Question about when to test hay


 

Hi all,

Needed verification. I have tested my hay for the past several years shortly after baling to make sure it is safe for Akira to eat. Last year on advice from my balancer we waited for a few weeks to let it sit before testing. It allowed me to combine several fields all at the same time to balance the entire batch over time instead of each field individually. Then upon clarification from Dr Kellon she found that we did not need to wait to test. In the process of testing my soil in all the fields and having my extension office recommend the fertilizer blend and working with my balancer we have found that I have very wonky soil. It is extremely high in Molybdenum. So I got my extension agent involved last year and she in turn has 3 or 4 AG specialists involved. This year she has asked me to sample each field I bale and mark them and give her the samples to send in ( I am also sending in my own samples so I make sure I get the test I need) but she requested I let the hay sit for 3 to 4 weeks. Here is my dilemma...our weather has been unseasonally cool and a lot of rain...we had a window to cut one main field and 2 small fields this week which is great because it is the first time in years the hay is not too mature so great for the digestible fibers. BUT...we had to cut in the early afternoon which we normally cut in the morning. So my fear is the sugars. We had cut on one day and then had another 2 days to tedder and let it dry before raking and baling. But since we cut in the early afternoon and the hay is not too mature I am now fearing the sugars. Can I test this hay in the next day or 2? We just baled and got it put up in the barn on the 15th and I had hoped to take samples on Monday the 17th so I know if it is safe to feed. Then I can take more samples in a month for my AG agent. 

 

Thanks so much
--
Nancy and Akira
3/20/2018  Burkesville KY

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Nancy%20and%20Akira


Nancy C
 

Hi Nancy

The only worry for waiting is moisture.  Usually when hay is baled it is around 10% moisture. You probably know you don't want to bale wet hay.

I have also had very high MO in the past.  Amending the soil helped to improve that, and iron and manganese, and dramatically improved the Calcium/Mag ratio.

I think your plan of sending off for a wet chem ESC and Starch now, to know where you stand, is a good idea. Then you can figure out your plan from there.

Working with your Extension Service to amend your soil is a great foundation for growing great hay.

Hope this helps.


--
Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
ECIR Group Inc. President/Treasurer  2020-2021
Join us at the 2021 NO Laminitis! Conference, August 13-15, ECIR Virtual Conference Room


Firstqualityhay@...
 

I’m probably speaking out of turn, but here is my 2 cents.

We typically pull core samples as the hay goes into the barn from the field within a couple of days.  There is some variance in subsequent tests, particularly with moisture and perhaps crude protein, but I can’t remember on the CP for sure.

in our neck of the woods, it’s very difficult to bale hay at 10% moisture (and we run a moisture tester on our square baler that gives us “live” moisture readings).  Typically we are somewhere between 12-17%.  If rain is coming and we stand the chance of loosing the hay to rain, we will bale past 18% to around 22% with buffered propionic hay preservative applied as we bale.  It is rare that we do this, but it does preserve the hay quality and prevents dust and mold.  That higher moisture hay will definitely test differently with respect to moisture as it cures in the barn.

All the best!
Bill
--
Bill J. in VA 2020
FirstQualityHay.com


 

I feel better....we make 4x5 round bales and we have a meter we test several bales for moisture content in each field. We have 4 bales the moisture tested above 22 in just one spot on one side of the bale and below 17 everywhere else. We stack ours in the barn the day we bale because we usually are chasing the next rainfall. This year our first field was cut under cooler temps by day and night but it dried fine with the exception of some small fields we never usually cut. But because this is the earliest we have gotten any hay in and....the time of day I am very nervous about the sugars. I will go ahead and sample today and send it in for my peace of mind then take another sample in a month for my AG agent. We are planning on baling the next 2 fields this week but the temps are rising to what we normally have so we should have plenty of drying time and the ability to cut early in the morning. Thank you!


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--
Nancy and Akira
3/20/2018  Burkesville KY

Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Nancy%20and%20Akira


Nancy C
 

Hi Bill

FWIW we have used propionic hay preservative when the bales were coming in at >10%. They have only had to do that once or twice.  These are small(er) bales 30-50 pounds, typically.
--
Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
ECIR Group Inc. President/Treasurer  2020-2021
Join us at the 2021 NO Laminitis! Conference, August 13-15, ECIR Virtual Conference Room