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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 16 2014 :  10:27:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As we begin thinking about hay for this next season, we learned that our usual source of alfalfa hay is going to start producing huge bales...over 1000 lbs each! We have heard from a couple of farmers that producing the huge round or square bales are more cost effective for the farmer because there is less labor needed as the tractor does most of the work. Have you heard that, MaryJane? I am so disappointed...the regular rectangular bales are just fine for me to manage! We bale our own grass hay into regular bales, but still need alfalfa hay. Still looking...

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens

maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Jun 18 2014 :  5:33:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I went through that scare this past year. I talked an organic alfalfa producer in S. Idaho into doing a truck load of two-string bales for me but then I couldn't find a trucker willing to come up Idaho's "cart path" from Boise to N. Idaho. (Don't get me wrong, I like that we're so isolated.) We used to grow our own. For now, the local fella we've been getting our alfalfa/grass hay from says he'll do 2-string for another year. If he has any extra, I'll let you know. I think we take all he grows.

But it is a problem for those of us set up for small bales that we can move around easily. I have my eye on what it would take to change how we do things here.

Think of all the horse owners around. They do 2-string. I think if you switch from thinking alfalfa to alfalfa/grass you'll find some easy enough. What I do is supplement with organic alfalfa pellets that I bring in by the pallet load to feed while I'm milking. I think straight alfalfa might be too much for a cow anyway.

I just re-read your post and realize that you want alfalfa because you combine it with your own grass hay when you feed. Hmmm. Alfalfa pellets?????? If you pencil it out, the pellets might even be cheaper as long as you're supplying roughage with your grass hay. They're sure a lot easier to store and haul around!

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 18 2014 :  10:09:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alfalfa pellets might be the answer. Thanks for the idea! I mix the alfalfa with the grass hay mainly for my goats. :-) We did not give Clover any alfalfa last year, rather just the grass hay. Should I give Clover any alfalfa? She is still small and will be a year old in another couple of weeks! Still pinch myself that I actually have a Jersey sweetie!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Jun 19 2014 :  06:44:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think she'd love a bit of alfalfa every day. Introduce it slowly. Any change in feed needs to be done slowly. You can tack some bags of pellets onto one of my orders if you'd like, ModestoMilling.com.

My gal Maizy, who I'm milking, hasn't been going into heat lately so I asked my vet about it. He said if a cow isn't getting enough protein equal to what they're producing (she's giving milk to her calf as well as us), the first thing to go will be her estrus in order for her to conserve energy (Maizy's also aging). He said that's the reason heat cycles in cows in large dairies are problematic because they're being asked to give milk sometimes 3 to 4 times per day.

So I started giving her some of Modesto's fortified organic grain pellets (slowly). WOW!!! The change was dramatic. She used to give us so much cream and that had changed also. With the grain supplementation, we have our cream back and I'm hoping she'll be going into heat soon because it's time for me to breed her.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 19 2014 :  09:23:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, MaryJane, I would love to tack a few bags of alfalfa pellets onto your next order. Also, could I order a couple bags of the fortified grain pellets as well? That sounds like it would be good for Clover as well. Thanks!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 20 2014 :  3:06:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We found some leads for local alfalfa regular-sized bales! Hurray! I just don't see how those giant bales will ever work for the backyard cow farmer. They make sense for a bigger operation but not for us little guys!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Jun 20 2014 :  3:10:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Got it! Two bags of organic grain pellets and how many alfalfa bags? I'll be ordering in the next week or so.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 20 2014 :  9:06:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Could I please order two bags of alfalfa bags? I want to see how Clover and my goats like the alfalfa pellets before committing to a larger order. :-) Thank you, MaryJane! I hope you enjoy the gorgeous sunset tonight!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 27 2014 :  8:46:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Clover is loving her alfalfa pellets! And, her organic grain pellets. This afternoon, we were running about a half hour late on our chores and Clover was letting us know! She eagerly eats it all.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Jun 28 2014 :  06:14:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our hay is down (not baled yet) and getting rained on But at least the rain is good for our pastures. They're growing like mad around here.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jun 30 2014 :  06:58:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our pastures are looking well here as well. Hopefully, the hot sunny weather for this week will help dry out your hay. Our hay should be cut within the next week or so and will hopefully miss any rain! I do enjoy the thought of being able to grow our own hay for our own farm critters.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jul 31 2014 :  6:48:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, we broke down and purchased a spear for our tractor so we are able to handle the larger round hay bales. :-) I will admit that it is handy to be able to put a round bale out in the pasture and it lasts a lot longer than a small rectangular bale. Our own hay fields were not cut nor baled in a timely fashion so we lost quite a bit of our own production...so I suppose next on the list is our own baling equipment! :-) Man o' man...the farm life keeps expanding.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Aug 01 2014 :  08:24:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm jealous. But I managed to get yet another year's worth of 2-string in my hay shed for the upcoming year. We bought a used baler from our local John Deere dealer and it was fix-or-repair-daily. Make sure you invest in a good one or you'll be nothin' but frustrated. Making your own hay is perfect/ideal.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Aug 04 2014 :  9:25:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another farmer warned us about purchasing our own equipment as he warned about numerous breakdowns and needed emergency repairs...but after our frustration over waiting on someone else's schedule, lack of work ethic, and watching our grass/hay go to waste, we are beginning to wonder if we could find some good used equipment and have less frustration. Thank goodness my husband is pretty good with repairs, but I know that there will be some fixes that will be over-the-top frustrating! So, it sounds like we need to be very wise in our purchase of a used baler and there must be many poor quality or well-used balers out there for sale! We may wait a bit longer while we consider our options.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Sep 01 2014 :  9:19:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For what it is worth. Many times we have un wound large round bales and tossed it into the square baler if you have a baler. Works very well and you can still keep the hay source.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Sep 01 2014 :  10:03:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's brilliant! I'm having a hard time picturing it though. Any details you can give would be welcome?

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Sep 02 2014 :  06:54:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Two ways I do this. One way is to take the net wrap or string on the large round bale and push it to roll it out. Then just pull the square baler over the rolled out bale and it works like it is running over a raked wind row. The other way is to tip the bale on the side and unwind it a little at a time a hand toss the hay in the baler as it sits there running. I do this all the time. I get many people who want the smaller 50 pound bales and only have made the big rounds. It is a little labor but so worth it when you compare cost per ton.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Sep 02 2014 :  07:11:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm pretty excited about this. We can get big bales under storage here (delivered) but from there everything we do is set up for the smaller two-string bales. Such a great tip!!! Many, many thanks.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Sep 02 2014 :  1:40:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Glad to help. Even nice for a few extra dollars as well. Generally I can get ( what I do not grow ) rounds for about $80 a ton and get about 40 bales of 50 pounds each and sell them for a minimum of $5 a bale. The tractor gas might run you $10 max to do one ton which pays someone $50 an hour to do the ton.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Sep 02 2014 :  1:51:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
PS..flax pellets are good as well and more protein than alfalfa. We get the transitional ones ( organic but not yet certified ) from a company called buckwheat growers of MN. They have a website and have many other products and shipping is reasonable. They are an all organic mill.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Sep 02 2014 :  2:29:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
More great tips!!!! Thanks. Never heard of flax pellets. I will check it out.

Earlier in the week I tossed some whole fresh flax seed into my mouth, enjoying the flavor of "fresh ground" flax. Yum. I love their flavor when fresh. Not so great when old and rancid.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Sep 02 2014 :  2:40:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rancid=bad??lol..
Another thing used for cows here is millet. It grows fast and tall, cut it like hay and let it dry and bale it up. Cows love it and it is good for them in winter as well. Temps here can go to -30 f and wind chills off the chart. A cow needs all the help it can get. Of course my milk cows are in the bar, no heat but no wind.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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GingerBKelly

273 Posts


Posted - Aug 20 2015 :  11:45:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Does anyone know where I could get organic alphalfa up here, in the Northeast? I looked for some last year, but ran into a few dead ends.

~Ginger Kelly, Kelly Homestead Apiary, Charlton, MA~

gingerbkelly@gmail.com
When a cow laughs, does milk come out her nose? ~Author Unknown


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maryjane

6785 Posts


Posted - Aug 20 2015 :  1:23:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Most of us buy ModestoMilling.com organic alfalfa pellets. I have the same problem getting good organic hay but Modesto solved that problem for me. I also use their non-soy organic grain pellets for treats. And they sell DE, kelp meal, and sodium bicarbonate as explained in my book. They love the alfalfa pellets. I know Modesto will ship a pallet load most anywhere.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Aug 20 2015 :  9:58:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What about Chaffhaye? That's alfalfa and I think they are working towards organic certification. My cows love it! There's another thread on this chatroom where Chaffhaye is talked about in depth.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Aug 20 2015 :  10:00:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
https://www.heritagejersey.org/chatroom/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=606&whichpage=1

I think this is the link for the thread. Its located under pasture fed vs. grain fed.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens

Edited by - CloversMum on Aug 20 2015 10:01:13 PM
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