Cut Your Feed-Bill Cost

Research shows that using a round-bale feeder saves both time and money. The question is, which feeder should you use?

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Feeding horses round bales is more cost effective but round bales require feeders to prevent waste. (Credit: Journal

Waste not, want not. Feed more, work easy, spend less.

That’s about the size of it.

Feeding round bales in an increasingly common method of providing forage to horses housed in poor pastures, dry lots and during winter months. Letting horses eat hay from round-bale feeders saves time, cuts labor and reduces waste, so the feeders pay for themselves pretty quickly. It’s not like this isn’t self-evident, but a study led by Krishona Martinson, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota puts it in numbers.

“I think the big-take home message from our study is that you have to use a feeder when you’re feeding found bales,” says Krishona, the cooperative extension equine specialist at U of M. “Not using a feeder results in 57 percent waste, and at the current cost of hay, owners simply cannot afford to loose that much hay.”

In the June issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal, Krishona presents the results from her research and contributes her observations from the study. In “Round Time,” Krishona compares nine round-bale feeders to each other and to a control. She takes into account four factors:

  1. Hay waste
  2. Hay intake
  3. Herd weight change
  4. Payback

“There is absolutely no reason you wouldn’t use a feeder,” Krishona says. She emphasizes that choosing a feeder goes beyond the numbers to a personal choice and offers the information for making an informed decision.

Head to to access the digital edition as a Journal current subscriber, download the new Journal app or become a subscriber today.

If print is more your style, order a single print copy from 800-291-7323 so you don’t miss out on the great information presented in “Round Time” in the June Journal.