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Wet Conditions Affecting Winter Feeding

Wet Conditions Affecting Winter Feeding
By Justin Miller
Recent rainfall across the state has many cattle producers dipping deeper into their winter feeding supplies.
“There are many areas of the state where hay supplies are tightening,” said Kent Stanford, an Alabama Extension assistant professor specializing in animal science and forages. “Also, the wet conditions over the last several weeks have increased the nutritional demands of cow herds.”
These conditions leave many producers wondering what they can do to extend their supplies. Luckily, there are several resources and strategies available for producers during times like this.
Winter Feeding Resources
Leanne Dillard, an Alabama Extension forage specialist, said for producers looking to buy additional hay bales, one of the challenges they may face is finding a supplier.
“The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has an online hay directory that is the best resource for locating hay,” Dillard said. “The directory provides detailed information about the hay and who to contact. We encourage producers that may have hay for sale to list their hay resources on this site.”
The hay directory, established during the drought of 2016, is a tool to assist producers in locating hay. It has remained a valuable resource. Alabama Extension professionals encourage livestock producers to test their hay to understand the quality of the hay being fed and how it compares to meeting the animal’s needs.
More information on hay analysis is in the Alabama Extension publication Collecting Forage Samples for Laboratory Analysis. There are also resources about hay analysis on the Alabama Hay Listings page.
Kim Mullenix, an Alabama Extension associate professor of animal science, said there are several other resources that can help producers with winter feeding strategies.
“When stored forages become limited during the winter months, alternative feeding or management strategies are sometimes needed to meet proper nutritional requirements of cattle,” Mullenix said. “The resources below outline some of these strategies and have additional information to help producers.”
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