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Hay Quality Matters: Understanding the Impact of Poor-Quality Hay on Livestock Health
USAgNet - 03/27/2023

In the world of livestock farming, hay is an essential part of the diet for animals such as cattle, horses, and sheep. Indeed, feed costs can be responsible for up to 60% of the costs for a beef cow operation. However, not all hay is created equal, and feeding poor-quality hay to livestock can have significant consequences for their health and well-being.

Poor-quality hay can lead to digestive issues, such as colic and diarrhea, and may also result in a decrease in weight gain, milk production, and overall animal productivity. Additionally, feeding low-quality hay to livestock can have economic implications, as it can increase the cost of feed and veterinary care while decreasing profits.

To ensure the health and productivity of livestock, it is important for farmers to understand the characteristics of high-quality hay and to invest in hay that meets these standards. This includes hay that is free of mold, dust, and other contaminants, and that has a balanced ratio of nutrients such as protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.

2022 recorded the lowest hay stock numbers since the 1950s according to USDA statistics.

The quality of hay is crucial to the health and productivity of livestock, and investing in high-quality hay can result in significant benefits for both animals and farmers alike.


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