed Jan- May.

When it's raining and 35-40 degrees it's pretty tough on the cows cause they don't tend to put on hair like yours do. My cows love a cold crisp still day.

Haying is a real B*tch here too. With thunderstorms almost everyday and humidity at 90% it sometimes doesn't cure real well.

I guess we could stockpile grass for the winter but land prices being $3-$5000 per acre would take the profit out of that too. We have to run as many head as possible per acre to make it pencil. If that is even possible.
There's a nice spread about 5 miles from me that's 835 acres for sale now but they are asking 10 Grand per acre for it. That won't work with cows.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Our grass goes dormant in July or August with no new growth to graze until the next April or May . Guess the land prices have some thing to do with it but maybe you should run fewer cows and graze longer.
 

Mike

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Big Muddy rancher said:
Our grass goes dormant in July or August with no new growth to graze until the next April or May . Guess the land prices have some thing to do with it but maybe you should run fewer cows and graze longer.

Have tried all of the above BMR. Believe me it's all been tried down here.

Many people do run fewer cows and don't feed hay at all. I can promise you they are not the ones that are profitable, unless they inherited a large acreage.

Land prices have EVERYTHING to do with it. We have to be really close "Grass" farmers down here. Soil sampling, fertilizing, watching stocking rates, rotational grazing, etc.

I will feed 1600 lbs. of hay per cow this winter and am running 1.5 cows per acre. Can you get by on that amount of hay?
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Mike said:
Big Muddy rancher said:
Our grass goes dormant in July or August with no new growth to graze until the next April or May . Guess the land prices have some thing to do with it but maybe you should run fewer cows and graze longer.

Have tried all of the above BMR. Believe me it's all been tried down here.

Many people do run fewer cows and don't feed hay at all. I can promise you they are not the ones that are profitable, unless they inherited a large acreage.

Land prices have EVERYTHING to do with it. We have to be really close "Grass" farmers down here. Soil sampling, fertilizing, watching stocking rates, rotational grazing, etc.

I will feed 1600 lbs. of hay per cow this winter and am running 1.5 cows per acre. Can you get by on that amount of hay?



We run a cow to35-40 acres. We also can have snow cover for 5 months some years and can have a month or more of extemely cold temps.

apples and oranges i guess
 

nr

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After these two responses about amount of acres to sustain one cow in different regions (BMR said 35-40 acres per cow and Mike in Alabama does 1.5 cows per acre (that must look wierd :wink: ! :) ) but wondering what the rest of you around the world count on for acres to sustain one cow.
 

Mike

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nr said:
After these two responses about amount of acres to sustain one cow in different regions (BMR said 35-40 acres per cow and Mike in Alabama does 1.5 cows per acre (that must look wierd :wink: ! :) ) but wondering what the rest of you around the world count on for acres to sustain one cow.

Moving cows from one pasture to another is the norm here. During summer a 2-3 week layoff is all that is needed for the grass to return.

There are not many that run 1.5 cows to the acre here. Probably 2 acres to the cow is norm. I know a guy in north Florida that runs 3-4 cows per acre on irrigated pasture.

I'm sure BMR and others up north could probably run more cows with more water. Over grazing in drought conditions is a no-no.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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I am rotating cows. In my 3 breeding pastures I use one hard then rest for two years. Has great recovery and keeps litter on the ground and the cattle do graze out the bottom of the buck brush. Other pastures I use just for dormant season grazing. Some tame grass gets rotated thru the summer and other pastures just used mors conventionaly because we need a place for holding during calving and branding seasons.
 

Clarence

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That is what I like about this board. Everyones's operation is different. Some years back, I think it was the drought year of 1989, I stoped at the fossil site in western Nebraska. I happened to visit with a couple from Wisconsin. They looke out accross at the dry prairie and asked "can cows live here?" I said "In Wisconsin you think of cows to the acre, here in Nebraska we think acres to the cow." Sometime later I was talking to a cowboy from one of the south western states maybe it was Nevada. I mentioned this. he said "and sometimes cows to the square mile."
 

Cowpuncher

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In Eastern Colorado we figure 30 acres per cow. If you are closer to the mountains where the grass and precipitation is better, 20 acres will do.

We pretty much rely on cows eating grass in the winter, along with some range cake. We are feeding some replacement cattle, but our older cows really look nice and have nothing but range cubes starting Decedmber 1st.

Land prices are another story. I bought several parcels in the past few years with $150 per acre the top price. That means we can run an extra 133 head on 4000 acres I bought in 2002. s liong as calves are worth what they are now, it works. Also, we didn't have to add any help to add this acreage. Just incidental costs for fuel, etc.

Oops, forgot, we refenced the entire 4000 acres and that probably cost about $25,000.
 

Faster horses

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A friend of ours bought a ranch over by Worden, Mt. He was visiting with his elderly rancher neighbor one day. This neighbor had been in that country for about 80 years, so was pretty knowledgeable about it. Our friend asked him how many cows he could run to the acre there. The ole fella thought a bit and answered. "Four. "

"Sometimes three but mostly four."
 

cowzilla

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nr said:
After these two responses about amount of acres to sustain one cow in different regions (BMR said 35-40 acres per cow and Mike in Alabama does 1.5 cows per acre (that must look wierd :wink: ! :) ) but wondering what the rest of you around the world count on for acres to sustain one cow.
Here in southern Manitoba we need 4 acres/cow calf pair . Rotational grazing alfafla grass from May1 to Nov 1 then corn grazing and feeding hay till May 1 again :)
 

Soapweed

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We figure 20-25 acres per cow/calf unit on this ranch. Our land varies from productive sub-irrigated hay meadows to soft sandy soapweedy hills. The state line is pretty much the boundary of our best land and worst land. By far the most productive is on the Nebraska side, and the South Dakota third of the ranch is most impressive plotted on the map, because it squares up the ranch nicely.
 

JD6320

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here in souhern ontario you can usally get away with one acre per cow/calf with rotational grazing and another acre to put up winter feed(baled)
 

cert

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I run 3 pair on an acre in a good year. That is with a cutting of hay off it before we turn the cows in.
 

Denny

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Here we figure 10 acres per cow/calf pair this includes haygroud,pastures woods and swamps some of the land woods and swamp arent really good for much but they are included in every piece of property here.If you could have prime pastures and hayland you could figure 5 acres per.
 

efb

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Here in NE TX a general average is 2-3 acres per cow unit. Unless we have good winter pasture ( rye and ryegrass) I will feed about 4,000 lbs of Coastal hay per cow. This will be produced on the same 2-3 acres per cow. Now for the bad news. I will have to apply 200 to 300 lbs. of fertilizer on the pasture and 200 lbs per cutting on the hay ground. In a good year we can get three cuttings.

A friend of mine who is a big operator for this country and an excellent grass man says he has figured that land cost per cow unit is about the same no matter where you go. As an example grass land in this area is now $3,000 per acre ( which is double a few years ago). At two acres per cow that is $6,000 per cow. If Soapweed is running 20 acres per cow that would make his equivalent land cost $300 per acre. My guess is that it's higher than that. But, he doesn't have the fertilizer cost either.
 

nr

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efb said:
Here in NE TX a general average is 2-3 acres per cow unit. Unless we have good winter pasture ( rye and ryegrass) I will feed about 4,000 lbs of Coastal hay per cow. This will be produced on the same 2-3 acres per cow. Now for the bad news. I will have to apply 200 to 300 lbs. of fertilizer on the pasture and 200 lbs per cutting on the hay ground. In a good year we can get three cuttings.

A friend of mine who is a big operator for this country and an excellent grass man says he has figured that land cost per cow unit is about the same no matter where you go. As an example grass land in this area is now $3,000 per acre ( which is double a few years ago). At two acres per cow that is $6,000 per cow. If Soapweed is running 20 acres per cow that would make his equivalent land cost $300 per acre. My guess is that it's higher than that. But, he doesn't have the fertilizer cost either.

With all that free manure you still need fertilizer.
 

YoungFarmer

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I would have to say our land cost would run around $2,500 U.S invested per cow. This still requires payments of over $225 per year in cash flow per cow. $6,000 per cow would be over $500 with 5% interest rates. Not sure of how a young farmer trying to finance the land would make a go of it unless it was inherited. This is one reason why I am leaning towards getting out of cattle farming and sticking with grain on a part time basis.
 

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