Weekly News Releases and Columns

January 15, 2018


Larry Howard

Extension Educator

Nebraska Extension

Serving Cuming County

Save Hay by Reducing Feeding Waste

A good deal of expense and many long hours go into harvesting and storing hay for winter feeding.  So why waste it!  Hay feeding waste can be reduced.

Cattle can waste as much as 45 percent of their hay when it is fed without restrictions.   There are a couple of steps you can do to minimize costs and maintain an adequate hay supply.

Your first step should be to limit how much hay is available.  Research shows that cattle fed hay with free access every four days needed about 25% more hay than cattle fed daily.  Daily feeding reduces the amount of hay refused, trampled, fouled, over-consumed, or used for bedding.

A second step is to restrict access to the hay by using hay racks, bale rings, electric fences, feed bunks, or anything else that will keep animals off the hay.  It’s especially important to limit the amount of hay accessible to trampling.  The use of racks or bale rings with solid barriers at the bottom, prevent livestock from pulling hay loose and then dragging it out to be stepped on.

If you feed hay on the ground, either as loose hay, unrolled round bales, or as ground hay, it is especially important to follow these guidelines.  Limit the hay fed to the amount animals will clean up in a single meal.  Anything left over will be stepped on, fouled, or used for bedding instead of as feed.  And if possible use an electric wire or other barrier to restrict access to only one side of the feed on the ground.  Also be sure to distribute that hay enough so all cows have access to it at the same time.

With good management, you can stretch your hay further and reduce the feeding waste.

Nutrient Management Record Keeping Calendars are Now Available for 2018

An easy-to-use record keeping calendar for livestock operations that keeps track of manure related records is available to all livestock producers. The calendar was designed to be used by all sizes of livestock operations and includes all records required for operations permitted for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). It has been approved by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a valuable resource for livestock producers.

Records of rainfall, storage depth gauge levels, and storage and equipment inspections are an important aspect of required manure and runoff storage records for a NDEQ permit. It also has a sample of an Annual Report that a CAFO must submit by March 1st of each year.  These and other records will help you gain value from manure nutrients and document your stewardship of the environment.  The calendar also has several pieces of information throughout that will be helpful to the producer.

The calendar is available for free.  You can pick one up at the Cuming County Extension office or receive one by contacting Leslie Johnson (leslie.johnson@unl.edu) or the NDEQ office. Calendars are good through January 2019.



Extension Board to Elect New Officers

The Cuming County Extension Board will hold their reorganizational meeting on Monday, January 29.  The meeting will be held in the Courthouse Meeting Room beginning at 7:00 p.m. The 2017 President will preside at the meeting until new officers are elected.  Other items of business for the meeting are finalizing plans for Board of Supervisors luncheon, January 31 and NACEB Annual Meeting.  The full agenda for the Extension Board meeting is available for review at the Extension office.


SOURCE:  Larry F. Howard, Extension Educator

RELEASE DATE:  January 15, 2018