Dairy: The pros and cons of late forage harvesting

Some farmers believe that it is advantageous to do their first cuts of hay as late as June 10. But dairy nutritionists and operators aiming to maximize production are not so sure


Bill French used to cut his first hay on the first day of June at the latest. Now, he leaves the flail harvester in the shed for another week.

He says that cutting later pays off in terms of fewer vet bills for sick cows and the elimination of sore feet. And he says that his milk test comes out better. On three tests in December, his butterfat test was 4.69, 4.62 and 4.5 per cent. His protein tests were 3.55, 3.57 and 3.54 on 30 cows.

Better Farming February 2008