Forage products | Living the Country Life

Forage products

When there's a weather crisis, livestock owners may have difficulty finding hay and pasture for their animals. Alternative forage products may be the solution.

Radio interview source: Kevin Kline, Extension Horse Specialist, University of Illinois

Weather disasters may make it difficult for livestock owners to find adequate forage. Shipping hay from other states is an option, but it's expensive.
Kevin Kline is an extension horse specialist at the University of Illinois. He has done research with young horses on forage products such as hay cubes, which replace long-stemmed hay, as well as complete cubes, which can be fed without hay, grain, or other supplements. Kline says cubes are a healthy alternative. 
"We've done several studies where we've looked at baled hay plus grain, or hay cubes and grain, and some of these complete cubes with the grain actually improve the gain and feed efficiency of the young horses above and beyond what you'd see in the hay and grain fed separately," he says.
Another product is chaffhaye. It's chopped up chaff sprayed with a light coating of low-sugar-content molasses, and compressed into an airtight bag. Kline says it can include alfalfa, a combination of alfalfa and grass, or even straw. 
Pelleted feeds contain both forages and grain. Kline notes the more processed products, the more expensive, so compare pricing. 
"When you look at the way people feed, baled hay let's say, often times we just pitch it into the stall, or put it in a feeder with no kind of a tub underneath it to catch the leaves," says Kline. "And when you think about how much hay is wasted, sometimes these other products, especially if they're fed properly, you can increase the feed efficiency so much because of the decreased loss, that the price starts to look a lot more competitive."
Many forage products can be fed to several species of livestock at the same time, making feeding easier with less waste. 

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