Feeding livestock during a drought requires careful planning and management. Hay and water resources have become scarce for many farmers and ranchers this winter, forcing operations to make difficult decisions, as well as adjusting strategies to navigate those challenges. But sometimes despite planning to conserve feed resources, producers are dependent on the specific conditions and resources available in their area. That could lead to poor-quality hay and higher feed costs, putting a strain on budgets.
Reducing hay waste, particularly during a dry spell, conserves those feed resources and reduces costs. Proper pasture management practices can help preserve soil health, fertility and reduce erosion. Controlling distribution, such as unrolling a bale with a DewEze bed, reduces soil compaction throughout the pasture. But old hay bales that have been exposed to moisture and the sun over time will often leave a large mat on the first couple of revolutions, making equal access to hay more difficult. Unrolling low-quality roughage can also lead to increased trampling and spoilage, reducing overall feeding efficiency.
Bale processors, such as the S3 Super Slicer, by DewEze help break up those aging, flat bottom bales. This can make it easier to distribute the hay more evenly over a larger area. The narrow windrow increases the overall consumption of feed, and limits the amount of hay used as bedding, leading to improved growth and productivity. By reducing waste and increasing feed consumption, bale processors can help save hay resources and reduce feed costs over time.
Farmers and ranchers should consider their specific needs and circumstances when deciding to invest in equipment, and what to feed. DewEze recommends producers work with their local agricultural extension offices to determine the best types of hay to feed to their cattle during a drought, based on herd size, feeding practices and budget to ensure long-term viability of the operation.