Oct 8, 2010
by WLJ

Innovative hay bale feeders eliminate the waste inherent in traditional hay rings

Freddie Davis, a rancher-farmer in Royse City, TX, faced a problem common to many. “I wasn’t going to have enough hay to make it through the winter. I was going to have to buy about $6,000 worth of hay to make up the shortfall.”

Like many ranchers that have found themselves squeezed in recent years by outside forces—from drought and a weak economy to rising oil and grain prices— Davis, who owns 75 head of mixed-breed cattle, wanted better control of his input costs, especially the hay his cows wasted eating from traditional hay rings each winter.

The problem with a hay ring is that cattle stand outside the feeder, tear the hay out, and let the excess fall from their mouths. When cattle bite off too much, as they are inclined to do, the waste falls to the ground, gets trampled and otherwise damaged—and will not be eaten.

Davis found a solution in a new type of square hay bale feeder, designed to keep cows from tearing out the hay and wasting it.

“A square hay bale feeder has metal bars that cows must stick their heads through to get to the hay bale inside,” explains Bob Studebaker, owner GoBob Pipe and Steel, an innovative farm supplier that first introduced its original Hay Conserver square hay bale feeder to the market about six years ago. “With the hay bale inside, cows have to commit their heads inside and stay there while they eat. They won’t go in, get a bite, and back out. They stay in the feeder, so anything that drops out of their mouths stays in the feeder, which they eat later.”

“When I called Bob of GoBob, I bought his Hay Conserver with a 30-day guarantee that I’d use at least 25 percent less hay,” says Davis. “It worked, so I bought a few more. When they made my hay last that first winter, they quickly paid for themselves. Since then, I’ve cut my hay consumption by a third each winter.”

Since Davis’ cows waste so much less hay in winter, he finds himself making fewer trips to the barn and pasture to put out hay bales. “I’m saving a couple hours a week each winter putting out less hay because the cows waste less,” says Davis. “It lets me get to everything else that needs to be done that much faster.”

About five years after buying his square hay bale feeders, Davis says, “They’re still holding up well and have years of life left in them.”

As market uncertainty leads many ranchers, dairy farmers, and even farm equipment dealers to control input costs, the growing popularity of square hay bale feeders has proven there’s a market for conserving hay. But as circumstances change, the market and design of square hay bale feeders cannot stand still.

With an improved design, GoBob now guarantees 30 percent hay savings on its latest square bale Hay Conservers. The company also offers double bale, along with larger, stronger versions for bulls and horned cattle. New skid corners also allow them to be dragged almost anywhere.

GoBob Pipe and Steel offers a complete selection of feeders, fencing, pipe and guards, as well as flatbeds and hay trailers—all designed to provide farmers with a top quality product that saves them money by helping them work better and more efficiently.

For more information, call 877/851-2365 or visit