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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Rotz, Clarence - Al
item Shinners, K

Submitted to: Book Chapter in Text Forages
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2004
Publication Date: 2/15/2007
Citation: Rotz, C.A., Shinners, K.J. 2007. Hay Harvest and Storage. In: Barnes, R. F., Moore, K. J., Nelson, C. J., Collins, M. editors. Forages, volume 2: The Science of Grassland Agriculutre. Sixth Edition. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing. p. 601-616.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Haymaking remains the major process for conserving forage in the United States. Many techniques are used to make hay. Hay is normally baled at a moisture content below 20% where the forage is stable for long-term storage in an aerobic environment. Hay can also be baled between 20 and 35% moisture when forced-air drying or chemical treatments are used to preserve the hay. A primary objective in haymaking is to maintain the dry matter yield and nutrient content of standing forage for later use. Physical, biological, and chemical processes during harvest and storage cause dry matter and nutrient losses. Good management and proper equipment use can help reduce these losses and preserve forage quality. Other important considerations in hay production include resource use and production cost. Resource inputs include machinery, labor, and energy. Due to the high cost of each, these resources must be used efficiently to reduce production costs. Maintaining sustainable dairy and beef industries requires more efficient and lower cost production of forages. Hay production processes include cutting, conditioning, swath manipulation, packaging, handling, storage, and preservation. Each of these is discussed including their effects on forage quality, resource requirements, and hay production costs.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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