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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a farmer growing hay products and considering lacing our oat hays with pea to increase palatability and protein. I know adding peas is a big win for cattle but I know some horse owners are very picky.

As well, we were going to grow teff last year but did not get much feedback last year on it so did not do it. I know from testimonials it is a very high quality product for horses but if owners will not buy it, that is a moot subject.

So, are YOU stuck on grass hays? Have you ever tried other stuff?

We only make smaller round bales right now. I would like to learn if horse owners mostly only buy small squares? I would consider it if there is a market but we do not barn store our products and rounds just perform well outside. We sold about half our yield shortly after baling so was never rained on. However, I have read countless posts that indicate "rained on hay is junk". I can prove otherwise but not sure it would matter?
 

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As well, we were going to grow teff last year but did not get much feedback last year on it so did not do it. I know from testimonials it is a very high quality product for horses but if owners will not buy it, that is a moot subject.

So, are YOU stuck on grass hays? Have you ever tried other stuff?
You'll need to give some information about your location since forages vary widely in the different climates.

I wouldn't have a problem feeding teff from the reports that I have read, but being an annual and with the yields that I've seen, I would find it hard to believe that it could compete, price wise, with fescue, which is an extremely hardy grass, that is typical in this part of NC. I don't know anyone that grows teff here.

We only make smaller round bales right now. I would like to learn if horse owners mostly only buy small squares?
We use ~800 lb round bales and typically keep only 4-8 50 lb squares for spot feeding. The only exception is when we have pregnant mares that get orchard squares.

I would consider it if there is a market but we do not barn store our products and rounds just perform well outside. We sold about half our yield shortly after baling so was never rained on. However, I have read countless posts that indicate "rained on hay is junk". I can prove otherwise but not sure it would matter?
Again, depends on your area/weather. Around here with the heat/wet/humidity, you lose a lot to mold if they aren't stored under cover.
 

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We buy net covered round bales out of the first cutting and store them outside. Small square bales from the second cutting. Usually a couple of hundred a year to use mainly for the minis, the old guy and to take along when we go camping/trail riding.

Preference is a mixed hay. Mostly orchard grass, some timothy, and a tad of alfalfa. Around this area fescue abounds so a little bit of that probably sneaks into the older hay fields as well.
 

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I can't comment on the types of hay we use. I don't know for sure what it would be called. Basically it is grass mowed from the ditches. Small squares are hard to find around here. Most do up round bales that are around 1000 lbs. Squares take more work and time so most are getting away from them.

We started with small squares but the extra work, time and cost have made us change to using rounds.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I tend to think if we started doing small squares, we would start to cater even more to small owners that want to come get 5-6 bales at a time.

Does not sound like anyone wants to cereals or legumes other than Alfalfa?
 

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I don't know about peas, and I've never heard of teff being grown here in OK, so it would be pretty expensive. Mostly we use native prairie grass, blue stem and bermuda. Local alfalfa isn't safe for horses because of blister beetles, so my horses have forgotten what that's like. Once in a while, someone form out of state brings in orchard or alfalfa and I can buy a few bales as a treat, but mostly we feed round baled grass hay and keep a few small bales for when I need to feed an individual separately.

When I can find it, I'll buy Marshall Rye and Oat grass, but that's kind of a rare treat too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you are in OK, you should really have a chat with your local 5-0. I have talked to a list of people that will no longer even deliver in that state due to the badges trying source revenue. I guess that is another thing that keeps me from delivering! lol
 

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If you are in OK, you should really have a chat with your local 5-0. I have talked to a list of people that will no longer even deliver in that state due to the badges trying source revenue. I guess that is another thing that keeps me from delivering! lol
Welp, all I can say is, if they are doing something for the local 5-0 to cite them for, then they need to get legal. :D
 

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In NW Oregon, I have met exactly zero horse people who feed /have fed roundbales...I've actually never even seen them for sale! :lol:

As the owner of a singular horse who lives with a pair of goats and zero other horses, smaller bales are way more economical for me - even if I could find a roundbale. My horse would go through a roundbale so slowly that the majority would likely go bad before she could finish the whole thing. Not to even mention how much the goats would dirty while climbing all over it! :lol:
I'm not sure what constitutes a "small square bale"...since no one feeds roundbales. Around here, the term "hay" always implies a rectangular, 2-string, bale of something that's anywhere from 60-200lbs.
I typically buy, from my local feed store [I have very limited storage - 8 bales, at most, fit at one time], twelve 80lb bales of local grass hay [not sure of the exact make up but it's just basically someone in the area's grass field they've hayed - nothing special] per month and one 120lb bale of alfalfa every 2-3 months.
 

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It's all about where you are and who you want as customers. I was raised on oat hay so it's a natural go to hay for me but having lived on both coast and in the middle, I have run across many who have never seen it or dismiss it as straw. I live in barley country and when hay is in short supply, it's not uncommon to see barley "hay" on the market. Don't have a problem with that either when it's a component of the diet and not the sole source of long stem forage. Oats and peas are often put up here as well (always in rounds) but I don't feed that. Don't really have a reason other than the peas are supposed to be crimped to dry at the same rate as the hay. I have only seen alfalfa hay crimped and that was in the south. Just another step to add cost. Peas are added to increase protein and palatability. I'm OK with a 9% protein hay and mine don't need anything added to make them eat it.

As far as what size bale to put up, again who is your customer? You can get a premium for small squares and 3x3 have become so popular where I am, you often pay more for them than SS. Go figure. I would have a minimum when selling small bales. The average horse needs 15/month so make that your minimum. Some people can only store a month's worth at a time. Charge them more for the cost of storing it (or make them pay upfront for X bales and they can pick it up as they go).

Rained on hay is not junk but you can talk yourself blue in the face and they won't believe as word you say. Move on. I'd find other customers. Horse people want sweet smelling bright green hay (high NSC but don't want the sugars...) and depending upon what you are putting up, some of it will never fit those ideals but it's still the best most nutritious regional hay they can get.
 

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I buy whatever I can find that's reasonably priced and clean (no sticks, etc.). Generally just native grass, but I do get some special fancy fertilized grass sometimes. I STRONGLY prefer rounds, but am currently feeding squares since it's all I could find within a 1 hour drive.

I do not like paying more then $45 for a round bale and am currently paying $3 per square bale which from what I understand is quite cheap. I am not picky, as long as it fills the horses bellies, is clean (no mold or sticks etc) and the horses will eat it I'll give it to them. I have 2 horses and go through 1 square bale per day or 1 round bale every 1.5-2 weeks.
 

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OP, you never said your location. We cannot buy hay from you if we don't know where you are.

Nancy
 

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Another suggestion, one of our local feed stores makes their own round bales and a few small squares (usually oaten hay) When they sell the initial batch of small squares they unroll a few round bales in the paddock and re-bale them as squares.
 
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