Backed in a corner because you are low on hay and your pasture is shot? It’s time to think out of the box but there are options.     
First things first, it’s time to be vigilant with the hay that you have. Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with the University of Missouri in Galena, Mo., said nearly 70 percent of hay produced is never consumed by livestock. Hay management now is critical.
By-products are a good source of forage and protein. If you don’t know what to use or where to purchase by-products, University of Missouri Extension, Missouri Dairymen’s Resource Guide has a list on their website at
The Resource Guide is grouped into by-products by prices and value. Under each category is information to help you to determine which mixtures to use.
When comparing the Value of Net Energy of Gain, it is pretty easy to see which products are quick gaining. Some By-Products to consider are:
Almond Hulls, Barley, Barley Malt Sprouts, Dried Brewers Grains, Wet Brewers Grains, Dried Corn Gluten Feed, Cracked Corn, Ground Corn, Steam Flaked Corn, Whole Shelled Corn, Cotton Seed Hulls, Cotton Seed Meal, Whole Cotton Seed, Corn (Wet), Dist. Grains, Hominy Feed, Linseed Meal, dried skim Milk, Cane Molasses, Rolled Oat Grain, Rice Bran, Rolled Sorghum Grain, Soybean Hulls, Soybean Meal, Whole Soybeans, Sunflower Meal, Black Walnut Meal, Wheat Bran, Rolled Wheat Grain and Wheat Middlings.
The Resource Guide also provides links for obtaining these products.
Worried about nutritional value of by-products? Luke Miller, Nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, Inc., shared his thoughts about by-products and nutrition. Miller felt that most by-products are fiber based and highly digestible for cows and calves. Miller stressed that flexibility is the key. Peanut hulls may not have a lot of value, but still can help to stretch your feed rations. Other items such as oat hulls and rice hulls can also be fed to maintain body weight. Miller said this may be the time that we have to get into a “survival mode” rather than keeping them in top performance condition. By-products can provide that alternative.
Miller also suggested that alternative forages such as corn silage when available or baling corn are also good alternatives for cattle feeding. He felt that producers should consider soybeans as forage to feed this year. Miller said that corn and wheat stalk bales while not providing a lot of energy provide roughage then you can bring in that needed energy.
Not ready to go that route but still need help? Consider liquid protein or molasses as a source of protein that can be added to forage, even straw if necessary. These can be purchased at most feed stores.


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