Hay quality has diminished due to harvest delays

Dry conditions in the last week allowed some producers to cut and bale hay and a University of Missouri Extension field specialist says while hay tonnage is there, quality isn’t the greatest.

Rusty Lee tells Brownfield the consistent rains have delayed cutting and baling during a “sweet spot” time for hay.

“I’m seeing physiological maturity advancing beyond the peak nutrition value.”

He says it’s been difficult for hay to dry down and there’s been an increase in wet wrapped hay bales (or silage bales) this year.

“Wet, wrapped bales continue to pay dividends to producers when it comes to time savings. If we can get a forage to wilt, we’re talking about rolling bales with 60 to 65% moisture. Producers might only have to wait a day to bale compared to multiple days if the hay dries.”

Lee says livestock producers should conduct a forage test on hay to measure feed value and that information can be used to adjust any supplements needed for livestock.

  • I just finished rolling 35 acres on Friday. Latest I ever cut. I am 3 weeks behind. Still have 35 more acres to go. I was able to get 44 rolls in the shed before the rain started. Hay temperature was 80 degrees after it was rolled

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