Kick the Hay Habit
2010, Green Park Press
Hay is far and away the greatest cost to a cow-calf operation, so anything we can do to reduce the amount of hay feeding in our operations will save us big money. Jim Gerrish challenges all of the mainstream ideas of cattle operations when it comes to feeding hay. Gerrish grew up in a custom hay business, and through his years of experience as a University forage systems researcher, he’s developed a solid understanding of what it takes to supplement livestock, and why minimizing hay feeding is just good business.
Throughout his book, “Kick the Hay Habit”, Gerrish discusses ways to reduce the amount of hay you feed to your cows, saving time and money, and freeing yourself up to work on other aspects of your operation. While he admits that there are certain parts of the country where feeding hay is necessary (particularly the temperate Northeast U.S.), he demonstrates that year-round grazing is possible throughout much of the United States, if operations are managed properly.
Creating stockpiled pasture, properly measuring and evaluating your stockpile, and timing forage needs with seasonal supplies are critical to the goal of year-round grazing. Gerrish explains in remarkable simplicity the idea of measuring forage availability and using that information to make adjustments in your herd. He explains things in very simple terms that anyone can understand, demonstrating that even University professors have common sense every now and again 🙂
By properly timing your calving season, being flexible with the size and makeup of your herd and planning ahead, Jim Gerrish shows how farms and ranches can spend far less on hay and be truly profitable.
Even living in an area that’s considered by most to be impossible to winter cattle without hay, Gerrish’s book has saved me a great deal of money. While most farmers in the area begin feeding hay in October, we were able to extend our grazing season to December 14th this year using tactics I learned from Jim’s book. If you’re looking for outside-the-box ideas to bring profitability to your farm or ranch, check out “Kick the Hay Habit”. You’ll gain knowledge far more valuable than the cost of the book.