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 Post subject: grinding hay?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 5:37 pm
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Location: Denison, Texas
Does anyone know anything about grinding hay to feed to cows?

Patti


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2003 5:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2003 10:59 am
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Grinding/chopping hay to feed to cattle is a fairly common practice. What do you want to know about it?

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In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they aren't -- lament of the synthetic lifestyle.


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 Post subject: grinding hay
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 1:01 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2003 12:45 am
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
The only place I have found that does grinding on a large scale basis is dairies. I used to work dairy cows with my horse on week ends and the guy that did the feeding ground up the hay and grain and put in bunkers. They did alfalfa this way, but I don't know if they ever did bermuda this way.
Cows are resourcefull in their eating habits - why do you to grind up their hay? This seems like extra expense.
Robert D Bard


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 Post subject: Re: grinding hay
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:34 am 
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Robert D Bard wrote:
The only place I have found that does grinding on a large scale basis is dairies. I used to work dairy cows with my horse on week ends and the guy that did the feeding ground up the hay and grain and put in bunkers. They did alfalfa this way, but I don't know if they ever did bermuda this way.
Cows are resourcefull in their eating habits - why do you to grind up their hay? This seems like extra expense.
Robert D Bard


It IS extra expense, and the extra costs of grinding hay can offset resulting intake and rate of gain increases. The primary use for grinding is to aid mechanical mixing and feeding and to reduce waste, but people with grinding capability will/can/try to do it to utilize coarser, cheaper hay. Under the right conditions, cows can be very efficient at wasting hay, as anyone who has run or kept cattle through a winter with heavy snow or through a spring after such a winter can attest. Grinding can make sense in high waste conditions when hay is scarce (when isn't it scarce?) or the quality/palatability is poor, and it's not unusual to see it used in backgrounding calves. Feeding hay that is ground too fine can cause digestive problems, though. Alfalfa and stemmy/coarse hays, such as maybe a poor bluestem, are grinding candidates, but I doubt if Bermuda is ground very much. I also doubt that Bermuda is very available or prominent in the areas where much non-alfalfa grinding is/would be done. Obviously, alfalfa is ground to generate pellets and meal, which is not far from how dairies tend to use it. "Grinding alfalfa" tends to be a coarser cutting, maybe a field-edge cutting, that is less suitable for feeding whole, and it's quoted as a "grade" in hay market reports.

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In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they aren't -- lament of the synthetic lifestyle.


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 Post subject: grinding hay
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 10:17 pm 
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Location: Whitesboro,TX
I hadn't thought of it but we buy ground up alfalfa hay because it is easy to mix DE in it for worming purposes. We also add molasses and kelp into the feed in the pastures where there are no mineral feeders. I never thought about grinding it our selves because of the expense - what would a grinder cost and how do you power it?
Robert D Bard


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 Post subject: Re: grinding hay
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 8:05 am 
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Robert D Bard wrote:
I hadn't thought of it but we buy ground up alfalfa hay because it is easy to mix DE in it for worming purposes. We also add molasses and kelp into the feed in the pastures where there are no mineral feeders. I never thought about grinding it our selves because of the expense - what would a grinder cost and how do you power it?
Robert D Bard


Most tub grinders are PTO-driven, such as the one illustrated here:
http://www.haybuster.com/hb/h1000_opt.htm

The cost for new equipment varies with the specifications, and the manufacturers (New Holland, Haybusters, Bearcat, Gehl, etc.) probably are competitive for a given machine class. Used equipment could be a better choice, but even good used equipment might run $2-3K, depending on the market. You can get a feel for new and used machinery prices from the Web and Usenet. I doubt if a tub grinder would pencil out for the non-intensive user, but there may be tax and gadget factors that offset that. Then of course there is the joy that comes with operating and maintaining farm machinery. Another choice might be to pay someone with a grinder to run a batch if you're able to store a batch adequately. It may be that you don't need a full-size tub grinder to satisfy your volume needs. I've not seen it done, but I wonder if something like a garden leaf shredder would work well enough. If you need a product the consistency of meal, I don't know that a shredder would generate that. It might be worth it to investigate what type of adaptation could do what you want.

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In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they aren't -- lament of the synthetic lifestyle.


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