WAS: I don't know what else to do NOW: Soaking hay

Nancy C

Wanted to report my most recent experience with testing and feeding a year of soaked hay 2012-2013. 

This hay was grown under odd conditions for us.  Working with UNH, the fields had been fertilized in the fall (lime, potassium and phos) and after mud season (nitrogen) to soil specs. Dolomite lime to bring up Mag.  Can look up how much of what if anyone is interested.

Snow fall 2011-2012 was below normal. No rain for the month of April.  Heavy rains May and early June. As  result, all growth to first cut came in some 30 days.

Our normally low esc and starch hay came in at 9.2 esc and 0.1 starch. Started feeding it and then I got a clue and decided it really needed to be soaked - all winter long. 

I soaked this hay in a Cabela's 120 qt cooler on wheels.  Each feeding sat in cold water for the prior 12 hours. Was the only way I was going to be able to deal with doing this in the winter conditions we usually get: ice, snow, well-below zero temps with high winds contributing to even more fun.

Many of you know  the group recommends that for long term feeding  you should test the soaked hay and balance to those results. 

Pre and post results were interesting (to me anyway):

Esc went from 9.2 to 3.1.  As a side note, we use 30% as a number but that is really the average.  It can be much higher or lower depending on how much and temp water, length of time, etc.

Starch went from 0.1 to 1.2

Iron and manganese both went down. Fe 103 to 98.  Mn 54 to 29.  This could be sample differences, IMO.

The majors were significant: Ca went down .51 to .33.  Phos went down from .20 to .080.  Mag from .24 to .11. Potassium from 1.59 to 0.37.

I was surprised as most  experiences previously reported on the group and then supported in research  by Longland, showed it was Potassium that was the affected, ie water-soluble, major.

In talking over with Dr Kellon and others, we posited  that the minerals in the first batch may have still been on the hay, rather than in it, due to lack of adequate rain. 

Your mileage may vary....

Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
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