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S-t-r-e-t-c-h Your Feed With Straw By ARTHUR D. MILES, Park County G OOD oat and barley straw has consider able feed value. It compares favorably with late cut timothy or grass hay, is as good as or better than weathered range grass and, when properly supplemented, can be a satisfactory and economical feed for wintering beef cattle. For eight years we've fed straw to cattle in winter . . . couldn't get along without it now. Threshing is a big feed harvest on the ranch ... an extended haying season. Our . haying season is too short to put up all the hay needed. Raising grain in rotation pro duces a large amount of winter feed in grain and straw. We supplement the straw with good quality alfalfa hay—from 5 to 15 pounds, depending upon the quality and how close the cows are to calving. Second cutting al falfa is an exceptionally good supplement. Poor quality grass and weathered hays are not used to supplement, for they have little extra protein. The straw is fed right around the pile where it is threshed. The less it is handled, the less loss there is of the fine parts—all that the cows eat, and the only part that has value. A fence with two poles is built around the straw pile to keep the cows out of the pile and to make a place for them to eat. Each day the left-over stems are thrown out for the cows to bed on, and make into compost. Special care is taken during threshing to settle as much of the fine part of the Cows wintered on straw plus alfalfa raise 450 to. 500 pound calves, carry good flesh. (Miles photo) ■i rÆ I ] - " * » ■ . . ,.;;C Ä & I raftH -, liner 1 » 1 ~ r ' jÉte; ■ m ■ ■ mg~ f y * m ■ ■ ■■<': ? ;■ X v : ii WYOMING NORTHERN AND MONTANA RS With severe weather starling so early this winter, it is important to avoid all possible loss in the condition of livestock if they are to go through the rest of the winter satis factorily, says N. A. Jacobsen, extension live stock specialist. While proteins, minerals and vitamins are essential in maintaining animal health, an adequate amount of feed or a "full belly" along with plenty of warm water are more important during severe weather, he said. Aside from natural or artificial protection, livestock keep warm principally by heat and energy created by digesting food. Some feeds have a much higher energy or heat value than others and most concentrates have about twice as much energy value per pound as roughages. Water is necessary for digestion of both roughages and concentrates, Jacobsen pointed out. and it is also needed to regulate body temperature. A lack of water causes "de hydration" in livestock and results in rapid, loss of weight. . . . .....-.-I—... straw into the stack as is possible. Some difficulty is encountered on windy days in getting the light parts to settle in the stack. We generally thresh ;in a place out of the wind—by a growth of brush or >n back of a hill. When estimating the amount of straw on hand, we figure that straw from eight acres will feed a hundred range cows for a week when supplemented with hay, (If sup plemented with "cake," more straw is need ed.) Oat straw furnishes considerably more volume than barley straw, but barley straw is more palatable and the stock eat is closer. The amount of straw varies considerably and is not easy to figure. The straw yield will about equal the grain yield in weight. Wintering mature cows on a balanced straw ration has proved satisfactory for us. They raise 450 to 500 pound calves, carry good flesh. If straw is used as part of the ration of young cows and heifers that are still growing (and it well can be), less straw and more supplementary feed is necessary. Last winter we fed the bred yearling heif ers a ration of straw and 10 pounds of sec ond cutting alfalfa. Locally, many ranchers have been sow ing some kind of grass with their alfalfa— mainly orchard or brome. When they feed this mixed hay they have about the same balance of nutrients in the ration as when we feed straight alfalfa and the fine parts of the straw. It is a little difficult to set a money value on straw, since it doesn't enter into corn merce to any extent, but if it replaces hay i n the ration, it would have a value equal to the hay it replaces. Since only about half Q f the straw is utilized, the coarser parts being thrown out for bedding, it seems that, ton for ton, straw would be worth half as much as alfalfa hay. Straw is the main part of our winter feed, and winter feed has been a limiting factor in our livestock production.