Although it’s easy to tell when you have put in a hard day’s
work in the summer hayfield by the amount of hay bales put up, the fruits of a
hard summer’s labor are exhibited during the winter feeding season. It is essential to put up high-quality feed
for your cowherd to utilize during the winter.
In a normal summer, we’ll put approximately 2,000 round bales and 6,000
square bales. This summer’s production
was lower than a typical year and was around 1,700 round bales and 5,900 square
bales, which is approximately 1.5 tons/acre on our brome ground and almost 4
tons/acre on the alfalfa ground.
Every morning in the rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine from mid
to late October until May 1st, Paul,
Nancy, and Randall feed the cows by unrolling
brome and alfalfa bales using the hydraulic-powered bale forks attached to the
flat bed of the feed truck. Our cows are
grouped in bunches of 30 to 40 head on various brome patches. Each cow receives 30 pounds of hay per day,
which is about ½ of round brome bale and ¼ of round alfalfa bale for each
grouping of cows. When the weather gets
warmer and the brome starts to green up, the cows will be moved into our dry lots
for the remainder of the winter and fed the square bales. With this year’s production and each cow’s
daily intake of hay, we will have more than enough feed to meet our herd’s
needs and are able to sell some of the excess hay to neighboring ranches.
As I type this blog, we have just had 7 to 8 inches of snow
and below zero wind chills, which makes feeding every morning quite cold. Days like those are ones I am very thankful
for my office job. I am very much a
fair-weather helper at Rock Hill Ranch, but that is a story for another day…
Erin and her family ranch in the Flint Hills of Kansas.