This past weekend I sat through yet another talk on hay waste. This is not my first time hearing about the profit-robbing problem for livestock producers in the Midwest. However, every time Justin Sexten, University of Missouri beef nutritionist, offers solutions to the problem, livestock producers are slow to put them into practice. And by producers, I mean myself.
Sexten constantly informs livestock producers that how they feed hay in the winter months will determine how much money they will retain or relinquish. The bottom-line, whether hay is expensive or inexpensive any amount left unconsumed and lying on the ground increases cost of production. Simply, it is costing you money.
So, as I looked out my kitchen window to my winter feeding paddock and eyed the big round bales the sheep were grazing on, I said aloud, “I wonder what Justin Sexten would say?”
The sight made me realize that after all of the conferences, seminars and discussions, I was a hay waster. And here are some of the warning signs that you too could be a hay waster:
- If you walk into the paddock and it feels more like a spring planting mat for produce than a dry lot, you might be a hay waster.
- If you question whether or not your child bedded down the animals outside the barn instead of inside the barn, you might be a hay waster.
- If you see a hay bale and automatically think livestock jungle gym, you might be a hay waster.
- If you hear livestock producers use terms like “ring” and you think of diamonds, you might be a hay waster.
- If you hear farmers use the word “cone” and automatically think of ice cream, you might be a hay waster.
- If you show Justin Sexten a photo of livestock lying, climbing or standing on a round bale with no hay ring limiting access and he rolls his eyes and says, “There are smaller hay rings for sheep,” you are definitely a hay waster.
I think this year, I may need to put into practice what Sexten preaches and finally rid myself of this label of “hay waster.” I guess it is off to buy that mini hay ring; my husband will be grateful it is not as costly as diamonds.