Feature Story

Matthew Webb
Extension Agent
Alabama Cooperative Extension

Webb, M.*1,
1 Extension Agent, University of Tennessee Extension, Lewisburg, TN, 37091

The purpose of this article was to promote an alternative method of feeding hay to beef cattle to members of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association was organized in 1985 and has 7,000 members in 71 local cattlemen’s associations throughout the state. This article was published in the August 2019 edition of the Tennessee Cattle Business which is the official publication of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. Fence Line Hay Feeders are hay feeders that are built into the fence and on an appropriate feed pad. This allows beef cattle producers to feed large round hay rolls without entering the field where beef cattle are wintered. If designed correctly, these feeders may be more time efficient, safer for the cattle and producer, reduces hay waste, improves animal health through reduced mud around the feeders and reduces pasture damage from tractor wheel traffic. There are possibilities to use these feeders not only for winter feeding but also in weaning or receiving lots and as a sacrifice area during a drought. It is crucial that these feeders are built in an appropriate location and designed to fit the size of the cow herd as well as around and in conjunction with hay storage, handling facilities and farm roads. Issues with these feeders is cost, manure and waste management, hay quality and maintenance of the feeder structure and the feed pad. Information for the article was based from designs and communications with Eden Shale Farm in Owenton, KY where the original feeder designs are located as well as from the Tennessee Beef Heifer Development Center in Lewisburg where five designs were constructed and used as part the heifer development program. After these feeders were constructed, the agent has conducted farm tours and field days with over 400 producers. There have been over 100,000 views through videos and posts on social media sites.