When given the chance, heifers will sort their feed — just like lactating cows. Research published earlier this year in the Professional Animal Scientist evaluates the sorting behavior and dry matter intake of heifers exposed to five different hay-feeding strategies.

The five hay-feeding strategies included: (1) long hay incorporated into a TMR; (2) bale-cut hay incorporated into a TMR; (3) chopped hay incorporated into a TMR; (4) top-dressed long hay, and (5) top-dressed bale-cut hay. 

Results show that top-dressed long hay and top-dressed bale-cut hay reduced dry matter intake by 1.1 pounds per head per day compared to when it was incorporated into the ration. The results also show heifers “heavily refused” particles longer than 12.5 millimeters, as well as 70 percent to 80 percent of corn cobs.