Grass Hay shortage in my area, looking for forage substitutes

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Grass Hay shortage in my area, looking for forage substitutes

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    11-26-2011, 07:49 PM
Green Broke
Grass Hay shortage in my area, looking for forage substitutes

My hay guy has warned me that this has been a VERY bad year for hay (Missouri River flooding was awful). He says brome, brome mix, and prarie grass are going to be hard to come by in the early spring because most farmers weren't able to grow and put up as much. Last year I had a hard time, and if it's going to be worse, well I'm a little worried. I bought close to the max my storage area at the stable can hold (36 bales brome/prairie mix) and Cinny eats about 2 bales a week in winter. That puts me into about March, when it's supposed to be bad so...

I'm wondering if there is something else out there that I can give him with his feedings as in forage, that will give him the gut fermentation he heeds for warmth so that I can feed him a little less of the hay and conserve??? Right now he gets 2-3 flakes twice a day (depending on how cold it is going to be) plus a ration of Purina Strategy Healthy Edge. I don't want to up the Healthy Edge because I don't think it will really count towards fermenting forage, and will just make him "hot" and give him an attitude. He can't eat Alfalfa because for some reason he gets a sensitive tummy from it. I know that forage is very important for his digestion, so I really want to know if there is an "okay" substitute....especially in a dire case that I have to go a couple weeks without the brome/grass mix in spring if it gets to that point. If it does I'm liable to driver out a few states with a trailer and see if I can get some from another state.

Any ideas?
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    11-26-2011, 08:01 PM
What I have been doing is keeping my hay storage area full and buying small quantities to feed right now so I don't dip into my "stash." That way the stash will hold out longer.

So maybe try not to touch the stash right away and buy the grass hay that is still available now (if it IS still available now) to feed right now.

My only other idea would be beet pulp or some type of hay pellets or cubes, but most of those contain alfalfa. I've never fed beet pulp myself but it seems I've read it can be used as a hay stretcher.
    11-26-2011, 08:01 PM
Grass pellets or cubes will help, but don't last very long. Could you get a bale of Alfalfa, or are you meaning there is going to be basically no hay? I would get a small mesh slow feeder hay net to help the some hay you can get to last longer. Also, soybean hulls and beet pulp are also great choices of fiber, and I heard somewhere they can take up to 30% of the horses diet.
    11-26-2011, 08:02 PM
Beet pulp, senior feeds, hay cubes (though the price on those might make it so they're not really an option). I'd keep an eye out between now and spring too and jump on it any time you see a few decent bales for sale. 10 here and 10 there can make a big difference, even if driving out to get them is a pain.
    11-26-2011, 10:16 PM
Green Broke
Tractor supply carries timothy cubes, not as rich as alfalfa and not super pricey. Its really compressed and dried so I would imagine a 50 lb bag of cubes would be like 2 50lb bales of hay I use the timothy/alfalfa cubes camping not sure what the label says. Check em out. Beet pulp is good also. I d keep buying hay now while you can.
    11-26-2011, 10:42 PM
I have fed Beet pulp to an older horse who could not eat hay well enough to satisfy his fiber needs. He did great on it. All my horses get beet pulp along with alfalfa pellets, no grain.. And hay.. Beet pulp can be feed as a full forage feed if nothing else is available or the horse cannot eat hay/grass. I prefer to make hay/grass also available for long stem roughage..
    11-26-2011, 11:10 PM
CW, your not that far from me, I can give you the name of my hay guy. He's got a lot put up in his hay shed
    11-26-2011, 11:12 PM
I've heard that from a lot of horse people in this area, but all the farmers that I know had a great year for hay. Wondering if it's not just some of the suppliers trying to drive up prices
    11-26-2011, 11:15 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by littrella    
CW, your not that far from me, I can give you the name of my hay guy. He's got a lot put up in his hay shed
That would be great, my guy still has some but if I don't buy it now it may be gone soon as he provides to most of the track TB breeders in this area as well. I'm worried that when I have the room to store, he will be out :(

I may be worried for nothing, I'm just really thinking ahead. Last April/May were horrible for me. That's when I switched to my current guy because everyone says he ALWAYS has extra, but he says this year was terrible so....

I'm going to keep trying to stock up, keep thinking "worse case scenario" until I know I have enough to last the end of May if I have to. By then the first cutting should be cured and ready to go...I hope.
    11-26-2011, 11:24 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by littrella    
I've heard that from a lot of horse people in this area, but all the farmers that I know had a great year for hay. Wondering if it's not just some of the suppliers trying to drive up prices
No, because of the drought in TX, everyone is extremely short on hay as TX is having to import all their hay from other states. CO had a great season for hay as well and there's basically none to be found as whatever wasn't quickly bought was shipped to TX.

It's so bad, I am seeing COW hay sell for $200 a ton! Yeah, moldy, icky, yuck that I wouldn't feed my cows! Tons of folks around here have had hay from Nebraska trucked in. A shortage in one state can cause a shortage in many states as folks scramble around and have what they need trucked in from elsewhere.

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