If you have cows, this may be a winter that you might want to forget. Lots of folks have already fed more hay in the closing months of 2017 than they fed all of last winter. And the search for quality hay continues — the good stuff is in short supply. Hay buyers need to keep a few things in mind before purchasing what has become an expensive feed. Joseph Banta, Texas A & M livestock specialist headquartered at Overton, says size of the bales being offered makes a huge difference in what you are buying. Dr. Banta says bale size determines how much hay is actually there.

For example, a little 4 x 5 bale will weigh around 880 pounds. But a 4 x 6 bale will weigh about 1,250 pounds and a 5 x 5 bale should scale 1,100 pounds.. The bigger bales, a 5 x 6, should weigh over 1,500 pounds. So the rule is, don’t look at just cost of a bale of hay. Of course quality of the hay being purchased is important, and so is the size of the bale.

Banta goes on to offer an example of how much hay it takes to feed 30 cows that average 1,300 pounds each for a week. It will take 9 of the 4 x 5 bales to feed those 30 head for a week. If using 4 x 6 bales, six will be needed. And if they are big 5 x 6er’s, count on only 5 bales a week being consumed. So, size does matter!

Boy howdy, working at the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been a gold mine for some employees. Work rules have been relaxed over the last few years to the point that some employees who say they are “working from home” only have to come to the office one day a week. A new rule initiated by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue calls for employees to be actually in the USDA office four days a week.

However, they can still stay home one day a week and work. Thousands of USDA personnel are crying “foul” — saying they will have to find babysitters or other care-takers for family members they watched over as they worked from home.

A bottle of Tabasco pepper sauce and powdered garlic can’t be beat. My garlic need was enhanced several years ago when my wife and I were in California. Driving north on Highway 101 not far from San Jose, we started to smell the “fragrance” of garlic. Several miles up the road, we entered the city of Gilroy — known as the “garlic capital of the world”. Good folks and good farmers.

Now, the Gilroy farmers are being shunted aside by garlic imports from China. Even McCormick, the major spice company in this country is importing their garlic from China. Looks like to get the real Gilroy product, I’ll have to start shopping at a different grocery store!

Horace@valornet.com