Big Differences in Hay Feeder Wastage
A study that involved a comparison of four types of round bale hay select feeders was conducted by Michigan State Univ. researchers. The types of feeders were cone, ring, trailer, and cradle. A total of 160 non-lactating pregnant beef cows were assigned to the four feeder types. Each of the four types provided approximately 17 inches of linear feeder space per cow. During the study, the hay that fell onto a concrete surface surrounding the feeder was considered waste, and was collected and weighed daily. Results are summarized in the following table (Buskirk et al. 2003. J. Anim. Sci. 81:109).
|Item||Hay Feeder Type|
|Daily hay disappearance, lb/cow||26.4b||26.8b||30.6c||28.4b,c|
|Daily hay waste, lb/cow||0.9b||1.6c||3.5d||4.2d|
|Hay waste, %||3.5b||6.1b||11.4c||14.6c|
|Net hay intakes, lb/cowa||25.4||25.1||27.1||24.3|
|a Hay disappearance minus hay waste|
b,c,d Within a row, means without a common superscript differ significantly (P < 0.05)
As shown above, there were statistically significant differences among hay feeders in hay wasteage, ranging from 3.5 to 14.6%. Assuming a hay price of $75/ton, this range in wasteage translates into a savings of $15/cow/season. With 20 cows accessing each feeder, the savings per/feeder/season would be $300. This study clearly shows that all hay feeders are not created equal.
[February 9th, 2009]
Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science
Animal Science, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE