Question: How Long Should Hay Dry Before Baling?

How do you know when hay is dry enough to bale?

Breaking stems in half or twisting them in a circular motion to see if the stems break cleanly will give farmers the go-ahead to bale.

“If all the stems break and crack that’s an indication that the hay is cured and then you can rely on the moisture test that you’re getting from the probe,” Yaremcio said..

Can hay be too dry to bale?

While hay with exceptionally low moisture might not be at risk of growing mold and bacteria, that’s because much of that hay’s nutritional value is already gone. When hay is too dry before baling, the leaves of the forage become stiff and brittle, making them much more likely to fall off.

At what temperature does hay mold?

120°F to 130°F“Hay bale temperatures of 120°F to 130°F will likely result in mold growth and will make the protein in the hay less available to animals,” Hartschuh says. While these temperatures will not cause fires, continued mold growth can raise temperatures to dangerous levels.

Does hay moisture increase after baling?

When hay is baled, it should not be higher than 18 to 22 percent moisture. At higher levels of moisture, bales lose large amounts of dry matter (Figure 1) caused by excessive heating and molding (Figure 2). In severe cases, spontaneous combustion is possible.

How do you dry hay without a Tedder?

“In warmer, dryer parts of the country, hay producers can get by without owning a tedder. The ground is dryer, so the crop on the bottom of the windrow typically isn’t being exposed to additional moisture,” Vrieze said.

What happens if cut hay gets wet?

Rain losses basically happen in two ways. One is physical damage, where the force of the rain drops can knock leaves off the stems. The other is leaching of soluble nutrients from the plant, reducing its energy value. Anderson says the only way to know if soggy hay can be used is to test it.

How do you know when hay is ready to cut?

If the hay is ready, it will make a crunching sound and snap almost. Do this test with the hay at the bottom of your windrow. If the hay it still moist, you have two options: You can use a tedder to turn over hay and to help it dry faster.

Can you bale hay at night?

Avoid baling when hay moisture is too low or too high to reduce leaf shatter and nutrient losses. … Drost says he generally starts baling at about 13% at night when the dew comes on, and quits in the morning at about 11 or 12% as the dew goes off.

Is first or second cut hay better?

They are generally given grain as well. First cut hay is grass heavy and doesn’t have a lot of legumes, such as alfalfa or cover. … Second cut hay has a finer texture and usually, a greener color and heavier leaves. It is more dense, the leaves are more tender and healthier, especially in protein.

What moisture is dry hay?

65-85%The moisture content of standing hay varies from 65-85%. Hay destined for small square bales needs to be dried below 15% (85% dry matter) before baling for horses, to reduce the chance of dust. The majority of hay is air dried in the field over a 3 to 5-day period.

How do you make hay dry faster?

Another method Kaatz suggests for making hay dry faster is to use a tedder. A tedder, which works especially well with grasses, will fluff the windrow or swath and allow air to flow through it more easily. The additional air dries the hay faster, but Kaatz advises not to use a tedder on partially dried alfalfa.

Does raking hay help it dry?

Raking tends to roll the wetter hay from the bottom of the swath to the outer surface of the windrow, which improves drying. Following the initial improvement, the increase in swath density can reduce drying rate, so the crop moisture content at raking is important. … In silage making, drying is a little less critical.

What time of day is best to cut hay?

morningWith all of these factors in mind, it is best to cut hay when there is the greatest opportunity for successful drying, or early in the morning after the dew has dried off. As the old saying goes, “make hay while the sun shines!”

Is it OK to cut hay in the rain?

Rainfall will extend the length of time that the hay is wetter than 50% moisture, leading to more loss of sugars from respiration. Rainfall also leaches the soluble sugars from hay, he explains. … In the 1980 research, 1 inch of rain that fell soon after cutting had little negative impact on forage digestibility.

When should I rake hay after cutting?

As a rule of thumb, wait to rake hay until after the dew has dried and the sun nears its peak, around 11 a.m. If possible, let the raked hay sit for an hour or two before baling to allow more drying time. Haymakers have several types of rakes available.

Can hay get rained on?

Rained-on hay can be a suitable forage, especially for horses prone to laminitis. Forage quality tends to be retained if: The rain occurs soon after cutting when the forage has had little time to dry. The rainfall was a single, short event.

Do you need to Ted hay?

It’s essential to ted hay after the first cut in the spring and the last cut in the fall due to the low angle of the sun, ground moisture and morning dew collection. Sometimes it can be skipped midsummer, but usually high summer humidity and the threat of thunderstorms make tedding necessary.

How do you check hay moisture before baling?

To test the moisture content of forage you’re planning to ensile or bale, use your microwave. It can take a few trials to become comfortable with the process, but it’s quick, easy, and can provide a good estimate. Other options include moisture meters and probes, which can be fast, although results can be variable.

At what temperature does hay spontaneously combust?

130 degrees FahrenheitWhen hay’s internal temperature rises above 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius), a chemical reaction begins to produce flammable gas that can ignite if the temperature goes high enough. Fire is possible in hay that’s loose, in small or large bales or stacks, and stored inside or outside.

How fast does hay dry?

Proper dry matter content for chopping haylage can often be achieved within 24 hours or less as compared with 3 to 5 days for dry hay.

Does hay dry faster in windrow?

Do not cut hay into a tight windrow. A wider swath will dry faster, because more drying area of the hay is exposed to sun and wind. … A higher cutting height (3-4 inches) comes at the compromise of some yield loss, but allows air to move underneath the swath and speeds drying.