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Stacked hay in Romania.

Hay is grass, legumes or other herbaceous plants that have been cut, dried, and stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for grazing livestock such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Hay is also fed to pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Pigs may be fed hay, but they do not digest it as efficiently as more fully herbivorous animals.

Hay is fed when or where there is not enough pasture or rangeland on which to graze an animal, when grazing is unavailable due to weather (such as during the winter) or when lush pasture by itself is too rich for the health of the animal. It is also fed during times when an animal is unable to access pasture, such as when animals are kept in a stable or barn.

Contents

Contents of hay

Good quality hay is green and not too coarse, and includes plant heads and leaves as well as stems. This is fresh grass/alfalfa hay, newly baled.

Commonly used plants for hay include mixtures of grasses such as ryegrass (Lolium species), timothy, brome, fescue, Bermuda grass, orchard grass, and other species, depending on region. Hay may also include legumes, such as alfalfa (lucerne) and clovers (red, white and subterranean). Other pasture forbs are also sometimes a part of the mix, though other than legumes, which ideally are cut pre-bloom, forbs are not necessarily desired. Certain forbs are toxic to some animals.

Oat, barley, and wheat plant materials are occasionally cut green and made into hay for animal fodder; however they are more usually used in the form of straw, a harvest byproduct where the stems and dead leaves are baled after the grain has been harvested and threshed. Straw is used mainly for animal bedding. Although straw is also used as fodder, particularly as a source of dietary fiber, it has lower nutritional value than hay.

It is the leaf and seed material in the hay that determines its quality. Farmers try to harvest hay at the point when the seed heads are not quite ripe and the leaf is at its maximum when the grass is mowed in the field. The cut material is allowed to dry so that the bulk of the moisture is removed but the leafy material is still robust enough to be picked up from the ground by machinery and processed into storage in bales, stacks or pits.

Close view of grass hay
Poor quality hay is dry, bleached out and coarse-stemmed. Sometimes, hay stored outdoors will look like this on the outside but still be green inside the bale. A dried, bleached or coarse bale is still edible and provides some nutritional value as long as it is dry and not moldy, dusty, or rotting.

Hay is very sensitive to weather conditions, particularly when it is harvested. In drought conditions, both seed and leaf production are stunted, making hay that has a high ratio of dry coarse stems that have very low nutritional values. If the weather is too wet, the cut hay may spoil in the field before it can be baled. The hay may also develop rot and mold after being baled, creating the potential for toxins to form in the feed, which could make the animals sick. It also has to be stored in a manner to prevent it from getting wet. Mold and spoilage reduce nutritional value and may cause illness in animals.

The successful harvest of maximum yields of high-quality hay is entirely dependent on the coincident occurrence of optimum crop, field, and weather conditions. When this occurs, there may be a period of intense activity on the hay farm while harvest proceeds until weather conditions become unfavourable.

Feeding hay

Horses eating hay

Hay or grass is the foundation of the diet for all grazing animals and can provide as much as 100% of the fodder required for an animal. Hay is usually fed to an animal in place of allowing the animal to graze on grasses in a pasture, particularly in the winter or during times when drought or other conditions make pasture unavailable. Animals that can eat hay vary in the types of grasses suitable for consumption, the ways they consume hay, and how they digest it. Therefore, different types of animals require hay that consists of similar plants to what they would eat while grazing, and likewise, plants that are toxic to an animal in pasture are also toxic if they are dried into hay.

Most animals are fed hay in two daily feedings, morning and evening. However, this schedule is more for the convenience of humans, as most grazing animals on pasture naturally consume fodder in multiple feedings throughout the day. Some animals, especially those being raised for meat, may be given enough hay that they simply are able to eat all day. Other animals, especially those that are ridden or driven as working animals, are only free to eat when not working, and may be given a more limited amount of hay in order to prevent them from getting too fat. The proper amount of hay and the type of hay required varies somewhat between different species. Some animals are also fed concentrated feeds such as grain or vitamin supplements in addition to hay. In most cases, hay or pasture forage must make up 50% or more of the diet by weight.

One of the most significant differences in hay digestion is between ruminant animals, such as cattle and sheep; and non-ruminant, hindgut fermentors, such as horses. Both types of animals can digest cellulose in grass and hay, but do so by different mechanisms. Because of the four-chambered stomach of cattle, they are often able to break down older forage and have more tolerance of mold and changes in diet. The single-chambered stomach and cecum or "hindgut" of the horse uses bacterial processes to break down cellulose that are more sensitive to changes in feeds and the presence of mold or other toxins, requiring horses to be fed hay of more consistent type and quality.[1]

These round bales have been left in the field for many months, perhaps more than a year, exposed to weather, and appear to be rotting. Not all animals can safely eat hay with rot or mold

Different animals also utilize hay in different ways: Cattle evolved to eat forage in relatively large quantities at a single feeding, and then, due to the process of rumination, take a considerable amount of time for their stomachs to digest food, often accomplished while the animal is lying down, at rest. Thus quantity of hay is important for cattle, who are able to effectively digest hay of low quality if fed in sufficient amounts. Sheep will eat between two and four percent of their body weight per day in dry feed, such as hay,[2] and are very efficient at obtaining the most nutrition possible from three to five pounds per day of hay or other forage.[3] They require three to four hours per day to eat enough hay to meet their nutritional requirements.[4]

Unlike ruminants, horses digest food in small portions throughout the day, and can only utilize approximately 2.5% of their body weight in feed in any 24-hour period. They evolved to be continuously on the move while grazing, (covering up to 50 miles per day in the wild) and their stomach digests food quite rapidly. Thus, they extract more nutrition out of smaller quantities of feed.[5] However, when horses are fed low-quality hay, they may develop an unhealthy, obese, "hay belly" due to over-consumption of "empty" calories. If their type of feed is changed dramatically, or if they are fed moldy hay or hay containing toxic plants, they can become ill; colic is the leading cause of death in horses.

Making and transporting hay

A round baler dumping a freshly rolled hay bale

Hay production and harvest, colloquially known as "making hay", "haymaking", or "doing hay," involves a multiple step process: cutting, drying or "curing," processing, and storing. Hayfields do not have to be reseeded each year in the way that grain crops are, but regular fertilizing is usually desirable, and overseeding a field every few years helps increase yield.

Methods and the terminology to describe the steps of making hay have varied greatly throughout history, and many regional variations still exist today. However, whether done by hand or by modern mechanized equipment, tall grass and legumes at the proper stage of maturity must be cut, then allowed to dry (preferably by the sun), then raked into long, narrow piles known as windrows. Next, the cured hay is gathered up in some form (usually by some type of baling process) and placed for storage into a haystack or into a barn or shed to protect it from moisture and rot.

During the growing season, which is spring and early summer in temperate climates, grass grows at a fast pace. It is at its greatest nutritive value when all leaves are fully developed and seed or flower heads are just a bit short of full maturity. When growth is at a maximum in the pasture, if judged correctly, the pasture is cut. Hay cut too early will not cure as easily due to high moisture content, plus it will produce a lower yield per acre than longer, more mature grass. But hay cut too late is coarser, lower in resale value and has lost some of its nutrients. There is usually about a two-week "window" of time in which hay is at its ideal stage for harvesting.

Two men loading hay on a truck in Massachusetts, 1936.

Hay can be raked into rows as it is cut, then turned periodically to dry, particularly if a modern swather is used. Or, especially with older equipment or methods, the hay is cut and allowed to lie spread out in the field until it is dry, then raked into rows for processing into bales afterwards. During the drying period, which can take several days, the process is usually speeded up by turning the cut hay over with a hay rake or spreading it out with a tedder. If it rains while the hay is drying, turning the windrow can also allow it to dry faster. However, turning the hay too often or too roughly can also cause drying leaf matter to fall off, reducing the nutrients available to animals. Drying can also be speeded up by mechanized processes, such as use of a hay conditioner, or by use of chemicals sprayed onto the hay to speed evaporation of moisture, though these are more expensive techniques, not in general use except in areas where there is a combination of modern technology, high prices for hay, and too much rain for hay to dry properly.[6]

Once hay is cut, dried and raked into windrows, it is usually gathered into bales or bundles, then hauled to a central location for storage. In some places, depending on geography, region, climate, and culture, hay is gathered loose and stacked without being baled first.

Hay must be fully dried when baled and kept dry in storage. If hay is baled while too moist or becomes wet while in storage, there is a significant risk of spontaneous combustion.[7] Hay stored outside must be stacked in such a way that moisture contact is minimal. Some stacks are arranged in such a manner that the hay itself "sheds" water when it falls. Other methods of stacking use the first layers or bales of hay as a cover to protect the rest. To completely keep out moisture, outside haystacks can also be covered by tarps, and many round bales are partially wrapped in plastic as part of the baling process. Hay is also stored under a roof when resources permit. It is frequently placed inside sheds, or stacked inside of a barn. On the other hand, care must also be taken that hay is never exposed to any possible source of heat or flame, as dry hay and the dust it produces are highly flammable.

Early methods

Late 19th century hay boat with square bales

Early farmers noticed that growing fields produced more fodder in the spring than the animals could consume, and that cutting the grass in the summer, allowing it to dry and storing it for the winter provided their domesticated animals with better quality nutrition than simply allowing them to dig through snow in the winter to find dried grass. Therefore, some fields were "shut up" for hay.

Up to the end of the 19th century, grass and legumes were not often grown together because crops were rotated.[citation needed] By the 20th century, however, good forage management techniques demonstrated that highly productive pastures were a mix of grasses and legumes, so compromises were made when it was time to mow. Later still, some farmers grew crops, like straight alfalfa (lucerne), for special-purpose hay such as that fed to dairy cattle.

Much hay was originally cut by scythe by teams of workers, dried in the field and gathered loose on wagons. Later, haying would be done by horse-drawn implements such as mowers. With the invention of agricultural machinery such as the tractor and the baler, most hay production became mechanized by the 1930s.

Kozolec, a traditional Slovenian hay rack

After hay was cut and had dried, the hay was raked or rowed up by raking it into a linear heap by hand or with a horse-drawn implement. Turning hay, when needed, originally was done by hand with a fork or rake. Once the dried hay was rowed up, pitch forks were used to pile it loose, originally onto a horse-drawn cart or wagon, later onto a truck or tractor-drawn trailer, for which a sweep could be used instead of pitch forks.

Loose hay was taken to an area designated for storage—usually a slightly raised area for drainage — and built into a hay stack. The stack was made waterproof as it was built (a task of considerable skill) and the hay would compress under its own weight and cure by the release of heat from the residual moisture in the hay and from the compression forces. The stack was fenced from the rest of the paddock in a rick yard, and often thatched or sheeted to keep it dry. When needed slices of hay would be cut using a hay-knife and fed out to animals each day.

On some farms the loose hay was stored in a shed or barn, normally in such a way that it would compress down and cure. Hay could be stored in a specially designed barn with little internal structure to allow more room for the hay. Alternatively an upper storey of a cow-shed or stable was used, with hatches in the floor to allow hay to be thrown down into hay-racks below.

Depending on region, the term "hay rick" could refer to the machine for cutting hay, the hay stack or the wagon used to collect the hay.

Modern mechanised techniques

Different balers can produce hay bales in different sizes and shapes, here two different balers were used to create both large round bales and small square bales.

Modern mechanized hay production today is usually performed by a number of machines. While small operations use a tractor to pull various implements for mowing and raking, larger operations use specialized machines such as a mower or a swather, which are designed to cut the hay and arrange it into a windrow in one step. Balers are usually pulled by a tractor, with larger balers requiring more powerful tractors.

Mobile balers, machines which gather and bale hay in one process, were first developed around 1940. The first balers produced rectangular bales small enough for a person to lift, usually between 70 and 100 pounds each. The size and shape made it possible for people to pick bales up, stack them on a vehicle for transport to a storage area, then build a haystack by hand. However, to save labor and increase safety, loaders and stackers were also developed to mechanise the transport of small bales from the field to the haystack. Later, balers were developed capable of producing large bales that weigh up to 3000 pounds.[8]

Small bales

When possible, hay, especially small square bales like these, should be stored under cover and protected from the elements.

Small bales are still produced today. While balers for small bales are still manufactured, as well as loaders and stackers, there are some farms that still use equipment manufactured over 50 years ago, kept in good repair. The small bale remains part of overall ranch lore and tradition with "hay bucking" competitions still held for fun at many rodeos and county fairs.

Small bales are stacked in a criss-crossed fashion sometimes called a "rick" or "hayrick." Since rain washes nutrition out of the hay and can cause spoilage or mold, hay in small bales is often stored in a hayshed or protected by tarpaulins. If this is not done, the top two layers of the stack are often lost to rot and mold, and if the stack is not arranged in a proper hayrick, moisture can seep even deeper into the stack.

People who own small numbers of livestock, particularly horses, still prefer small bales that can be handled by one person without machinery. There is also a risk that hay baled while still too damp can produce mold inside the bale, or decaying carcasses of small creatures that were accidentally killed by baling equipment and swept up into the bales can produce toxins such as botulism. Both can be deadly to non-ruminant herbivores, such as horses, and when this occurs, the entire contaminated bale should be thrown out, another reason some livestock owners continue to support the market for small bales.

Large bales

Round bales are harder to handle than square bales but compress the hay more tightly. This round bale is partially covered with net wrap, which is an alternative to twine

Many farmers, particularly those who feed large herds, have moved to balers which produce much larger bales, maximizing the amount of hay which is protected from the elements. Large bales come in two types, round and square. "Large Square" bales, which can weigh up to 1000 kg (2,200 lb), can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. Round bales, which are typically weigh 300–400 kg (700–900 lb), are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

The ratio of volume to surface area makes it possible for many dry-area farmers to leave large bales outside until they are consumed. Wet-area farmers and those in climates with heavy snowfall either stack round bales under a shed or tarp, but have also developed a light but durable plastic wrap that partially encloses bales left outside. The wrap repels moisture, but leaves the ends of the bale exposed so that the hay itself can "breathe" and does not begin to ferment. However, when possible to store round bales under a shed, they last longer and less hay is lost to rot and moisture.[9]

A completely wrapped silage bale in Austria.

For animals that eat silage, a Bale wrapper may be used to seal a round bale completely and trigger the fermentation process. It is a technique used as a money-saving process by producers who do not have access to a silo, and for producing silage that is transported to other locations. However, a silo is still a preferred method for making silage.[10] In very damp climates, it is a legitimate alternative to drying hay completely and when processed properly, the natural fermentation process prevents mold and rot. Round bale silage is also sometimes called "haylage," and is seen more commonly in Europe than in either the USA or Australia. However, hay stored in this fashion must remain completely sealed in plastic, as any holes or tears can stop the preservation properties of fermentation and lead to spoilage.[11]

Hay Conditioning

Conditioning of Hay has become popular. The basic idea is that it decreases drydown time. Usually uses a salt solution sprayed on over the top of the hay (generally alfalfa) that help to dry the hay. Conditioning can also refer to the rollers inside of a swather that crimps the alfalfa to help squeeze out the moisture.[citation needed]

Safety issues

Haystacks produce internal heat due to bacterial fermentation. If the hay was baled from moist grass, the heat produced can be enough to set the haystack on fire. Farmers have to be careful about moisture levels to avoid spontaneous combustion, which is a leading cause of haystack fires.[12]

Due to its weight, hay in general can cause a number of injuries to humans related to lifting and throwing bales, as well as risks related to stacking and storing, such as the danger of having a poorly-constructed stack collapse, causing either falls to people on the stack or injuries to people on the ground who are struck by falling bales. Large round hay bales present a particular danger to those who handle them because they can weigh over a thousand pounds and cannot be moved without specialized equipment. Nonetheless, because they are cylindrical in shape, and thus can roll easily, it is not uncommon for them to fall from stacks or roll off from equipment used to handle them. From 1992 to 1998, 74 farm workers in the United States were killed in large round hay bale accidents, usually when bales were being moved from one location to another, such as when feeding livestock.[13][14]

Hay is generally one of the safest feeds to provide to domesticated grazing herbivores. However, some precautions are needed. Amount must be monitored so that animals do not get too fat or too thin. Supplemental feed may be required for working animals with high energy requirements. Animals who eat spoiled hay may develop a variety of illnesses, from coughs related to dust and mold, to various other illnesses, the most serious of which may be botulism, which can occur if a small animal, such as a rodent or snake, is killed by the baling equipment then rots inside the bale, causing a toxin to form. Some animals are sensitive to particular fungi or molds that may grow on living plants. For example, an endophytic fungus that sometimes grows on fescue can cause abortion in pregnant mares.[15] Some plants themselves may also be toxic to some animals. For example, Pimelea, a native Australian plant, also known as flax weed, is highly toxic to cattle.[16]

Field of freshly baled round hay bales.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Selecting Hay for Horses". http://www.agry.purdue.edu/Ext/forages/publications/ID-190.htm. 
  2. ^ "Schoenian, Susan. "An Introduction to Feeding Small Ruminants," Western Maryland Research & Education Center, Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, web site accessed November 12, 2007". http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/feedingsmallruminants.html. 
  3. ^ "Information on Feeding sheep". http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/sheep/410-853/410-853.html. 
  4. ^ "Neary, Mike and Keith Johnson. "Stretching Hay Supplies." Indiana Sheep Tales 1991 Vol. 2: Purdue University. Web page accessed November 12, 2007". http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/sheep/articles/strchhay.html. 
  5. ^ Budiansky, Stephen. The Nature of Horses. Free Press, 1997. ISBN 0-684-82768-9
  6. ^ K. J. Shinners and R.T. Schuler. "Equipment to rake and merge hay and forage." Web site accessed May 29, 2007
  7. ^ "Preventing Haystack Fires". Country Fire Authority (CFA) Victoria, Australia. December 2008. http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/business/documents/preventing_haystack_fires.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  8. ^ William G. Hires, "Large Round Bales: Management" Publication no. G1955, University of Missouri Extension. http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/agengin/g01955.htm Web site accessed May 29, 2007.
  9. ^ Edward B. Rayburn "Round Bale Storage Costs" West Virginia University Extension Service. http://www.caf.wvu.edu/~forage/roundbale.htm Web site accessed May 29, 2007
  10. ^ "Large Round Bale Silage" Penn State Cooperative Extension service. http://cropsoil.psu.edu/extension/facts/agfact9.pdf Web site accessed May 29, 2007.
  11. ^ Karen Spivey and Jackie Nix. "Haylage" North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/onslow/AG/hay/haylage.html Web site accessed May 29, 2007
  12. ^ "Haystack Fires (Spontaneous Combustion)". Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. October 2008. http://www.bcg.org.au/cb_pages/images/AG1356_oct2008.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  13. ^ "Hazards Associated with Using Farm Tractors to Move Large Bales". http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2001-146/. Retrieved September 10, 2004. 
  14. ^ "JAMA - Fatalities Associated With Large Round Hay Bales—Minnesota, 1994-1996". http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/279/9/647. Retrieved September 10, 2004. 
  15. ^ wright, Bob and Dan Kenney. "Abortion in Horses" Queen's Printer for Ontario Fact Sheet no. 05-061. web site accessed June 25, 2007 at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/facts/05-061.htm
  16. ^ Plate, Alice. "Toxic Weed Kills Cattle" ABC Rural web site, accessed June 25, 2007 at http://www.abc.net.au/rural/qld/content/2006/s1582357.htm

External links


.]]

Hay is grass, legumes or other herbaceous plants that have been cut, dried, and stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for grazing livestock such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Hay is also fed to pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Pigs may be fed hay, but they do not digest it as efficiently as more fully herbivorous animals.

Hay is fed when or where there is not enough pasture or rangeland on which to graze an animal, when grazing is unavailable due to weather (such as during the winter) or when lush pasture by itself is too rich for the health of the animal. It is also fed during times when an animal is unable to access pasture, such as when animals are kept in a stable or barn.

Contents

Contents of hay

Commonly used plants for hay include mixtures of grasses such as ryegrass (Lolium species), timothy, brome, fescue, Bermuda grass, orchard grass, and other species, depending on region. Hay may also include legumes, such as alfalfa (lucerne) and clovers (red, white and subterranean). Other pasture forbs are also sometimes a part of the mix, though other than legumes, which ideally are cut pre-bloom, forbs are not necessarily desired. Certain forbs are toxic to some animals.

Oat, barley, and wheat plant materials are occasionally cut green and made into hay for animal fodder; however they are more usually used in the form of straw, a harvest byproduct where the stems and dead leaves are baled after the grain has been harvested and threshed. Straw is used mainly for animal bedding. Although straw is also used as fodder, particularly as a source of dietary fiber, it has lower nutritional value than hay.

It is the leaf and seed material in the hay that determines its quality. Farmers try to harvest hay at the point when the seed heads are not quite ripe and the leaf is at its maximum when the grass is mowed in the field. The cut material is allowed to dry so that the bulk of the moisture is removed but the leafy material is still robust enough to be picked up from the ground by machinery and processed into storage in bales, stacks or pits.


Hay is very sensitive to weather conditions, particularly when it is harvested. In drought conditions, both seed and leaf production are stunted, making hay that has a high ratio of dry coarse stems that have very low nutritional values. If the weather is too wet, the cut hay may spoil in the field before it can be baled. The hay may also develop rot and mold after being baled, creating the potential for toxins to form in the feed, which could make the animals sick. It also has to be stored in a manner to prevent it from getting wet. Mold and spoilage reduce nutritional value and may cause illness in animals.

The successful harvest of maximum yields of high-quality hay is entirely dependent on the coincident occurrence of optimum crop, field, and weather conditions. When this occurs, there may be a period of intense activity on the hay farm while harvest proceeds until weather conditions become unfavourable.

Feeding hay

Hay or grass is the foundation of the diet for all grazing animals and can provide as much as 100% of the fodder required for an animal. Hay is usually fed to an animal in place of allowing the animal to graze on grasses in a pasture, particularly in the winter or during times when drought or other conditions make pasture unavailable. Animals that can eat hay vary in the types of grasses suitable for consumption, the ways they consume hay, and how they digest it. Therefore, different types of animals require hay that consists of similar plants to what they would eat while grazing, and likewise, plants that are toxic to an animal in pasture are also toxic if they are dried into hay.

Most animals are fed hay in two daily feedings, morning and evening. However, this schedule is more for the convenience of humans, as most grazing animals on pasture naturally consume fodder in multiple feedings throughout the day. Some animals, especially those being raised for meat, may be given enough hay that they simply are able to eat all day. Other animals, especially those that are ridden or driven as working animals, are only free to eat when not working, and may be given a more limited amount of hay to prevent them from getting too fat. The proper amount of hay and the type of hay required varies somewhat between different species. Some animals are also fed concentrated feeds such as grain or vitamin supplements in addition to hay. In most cases, hay or pasture forage must make up 50% or more of the diet by weight.

One of the most significant differences in hay digestion is between ruminant animals, such as cattle and sheep; and nonruminant, hindgut fermentors, such as horses. Both types of animals can digest cellulose in grass and hay, but do so by different mechanisms. Because of the four-chambered stomach of cattle, they are often able to break down older forage and have more tolerance of mold and changes in diet. The single-chambered stomach and cecum or "hindgut" of the horse uses bacterial processes to break down cellulose that are more sensitive to changes in feeds and the presence of mold or other toxins, requiring horses to be fed hay of more consistent type and quality.[1]


Different animals also use hay in different ways: cattle evolved to eat forages in relatively large quantities at a single feeding, and then, due to the process of rumination, take a considerable amount of time for their stomachs to digest food, often accomplished while the animal is lying down, at rest. Thus quantity of hay is important for cattle, who are able to effectively digest hay of low quality if fed in sufficient amounts. Sheep will eat between two and four percent of their body weight per day in dry feed, such as hay,[2] and are very efficient at obtaining the most nutrition possible from three to five pounds per day of hay or other forage.[3] They require three to four hours per day to eat enough hay to meet their nutritional requirements.[4]

Unlike ruminants, horses digest food in small portions throughout the day, and can only use approximately 2.5% of their body weight in feed in any 24-hour period. They evolved to be continuously on the move while grazing, (covering up to 50 miles per day in the wild) and their stomach digests food quite rapidly. Thus, they extract more nutrition out of smaller quantities of feed.[5] However, when horses are fed low-quality hay, they may develop an unhealthy, obese, "hay belly" due to over-consumption of "empty" calories. If their type of feed is changed dramatically, or if they are fed moldy hay or hay containing toxic plants, they can become ill; colic is the leading cause of death in horses. Contaminated hay can also lead to respiratory problems in horses. Hay can be soaked in water, sprinkled with water or subjected to steaming to reduce dust.

Making and transporting hay

dumping a freshly rolled hay bale]]

Hay production and harvest, colloquially known as "making hay", "haymaking", or "doing hay," involves a multiple step process: cutting, drying or "curing," processing, and storing. Hayfields do not have to be reseeded each year in the way that grain crops are, but regular fertilizing is usually desirable, and overseeding a field every few years helps increase yield.

Methods and the terminology to describe the steps of making hay have varied greatly throughout history, and many regional variations still exist today. However, whether done by hand or by modern mechanized equipment, tall grass and legumes at the proper stage of maturity must be cut, then allowed to dry (preferably by the sun), then raked into long, narrow piles known as windrows. Next, the cured hay is gathered up in some form (usually by some type of baling process) and placed for storage into a haystack or into a barn or shed to protect it from moisture and rot.

During the growing season, which is spring and early summer in temperate climates, grass grows at a fast pace. It is at its greatest nutritive value when all leaves are fully developed and seed or flower heads are just a bit short of full maturity. When growth is at a maximum in the pasture, if judged correctly, the pasture is cut. Hay cut too early will not cure as easily due to high moisture content, plus it will produce a lower yield per acre than longer, more mature grass. But hay cut too late is coarser, lower in resale value and has lost some of its nutrients. There is usually about a two-week "window" of time in which hay is at its ideal stage for harvesting.

, 1936.]] Hay can be raked into rows as it is cut, then turned periodically to dry, particularly if a modern swather is used. Or, especially with older equipment or methods, the hay is cut and allowed to lie spread out in the field until it is dry, then raked into rows for processing into bales afterwards. During the drying period, which can take several days, the process is usually speeded up by turning the cut hay over with a hay rake or spreading it out with a tedder. If it rains while the hay is drying, turning the windrow can also allow it to dry faster. However, turning the hay too often or too roughly can also cause drying leaf matter to fall off, reducing the nutrients available to animals. Drying can also be sped up by mechanized processes, such as use of a hay conditioner, or by use of chemicals sprayed onto the hay to speed evaporation of moisture, though these are more expensive techniques, not in general use except in areas where there is a combination of modern technology, high prices for hay, and too much rain for hay to dry properly.[6] [[File:|thumb|Modern small-scale transport. Pickup truck loaded with "large square" bales]] Once hay is cut, dried and raked into windrows, it is usually gathered into bales or bundles, then hauled to a central location for storage. In some places, depending on geography, region, climate, and culture, hay is gathered loose and stacked without being baled first.

Hay must be fully dried when baled and kept dry in storage. If hay is baled while too moist or becomes wet while in storage, there is a significant risk of spontaneous combustion.[7] Hay stored outside must be stacked in such a way that moisture contact is minimal. Some stacks are arranged in such a manner that the hay itself "sheds" water when it falls. Other methods of stacking use the first layers or bales of hay as a cover to protect the rest. To completely keep out moisture, outside haystacks can also be covered by tarps, and many round bales are partially wrapped in plastic as part of the baling process. Hay is also stored under a roof when resources permit. It is frequently placed inside sheds, or stacked inside of a barn. On the other hand, care must also be taken that hay is never exposed to any possible source of heat or flame, as dry hay and the dust it produces are highly flammable.

Early methods

Early farmers noticed that growing fields produced more fodder in the spring than the animals could consume, and that cutting the grass in the summer, allowing it to dry and storing it for the winter provided their domesticated animals with better quality nutrition than simply allowing them to dig through snow in the winter to find dried grass. Therefore, some fields were "shut up" for hay.

Up to the end of the 19th century, grass and legumes were not often grown together because crops were rotated.[citation needed] By the 20th century, however, good forage management techniques demonstrated that highly productive pastures were a mix of grasses and legumes, so compromises were made when it was time to mow. Later still, some farmers grew crops, like straight alfalfa (lucerne), for special-purpose hay such as that fed to dairy cattle.

Much hay was originally cut by scythe by teams of workers, dried in the field and gathered loose on wagons. Later, haying would be done by horse-drawn implements such as mowers. With the invention of agricultural machinery such as the tractor and the baler, most hay production became mechanized by the 1930s.

, a traditional Slovenian hay rack]]

After hay was cut and had dried, the hay was raked or rowed up by raking it into a linear heap by hand or with a horse-drawn implement. Turning hay, when needed, originally was done by hand with a fork or rake. Once the dried hay was rowed up, pitch forks were used to pile it loose, originally onto a horse-drawn cart or wagon, later onto a truck or tractor-drawn trailer, for which a sweep could be used instead of pitch forks.

Loose hay was taken to an area designated for storage—usually a slightly raised area for drainage — and built into a hay stack. The stack was made waterproof as it was built (a task of considerable skill) and the hay would compress under its own weight and cure by the release of heat from the residual moisture in the hay and from the compression forces. The stack was fenced from the rest of the paddock in a rick yard, and often thatched or sheeted to keep it dry. When needed slices of hay would be cut using a hay-knife and fed out to animals each day.

On some farms the loose hay was stored in a shed or barn, normally in such a way that it would compress down and cure. Hay could be stored in a specially designed barn with little internal structure to allow more room for the hay. Alternatively an upper storey of a cow-shed or stable was used, with hatches in the floor to allow hay to be thrown down into hay-racks below.

Depending on region, the term "hay rick" could refer to the machine for cutting hay, the hay stack or the wagon used to collect the hay.

Modern mechanised techniques

Modern mechanized hay production today is usually performed by a number of machines. While small operations use a tractor to pull various implements for mowing and raking, larger operations use specialized machines such as a mower or a swather, which are designed to cut the hay and arrange it into a windrow in one step. Balers are usually pulled by a tractor, with larger balers requiring more powerful tractors.

Mobile balers, machines which gather and bale hay in one process, were first developed around 1940. The first balers produced rectangular bales small enough for a person to lift, usually between 70 and 100 pounds each. The size and shape made it possible for people to pick bales up, stack them on a vehicle for transport to a storage area, then build a haystack by hand. However, to save labor and increase safety, loaders and stackers were also developed to mechanise the transport of small bales from the field to the haystack. Later[when?], balers were developed capable of producing large bales that weigh up to 3000 pounds.[8]

Small bales

Small bales are still produced today. While balers for small bales are still manufactured, as well as loaders and stackers, there are some farms that still use equipment manufactured over 50 years ago, kept in good repair. The small bale remains part of overall ranch lore and tradition with "hay bucking" competitions still held for fun at many rodeos and county fairs.

Small bales are stacked in a criss-crossed fashion sometimes called a "rick" or "hayrick." Since rain washes nutrition out of the hay and can cause spoilage or mold, hay in small bales is often stored in a hayshed or protected by tarpaulins. If this is not done, the top two layers of the stack are often lost to rot and mold, and if the stack is not arranged in a proper hayrick, moisture can seep even deeper into the stack.

People who own small numbers of livestock, particularly horses, still prefer small bales that can be handled by one person without machinery. There is also a risk that hay bales may be moldy, or contain decaying carcasses of small creatures that were accidentally killed by baling equipment and swept up into the bale, which can produce toxins such as botulism. Both can be deadly to nonruminant herbivores, such as horses, and when this occurs, the entire contaminated bale generally is thrown out, another reason some livestock owners continue to support the market for small bales.

Large bales

Many farmers, particularly those who feed large herds, have moved to balers which produce much larger bales, maximizing the amount of hay which is protected from the elements. Large bales come in two types, round and square. "Large Square" bales, which can weigh up to 1000 kg (2,200 lb), can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. Round bales, which are typically weigh 300–400 kg (700–900 lb), are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

The ratio of volume to surface area makes it possible for many dry-area farmers to leave large bales outside until they are consumed. Wet-area farmers and those in climates with heavy snowfall either stack round bales under a shed or tarp, but have also developed a light but durable plastic wrap that partially encloses bales left outside. The wrap repels moisture, but leaves the ends of the bale exposed so that the hay itself can "breathe" and does not begin to ferment. However, when possible to store round bales under a shed, they last longer and less hay is lost to rot and moisture.[9]

bale in Austria.]]

For animals that eat silage, a bale wrapper may be used to seal a round bale completely and trigger the fermentation process. It is a technique used as a money-saving process by producers who do not have access to a silo, and for producing silage that is transported to other locations. However, a silo is still a preferred method for making silage.[10] In very damp climates, it is a legitimate alternative to drying hay completely and when processed properly, the natural fermentation process prevents mold and rot. Round bale silage is also sometimes called "haylage," and is seen more commonly in Europe than in either the USA or Australia. However, hay stored in this fashion must remain completely sealed in plastic, as any holes or tears can stop the preservation properties of fermentation and lead to spoilage.[11]

Hay conditioning

Conditioning of hay has become popular. The basic idea is that it decreases drydown time. Usually, a salt solution is sprayed over the top of the hay (generally alfalfa) that helps to dry the hay. Conditioning can also refer to the rollers inside a swather that crimps the alfalfa to help squeeze out the moisture.[citation needed]

Safety issues

Hay baled before it is fully dry can produce enough heat to catch on fire. Farmers have to be careful about moisture levels to avoid spontaneous combustion, which is a leading cause of haystack fires.[12] Heat is produced by the respiration process, which occurs until the moisture content of drying hay drops below 40%. Hay is considered fully dry when it reaches 20% moisture. Combustion problems typically occur within five days to seven days of baling. A bale cooler than

  1. REDIRECT Template:Convert/°F is in little danger, bales between
  2. REDIRECT Template:Convert/°F need to be removed from a barn or structure and separated so that they can cool off. If the temperature of a bale exceeds more than
  3. REDIRECT Template:Convert/°F, it can combust.[13]

Due to its weight, hay can cause a number of injuries to humans, particularly those related to lifting and moving bales, as well as risks related to stacking and storing. Hazards include the danger of having a poorly constructed stack collapse, causing either falls to people on the stack or injuries to people on the ground who are struck by falling bales. Large round hay bales present a particular danger to those who handle them, because they can weigh over a thousand pounds and cannot be moved without special equipment. Nonetheless, because they are cylindrical in shape, and thus can roll easily, it is not uncommon for them to fall from stacks or roll off the equipment used to handle them. From 1992 to 1998, 74 farm workers in the United States were killed in large round hay bale accidents, usually when bales were being moved from one location to another, such as when feeding livestock.[14][15]

Hay is generally one of the safest feeds to provide to domesticated grazing herbivores. However, some precautions are needed. Amount must be monitored so that animals do not get too fat or too thin. Supplemental feed may be required for working animals with high energy requirements. Animals who eat spoiled hay may develop a variety of illnesses, from coughs related to dust and mold, to various other illnesses, the most serious of which may be botulism, which can occur if a small animal, such as a rodent or snake, is killed by the baling equipment, then rots inside the bale, causing a toxin to form. Some animals are sensitive to particular fungi or molds that may grow on living plants. For example, an endophytic fungus that sometimes grows on fescue can cause abortion in pregnant mares.[16] Some plants themselves may also be toxic to some animals. For example, Pimelea, a native Australian plant, also known as flax weed, is highly toxic to cattle.[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Selecting Hay for Horses". http://www.agry.purdue.edu/Ext/forages/publications/ID-190.htm. 
  2. ^ "Schoenian, Susan. "An Introduction to Feeding Small Ruminants," Western Maryland Research & Education Center, Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, web site accessed November 12, 2007". http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/feedingsmallruminants.html. 
  3. ^ "Information on Feeding sheep". http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/sheep/410-853/410-853.html. 
  4. ^ "Neary, Mike and Keith Johnson. "Stretching Hay Supplies." Indiana Sheep Tales 1991 Vol. 2: Purdue University. Web page accessed November 12, 2007". http://ag.ansc.purdue.edu/sheep/articles/strchhay.html. 
  5. ^ Budiansky, Stephen. The Nature of Horses. Free Press, 1997. ISBN 0-684-82768-9
  6. ^ K. J. Shinners and R.T. Schuler. "Equipment to rake and merge hay and forage." Web site accessed May 29, 2007
  7. ^ "Preventing Haystack Fires". Country Fire Authority (CFA) Victoria, Australia. December 2008. http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/business/documents/preventing_haystack_fires.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  8. ^ William G. Hires, "Large Round Bales: Management" Publication no. G1955, University of Missouri Extension. http://extension.missouri.edu/explore/agguides/agengin/g01955.htm Web site accessed May 29, 2007.
  9. ^ Edward B. Rayburn "Round Bale Storage Costs" West Virginia University Extension Service. http://www.caf.wvu.edu/~forage/roundbale.htm Web site accessed May 29, 2007
  10. ^ "Large Round Bale Silage" Penn State Cooperative Extension service. http://cropsoil.psu.edu/extension/facts/agfact9.pdf Web site accessed May 29, 2007.
  11. ^ Karen Spivey and Jackie Nix. "Haylage" North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/onslow/AG/hay/haylage.html Web site accessed May 29, 2007
  12. ^ "Haystack Fires (Spontaneous Combustion)". Department of Primary Industries, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. October 2008. http://www.bcg.org.au/cb_pages/images/AG1356_oct2008.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  13. ^ "Barn Fires: Avoid Hay Bale Combustion." The Horse, online edition. by: Oklahoma State University July 24 2009, Article # 14589. Accessed June 13, 2010
  14. ^ "Hazards Associated with Using Farm Tractors to Move Large Bales". http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2001-146/. Retrieved September 10, 2004. 
  15. ^ "JAMA - Fatalities Associated With Large Round Hay Bales—Minnesota, 1994-1996". http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/279/9/647. Retrieved September 10, 2004. 
  16. ^ wright, Bob and Dan Kenney. "Abortion in Horses" Queen's Printer for Ontario Fact Sheet no. 05-061. web site accessed June 25, 2007 at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/horses/facts/05-061.htm
  17. ^ Plate, Alice. "Toxic Weed Kills Cattle" ABC Rural web site, accessed June 25, 2007 at http://www.abc.net.au/rural/qld/content/2006/s1582357.htm

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

Hay[1] is a rural town of about 3000 people. It has several motels and many country pubs, and is located at the intersection of three major highways, making it a good place for a stop on a long road trip. The Hay tourism board maintain a useful website , which provides good information about accommodation, directions and activities in Hay.

Get in

Hay is on the Stuart Highway, which is the main route from Sydney to Adelaide. Most people arrive via this route, although some also arrive via the much less travelled Cobb Highway. It is also the western end of the Mid-Western Highway.

See

The highlight of Hay must be:

  • ShearOutback (Shearer's Hall of Fame), (02) 6993 4000, [2]. Modern museum with exhibitions of shearing and sheep-related paraphernalia, and regular live shearing demonstrations. Also has a good cafe. Open 9-5 every day. Admission $15 adults, $10 concession (August 2006). Just off the South Hay roundabout, on the Sturt Highway.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HAY (a word common in various forms to Teutonic languages; cf. Ger. Heu, Dutch hooi; the root from which it is derived, meaning "to cut," is also seen in "to hew"; cf. "hoe"), grass mown and dried in the sun and used as fodder for cattle. It is properly applied only to the grass when cut, but is often also used of the standing crop. (See Haymaking below). Another word "hay," meaning a fence, must be distinguished; the root from which it is derived is seen in its doublet "hedge," cf.. "haw-thorn," i.e. " hedge thorn." In this sense it survives in legal history in "hay bote," i.e. hedge-bote, the right of a tenant, copyholder, &c. to take wood to repair fences, hedges, &c. (see ESTOvExs), and also in "hayward," an official of a manor whose duty was to protect the enclosed lands from cattle breaking out of the common land.

Haymaking

The term "haymaking" signifies the process of drying and curing grass or other herbage so as to fit it for storage in stacks or sheds for future use. As a regular part of farm work it was unknown in ancient times. Before its introduction into Great Britain the animals intended for beef and mutton were slaughtered in autumn and salted down; the others were turned out to fend for themselves, and often lost all the fat in winter they had gained the previous summer. The introduction of haymaking gave unlimited scope for the production of winter food, and improved treatment of live stock became possible.

Though every country has its own methods of haymaking, the principal stages in the process everywhere are: (1) mowing, (2) drying or "making," (3) "carrying" and storage in stacks or sheds.

In a wet district such as the west of Ireland the "making" is a difficult affair and large quantities of hay are often spoiled, while much labour has to be spent in cocking up, turning over, ricking, &c., before it is fit to be stacked up. On the other hand, in the dry districts of south-eastern England it is often possible -to cut and carry the hay without any special "making," as the sun and wind will dry it quickly enough to fit it for stacking up without the expenditure of much labour. This rule also applies to dry countries like the United States and several of the British colonies, and it is for this reason that most of the modern implements used for quickly handling a bulk of hay have been invented or improved in those countries. Forage of all kinds intended for hay should be cut at or before the flowering stage if possible. The full growth and food value of the plant are reached then, and further change consists in the formation and ripening of the seed at the expense of the leaves and stems, leaving these hard and woody and of less feeding value.

Grass or other forage, when growing, contains a large proportion of water, and after cutting must be left to dry in the sun and wind, a process which may at times be assisted by turning over or shaking up. In fine weather in the south of England grass is sufficiently dried in from two to four days to be stacked straight away. In Scotland or other districts where the rainfall is heavy and the air moist, it is first put into small fieldricks or "pykes" of from 10 to 20 cwt. each. In the drying process the 75% of water usually present in grass should be reduced to approximately 15% in the hay, and in wet or broken weather it is exceedingly difficult to secure this reduction. With a heavy crop or in damp weather grass may need turning in the swathe, raking up into "windrows," and then making up into cocks or "guiles," i.e. round beehive-like heaps, before it can be "carried." A properly made cock will stand bad weather for a week, as only the outside straws are weathered, and therefore the hay is kept fresh and green. Indeed, it is a good rule always to cock hay, for even in sunny weather undue exposure ends in bleaching, which is almost as detrimental to its quality as wet-weathering.

In the last quarter of the 19th century the methods of haymaking were completely changed, and even some of the principles underlying its practice were revised. Generally speaking, before that time the only implements used were the scythe, the rake and the pitchfork; nowadays - with the exception of the pitchfork - these implements are seldom used, except where the work is carried on in a small way. Instead of the scythe, for instance, the mowing machine is employed for cutting the crop, and with a modern improved machine taking a swathe as wide as 5 or 6 ft. some 10 acres per day can easily be mown by one man and a pair of horses (figs. 1 and 2).

It will be seen from the figures that a mower consists of three principal parts: (1) a truck or carriage on two high wheels carrying the driving gear; (2) the cutting mechanism, comprising a reciprocating knife or sickle operating through slots in the guards or "fingers" FIG. I. - Mower (viewed from above) with enlarged detail of Blade. (Harrison, M`Gregor & Co.) fastened to the cutting bar which projects to either the right or left of the truck; and (3) the pole with whippletrees, by which the horses are attached to give the motive power. The reciprocating knife has a separate blade to correspond to each finger, and is driven by a connecting rod and crank on the fore part of the truck. In work the pointed "fingers" pass in between the stalks of grass and the knives shear them off, acting against the fingers as the crank drives them backwards and forwards. In the swathe of grass left behind by the machine, the stalks are, in a manner, thatched over one another, so that it is in the best position for drying in the sun, or, per contra, for shedding off the rain if the weather is wet. This is a great point in favour of the use of the machine, because the swathe left by the scythe required to be "tedded" out, i.e. the grass had to be shaken out or spread to allow it to be more easily dried.

After the grass has lain in the swathe a day or two till it is partly dried, it is necessary to turn it over to dry the other side. This used to be done with the hand rake, and a band of men or women would advance in echelon across a field, each turning the FIG. 2. - Mower (side view).

swathe of hay by regular strokes of the rake at each step: "driving the dusky wave along the mead" as described in Thomson's Seasons. This part of the work was the act of "haymaking" proper, and the subject of much sentiment in both prose and poetry. The swathes as laid by the mowing machine lent themselves to this treatment in the old days when the swathe was only some 3 to 4 ft. wide, but with the wide cut of the present day it becomes impracticable. If the hay is turned and "made" at all, the operation is now generally performed by a machine made for the purpose. There is a wide selection of "tedders" or "kickers," and "swathe-turners" on the market. The one illustrated in fig. 3 is the first prize winner at the Royal Agricultural Society's trials (1907). It FIG. 3. - Swathe-turner. (Blackstone & Co., Ltd.).

takes two swathes at a time, and it will be seen that the working part consists of a wheel or circle of prongs or tines, which revolves across the line of the swathe. Each prong in turn catches the edge of the swathe of grass and kicks it up and over, thus turning it and leaving it loose for the wind to blow through.

The "kicker" is mounted on two wheels, and carries in bearings at the rear of the frame a multiple-cranked shaft, provided with a series of forks sleeved on the cranks and having their upper ends connected by links to the frame. As the crankshaft is driven from the wheels by proper gearing the forks move upward and forward, then downward and rearward, in an elliptical path, and kick the hay sharply to the rear, thus scattering and turning it.

It is a moot point, however, whether grass should be turned at all, or left to "make" as it falls from the mowing machine. In a dry sunny season and with a moderate crop it is only a waste of time and labour to turn it, for it will be cured quite well as it lies, especially if raked up into loose "windrows" a little before carrying to the stack. On the other hand, where the crop is heavy (say over 2 tons per acre) or the climate is wet, turning will be necessary.

With heavy crops of clover, lucerne and similar forage crops, turning may be an absolute necessity, because a thick swathe of a succulent crop will be difficult to dry or "make" excepting in hot sunny weather, but with ordinary meadow grass or with a mixture of "artificial" grasses it may often be dispensed with. It must be remembered, however, that the process of turning breaks the stalks (thus letting out the albuminoid and saccharine juices), and should be avoided as far as possible in order to save both labour and the quality of the hay.

One of the earlier mechanical inventions in connexion with haymaking was that of the horse rake (fig. 4). Before its introduction the hay, after making, had to be gathered up by the hand rake - a tedious and laborious process - but the introduction of this implement, whereby one horse and one man can do work before requiring six or eight men, marked a great advance. The horse rake is a framework on two wheels carrying hinged steel teeth placed 3 in. apart, so that their points slide along the ground below the hay. In work it gathers up the loose hay, and when full a tipping mechanism permits the emptying of the load.

The tipping is effected by pulling down a handle which sets a leverage device in motion, whereby the teeth are lifted up and the load of hay dropped below and left behind. On some rakes a FIG. 4. - Self-acting Horse Rake. (Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, Ltd.).

clutch is worked by the driver's foot, and this put in action causes the ordinary forward revolving motion of the driving wheels to do the tipping.

The loads are tipped end to end as the rake passes and repasses at the work, and thus the hay is left loose in long parallel rows on the field. Each row is termed a "windrow," the passage of the wind through the hay greatly aiding the drying and "making" thereof. When hay is in this form it may either be carried direct to the stack if sufficiently "made," or else put into cocks to season a little longer. The original width of horse rakes was about 8 ft., but nowadays they range up to 16 and 18 ft. The width should be suited to that of the swathes as left by the mower, and as the latter is now made to cut 5 and 6 ft. wide, it is necessary to have a rake to cover two widths. The very wide rakes are only suitable for even, level land; those of less width must be used where the land has been laid down in ridge and furrow. As the swathes lie in long parallel rows, it is a great convenience in working for two to be taken in width at a time, so that the horse can walk in the space between.

The side-delivery rake, a development of the ordinary horse rake, is a useful implement, adapted for gathering and laying a quantity of hay in one continuous windrow. It is customary with this to go up the field throwing two swathes to one side, and then back down on the adjacent swathes, so that thus four are thrown into one central windrow. The implement consists of a frame carried on two wheels with shafts for a horse; across the frame are fixed travelling or revolving prongs of different varieties which pick up the hay off the ground and pass it along sideways across the line of travel, leaving it in one continuous line. Some makes of swathe-turners are designed to do this work as well as the turning of the hay.

Perhaps the greatest improvement of modern times is the method niwju? niawwrumm?fimrm of carrying the hay from the field to the stack. An American invention known as the sweep rake was introduced by the writer into England in 1894, and now in many modified forms is in very general use in the Midlands and south of England, where the hay is carried from the cock, windrow or swathe straight to the stack. This implement consists of a wheeled framework fitted with long wooden iron-pointed teeth which slide along the ground; two horses are yoked to it - one at each side - the driver directing from a central seat behind the framework. When in use it is taken to the farther end of a row of cocks, a windrow, or even to a row of untouched swathes on the ground, and walked forward. As it advances it scoops up a load, and when full is drawn to where the stack is being erected (fig. 5). In ordinary circumstances the sweep rake will FIG. 5. - Sweep Rake.

pick up at a load two-thirds of an ordinary cart-load, but, where the hay is in good order and it is swept down hill, a whole one-horse cart-load can be carried each time. The drier the hay the better will the sweep rake work, and if it is not working sweetly but has a tendency to clog or make rolls of hay, it may be inferred that the latter is not in a condition fit for stacking. Where the loads must be taken through a gateway or a long distance to the stack, it is necessary to use carts or wagons, and the loading of these in the field out of the windrow is largely expedited by the use of the "loader," also an American invention of which many varieties are in the market. Generally speaking, it consists of a frame carrying a revolving web with tines or prongs. The implement is hitched on behind a cart or wagon, and as it moves forward the web picks the loose hay off the ground and delivers it on the top, where a man levels it with a pitchfork and builds it into a load ready to move to the stack. At the stack the most convenient method of transferring the hay from a cart, wagon or sweep rake is the elevator, a tall structure with a revolving web carrying teeth or spikes (fig. 6). The hay is thrown in forkfuls on at the bottom, a pony-gear causes the web to revolve, and the hay is carried in an almost continuous stream up the elevator and dropped over the top on to the stack. The whole implement is made to fold down, and is provided with wheels so that it can be moved from stack to stack. In the older forms there is a "hopper" or box at the bottom into which the hay is thrown to enable the teeth of the web to catch it, but in the modern forms there is no hopper, the web reaching down to the ground so that hay can be picked up from the ground level. Where the hay is brought to the stack on carts or wagons it can be unloaded by means of the horse fork. This is an adaptation of the principle of the ordinary crane; a central pole and jib are supported by guy ropes, and from the end of the jib a rope runs over a pulley. At the end of this rope is a "fork" formed of two sets of prongs which open and shut. This is lowered on to the load of hay, the prongs are forced into it, a horse pulls at the other end of the rope, and the prongs close and "grab" several cwt. of hay which are swung up and dropped on the stack. In this way a large cart or wagon load is hoisted on to the stack in three or four "forkfuls." The horse fork is not suited for use with the sweep rake, however, because the hay is brought up to the stack in a loose flat heap without sufficient body for the fork to get hold of.

In northern and wet districts of England it is customary to "make" the hay as in the south, but it is then built up into little stacks in the field where it grew (ricks, pykes or trampcocks are names used for these in different districts), each containing about io to 15 cwt. These are made in the same way as the ordinary stack - one person on top building, another on the grouud pitching up the hay - and are carefully roped and raked down. In these the hay gets a preliminary sweating or tempering while at the same time it is rendered safe from the weather, and, thus stored, it may remain for weeks before being carried to the big stacks at the homestead. The practice of putting up the hay into little ricks in the field has brought about the introduction of another set of implements for carrying these to the stackyard.

Various forms of rick-lifters are in use, the characteristic feature of which is a tipping platform on wheels to which a horse is attached between shafts. The vehicle is backed against a rick, and a chain passed round the bottom of the latter, which is then pulled up the slant of the tipped platform by means of a small windlass. When the centre of the balance is passed, the platform carrying the rick tips back to the level, and the whole is thus loaded ready to move. Another variety of loader is formed of three shear-legs with block and tackle. These are placed over a rick, under which the grabirons are passed, and the whole hauled up by a horse. When high enough a cart is backed in below, the rick lowered, and the load is ready to carry away.

When put into a stack the next stage in curing the hay begins - the heating or sweating. In the growing plants the tissues are composed of living cells containing protoplasm. This continues its life action as long as it gets sufficient moisture and air. As life action involves the development of heat, the temperature in a confined space like a stack where the heat is not dissipated may rise to such a point that spontaneous combustion occurs. The chemical or physical reasons for this are not very well understood. The starch and sugar contents of the tissues are changed in part into alcohol. In the analogous process of making silage (i.e. stacking wet green grass in a closed building) the alcohol develops into acetic acid, thus making "sour" silage. In a haystack the intermediate body, acetaldehyde, which is both inflammable and suffocating, is produced - men having been suffocated when sleeping on the top of a heating stack. The production of this gas leads to slow combustion and ignition. One explanation of the process is that the protoplasm of the cells acts as a fermenting agent (like yeast) until a temperature sufficient to kill germ life, say 150° F., is reached, beyond which the action which leads up to the temperature of ignition must be purely chemical. If the stack contains no air at all it does not heat, or if it has excess FIG. 6. - Hay Elevator. (Maldon Iron Works Co.).

of air it is safe. The danger-point in a stack is the centre at about 6 ft. from the ground; below this the weight of the hay itself squeezes out the air, ana at the sides and top the heat is dissipated outwards. If a stack shows signs of overheating (a process that may take weeks or even months to develop) it can be saved by cutting a gap in the side of it with the hay knife, thus letting out the heat and fumes, and admitting fresh air to the centre. The essential point in haymaking is that the hay should be dried sufficiently to ensure the sweating process in the stack reaching no further than the stage of the formation of sugar. Good hay should come out green and with the odour of coumarin - to which is due the scent of new-mown hay. Only part of a stack can ever attain to a perfect state: the tops, bottom and outsides are generally wasted by the weather after stacking, while there may be three or four intermediate qualities present. In some markets hay that .has been sweated till it is brown in colour is desired, but for general purposes green hay is the best.

Hay often becomes musty when the weather during "making" has been too wet to allow of its getting sufficiently dry for stacking. Mustiness is caused by the growth of various moulds (Penicillium, Aspergillus, &c.) on the damp stems, with the result that the hay when cut out for use is dusty and shows white streaks and spots. Such hay is inferior to that which has been overheated, and in practice it is found that a strong heating will prevent mouldiness by killing the fungi.

Heavy lush crops - especially those containing a large proportion of clover or other leguminous plants - are proportionately more difficult to "make" than light grassy ones. Thus, if one ton is taken as a fair yield off one acre, a two-ton crop will probably require four times as much work in curing as the smaller crop. In the treacherous climate of Great Britain hay is frequently spoiled because the weather does not hold good long enough to permit of its being properly "made." Consequently many experienced haymakers regard a moderate crop as the more profitable because it can be stacked in first-class condition, whereas a heavy crop forced by "high farming" is grown at a loss, owing to the weather waste and the heavier expenses involved in securing it.

In handling or marketing out of the stack hay may be transported loose on a cart or wagon, but it is more usual to truss or bale it. A truss is a rectangular block cut out of the solid stack, usually about 3 ft. long and 2 ft. wide, and of a thickness sufficient to give a weight of 56 lb: thirty-six of these constitute a "load" of 18 cwt. - the unit of sale in many markets. A truss is generally bound with two bands of twisted straw, but if it has to undergo much handling it is compressed in a hay-press and tied with two string bands. In some districts a baler is used: a square box with a compressible lid. The hay is tumbled in loose, the lid forced down by a leverage arrangement and the bale tied by three strings. It is usually made to weigh from 1 to 12 cwt. The customs of different markets vary very much in their methods of handling hay, and in the overseas hay trade the size and style of the trusses or bales are adapted for packing on ship-board.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to hay article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Contents

English

Etymology

Old English hīġ

Pronunciation

Noun

Romanian hay.jpg

Singular
hay

Plural
countable and uncountable; plural hays

hay (countable and uncountable; plural hays)

  1. (uncountable) Grass cut and dried for use as animal fodder.
  2. (countable) Any mix of green leafy plants used for fodder.

Derived terms

Translations

External links

Verb

Infinitive
to hay

Third person singular
hays

Simple past
hayed

Past participle
hayed

Present participle
haying

to hay (third-person singular simple present hays, present participle haying, simple past and past participle hayed)

  1. To cut grasses or herb plants for use as animal fodder.

Translations

Related terms

References

Webster's Online Dictionary article on hay

Anagrams


Spanish

Pronunciation

  • IPA: /ai/
  • Homophones: ay

Verb

hay (infinitive: haber)

  1. (Impersonal form) Present indicative form of haber, there is, there are
    Hay dos tiendas que venden películas.
    There are two stores that sell films.

Vietnamese

Pronunciation

Adjective

hay

  1. exciting, interesting
    Phim này hay - This film is interesting

Verb

hay [+ verb]

  1. to have a habit of (doing something)
    Con hay nói nhiều lắm - You, child, have a habit of talking too much or You, child, are talkative

Conjunction

hay (là)

  1. or
    Chọn cái này, hay chọn cái kia - Choose this one, or choose that one

Derived terms

  • ơ hay, ô hay

Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

(1824-1878) Also known as Viscount Walden.


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


properly so called, was not in use among the Hebrews; straw was used instead. They cut the grass green as it was needed. The word rendered "hay" in Prov. 27:25 means the first shoots of the grass. In Isa. 15:6 the Revised Version has correctly "grass," where the Authorized Version has "hay."

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English


Hay is the general name for grass that has been cut and dried. It can then be stored in hay stacks, or squashed into rectangle shaped blocks called bales. Farmers are now rolling the hay into large round bales. Hay is mostly used as animal feed. The animals that eat hay are horses, cattle, goats, donkeys, and rabbits. Hay is fed when there is not enough pasture or rangeland on which an animal can graze. Farmers and ranchers often need to use hay in the winter time when grass is not available.








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