The nutrient requirements of your cowherd are known. So don't guess on how much nutrition you're feeding. Unless you know the nutritional value content of the hay you feed, you may be throwing money away by feeding to much hay just to make sure the cows needs are covered. Worse yet, you may not be meeting the cow's daily nutritional requirements at all. That could lead to problems calving or into the next breeding season.

Producers in the Arkansas Beef Improvement Program have cut supplemental feed cost by 50 percent by forage testing the hay and feeding the right amount to cover the cows' needs. Get your hay supply tested before winter feeding begins so you can take advantage of market opportunities, should you need to supplement the hay. Talk to a university extension person in your area to find the best place to send your hay samples for testing.