Because of the drought this summer, we fed hay out in the pasture. It is a tradeoff because it is more work to move the hay out into the pasture compared to barn feeding.
We hoped this would convert a localized area into improved pasture. Make the cows busy stomping dropped hay and manure into the soil. That would build up the organic matter and fertility in the top soil and take a scrub piece of pasture into a prime piece of pasture. Maybe.
We didn’t see results over the summer, no rain to make anything change. We did start to see results in the deep fall after some rain.
It was different then we expected. The hay bales we placed in the summer that had summer grass, called second cutting, had some stray germination in the summer then nothing in the fall. The bales which were spring cutting, first cut, germinated like a dream.
Multiple locations of first cut hay turned into good pasture patches. The winter grass seed seems to have carried through into an ideal planting environment. I am hoping this has a cascade of fertility in these locations and begins a seed bank and water retention year after year.
In the final review, moving the bales out to the pasture is a good fertility improver and we’ll do it as much as we can over the winter.