We make two kinds of winter feed here – baleage which is wrapped, and also dry hay. The wrapped bales we can store outside since they are protected from the elements in the plastic wrapping. The dry bales are kept inside because they are susceptible to damage from rain and snow. Both dry hay and baleage have advantages and disadvantages as a feed source. At Cricket Creek we try to make as much dry has as the weather permits, but it can be a challenge because several days of warm dry weather are needed.
This year we made 612 bales, which includes 55 bales of bedding. We also bought 60 bales from our neighbor Jeff Young. This feed will be for the lactating cows, the calves, heifers, dry cows, and beef. The lactating cows are the biggest group in terms of consumption, and the require the best quality feed. We prioritize the best feed for them, and then divide the rest amongst the other groups. Topher assumes that we need to budget for winter feeding for 220 days of the year, although we always hope that it will be a bit less. The cows are still grazing but just for a week or so more, and then we’ll be switching to hay!