The price of feed is always going to be an issue in a society where inflation is always knocking at the door.Couple this with unpredictable pricing on commodities and world events and all the sudden your scrambling to feed your flock without declaring a bankruptcy. Obviously alternatives are in order. Wheat hay has been mentioned as a viable feed for cattle. No it is not nearly as exciting as feeding your herd candy canes, or candy corn or a Halloween-style buffet that would make Milton Hershey blush, but it has been shown to work. There are some
drawbacks though. No solution is ever perfect. Let us look at some benefits and drawbacks to wheat hay for cattle.
Wheat Hay Value
Some of the strong points of wheat hay are:
- Excellent value in certain markets
- High Protein Content
- Poor wheat yields or bad harvests make this a great
alternative for some farmers
- Very high in fiber
- Wheat has a sweet taste popular with cattle
- Can be ground to remove abrasive beards
Wheat Hay Drawbacks
- Certain parts of wheat hay can cause abrasions in cow's
- Abrasions can lead to infection or undernourished cows
- Wheat must be harvested at specific stages to ensure
- Higher wheat prices can remove it as a cost effective
- Can lead to a bitter taste in the meat
- Protein yields are reported to very low in some cattle forums
The drawbacks are not insurmountable. There is a viable substitute for your feeding program. Some possible ways to mitigate any potential risks are to maybe supplement it as part of your cattle feed program. Another idea would be either get beardless wheat or grind the wheat hay up to prevent any oral problems with the cattle.
Creative Feeding Is A Way Of Life
It is very hard to predict what feed markets are going to do. Take the situation with using agricultural products. What I would take from this is the balance of feed costs have destabilized beyond just normal fluctuations. The fact that our Federal government is recklessly pushing the use of agriculturally based alternative fuel is going to continue to increase corn prices. While the government claims this will no effect on corn prices. Common sense tells us something else. On top of this fact, other costs are being added to agricultural products.
The point I am trying to make is that now is the time to develop alternate feeding programs designed to flow with market volatility. Whether your alternate feeding plan includes wheat hay or candy corn. Make sure you have one in place.