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Reed Canary for cattle?


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#1 JD3430

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 06:34 PM

Is this an OK (or desireable) feed for cattle?

#2 swmnhay

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 06:46 PM

Alot is feed here as grinding hay for fat cattle mostly.It is a ok cow feed if cut early otherwise it gets real coarse.Most of it here is volunteer in low lying areas where water sits.The 2nd cutting is pretty nice feed for calves or horses.

Newer improved varieties are low alkaloid
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#3 JD3430

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 07:19 PM

This would be 2nd cutting reed canary. Should be more tender?

#4 swmnhay

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 08:08 PM

Yea 2nd cutting would be finner stemed but quite leafy.It has a wide leaf.

Had a little mixed in a bale of orchardgrass that was from a waterway running threw field and Karen said her horse really liked that stuff with the wide leaves,LOL.I was surprised the horse seemed to like it better then the orchard and blue grass.
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#5 JD3430

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 08:52 PM

I have heard that, too. My plan is to sell it as cattle/cow hay.

#6 Shetland Sheepdog

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:17 PM

The new improved varieties should make excellent feed if cut early, or as 2nd crop! I have horse customers that really like the 2nd crop RCG, and it isn't even one of the new varieties! I think that RCG has gotten a bad rap, and if correctly managed will make a lot of good feed.
JMHO, Dave
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#7 SVFHAY

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:49 PM

Dairy guys grow lots around here. I think the one guy has a field that has a 30 yr old stand a few miles south. Feeds good to horses, at least in a mix. Learned years ago not to mention rcg to horse owners. I won't plant any here for that reason.
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#8 JD3430

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:16 PM

The new improved varieties should make excellent feed if cut early, or as 2nd crop! I have horse customers that really like the 2nd crop RCG, and it isn't even one of the new varieties! I think that RCG has gotten a bad rap, and if correctly managed will make a lot of good feed.
JMHO, Dave


whats the bad rap?

#9 mlappin

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:49 PM

whats the bad rap?


Never made any myself, but for starters can be a real SOB to get to dry in certain conditions. Some of that could be is that it likes wet ground. Can be another real SOB to cut as well with a sickle machine. Anybody that has made more of it feel free to correct me.

#10 JD3430

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 04:30 AM

Never made any myself, but for starters can be a real SOB to get to dry in certain conditions. Some of that could be is that it likes wet ground. Can be another real SOB to cut as well with a sickle machine. Anybody that has made more of it feel free to correct me.


I did have a tough time with haybine cutting it, but no worse than some of the other crap I encounter. I did 40 acres and got it to dry down pretty nice. Al in all, I have to admit, it makes a great looking round bale!!!
It was in a flood plain, but reall droughty at the time. I bet you're right if it were damp/wet conditions!

#11 hayray

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:05 AM

Once it gets mature it has alot of alkyloids in it that give it a bitter tastes and so the palatability goes down. I am debating on getting into some areas that are dry right now and baling some for my cattle but I have held off because it is so ripe right now and I don't think they will eat it unless starving. Otherwise it is a great forage like others have mentioned.

#12 swmnhay

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:50 AM

whats the bad rap?

Reason it has gotten a bad rap is alot of it getts cut very mature.Probably can't get it cut before then because ground is to wet.It grows here in low lying areas and road ditches where water stands sometimes for months.

Here the cattle feeders mostly tub grind it and mix it in with other feed so there is a good market for it.

It is only the forage that will survive in standing water for months so it is a good option for those areas.

#13 Edster

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:48 AM

I have a 10 acre field of it and across the street there are another 25 to 30 acres of it. All of this land use to be part of a dairy farm. The dairy farms love the stuff 3 sometimes 4 cuttings a year. Most of mine goes to people with goats and horses. They all do fine with it. The main problem is staying ahead of this stuff. Under the right conditions growth can be measured in feet in a short amount of time.
The folks that do the other fields sell it all to horse people.

#14 swmnhay

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:02 AM

I baled some one time for a nieghbor.It had not been cut for yrs.It was 10' tall overly mature like straw.He raked 6' in windrow and I followed him around the field.

Baled some of mine few days ago it was 5' tall.

#15 kyfred

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:13 AM

We have a field that has what I have been told was Reed Canary grass. It is on a ridge that drains well. It will out grow the fescue, orchard grass, brome hay. It takes a trip or two extra with the tedder to get it dried to roll with the rest of the field. I was in a Stocker Cattle meeting that UK put on last fall and I think the person had a title of nutritionist said that reed canary does not have the nutritional value as other grasses have, and it is alright for cattle to eat but it is more less just a filler. I don't know about newer varieties ours was volunteer. It was grown on the farm as a crop over 50yrs ago and keeps coming back. Our cattle clean up the rolls that have the Reed Canary grass in it.

#16 swmnhay

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:07 AM

Interesting article.

http://hayandforage....narygrass_makes

#17 IAhaymakr

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:53 AM

I baled some wet a few weeks ago and wrapped it. Cows climb over each
other to get it. The smell is very sweet, like newly mowed lawn grass but better still.
I guess it would be considered grass silage. Whatever it is, they didnt waste a single stem. Usually that first cut stuff is like straw by the time it's dry enough to bale.

#18 joe.berg@lindbergh.com

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 04:18 PM

I cut a lot of reed canary. Until recently, it was the only feed I fed in the winter. it's a bugger to dry for hay. On my land, the swamps I cut are very close to the natural water table, so it's hard to dry. I normally can't get into the fields until July 4th, for the first cutting. This year, being a very wet year, we left many islands of wet area's, we'll have to cut in a week or so.

The second cutting is very young and lefty. The cows and my wife's horses do very well on it. I tested the CP a few years back, it was 12-14%.

I've been trying working with some local argonismist to try to increase tonnage and quality. It's very hard to do any fertilizing, when the ground is so soft in the spring.

#19 Edster

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:48 PM

Ok my wife just got a call and I thought I would share it. It was from a woman a couple of towns over who bought some hay off the women who's field has all the reed canary. Said she bought some off of them and has never seen her horses go after hay llike this before. Says it's the best damn hay she's ever seen and wants 300 bales of it.

#20 JD3430

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 08:35 PM

I just talked to a woman who wanted to buy hay in round bales. Told her I had 3 60" rounds of reed canary. She told me a few years ago her husband put some on the ground for runoff control and the horses abandoned the feeder of O/G and ate the reed canary off the ground.
She still didn't want to buy it from me.....lol




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