Estimating winter hay needs and and quality

With the exception of some baleage or an unusual dry spell, most hay has been made for the season. As forage yields across the state have been 20-40% below normal, an inventory is important information to have. If you are lucky and have a surplus, this may be a good year to sell some forage as a cash crop. If you’re in a deficit, then you need to reduce cow numbers or buy forage – neither of which is an attractive choice.

Bill Halfman, University of Wisconsin Extension Educator adapted a spreadsheet ”Estimating Winter Hay Needs for Beef Cattle” from the University of Tennessee. I further adapted it for NY including a baleage calculator.

**This evaluation is not for ration balancing. This hay may or may not meet the nutrient requirements of all classes of cattle. The purpose of this spreadsheet is to first determine how much hay you need. Then forage testing is required to determine if this hay is nutritionally adequate.**

The spreadsheet can be found here Hay_need Calculator-B-Halfman_mjbEdits.

There are two sheets for hay and two for baleage. This allows you to enter data from your farm and look at different scenarios.

Additional resources on forage harvest and quality.



Hay-Estimating Winter needs – Kuck