MANAGING HAY FEEDING TO BUILD SOIL FERTILITY Haller,* B.W.1, Jennings, J.A.2, Simon, K.J. 3 1. County Extension Agent – Staff Chair, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension, White County, Searcy, Arkansas 72143 2. Professor, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203 3. Program Associate, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203 ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE RESULTSFeeding hay is a common practice on any beef cattle operation. • To demonstrate utilization of the nutrients in hay to improve • Year 1 – soil phosphorus increased 22 lbs/AThe obvious benefits of feeding hay is providing nutrients and soil fertility.supplement for beef cattle during times of minimum or no forage • Year 1 – soil potassium increased 172 lbs/Agrowth. Two demonstrations were conducted over a 2 year • Year 2 - soil phosphorus increased 22 lbs/Aperiod to examine the effects of spreading hay feeding evenly MATERIALS AND METHODS • Year 1 – soil potassium increased 148 lbs/Aover a field on soil fertility. A majority of producers tend to feedhay in one area year after year. Over time high levels of Soil samples were taken over the entire farm to determine thephosphorus and potassium build up in the soil. Soil samples low fertility fields. The fields with lowest soil fertility levels ofwere pulled in the designated hay feeding area before hay phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) were chosen to be used forfeeding began and again in the spring when hay feeding was the hay feeding areas for Year 1 and Year 2. In both Year 1over. Records were kept on the number of bales fed and any and 2 soil samples were taken in field where hay was to be fedsupplemental feed fed in the demonstration field. Based on the before the hay feeding season. The P levels was 42 lbs/A anddata collected from the demonstration the amount of nutrients K was 184 lbs/A for Year 1 and Year 2 levels were 34 lbs/A of Papplied to the field from the hay can be calculated and then and 192 lbs/A of K. Hay was staged in one area of the field tocompared to the change in soil fertility. The average nutrient be unrolled to be fed. The hay was unrolled in different areascontent of a 4’ x 5’ round bale of bermuda hay is 16 lbs N, 5 lbs at each feeding to get coverage over the entire fields. FiftyP2O5 & 18 lbs K2O. Using current commercial fertilizer prices bales of mixed warm season grasses were unrolled and feda bale has a fertility value of $22.16. In year 1 soil phosphorus across the field in Year 1 and 55 bales were fed in Year 2. Theincreased by 22 lbs./A and potassium increased by 172 lbs./A. hay was sampled for analysis to determine the amountYear 2 data had a 22 lbs./A increase in soil phosphorus and 148 nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. After the hay feedinglbs/A increase in potassium. Managing hay feeding is a period, soil samples were taken to determine the amount of Pbeneficial way to recycle nutrients to build soil fertility. and K. Fields were dragged and over seeded in Red River® crabgrass and Morning Star® red clover. INTRODUCTIONNutrient and soil fertility management are important issuesfacing livestock producers. Nutrient management is a bigconcern to the public, which has turned to litigation in someareas of Arkansas. Producer inputs are continually rising andone of the leading costs for beef cattle producers is fertilizer. IMPACTSSoil fertility is an expensive practice that is required for forage 1. Soil fertility was increased with no commercial fertilizer.growth. Most beef cattle producers in Arkansas utilize hay forwinter feeding. Hay feeding areas typically have high 2. $13.20/A of P was added without being purchased in bothaccumulations of phosphorus and potassium. Many producers years.feed their hay in the same location year after year. Bychanging producer hay feeding methods; nutrients from hay 3. $82.56/A of K was added without being purchased in Year 1and livestock waste can be utilized over a large and different 4. $71.56/A of K was added without being purchased in Year 2.areas to increase soil fertility and prevent accumulation of Producer unrolling hay.phosphorus and potassium. 5. Soil P and K were not accumulated in one small area.