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Rake-Bunched Hay
Researchers at the Squaw Butte research station in Burns, Oregon, have wintered cattle for the past two years on "rake-bunched hay."
Associate professor Harley A. Turner says rake-bunched hay eliminates the need for most expensive hay equipment and storage. "The idea is to rake up bunches of hay in the field and let cattle winter off the bunches. There's no need to bale or handle hay in any way other than to cut and rake it," says Turner.
The researchers, and several farmers who have tried the idea, cut the hay in the morning and then rake it into bunches with a dump rake in the afternoon. Each pile is about the size of a maximum dump of a rake. From about mid November to May, cattle are wintered on the fields, confined by New Zealand type portable electric fences which are moved from field to field. Turner says that even in 12 to 16 in. of snow, cattle easily spot the mounds of hay, because the piles ferment slightly, emitting heat which melts snow on top.
"You have to have a good feel for how much hay is on each field so cattle don't get over or underfed," says Turner. He's not sure how the idea would work in Midwestern areas where it's colder and the snow is deeper.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Squaw Butte Research Station, Star Rt. 1, Burns, Oregon 97720 (ph 503 573-2064).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #1