FAQ: When To Cut Winter Wheat For Hay?

Wheat Hay: Cattle Love It

Wheat hay can have an 18% protein content, is very palatable, and has a sweet taste that cattle enjoy; in comparison to alfalfa, which can cost $100-$120 per ton in many cases, wheat hay can cost $50-$60 per ton.

A Tight Window

If hail strikes a field at the wrong time, the value of the crop for grain can be drastically reduced. High-quality wheat hay has 58% digestible nutrients, the same as alfalfa. Other small grain-hays can be stored at a reasonable cost.

When should you cut wheat for hay?

u201cYou have to wait until it gets out of the boot stage for the best wheat hay,u201d says Gard, whose father, Gene, assists with hay harvest during crunch time. u201cBut it has to be cut before it gets to the dough stage because it takes the nutrients out of the stem and leaves when it gets to the dough stage.u201d

When can you graze winter wheat?

u201cIf you plant earlier, like early September, you might have more growth for fall grazing. If your goal is to only graze it this fall (and not worry about a crop from it next year), it can be drilled any time.

How long does wheat hay take to dry?

Because hay requires three days of good weather to cure, which can be difficult in late May or early June, a good strategy is to mow a day before or immediately after it rains, assuming that the weather will be good for the next few days.

Can wheat be baled for hay?

Wheat can make excellent hay if cut in the boot to very early head emergence growth stage. Yield can be increased by waiting until the grain is in the early milk stage, but quality will suffer. Always ask why the wheat was cut for hay and at what stage.

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Can you cut winter wheat for hay?

The wheat begins regrowing early in the spring, and Reich cuts it for hay in early to mid-July, just as the heads are emerging. Though the plants are still green at the time of cutting, they dry quickly in the swath, allowing Reich to bale the hay two days later.

What stage do you cut oats for hay?

Cutting the hay or silage early will give you the highest feed value, while cutting late will give you the best overall yield; most growers compromise by cutting in the flower or bloom stage.

Can cattle graze winter wheat?

Cattle grazing on winter wheat is common throughout the southern Great Plains, especially prior to grain harvest, and relatively high and volatile wheat prices have increased the need for management to analyze grain production and wheat grazing decisions.

Will cattle eat winter wheat?

Winter wheat is an excellent source of winter forage for cows and calves, with over 2 million head of cattle grazing it each year. When grazed properly, winter wheat can provide nutrition to cattle while having little to no impact on the wheat crop’s potential yield.

Can cows graze on winter wheat?

Wheat pasture is a common forage for stocker calves in the winter months, but balancing the ration with supplements will allow cattle to meet all of their nutritional needs and better utilize energy. Weather, available forage, and health issues are some of the challenges with putting cattle on wheat pasture.

What is the best moisture to bale hay?

When hay is baled, it should have a moisture content of 18 to 22 percent, because higher moisture levels cause bales to lose a lot of dry matter (Figure 1) due to excessive heating and molding (Figure 2). In extreme cases, spontaneous combustion can occur.

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Does triticale make good hay?

Both rye and triticale can produce very high single cutting hay yields if grazed lightly or not at all in the spring. Because of its early development and declining palatability, rye should be cut very early u2013 early heading at the latest u2013 or you may need to grind hay to get good consumption.

Why is Bale called wheat?

According to the University of Kentucky AGR -1 Lime and Nutrient Recommendations, baling wheat straw removes 12 lbs of nitrogen, 4 lbs of phosphorus, and 20 lbs of potassium per ton of straw, respectively, so the cost of baling wheat straw will fluctuate as commercial fertilizer prices fluctuate.

Is beardless wheat hay good for cattle?

Beardless wheat is popular among grazers and wheat hay producers because the beards, or awns, are largely absent, reducing the risk of awns becoming entangled in livestock gums and throats or causing eye irritation.

What’s the difference between straw and hay?

Hay, on the other hand, is a crop grown and harvested as a feed crop for cattle, horses, and other farm animals, whereas straw is a byproduct of a grain crop; in our area, wheat straw is the most common. Hay is often made up of a mixture of different plants growing in a field or meadow.

What is the dough stage of wheat?

During the dough stage, the kernel is fully formed, and the plant transfers nutrients from the stalk and leaves to the kernel. At the end of the dough stage, the kernel is still very moist and contains about 30% water.

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