I had some more thoughts about oat hay again as this cold snap carries on.  I think it is a great bargain right now as orchard grass reaches $170 a ton.  Oat hay is a much cheaper alternative to orchard grass, however you got to be careful about feeding it without anything else. Watch out for oats that were cut before they hit the milk stage as the nitrates could be high.  I know of oat hay for $110 a ton here in Tumalo, and I saw another ad for $125 in Culver area,  that is $50 or so a ton savings over orchard grass.   That savings really adds up if you have a herd of animals.

I have been feeding my horses about a 50 -50 mix of my oat hay as well as our weedy orchard grass bales we picked out of our field. They have been doing great in this cold, snowy weather.  I figure I will save about $100 a horse for the winter by feeding oats, and they have maintained weight nicely. 

My bred cattle have been getting about the same mixture, although I am feeding some better grass hay and they are looking real good.  I think oats is a great solution with this weather with cattle. Rained on hay is cheaper than cheap, but since most of it was laying out for almost two weeks last summer, the nutrients will not be quite as good as premium hay, and oats would be a cheap way to provide calories. 

With hay prices the way they are right now, using oat hay to stretch that valuable feed can provide substantial feed savings while keeping weight on cattle and horses in good health.

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