Anyone put up barley yellow feed for their cows?

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Anyone put up barley yellow feed for their cows?

May 26, 2020 | 09:24 1 I have been buying hay to feed my 100 cows and there is no profit left. Either have to get out of cows or find cheaper feed. Green feed looks good, but requires a haybine to dry it and needs to be baled in the middle of grain harvest, as rain will damage the swath.

Thinking that perhaps seeding barley and then spray it with roundup at the soft dough stage and let it dry standing and then bale during a break during grain harvest. Can use my swather to cut it, which I have and rain at harvest is not going to hurt it as much as greed feed in a swath.

Don't see anyone using yellow feed. Does it work? I assume that if it is yellow, that it has lost all the vitamins and would need a lick tub to supplement the vitamins.

Green feed or yellow feed look to be a much cheaper way to winter feed cows and perhaps have some profit left in my cows. Reply With Quote
AllisWD45's Avatar May 26, 2020 | 09:41 2 Did lots of it years ago. Made really good feed. Used to seed spring triticale. That worked the best. Oats too much straw. Cows would clean it up and did well Reply With Quote
May 26, 2020 | 11:10 3 I don't know what your weather is like, but here in SW Ontario if we cut the green grain today, we would bale it and wrap it tomorrow. Yes, the wrapping adds to costs, but the quality we bale and wrap is the quality we feed our cows.

Some of the wrapping costs would be offset by the savings of not spraying.

One concern is not letting it get too mature or the barley awns can be pretty unpalatable if too ripe. The rule of thumb in our climate is cutting 64 days after seeding for growing calves, and 67 for feeding to cows. After that, the material gets pretty coarse and stemmy and although you do get more bulk, the feed quality drops off a cliff. It's surprising how close one needs to stick to that criterion, regardless of the weather throughout the growing season.

In many places, that would leave enough of a window for double cropping this forage mixture, depending on moisture levels.

We use a mix of oats, forage peas and barley.

I hear you on the cost of buying hay. It just doesn't work here. Right now top quality hay is 13 cents/lb.

Low quality is 7 -8 cents.
Last edited by burnt; May 26, 2020 at 11:13.
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May 26, 2020 | 11:42 4 Burnt you are making silage bales then? Any idea what moisture they would be? Do you put them is a long tube like a grain bag or individually wrapped? Any issues feeding them when it gets really cold? Wondering if they turn into big blocks of ice?

I already have the barley seeded for this year as I was thinking of selling all my cows this fall. The idea of cheaper feed is causing me to rethink this.

Most green feed or yellow feed is low in protein. Looks like a little bit of grain and supplemental protein needs to be fed also. How do most people feed the grain portion daily? If I need to make something or locate a feeding unit, now is the time to start looking. Or just feed a hay bale every 2nd day?

Triticale, oats, peas, etc can all be looked at for next year, but I am stuck with barley for this year. Reply With Quote
May 26, 2020 | 11:44 5 AllisWD45, did you change to a different feed or just get out of cows? I can see that triticale would be better as it does not have the awns. What did you do to get the extra protein into the cows? Reply With Quote
May 26, 2020 | 11:48 6 Do all cereal forage as yellowfeed. Works well for us. Dry down times vary substantially with weather conditions. Could be as short as 14 days or as long as 28 days. Reply With Quote
AllisWD45's Avatar May 26, 2020 | 13:01 7
Quote Originally Posted by poorboy View Post
AllisWD45, did you change to a different feed or just get out of cows? I can see that triticale would be better as it does not have the awns. What did you do to get the extra protein into the cows?
Sold out a few years ago and semi retired. We made baled silage for years with a tubeline wrapper usually oats or triticale. We tried to make as much hay as we could dry. We also made the dry yellow feed. We swath grazed for a few years mostly red proso millet. We found it had more volume and didn"t weather as much as grains and was very palatable. We went out of swath grazing and went to corn grazing because when the snow got to deep they couldn't graze anymore and what they exposed would freeze overnight and they couldn't graze it. We corn grazed for many years but only from mid November to early Feb because we calved then.Any system we used we always supplemented with mineral tubs and we never fed grain to our cowherd.
The one thing i truly believe and found to be true is the more days in a year that a cow can forage for herself the more money you can save in costs Reply With Quote
May 26, 2020 | 14:13 8 I did as a cover crop slash green feed.cows loved it. Reply With Quote
May 26, 2020 | 16:41 9 The triple mix is still very wet when I bale it but I do not know what moisture it is My tester goes only to 45% and it's way higher than that.

I get it wrapped in a long, continuous tube.

We seldom get down to the temperatures that you guys get out west. A cold winter is -25C with dips to -30. -40C happens, but very rarely.

So we might be around that -10 to -20 any given time of winter. In those temps, we might have a few inches of frozen shell on the bale, but the girls mow it down. Frozen net wrap can be a bit more trouble to remove.

Cutting at the right growth stage is hard to over-emphasize. Too early, too soft and the girls can hit the eye of a needle at 20 paces. Too late and there protein drops to nothing. As does the palatability. When rain prevents timely cutting and the grain got too mature, I have had them refuse to eat the coarser straw. And my wife says I'm too good to them when I don't make them clean it up...

The barley is usually not much past swollen boot stage, maybe a few heads popping out of the boot. The oats usually don't have much more than a few kernels showing. And the peas will have a few pods but mostly just flowers. two more days at this stage and you go from optimum cow feed to hard strawed filler.

All I feed is salt blocks and beef cow mineral, free choice. I try to feed a 50-50 mix of dry hay and green-feed bales. But certainly no grain.

The wrapping is costly - we pay $8.00 for a 4 x 5.

And you know what, I cannot say if the cows make us any money on a stand-alone basis because I've never broken out all the associated costs. And we have only a hobby size herd anymore, having sold the main herd a few years ago.

What I do know is this: after breaking up a field of sod that's been down for 4 -5 years, we get a much better corn crop. And having some cows allows me to utilize some feed or crop that might otherwise not have much or any value.

Also, we rake our cornstalks into windrows in the spring and bale them for bedding. The stalks from today's corn plants leave too much residue on the surface for optimum soybean emergence in no-till seeding. So there's another benefit/credit to the cows.

it's almost as if a mixed, integrated operation comes with some beneficial synergy...
Last edited by burnt; May 26, 2020 at 16:46.
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May 26, 2020 | 22:54 10 I would recommend wrapping silage bales as the way to feed your barley. We have wrapped everything from beautiful second cut to nasty rained on first cut (which is recommended against) as a last ditch effort to make something of it before the next monsoon. As long as you remember that crap feed will not magically improve after getting wrapped but will generally preserve as long as you get enough plastic on it.

Maybe someone around you has a wrapper and would do it custom or possibly buy one with a neighbour? We bought a used tubeline inline and wouldn’t be without it. 5.5’x5’ bales of under 40% (usually) moisture costs $4-5 for plastic. This past year we never intended on making a single silage bale but made 3300 of them due to constant rain. We’re even carrying a bunch of them over to next winter so we’ll see how that goes.

Good luck and let us know which way you decide to go. 🍀 Reply With Quote