We are super blessed to have access to 100% grass-fed (year 'round) butter, raw milk, and cheese from a local small farmer near us. They use alfalfa (as we have done) to have a cow stand while being milked. Alfalfa is a legume. We do know folks that will toss some molasses-coated grain feed (typically called "sweet feed") into a bucket for their milking cows, but not everyone does that. Ask though if you have grain sensitivities.
Hay can be strictly grass or a mix of grasses (we put up mixed grass hay from our farm and from a neighbor's farm, preferably before seed heads are an issue); ask your local farmer what kind of hay they feed. Alfalfa is great in the winter as it is rich, but it can be expensive to get and feed if you are feeding a lot of it.
Our practice is to feed a mixed grass hay versus a single ingredient hay--we feel the cows (horses, sheep, hogs) benefit best when the hay is a variety mix. Alfalfa for our critters is a treat in the dried form, but not a staple in their diets.
Our cows (Highlands), sheep and horses eat vines, low hanging leaves, etc. not just "grasses." We have small meadows in the lower areas of our property that we didn't know could even exist because of our diligent and hungry Highland cattle!
I didn't want to buy any Kerrygold because they have it at Sam's Club near us; we know what a lot of products have to go through to get onto Wal-Mart-type shelves and it isn't pretty.
Not sure who you are arguing with.
Originally Posted by oceangrl
If it's me then have stated that fresh green grass is best for cattle - not hay, not straw.
As for the straw-man argument
"Toxins are a problem?" - Yes they are IMO.
I have suggested the toxins MAY only be concentrated in the grain and not the stalks (if that is wrong then then I can correct this guess to actual reality) - But even if the toxins are not in the stalks it still doesn't mean it's a better food than fresh green grass.
I buy from a farmer that has green grass all year round.
Though I try to be a realist and accept that some places don't have much green grass at some times of the year.
If supplementing of hay did not occur at times of the year in these places, then there would be no dairy or beef meat produced in these places for much of the year (in fact they would not keep cattle at all as they couldn't feed them all year round).
Hay - cut, dried, and baled grass.
Alfalfa - cut, dried, and baled alfalfa
Straw - cut, dried, and baled wheat and corn stalks
Usually, straw is used as bedding. Animals may nibble on some, but most don't. Not only are they usually offered enough of the good stuff, but most animals are a lot cleaner than most people think they are and don't eat what they sleep and/or go to the restroom.
Something to be weary of. The grasses are rarely sprayed with pesticides while they grow, but the borders and ditches are, and the fields will sometimes be sprayed between plantings. Also, the seeds are coated with a powdered type of pesticide/poison. I don't know how it affects the plants themselves, but it is there.
There is also GM alfalfa now, too. And that is sprayed a lot more liberally (plus, it's GMO, so if your goal is to avoid that...yeah).
So, even if it's 100% grassfed, remember that it may still not be "clean" depending on its field and on its alfalfa and hay bales during the time of the year that it can't eat outside.
Source: three summers of baling hay and feeding animals.
Even if the cows are fed supplemental grains, I'm sure it's still better than GMO soy used in the animal feed here in the US.
Yes I would think the straw is quite tough for them to eat compared to hay.
Originally Posted by Primal Moose
Cows dont seem to be too interested in straw but come quickly when they see hay being driven to the field
The spraying happens along with overspray from neighbouring farms, so itís not perfect.
Texas is the climate most resembling the 9th level of HELL right now! Or so we feel at the moment...
Originally Posted by EatMoveSleep
Ok sorry to hear that.
Originally Posted by RenegadeRN
So I guess hay is on the menu - so to speak
I know a commercial farmer that is in a warmer climate and come to think of it he sometimes has to hay supplement in times of drought - not sure if that means every summer.
Hay is just the grass version of beef jerky. No big deal for cows.
Sent via A-10 Warthog
Probably a good analogy.
Originally Posted by Mr. Anthony
For humans beef jerky is a occasional supplement/snack (normally??), not a proper meal like roast beef and veg.
Thanks for reminding me - I have to try get some jerky
Hay is cut grass. Cut at the best time. Grown tall but the stalls are not dried out. It is mown down and then turned a few times to dry it out. There is huge nutritional value in hay - that's why the cows run after the tractor when you " feed out" in winter. They definitely know their hay from their straw!
Originally Posted by oceangrl
Straw is the stalks of barley or other grain that had gone past the prime growing stage. Where the stalks are dried up and the grain is at the end of the stalk ready for harvest. Cattle won't eat this rubbish and neither will horses. There us no nutritional value in it.
It's perfectly fine to eat butter or milk from hay or silage feed animals.
Proper grassfed butter is a nice deep yellow colour. As new zealanders we know the butter is always a deeper yellow colour in springtime when the spring Clover grows. Same with cheese. What on earth do American cheese makers put in the chedder to make it orange? Chedder is yellow too! That always gets me wound up when I see orange cheese. ..