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Feeding Hay to Improve Your Land – Part 1

By   /  February 25, 2019  /  3 Comments

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We think it is far more important to stop making hay on your land than it is to stop feeding hay on
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About the author

Jim Gerrish is the author of "Management-Intensive Grazing: The Grassroots of Grass Farming" and "Kick the Hay Habit: A Practical Guide to Year-around Grazing" and is a popular speaker at conferences around the world. His company, American GrazingLands Services LLC is dedicated to improving the health and sustainable productivity of grazing lands around the world through the use of Management-intensive Grazing practices. They work with small farms, large ranches, government agencies and NGO's to promote economically and environmentally sustainable grazing operations and believe healthy farms and ranches are the basis of healthy communities and healthy consumers. Visit their website to find out more about their consulting services and grazing management tools, including electric fencing, stock water systems, forage seed, and other management tools.


  1. Emily Macdonald says:

    Are there any negative consequences for feeding sheep( or other stock) off the ground?

    • Kathy Voth says:

      There is one potential problem that I know of: Johne’s disease. This is a microbacterium that spreads through fecal oral contact. It causes intestinal scarring to the degree that the animal can no longer absorb food, and it wastes away and dies. Younger animals are more susceptible to the disease. Older ones require much heavier exposure. I’ve actually had some experience with this disease in my research goat herd, so I can write more about this as an article. I guess overall I would still use this technique to feed stock and manage fertility.

  2. Don says:

    Excellent article and one that I have been applying since I started ranching.

    One thing you haven’t mentioned yet that I have learned the hard way is, learn to judge good quality hay and stay away from everything else. Granted during drought you can’t always be picky, but everything that bale of hay has you are bringing it into your pastures. I now have unwanted weeds and grasses in my pasture brought in by poor quality hay. Even though a hay producer says it was “fertilized and weeded”, it doesn’t mean that he didn’t capture weeds that were dead and full of seeds when he baled the hay.

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