- Hay is made to feed livestock in periods of forage dormancy. Many times hay is packaged in the form of a big round bale. This method of harvest is preferred by many farmers because of low labor needs and little need for facilities or infrastructure to feed the hay. One of the largest downfalls to hay in the round bale form is the weathering that occurs when the bales are stored outside. The round shape of the bale results in a large surface area on the outside of the bale for weathering to occur. The figure below illustrates that 1/3 of the entire bale resides in the outer 6" of a 5.5 foot bale.
- "Murphy’s Law says that Once you’ve baled your hay it will rain!” says Frank Mickan, Pasture and Fodder Conservation Specialist, NRE, Ellinbank. Many farmers are starting to realise the benefits of feeding or selling higher quality hay in recent years because they have learnt that higher quality means more meat or milk production. As a result some farmers are risking making slightly earlier hay and so increasing the risk of meeting rain head on! However earlier hay making can be greatly assisted by utilising mower conditioners and tedders. Unfortunately the higher the quality is the hay, the higher the losses when bales become wet from rain. This higher quality is due to the higher amount energy (eg. water soluble carbohydrates) and protein in the plant. When hay becomes wet plant respiration, leaching, and possibly mould, microbial and yeast growth later on, all result in dry matter and quality losses. So rain damage is to be avoided or minimised as much as possible Following are some considerations which may be of assistance to you.
- Heating is most likely to damage hay stored at moistures above 30%. Minimum changes occur if it is baled at 20% or less although if it is uniformly dry it can be baled and stored safely at 25%. The 25% level is the average moisture in curing hay at which it is dry enough overall to avoid moulding or hot spots that occur with variations in moisture content that are usually at higher average moisture. Large square bales need to be baled at a lower moisture content than small square or round bales.
- Dog gone it's hot! This is expected in our Central Valley at this time of year, but when heat waves hit, it's important to be prepared with good irrigation management practices in alfalfa hay production. Can alfalfa tolerate extreme heat? The short answer is 'yes'. Alfalfa is originally from the Middle Eastern regions of Turkey, Iran, and Central Asia, so it is well adapted to hot, dry conditions. It's also routinely grown in the hot deserts of Arizona, Southern California and Mexico.
- Based on the knowledge that alpaca (Lama pacos) have a lower fractional outflow rate of feed particles (particulate FOR) from their forestomach than sheep (San Martin 1987), the current study measured methane (CH4) production and other digestion parameters in these species in three successive experiments (1, 2 and 3): Experiment 1, lucerne hay fed indoors; Experiment 2, grazed on perennial ryegrass/white clover pasture (PRG/WC); and Experiment 3, grazed on birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) pasture (Lotus). Six male alpaca and six castrated Romney sheep were simultaneously and successively fed on the forages either ad libitum or at generous herbage allowances (grazing). CH4 production (g/day) (using the sulphur hexafluoride tracer technique), voluntary feed intake (VFI), diet quality, and protozoa counts and volatile fatty acid concentrations in samples of forestomach contents were determined. In addition, feed digestibility, energy and nitrogen (N) balances and microbial N supply from the forestomach (using purine derivatives excretion) were measured in Experiment 1. Diets selected by alpaca were of lower quality than those selected by sheep, and the voluntary gross energy intakes (GEI, MJ) per kg of liveweight0·75 were consistently lower (P0·05) in their CH4 yields (% GEI) when fed on lucerne hay (5·1 v. 4·7), but alpaca had a higher CH4 yield when fed on PRG/WC (9·4 v. 7·5, P