Friday 24 August 2012

Hay for the goats

It takes six days of dry, breezy, sunny weather to make good hay and we don't often get  spell like this on the West Coast. A cow needs two tonnes of hay to feed it through the winter and on the basis that one cow is the equivalent of eight sheep or goats we will need four tonnes of hay and or haylage for the winter. We made seven half tonne big bales of haylage last month
20 bales safely stacked in the byre

Yesterday I collected 20 small bales, roughly half a tonne; nine in the van and eleven in the trailer from Ian Wilson who farms above Loch Ness. This is for the goats, its too good for the sheep. Luckily some Farmers still make small bales of good hay for horse keepers, Smallholders and Crofters. The big round bales need big handling equipment, big barns and big flocks.

Perhaps I'm a bit paranoid about winter feed. In 1976 after a long, hot and dry summer I had 200 beef suckler cows and their calves to feed and no silage. The grass just didn't grow in 1976. To feed them I had to buy 400 tonnes of barley straw. The straw was fed with rolled barley and urea and the cattle were never better. So with 30 ewes and two goats I'm still worried about having enough winter forage. Perhaps I'll get some more next week.

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