RyeGrass hay?

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southernultrablack
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RyeGrass hay?

Postby southernultrablack » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:15 pm

Anybody here feed Ryegrass hay? I am feeding some now that was cut later and had already made some seed heads. Just wondering what kind of nutritional value I could expect? I may pull samples to send off next week.
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1982vett
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Re: RyeGrass hay?

Postby 1982vett » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:14 pm

Depends on how ripe the seed heads were.... probably 8 to 10%.....also depends on whatever other grasses may be in it.
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Katpau
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Re: RyeGrass hay?

Postby Katpau » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:31 pm

We are located in Oregon, the Ryegrass seed growing capital of the world. I have been feeding cows Ryegrass hay in winter for 20+ years. I always test, because it is usually put up late, since Spring rains make it difficult to get it up earlier. You can also get Ryegrass straw here for almost nothing, but you definitely need to supplement that. I have had the hay I bought test as low as 4% Protein with a TDN of .53. It is usually about 6 to 8% Protein with a TDN of close to .60 when it is cut before it goes to seed. We always buy some alfalfa with that and supplement. We start adding the Alfalfa about 90 days prior to calving and ramp it up as calving approaches. We also can get a pellet that is made from the waste product of the grass seed industry. It is about 9% protein and the cows absolutely love it. They will push aside a really good quality bale of alfalfa to lick up the last of those pellets.
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Texasmark
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Re: RyeGrass hay?

Postby Texasmark » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:48 am

I have some planted with Austrian Field Peas for this spring's harvest as we talk. Planted back in October but was late in germinating due to our drought. Mine is Jumbo Rye and comes from.....you guessed it, Oregon. Right now, it and the peas are at about 4".

The Jumbo is able to grow larger with late maturing which helps me to beat the weather....aka not head out too soon and give things time to dry out somewhat (being Spring) so that I can get it cut while in the prime, besides yielded more mass per acre. Peas are in there for 3 reasons: Soil enhancement, reduction of fertilizer costs as I get N nodules on the roots (and don't have to inoculate) and up the protein and TDN in the rye hay.

As soon as this comes off and the clay soil permits, I'll go back with some Milo this year. I like to plant SS because of yield and cows affinity but the Sugar Cane Aphids like it too and I only get one cutting. Last year, when they hit me and others in the area, I noticed a neighbor with Milo that had none........Hmmmm.

So this year I will try it and see if I can get a second cutting as it is very drought tolerant and apparently not on the aphids menu of delicacies. I know the cows will like it as I fed some this past fall and they loved it. Plan is to plant it at 50-60#/acre, drilled 7" rows to keep the stem size down. We'll see how it goes.
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Re: RyeGrass hay?

Postby bird dog » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:55 am

I am trying something this year and so far it seems to be working very well. I baled up enough Rye grass last spring to where I wouldn't need to bale any summer hay. The grass had fully seeded out but was still lush. My fall and winter calving cows have been on it since November with 30% protein tubs. I did not have it tested but I knew it would not test out enough for lactating cows. I am pretty sure it would yield about 8 or 9 % as vett noted. It was fertilized but not heavily.
My thought was to abandon the summer Bermuda hay route to reduce costs.

There is a lot of Winter left but so far the cows are in much better shape than last year. I can buy a lot of tubs for what I was spending on fertilizer trying to get the protein up on the Bermuda field to the 12% range required for lactating animals.

So far what I have learned
I could increase the stocking rate a little bit by not cutting summer hay and use the pasture to retain some forage to extend the grazing season a few weeks.
The Rye grass hay kept very well under a pole barn and when rolled out, puts a bunch of seed in the soil base.
I have very little waste on this barn kept, rolled out hay. I think around 5%. The baby calves love the sweet taste.
It easy to establish with my rinky dink equipment.
You can spot graze it up until February and still make a good hay crop.

The major con is trying to get it dry enough to bale. The grass and the ground.
Last year I used a bottom land pasture. This year I am using a hilltop pasture that should help with this problem.

I love Bermuda grass but the input costs to get the protein where I want it for hay are just to darn expensive.
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southernultrablack
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Re: RyeGrass hay?

Postby southernultrablack » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:31 am

Thanks for the replies!
I'm not sure what type of ryegrass this was but it is probably 99% ryegrass in these bales. They just look "stemmy" to me and it kind of concerned me.
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Texasmark
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Re: RyeGrass hay?

Postby Texasmark » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:00 am

southernultrablack wrote:Thanks for the replies!
I'm not sure what type of ryegrass this was but it is probably 99% ryegrass in these bales. They just look "stemmy" to me and it kind of concerned me.

They will look stemmy because they are but the stems are digestible. You get the whole plant so what nutrients you put into the plant you will/should get most back in the seed heads where lacking in the stems. Besides as I read ruminants need about 40-60% fiber in their diets anyway. When I ran cows I too really liked the tubs. Cows would get their bellies hot licking, some biting off chunks, of that and go to the hay bales, some of lackluster quality, and dig in.

On cutting, I found that a tedder is worth the time and trouble to run it, especially on highly irregular fields such as mine. Some of my turns are in excess of 90 degrees which really makes for the "wads" of grass piling up. When I ran a MOCO with a sickle bar, or plain sickle years before that, piling was a real problem. I run a 6' drum now and it does much much better plus the drum doesn't care what kind of moisture is present, nor stem structure, nor density of product.
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Re: RyeGrass hay?

Postby ERNIBIGB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:20 pm

Ryegrass cut in its boot stage can be as high as 16% protein. But around here that means cutting about the second week of April. Several around are wrapping it for silage and getting a second cutting almost equal to the first. Dont know if thats an option for you but might look into it.
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