farmco logo cattle feeders pa

No Waste Hay Feeders for Cattle

skid loader dumping feed for cows for how to keep cows from wasting hay article

Fact 1: Cattle eat a lot of hay. Fact 2: A lot of hay is wasted every time you feed your cattle. Although “no waste hay feeders for cattle” are never 100% waste free, you can save a lot of hay with a feeder compared to ground-feeding your cows.

How Much Hay Do Cows Waste?

Before we dive into how to keep cows from wasting hay with a hay feeder, let’s look into how much hay a cow actually wastes. 

A cow needs to eat about 25-30 lbs. of (92%-100% dry matter) hay in a day (around 2% of body weight). 

Based on those estimates, here’s a simple breakdown of how much hay a cow or herds of cattle eat.

Table 1

# of CowsHay Consumed in 30 DaysHay Consumed in 90 DaysHay Consumed in 365 Days
1 head750-900 lbs.2,300-2,700 lbs.9,200-11,000 lbs.
10 head7,500-9,000 lbs.22,500-27,000 lbs.92,300-109,500 lbs.
50 head37,500-45,000 lbs.112,500-135,000 lbs.456,300-547,500 lbs.

Note: We are assuming hay is 92%-100% dry matter.

Simply put, a cow can waste almost half of the hay that it’s given (45%) if given unlimited access to ground-fed hay. But this all depends on the method of feeding. 

Here’s a further breakdown of 4 feeding methods:

Table 2

Feeding MethodHay Waste (percentage of original bale)
Ground-Fed (unlimited access)45%
Hay Net<10%
Cone Feeder5%-21%
Minimum Waste Hay Feeder for Cattle (see bunk feeder or bale feeder)4%-15%

Note: These are estimates and may not always be accurate across the board.

Referencing Table 2, we’ll calculate the amount of hay that is wasted by each feeding method.

Table 3

Feeding MethodHay Waste per/TonHay Waste per/5 TonsHay Waste per/25 Tons
Ground-Fed (unlimited access)900 lbs.4,500 lbs.22,500 lbs.
Hay Net<200 lbs.<1000 lbs.<5,000 lbs.
Cone Feeder100-420 lbs.500-2,100 lbs.2,500-10,500 lbs.
Minimum Waste Hay Feeder for Cattle (see bunk feeder or bale feeder)80-300 lbs.400-1,500 lbs.2,000-7,500 lbs.

Note: These are estimates and may not always be accurate across the board.

Converting that into dollars, a ton of hay costs anywhere from $30-$300 per ton. Based on how much hay is wasted in Table 2, we’ll estimate how much money you’re losing because of hay waste. 

Table 4

Feeding Method$$$ Lost Per/Ton$$$ Lost Per/5 Tons$$$ Lost Per/25 Tons
Ground-Fed (unlimited access)$14-$140$70-$700$350-$3,400
Hay Net<$3-$30<$15-$150<$75-$750
Cone Feeder$1.50-$63$7.50-$315$38-$1,600
Minimum Waste Hay Feeder for Cattle (see bunk feeder or bale feeder)$1.20-$45$6-$225$30-$1,130

Note: These are estimates and may not always be accurate across the board.

You can quickly see that a minimum-waste hay feeder for cattle is an investment that will probably save you thousands of dollars in the future. Why not request a free quote on one now?

cattle eating hay without a no waste hay feeder for cattle

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How Do You Keep Cows from Wasting Hay?

We might’ve stolen our own thunder already, but there are many ways to keep cows from wasting hay. We’ll divide these methods into 3 different categories.

1. How To Keep Cows from Wasting Hay: Daily Feeding Methods

Feeding your cattle daily, rather than periodically, can greatly help keep your cows from wasting hay. We’ll break the daily feeding methods down into 2 sub-methods.

Loose Round Bale

Feeding a large round bale on the ground is not a preferred method of feeding. However, if the bale is unrolled and loosened, a waste percentage of about 12% can be expected…if fed daily. However, that’s still a lot of hay just sitting around. Plus, if you distribute more than a day’s amount of hay on the ground for your cattle, the waste percentage skyrockets to 40%.

Pros
Cons

Loose Small Square and Small Round Bales

Hay distributed in small square or round bales should be spread evenly throughout the field. Again, this must be done in daily portions in order to keep hay waste at an absolute minimum.

Pros
Cons
cattle eating hay from high quality no waste hay feeder for cattle

2. How To Keep Cows From Wasting Hay: Periodic Feeding

There are a couple of cattle feeding methods where you can keep both hay waste and time at a minimum: hay nets or hay feeders. 

Haynet

A hay net is a great option for reducing hay waste with minimum investment. All you have to do is place a hay net over a large round bale and ta-dah! There’s your hay-saving machine. A hay net can help your cattle only waste less than 10% of the hay. 

A haynet costs around $150-$200 (see Texas Haynet’s option).

Pros
Cons
Hay Feeder

A hay feeder is just different. First off, it’s the best permanent solution to cattle feeding. Plus, it does what one haynet cannot. It can feed dozens of cows at the same time. Hay feeders also allow you to spend less time feeding your cows due to the hay feeder’s ability to efficiently store a lot of hay for a lot of cattle.

Pros
Cons
cattle chewing on hay from no waste hay feeder for cattle
cattle feeding on hay from no waste hay feeder for cattle

How To Keep Cows from Wasting Hay: Other Practical Methods

Here are several more practical methods to keep cows from wasting hay. 

Feed in Well-Drained Areas

Cows will not eat hay that is infested with mud or manure. That’s why if you feed your cows on the ground, make sure that it is in an area that is well-drained, e.g. on gravel, concrete, or on tires. Avoiding low areas and marshy grass for feeding grounds is a good idea.

Feeding In Order

Storage plays a critical role in hay quality. Hay that is stored outside tends to be less high in quality and often has a greater percentage of wasted hay due to moisture and other weather conditions. It’s wise to first feed the lower quality (stored outside) hay first then give your cows the better hay last (hay stored inside).

Limit Supply of Hay

Don’t give unlimited access to hay for your cattle unless it’s in a raised hay slow feeder. Unlimited access to hay on the ground can waste incredible amounts of hay…up to 45%! If you figure a cow eats 25-30 lbs. of hay a day, that’s 340-400 lbs. of wasted hay per month per head! At a minimum, if you’re going to feed your cattle on the ground, at least limit the amount of hay to daily portions, which will at least cut back on some hay waste.

Ground Hay

Yes, grinding hay does help save on hay waste. It increases the palatability of the hay and also chops up the “stemmy” or “less desirable” pieces for the cattle. You can also purchase a hay processor that will chop the hay for you. 

How Do You Feed Hay With No Waste to Cattle?

The short answer is that you can never have absolutely no waste when feeding hay to cattle. Even a cattle hay feeder does not completely eliminate hay waste. We’ve mentioned these ways before, but here are 2 ways you can reduce hay waste for cattle. 

Hay Feeder

Probably the best long-term solution for cattle feeding is a minimum waste hay feeder for your cattle. Let’s look at 2 different examples of hay feeders that can greatly improve hay savings.

Bunk Feeder

About 4’ wide, 16” deep, and 8’-24’ long, you can pile plenty of nutrition at each feeding into a Farmco bunk feeder. With the option of slant bars welded around the perimeter of the bunk feeder, this option is an excellent-quality minimum hay waste feeder for cattle. 

closeup of red bunk feeder waste hay feeder for cattle for sale

On top of that, a feed bunk from Farmco is built for rough, farm use. For example, our feed bunks are constructed using 12-gauge metal, with reinforcing at the points where it’s weakest.

Several more features of a Farmco feed bunk include: 

700 DRB Large Bale Feeder

Hay feeders like the 700 DRB, are built to keep hay bales in the center of the feeder and encourage cattle to take smaller portions of hay. This all helps to keep your cattle from wasting hay.

exterior photo of quality 700 drb no waste hay feeder for cattle for sale by cornfield

What’s more, is that the 700 DRB is extremely simple and easy to clean. Designed with EZ Clean-Out racks, which flip out of the way during cleaning.  We’re not joking when we say that it takes less than 2 minutes to clean a 700 DRB Large Bale Feeder.

A couple more details about this feeder:

While no company can truthfully sell a “no waste hay feeder for cattle,” our bunk feeder and 700 DRB feeders come pretty close to that “no waste hay feeder for cattle” motto!

Daily Feeding Methods

As we’ve mentioned above, feeding your cattle their daily amounts of hay rather than periodically dumping 2-3 days’ worth of hay in the pasture can really cut back on hay waste.

Hay Net

Hay nets can technically also be a periodic feeding method. We’ve also mentioned that hay nets are an affordable and efficient way to feed hay with minimal waste to cattle. However, the netting can be a hazard for your cow’s hoofs and can also be inefficient for large herds of cattle.

covered cattle feeder as example of how to keep cows from wasting hay

What is the Most Efficient Way to Feed Cows Hay?

The most efficient way to feed cows hay is by using a cattle hay feeder, such as a bunk feeder. This keeps the hay off the ground, reduces feed trips, and keeps hay waste at a minimum. Essentially, a minimum waste hay feeder for cattle is the best, and most efficient, solution.

What Do We Call a Feeder that Helps Keep Hay Off the Ground?

A feeder that helps keep hay off the ground is called a hay feeder or raised cattle feeder. A cattle hay feeder is critical to keeping hay waste at a minimum and also helping your cows eat slower, while also saving you time cleaning the feeder and feeding your cows.

small red bunk feeder waste hay feeder for cattle for sale

How Can I Make My Cow’s Hay Last Longer?

There are 3 main methods to help hay for your cattle last longer: invest in a hay feeder or hay net, change your feeding schedule to daily, and stop ground-feeding hay to your cattle.

Hay Feeder or Hay Net Investment

We’ve done plenty to explain why a hay feeder or hay net is a good investment above. Here’s a summary:

Hay Feeder ProsHay Net Pros
Easy to cleanEasy to use
Spend less time feeding cattleDrastically reduces hay waste
Drastically reduces hay wasteAffordable
Feeds a lot of cattle

Change Feed Scheduling

If you ground-feed your cattle, only feed a day’s amount of hay (rather than several days) to your cows. This has been shown to drastically reduce hay waste in cattle feeding.

cows eating hay from ground instead of from a no waste cattle hay feeder

Photo Credit: UNL Beef

Stop Ground-Feeding Hay to Cattle

This may be one of the best keys to success. In order to get closer to the “no waste hay for cattle” motto, stop ground-feeding hay to your cattle and try investing in a hay feeder. You’ll see soon enough, the amount of money that you can save!

photo of red and yellow 700 drb no waste hay feeder for cattle for sale

Wrapping it Up…

In summary, a minimum-waste cattle hay feeder is probably the best way to keep cows from wasting hay. Although feed scheduling changes can help in the short term, the best permanent solution is to invest now in a cattle hay feeder and save in the long term.

Since 1985, our team at Farmco Manufacturing has been dedicated to building exceptional farm equipment that is built to the following criteria:

We’d love to serve you in any way! If you’re interested in a quality cattle feeder, feel free to fill out a quick, free quote on any of our products (also read our article on small grain bin sizes)! Or, you can learn more about our cattle feeders below!

Feed Bunks: A Comprehensive Overview

We understand that cattle feeding is a time-consuming process that requires attention to detail, consistency, and, of course, hard work. If you have any questions about bunk feed management or about cattle bunk feeders, then you’ve come to the right place. This article will give a general overview on bunk feeders for cattle including common questions, a helpful guide on how to make practical bunk feeders, and much more! We’ll start with a simple question.

What Is A Feed Bunk?

Simply put, a cattle bunk feeder is a lengthy trough that is often made from metal or concrete. Its design can look like an upside-down semicircular trough with metal bars, or can also simply be a flat surface that is built with a concrete back to reduce feed waste.

exterior of red feed bunk for sale

How Much Is A Feed Bunk?

Although bunk feeders can vary in price due to different companies, time of year, steel or concrete prices, etc., here are a couple of price ranges for some feed bunk products for cattle that we sell at Farmco Manufacturing. These prices should give you a ballpark idea of how much you’ll pay for a good bunk feeder.

L Series Bunk Feeder

The L Series Bunk Feeder is designed to meet the feeding needs of farms of all sizes, from hobby farmers to large operations.

exterior of quality red feed bunk for sale in PA

The trough on our bunk feeder is 4’ wide and 16” deep, allowing for plenty of space to pour nutritious feed for your cattle. It features sloped sides to keep feed consolidated down to the last scraps, as well as drain holes to avoid excess moisture accumulation. With sizes up to 24’ long, we have feed bunks that will handle as many as 40 head of cattle at a time.

An L-Series feed bunk is definitely a more heavy investment than the next two options. However, these feeders are designed to hold a lot of nutritious feed for a lot of cattle. Our article “No Waste Hay Feeders for Cattle” details the value of cattle feeders a bit more.

Calf Bunk Feeders

If you’re looking for a feed bunk that can be height-adjusted for the calves on your farm, our Calf Bunk Feeder is a great option. When feeding calves, often the problem with some feeders is that they’re too high for young cattle. Farmco’s calf metal bunk feeder solves this problem by adding adjustable legs that allow the height of the feeder to change along with the height of the herd. The legs of these metal feed bunks allow for the height to be changed from 16”-22”.

exterior of amazing bunk feeder for sale near PA

The trough on a Farmco calf hay feeder is 32″ wide, allowing for plenty of space to pour nutritious feed for your cattle. It also uses sloped sides to make cleaning easy, as well as four drain holes to keep water from accumulating in the feeder. With sizes up to 16’ long, Farmco’s calf bunk feeders can feed up to 30 calves at a time.

Calf feed bunks prices stand a happy medium. They’re generally less expensive than the L Series bunk feeders but more expensive than our final option below.

Grain/Small Square Bale Feeder

What if there was a feeder that could do two things equally well? With the 32 series feeder, there is. Although this is technically a horse feeder, we thought we should add this feeder to the list since it’s an extremely efficient and affordable feeder. We doubled up and combined a small square bale feeder with a bunk-style grain feeder. The result is a square bale feeder that allows you to feed hay, grain, or both simultaneously. It’s called multitasking.

exterior of green feed bunk for sale

For the square bale feeder rack, we used 3/8” steel rods attached to a frame of 1/8” steel rectangle tubing. This hay rack is designed to be filled – time after time after time. The grain trough beneath the square bale feeder is 32” wide, built from 12-gauge steel, and stands 25″ from the ground.

One benefit of combining a metal bunk feeder with a hay rack is that it can help to cut down on hay waste. Much of the loose hay that is pulled from the square bale feeder is caught in the grain trough. Making sure your animals clean up feed scraps means healthier animals with a smaller feed bill, and that’s a win for everyone.

The Grain/Small Square Bale Feeder costs the cheapest out of these three options.

To wrap up, here’s a list of the general cost differences between the L Series Bunk Feeder, Calf Bunk Feeder, and Grain/Small Square Bale Feeder.

Feed BunksCost
L Series Bunk Feeder$$$
Calf Bunk Feeder$$
Grain/Small Square Bale Feeder$

Feed Bunk Management

Of course, some of the decisions based on feed bunk management are subjective from farmer to farmer. Obviously, it’s important to make educated bunk-feeding decisions based on the observations of your cattle’s food habits and your personal farming experience.

As the University of Nebraska Lincoln once said, “Proper bunk management is the art of matching feed deliveries to the number of feed cattle need for optimal performance.”

exterior of feed bunk and cattle for concrete feed bunks for sale article

Photo Credit: extension


Typically, a good goal for cattle feed bunk management is to have two “1/2” days a week or three to four “1/2” days in 10 days. If your cows are showing you a “slick bunk,” or a cleaned-out bunk, every morning, that’s an obvious sign that more feed is needed in the feed bunk every day.

Another important tip is to stay consistent in pretty much every aspect of the feed bunk management process. One method of consistency to keep in mind is feed-time scheduling: try to keep the feeding times as consistent as possible from day to day. Of course, the feed times do not have to be at the exact time every day (the feed time can be up to 15 minutes off regular feeding time), but consistency is what you should be striving for.

Another way to draw conclusions about your bunk feed management is by the aggressivity of your cattle during feeding times.

Make changes slowly. If you want to change up the amount of food given to your cows, for example, space out your changes by 3-5 days.

It’s important to keep in mind that the less change, the more effective feed times will be. The more change, the less rumen fermentation occurs within your cattle, which is basically the process of your cattle changing food to energy. Also, remember that mistakes don’t appear quickly (2-3 days), so remain alert and observant to any mistakes that you may have caused.

How Do You Make A Bunk Feeder?

It turns out that making a simple bunk feeder is not very difficult. A couple of different ways that you could go about this are to link bins that are cut in half to each other, build a simple wood-framed bunk feeder, or cut bins in two and attach them to a wood frame for stability.

exterior of feed bunk for cattle for feed bunk for horses article

Photo Credit: TARTER

How Many Cows Should There Be Per Bunk Feeder?

This will vary according to the length of the bunk feeder.

How Many Inches Of Bunk Does A Cow Need?

Although this can vary, a cow needs anywhere from roughly 15”-30” of bunk room, which comes out to about 19” on average of feed bunk space per cow.

exterior of great cattle bunk feeder for sale

In Conclusion

Bunk feeders can be a very valuable and efficient investment for you and your livestock farm (also learn about our small grain bin sizes). From the definition of a feed bunk to how to build one, we hope that this article was a helpful resource on what to know about feed bunks. If you’re looking to possibly purchase some sort of cattle feeder in the future, check out our quality cattle feeders, including our metal bunk feeders.


It’s that time of year again…National Farmers Day! It’s a chance for us to collectively take a step back and specifically thank all of the farmers who work so hard each day to feed the world.

Thank you…

…for all the early mornings and late nights.

…for all those cold winter mornings feeding and milking.

…for all those hot summer days baling hay.

…for all those dusty fall harvest days.

…for all the hard work that makes it so easy for the rest of us.

FROM THE BOTTOMS OF OUR HEARTS, THANK YOU, FARMERS – The team at Farmco

Thank You Farmers! | #NationalFarmersDay

4 Livestock Feed Storage Ideas You Can Try Today

Your grain or other livestock feed is crucial to keeping your animals healthy during the winter — unfortunately, the animals in your herd aren’t the only ones who want a taste. Rodents and vermin like to turn your animal feed into a free buffet whenever they get the chance.  Plus, the wintertime water and resulting mold can play a part in ruining the livestock feed you’re storing as well.

If you want to fight back against mold and pests, you need to check out these 4 livestock feed storage ideas. Some are DIY work-arounds you can try out — and others are long-term investments. Learn 4 ways to keep your feed and grains safe!

Grain Storage Ideas & Solutions

diy storage

If you leave your feed in the plastic bags it comes in, rodents will chew right through them before you can say Mickey Mouse. Not only do vermin like to eat your feed, but they also pollute it with their feces. In fact, wasted and ruined feed is one of the biggest and most-preventable ways that farmers lose money.

Grain storage is your investment to prevent that loss. Your ideal livestock feed storage solution needs to be stronger than vermin, protected from the rain, and easy to transport and use.

Learn more about how vermin and mold destroy cattle feed.

Some large farms employ multiple 30-ton or 50-ton stationary grain bins. While that massive equipment works for them, it’s not right for most farmers since it is too large, too expensive, and not mobile. Let’s take a look at some innovative grain storage solutions instead:

Farmco Manufacturing – Building Solutions to Help Farmers

Farmco builds livestock feed storage bins with the same precise manufacturing and experienced engineering we use to build our horse and cattle feeders. No matter what Farmco product you buy, you can feel confident it was constructed to resist rust and stand up to the elements – and vermin. We build all of our products to solve real problems that farmers face every day. Learn more about how the Farmco line can help you save time today. Speaking of livestock feed, if you want to learn more about hay, feel free to read our article on square hay bales.

If you’re finished trying to make do with impromptu livestock feed storage, it’s time to upgrade to a Farmco grain bin. Contact us to get your grain bin quote today.

When showing your cow, winning the judge’s favor requires a combination of the cow’s condition and your own skill in the ring. Whether you’re new or experienced, these crucial cattle showing tips can help you ensure your cow gets a proper look from the judges.

At Farmco, we help real farmers every day by building the cattle feeders they rely on —and by providing real tips and information. Read our blog to learn cattle showmanship tips you can use this year.

cattle shows

Cattle Showmanship Tips You Can Use

The primary thing the judges will be looking at are the composition, health, and temperament of your animal. These cattle showing tips are meant to help you ensure you show the judges exactly what they want to see.

Cattle Feeders for the Healthiest Cattle

At Farmco, our cattle feeders go hand-in-hand with raising show cattle for more than one reason.

Firstly, cattle health plays a massive role in cattle composition. Health is absolutely key to cows gaining weight and even being able to be shown at all.

Learn more about how Farmco cattle feeders promote healthy herds in several ways.

In addition, preparing for shows can be time-consuming. If you have a large herd, you might not have the time to invest in training one individual cow. However, Farmco feeders and other equipment help farmers work more conveniently and save time every day.

Learn more about how Farmco feeders save you time.

show cattle feeder

Buy Your Farmco Feeder Today

Interested in bringing the savings and convenience of Farmco feeders to your farm? You’re in the right place.

Farmco feeders are sold nationwide — both online and through our dealer network. If you want to learn more or if you want a cattle feeder quote, contact us now.

How Farmco Saves Farmers Time & Increases Farm Efficiency

For farmers, time is money. Whether you raise cattle or board and train horses, doing anything you can to increase farm efficiency is worth it. That’s why Farmco designs products to offer labor-saving benefits to the farmers who use them.

So when it comes time to replace your old feeder, look for a feeder that can save you time. Learn more about all of the ways in which Farmco can help increase farm efficiency with our convenient and tough equipment.

Increase Farm Efficiency with Farmco

Farmco has been manufacturing agriculture equipment since the mid-’80s and has focused on making farm work a little easier from the beginning.  Farmco equipment can increase your productivity and make feeding your animals easier with their many different feeder models. Other equipment can assist with moving hay and storing grain. All focused on maximizing your time!

Here’s how Farmco makes your farm more efficient:

Buy Your Farmco Products Today

Whether you’re a cattle farmer or a horse enthusiast, Farmco has developed the equipment to make a tough job a little easier.

Farmco sells its equipment nationwide through a large network of dealers. If there is not a dealer in your area, Farmco can ship directly to your farm or ranch. Farmco also specializes in custom-built feeders and other equipment.

Contact us to get a quote for your Farmco equipment.

How to Find the Right Cattle Feeder or Hay Feeder for You

When you’re buying equipment for your farm, you want it to lessen your workload, be durable, save you money in the long-run, and meet your budget. In short, when you’re investing in new equipment – whether it’s a tractor or a hay feeder – you want it to be right for the job.

When investing in a hay feeder or a cattle feeder, there are a ton of options. You want to be sure you’re making the right choice. Farmco Manufacturing builds ALL of our horse and cattle feeders to last. Choosing the right Farmco cattle or hay feeder is a matter of matching the model to your needs and finding a model that fits your budget.

Let’s explore the Farmco models.

5 Farmco Cattle Feeders

Here are 5 Farmco cattle feeders that offer different features and are good for a variety of tasks.

Cattle and Horse Feeders for Sale

Farmco Manufacturing offers a wide variety of horse and cattle feeders for sale and through our large dealer network. We build the durable feeders that make farmers lives’ easier and conserving feed. Whether you’re creep feeding calves, keeping show horses, or raising a herd of sheep, Farmco has tools to make the job easier. Speaking of livestock feed and feeders, if you would like to learn more about hay bales, feel free to read our article on square hay bales.

If you are still deciding on the best feeder for your needs and your budget, contact us and we can help you decide.

5 Ways to Increase Cow Weight

To cattle farmers, every pound of beef is precious, especially when you’re raising cattle without hormones or antibiotics. That’s why at Farmco, we provide farmers with the tips and equipment that can promote herd growth, for both weaning calves and adults.

Here are the effective tips we’ve learned through decades in agricultural — and how our creep feeder can be a game-changer during the weaning process.

Tips to Increase and Maintain Cattle Weight

The best cattle farmers put the right strategies in place throughout their cow’s entire lives. The right choices help you pack on the pounds and keep them there, from weaning stages to market weight.

calf in field

Explore Farmco Creep Feeders

Creep feeders are a crucial piece of equipment for many farmers, and we build sturdy and easy to use options.

Built of heavy-gauge steel, Farmco Creep Feeders are strong enough to prevent tough-full grown cattle from having access to the feed you’re offering to younger calves. The bars that limit access can be adjusted, meaning your creep feeder can provide an economical feeding solution for multiple sizes of animals.

Like all of our cattle feeders, our creep feeders are easy to load and transport. In addition to helping farmers solve problems, we also strive to make their hard work a little easier.

Meet Farmco Manufacturing

With over 30 years of building products that solve problems for farmers every day, Farmco is still dedicated to helping farmers in both the cattle and equestrian world. While our feeders can be found coast-to-coast, we are still a family-owned company hailing from the farm country of Lancaster County PA.

In addition to providing solutions to our customers, we also provide farming insight and support on how to use our feeders. Whether you want to order your feeder or ask us a question, we’re here to help. Contact us today!

Why Ground Feeding Is Bad For Horses, Cows & Farmers

While most savvy farmers know that ground feeding is an outdated method, some still hold onto this old tradition—and that’s a bad thing. Some classic farming traditions have unfortunately stuck around.

Still common among both cow farmers and equine enthusiasts, ground feeding is actually counterproductive, as it wastes hay (and money) and exposes both types of animals to entirely preventable parasites.

At Farmco, we build the world’s best cow and horse feeders, so we know the difference a sturdy feeder can make for your herd. It’s one of our missions to educate all types of farmers about the waste and the danger caused by ground feeding hay to your animals.

Why Do Some Farmers Still Ground Feed?

There isn’t just one answer for this question. From what we’ve heard talking to real farmers, it comes down to four things:

hay horse

How Ground Feeding Wastes Hay

Some farmers say that ground feeding is the most natural way to feed animals. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best way.

Here are the most common ways we see ground feeding waste hay:

cattle ruining hay

As a 21st century farmer — whether it’s your job or hobby — you need to find ways to save money wherever possible.  Hay and other feed isn’t cheap. This is no place to let superstitions and old habits undercut your bottom line.

How Much Can Ground Feeding Waste Cost You?

Numerous agricultural studies show that ground feeding wastes approximately 50% of feed placed on the ground. That 50% holds true for both horses and cattle.

Essentially, you need to buy 2 bales for every 1 bale you feed to your herd or your horses. That wasted hay (and money) adds up.

Need some good news? Our top-of-the-line feeders are specifically designed to prevent feed waste.

Parasites from Ground Feeding

One other way that ground feeding nickels and dimes the average farmer is through the added exposure to parasites. Ground feeding increases the risk of internal parasites for both horses and cows.

When animals eat directly off the ground, they are at risk to consume parasite larva or eggs along with their feed. Young calves, in particular, are susceptible to parasites.

Consistently having to deworm your horses or your herd is an added expense — the more animals you have, the more expensive it becomes.

Find the Feeder That’s Right for Your Farm

Ground feeding is an outdated practice that will waste your money every year until you make an upgrade.

Plus, horses will often pee on hay that is left on the ground in their stall. If you want to learn more about why horses pee on their hay, click here.

While nearly ANY slow feeder on the market is an improvement over ground feeding, you want to make a good investment and get your money’s worth. Besides assessing whether a feeder will save hay, it’s important to also consider whether your preferred slow feeder will protect your horse’s teeth. Not only does Farmco build the sturdiest feeders on the market, but we also build the smartest feeders specifically designed to prevent feed waste and protect your animals from colic or symptoms of laminitis in horses.

Start the conversation and find the perfect feeder for your farm.

How to Stop Mold and Vermin from Ruining Cattle Feed

During the wintertime, both mold and vermin can contaminate your cattle feed. When cattle eat infected feed, it can lead to a series of issues including feed rejection and even sudden death.

When animals are your livelihood, you need to ensure that they are healthy and productive. You also need to make sure that your feed is not being undermined by preventable sources. Unfortunately, both mold and vermin can damage your feed at various stages of use.

The right feeders and feed storage units can prevent mold contamination of cattle feed in both the storage and feeding stages. Explore how Farmco Feeders can prevent costly and dangerous damage to your feed over the winter.

How Does Mold Form in Livestock Feed and Why is it Dangerous?

Your cattle feed is susceptible to mold until it is eaten by the cattle, including during the harvest, storage, and feeding processes. Mycotoxin-producing mold requires moisture to thrive (most potent at 7% moisture and above), so preventing moisture is the primary way to prevent mold.

mycotoxin producing mold

The mold itself isn’t the dangerous ingredient —after all, some people love blue cheese — but the Mycotoxins created by certain mold strains can be extremely harmful.

Ingesting feed infected with Mycotoxins can cause the following consequences in your cattle:

How to Prevent Mold During Livestock Feed Storage

When storing feed, you need to take precautions to keep it off of the ground in a rain-proof container. Unfortunately, the bags that the feed is shipped in are not even close to water-proof. Instead, immediately transfer the feed out of the bags and keep it in a storage container.

A tough and sealed Farmco 3-ton grain bin protects your feed from ground moisture and precipitation until it is ready to be used for feeding.

Eliminating ground feeding solves this mold problem as well as reduces the risk of parasites. Instead of ground feeding, use a cattle feeder so that even if the ground is wet with snow or rain, the feed will remain dry.

Unfortunately, even if feed is administered using a cattle feeder, some feed can possibly fall to the ground, beginning the mold growth process. Farmco feeders are designed to prevent your herd wasting feed, saving you money and eliminating the risk of mold.

portable grain bin to prevent mycotoxins

How to Prevent Mold During Feeding

Mold can also begin to develop as a result of ground feeding. If mold can grow in a feed bag, it can certainly grow in feed left on the ground. Here’s how it happens:

The best way to prevent mold during feeding is to get the feed in a cattle feeder up off the ground. Ideally, the feeder will also have a roof, which will keep the majority of moisture off the feed while it’s being eaten. Several Farmco cattle feeders are available with roofs, like the 710DRB model.

How Do Vermin Infest Livestock Feed?

During the winter, colder temperatures drive rats and mice inside. Barns and storage sheds are among the places that often harbor vermin. In addition to staying safe from dropping temperatures, rodents infiltrate your cattle’s feeding areas to help themselves to the feed you have stored for your herd. Master climbers, rats, and mice can even manage to eat the feed you have stored on shelves above ground.

a mouse in hay

How common and how destructive are vermin?

Rodents destroy approximately $52 billion of livestock feed worldwide every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

So, how do rodents cause this much damage?

It’s true that rats and mice are small animals. The issue is not that they consume a lot of food, but that they contaminate far more than they eat. When they infiltrate your feed, rodents cause contamination with their urine, feces, and various parasites.

In fact, studies show that as a byproduct, rodents contaminate ten times the amount of food they eat. If your animals eat food that has been infected by vermin, they can contract one of the following diseases.

According to the CDC, the common diseases passed by rats in cattle feed include:

How to Prevent Vermin from Ruining Cattle Feed

If you store your feed inside, vermin can infect it. No matter where in your barn you store the feed, they can find it and chew through the shipping bag like it’s made of cheese.

For grain or creep feed, a Farmco grain bin is the solution. One of our grain bins allows you to keep your feed outdoors in a durable steel container until you’re ready to administer it to your cattle. Keeping your food elevated in a steel container means that vermin don’t stand a chance.

moldy hay

Farmco Feeders and Grain Bins

Think a Farmco feeder might be the solution for your farm? Explore our variety of cattle feeders and get in touch with us to learn more about our grain bins.

Farmco is a family-owned company from Pennsylvania, dedicated to helping farmers save money and protect their animals. We build relationships with farmers all across our country. Learn more about our values today.