While a number of producers got the moisture they needed for a great hay crop, others are once again looking at tight feed supplies

Livestock and Feed Extension Specialist Travis Peardon says that may mean trying to stretch out feed by adding straw to the daily rations.

"Usually we want to feed some sort of a concentrate with straw just to bring up specifically those energy and protein levels. Then you have to look at the total ration and see what we need from minerals and vitamins just to make sure our cows requirements are being met."

Peardon suggests if you are trying to stretch out your feed, plan on using the straw first.

He says as we get further into winter, the cows get into that second and third trimester that calf is growing inside them. 

"So that is basically gonna limit the amount of feed that they can eat. That's when we want to save our highest quality feeds for that time before calving and through calving season.  Just to make sure they're in good shape when they go back home to pasture, so they can get bred again and bring home another calf for us."

Its important to remember when using straw to add some sort of concentrate like oats, barley or grain screenings pellets to bump up the energy and protein levels.

That can also help avoid other problems like malnutrition, impaction, reduced milk output and lowered conception rates.

Peardon says its important to test the quality of the straw, and the concentrate to make sure that everything is going to go well for your herd through the winter.