During late winter, many cow herds begin the calving season. This is also the time that our feed resources may begin to become limited. Additionally, in southeast Kansas, we get the occasional severe winter storm. As our farmers and ranchers know, this winter has been particularly cold, muddy and icy. Do we really know if our hay and other feeds can accurately meet the nutritional needs of our cattle?
The best way to be sure that your hay and other feeds are adequate is to send a sample to a lab for testing. Your local extension office is a great place to go for help in this process. Your Southwind Extension District Offices can loan you a hay probe for use in testing hay bales. We can also help with sending samples to the lab and with explaining the lab results, once returned to you.
Just before a winter storm approaches and throughout severe weather, cattle should have the opportunity to eat your better quality feeds. This increase in nutrition will help them persist until the weather improves. After the bad weather passes, you can return to feeding your regular feeds. Testing is the best way to know which feeds are of higher quality.