Feeding Hay to Improve Your Land – Part 3

If you missed them, catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. Having a systematic approach to hay feeding is a critical part of maximizing the nutrient benefits you get when feeding hay is a big piece of your pasture fertility program. We have already seen in the previous post the amount of urinary N that is returned to the soil with each ton of hay fed. We know the amount applied depends on the protein content of the hay. Now let's look at how you manage the feeding rate. Let's Do the Math on Hay Feeding for a Targeted N Application Rate Remember urinary N is readily available for plant use and is also the form of N that is most likely to be lost to the atmosphere as ammonia or leaching after conversion to nitrate in the soil. In this example we have 250 cows in the herd and are feeding them about 30 lbs of hay per head per day for a total feed requirement of 7500 lbs/day. We know there will be some feeding waste, so let's round it up to 4 tons of hay fed per day. Referring to the table in Part 2 of this series, we know hay at 8% CP will return about 11 lbs of urinary N and 11 lbs of fecal N for each ton of hay fed. If our target rate of N application is 120 lbs/acre, we could feed on one acre of three days. What if we have a hay that has protein well ab

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2 thoughts on “Feeding Hay to Improve Your Land – Part 3

  1. Jim,

    Does the hay lose its “N” over time. If you have surplus hay from say a year ago, does it still provide the same level of nitrogen as when it was balled, if not approximately how much does it loose over time? Are there still benefits of spreading it out in your pasture.

    1. Hi Don,

      Protein is fairly stable in stored hay so you will have about the same N content in hay a few years old compared to fresh hay. I

      If the hay actually molds, there will be somewhat more N loss.


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