FEEDSTUFFS MAGAZINE – Topics presented at the Midwest Section meetings of the American Society of Animal Science and the American Dairy Science Assn. in Des Moines, Iowa, ranged from basic “proof-of-concept” laboratory bench-top research to applied “in-the-field” studies.
On the applied end of the spectrum at this year’s meetings, University of Minnesota researchers K. Nenn, N. Kenney-Rambo and A. DiCostanzo compared bale feeder types on forage waste by beef cows (abstract 345).
Nenn et al. noted that feed waste is often an underestimated or ignored cost in raising beef cattle. They measured the effect of bale feeder type — hay ring, fence-line bunk or pull-type self-feeder wagon — on hay waste in two experiments utilizing Angus cows in their third trimester of gestation.
In experiment 1, 17 cows were permitted access to a hay ring or wagon feeder over eight 72-hour periods, with four periods per feeder type. A large, round orchardgrass bale was fed whole in the hay ring or processed in a vertical Patz mixer and fed in the wagon. Nenn et al. said feed waste was collected 24, 48 and 72 hours after delivery. Feed waste was considered soiled hay that was outside the feeder. Feed remaining in the feeder at 72 hours was considered refused feed.
In experiment 2, 18 cows were fed in a feed bunk or with the wagon over eight 72-hour periods, with four periods per feeder type. The diet consisted of 64% alfalfa/orchardgrass hay and 36% haylage (dry matter basis). Feed was processed in a Patz mixer for 20 minutes before delivery via either feeder type. Feed was adjusted daily for bunk deliveries to be offered ad libitum with a minimum of refusals. Wagon deliveries were paired to feed amounts placed over 72 hours in the bunk of the previous period. Feed waste was collected at 24, 48 and 72 hours for both feeder types, and forage refused was measured at 72 hours.
According to Nenn et al., in experiment 1, feeding hay in a wagon reduced waste: 4.0% for the wagon versus 22.3% for the ring. Similarly, forage dry matter waste in experiment 2 was 6.2% from the wagon and 18.2% from the bunk.
Nenn et al. concluded that placing ground hay or a combination of dry and high-moisture forage in a wagon led to less dry matter waste than feeding hay in a ring or through a fence-line bunk.
By Tim Lundeen