Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #384841

Research Project: Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency and Mitigating Nutrient and Pathogen Losses from Dairy Production Systems

Location: Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management Research

Title: Baling and storing hay

item Coblentz, Wayne

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/25/2021
Publication Date: 5/27/2021
Citation: Coblentz, W.K. 2021. Baling and storing hay. Meeting Proceedings. June 8-9, 2021.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Many obstacles exist for hay producers attempting to bale and store high-quality hays successfully. For producers in cool and/or humid climates (generally east of the Mississippi River), the primarily obstacle in an inability to attain adequate desiccation prior to baling, thereby forcing hay producers to choose between i) accepting rain damage to valuable hay crops or ii) baling at an elevated moisture concentration which results in spontaneous heating. Either option consistently reduces the quality of the hay. Options exist for use of preservative that are formulated to limit spontaneous heating in moist hays, but these products have often performed inconsistently, especially with hays baled in large packages. In contrast, hays made in arid climates in the western USA often suffer from excessive or over-drying, which results in excessive leaf shatter, thereby reducing forage quality. This virtual presentation discusses: i) the effects of rain damage on forage dry matter losses and quality; ii) effects of spontaneous heating on hay quality; iii) use of preservatives in hay production; and iv) comparisons of factors affecting losses of dry matter from bales stored outdoors.