Proper Nutrition Is Key
Proper nutrition is the key to your animal's health, longevity, and performance. With hay being the dietary foundation for many ruminants and ungulates it is important to know the specific nutritional values to allow you to compensate for deficiencies, imbalances and possible excessive components.
Harvested from late May through June, as the weather allows. It tends to be more mature, coarser, and less green in color than later cuttings. Generally, first cutting is higher in fiber than protein.
This cutting is the least expensive and is usually used for livestock with lower nutrient requirements. Some people feed first cutting mixed with later cuttings, to cut cost
Harvested from late June through July. It rates from EXCELLENT to PRIME, tests as high as 12% -14% protein, and is typically greener in color than first cutting.
Second cutting works well as a primary feed, and requires little or no supplement to create a balanced ration.
Harvested from August to early September, it's a richer & greener grass than the 2nd cutting, best used for specific applications.
It is comparable to second cutting, but may be finer in texture and a darker green. Although young cuttings of third can be richer in nutrients than second cutting, it usually tests about the same.
This is the wild card cutting -some years you get it and most you don't, depending on the weather.
Fourth cuttings harvest in late September, but we have done it in October.
While lower in fiber, it's more nutritious, the fourth cutting works best when mixed with a coarser feed with more roughage, such as first cutting.
Hay Analysis Reports
The look, feel, smell and palatability of hay can only tell so much, having our hay analyzed provides crucial information about levels of protein, minerals (including ratios), digestible and indigestible fiber, as well as sugar and starch levels. The results reveal what may be deficient or excessive in the diet, including non-structural carbohydrates (NSCs).
That is why we sample and analyze all of our locally grown and imported hay; so that our customers can make better informed decisions about their animal's dietary needs and be confident that they are providing them with the very best nutrition!
Here is a notated hay sample to give you an idea of what you're looking at!