Consider oats as cost-effective forage for winter beef cattle feed.
A few years ago in this publication, the cost of production for typical Ohio grass-based hay exceeded $100/ton without consideration for land costs. While fertilizer prices have moderated some since then, value of land and the cost of maintaining and utilizing the equipment necessary for making hay has increased.
And, according to the National Ag Statistics Service, average production/acre of mixed hay in Ohio hasn't changed substantially in decades; it remains today barely 3 tons/acre -- that's in a "normal" year! Net result is that the cost of making perennial grass-based forages in Ohio still exceeds $100/ton, especially in a year like 2012.
Since 2002, a number of Ohio cattlemen have enjoyed the results of planting oats in mid to late summer as a viable alternative for cost-effectively producing supplemental forages for cattle feed.
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