How We Feed Our Cows Over Winter

How We Feed Our Cows Over Winter

by Sienna Zuco

As we all enjoyed the warmer weather back in May, our Dairy team was already looking towards the winter months as they prepared bales of hay that would feed our cows. As the weather gets colder, we move our cows into the dairy barn to keep them warm and cozy. But, with less ample opportunities to graze, we feed our herd with the hay we bale throughout the winter season. 

With a goal of baleing 1000 bales of hay this year, our Dairy team came in right under that at 883 bales of hay. That is still plenty for our cows to feast on throughout the winter, and then some! 

Unlike last year, where we had to supplement our hay with purchased organic hay feed from other producers, our cows will be fed hay from Wolfe’s Neck Center’s very own pastures during the winter months. “It is much more cost effective to make your own hay,” says Ben Gotschall, our Dairy Manager, “since purchasing organic hay from others can get real expensive, real fast. With an estimate of about 600 bales that will be needed to feed our cows through the winter, the Dairy team is feeling extra prepared this season.” 

Did you know?

Our hay bales come in two different types, wrapped and dry. 

Wrapped bales, also known as baleage, are bales that get wrapped in plastic after being collected. This allows the hay to retain more moisture and ferment slowly. This helps the hay to retain its energy and quality that fresh green grass offers, ultimately keeping it more digestible than dry hay. 

Dry bales, also known as haylage, are unwrapped hay that can have a higher fiber content, but do not offer as many benefits as wrapped bales. So, at Wolfe’s Neck Center, our Dairy tries to have more wrapped bales than dry by the end of the haying season.

As we enjoy the changing seasons here at Wolfe’s Neck Center, our Dairy team continues to look towards the colder months and prepare to keep our cows warm, fed, and healthy this winter.

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