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Hay alternative making a comeback locally

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psdNASHVILLE – The practice of feeding livestock with silage rather than dry cut hay could be making a comeback in southwest Arkansas.


Silage is similar to the hay most are familiar with, except while most hay is allowed to dry, this is cut wet and wrapped. It is comprised of between 40-50 percent moisture.
Some locals are reaping the benefits of this feed. With dry hay, farmers have to wait for ideal weather conditions to begin cutting and bailing. Due to the wait, grass is often well past its optimal quality stage. Silage can be cut in time to preserve this quality.
Not only that, but farmers are also able to begin cutting as much as 30-45 days sooner, which in turn gives them extra hay to feed with.
Some were able to begin their bailing in early April. Those who going to be cutting dry hay will most likely have to wait until halfway through May to begin their work.
Many nutrients can be lost during the curing process of dry hay. Silage’s curing process allows it to retain more of its nutritional value. It has been observed that animals tend to prefer silage over other feeding options.
While silage does have its benefits, there are reasons why some farmers choose other forms of grass for their animals.
Not only is silage slightly more costly to produce, but it also adds hassle during feeding time because the plastic that encases it must be cut off. The plastic also creates difficulty during bailing because the farmer must take the time to wrap it around their bales.
Nevertheless, one area farmer who asked not to be named commented that he had adopted the practice for about three years, seeing multiple benefits for his herd with few added expenses. He emphasized that the extra cutting per year that he averages, plus higher quality feed makes it a definite improvement for his animals.