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Protein Loss in Hay Question


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6 replies to this topic

#1 dugswife

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 10:07 PM

I am just learning about hay. I live in the Dallas Area and we have coastal bermuda here. We feed horses. I was wondering if someone could educate me on protein loss in hay. How much does it lose and how quickly? Does it keep on losing protein until it has none and if so how long does that take? For instance we bought some 2007 hay last month that was 5th place in the state fair in 07....but after a year is it so low in protein that it's not any good any more? We were told hay that was several years old was still good as long as it had been kept in a barn. We buy both round and square bales.

I would appreciate an education on this - the internet produces conflicting articles.

Thanks!

#2 CantonHayGuy

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:02 PM

I sure hope someone can give you some experienced advice on this. I haven't been putting up hay long enough to give you any info, but I might suggest this: You could talk to your local Ag Extension Office to find out where you can send samples of your hay to be tested. You could do this at whatever frequency you wanted and make your own assessment. I'm wondering if, since your hay was judged at a state fair, there would be a way to get the amount of protein it contained at the time of the fair.

#3 swmnhay

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 09:05 PM

I am just learning about hay. I live in the Dallas Area and we have coastal bermuda here. We feed horses. I was wondering if someone could educate me on protein loss in hay. How much does it lose and how quickly? Does it keep on losing protein until it has none and if so how long does that take? For instance we bought some 2007 hay last month that was 5th place in the state fair in 07....but after a year is it so low in protein that it's not any good any more? We were told hay that was several years old was still good as long as it had been kept in a barn. We buy both round and square bales.

I would appreciate an education on this - the internet produces conflicting articles.

Thanks!


I don't think it will loose much if any protien if its stored well.I've heard some vitamins are lost in time,and will loose the fresh smell in time.In doubt test it.1 yr old hay I wouldn't worry at all.

#4 Production Acres

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 07:50 AM

I am not an expert on this subject, but this is what I understand. Heat, sunlight, water, and air will all cause hay to degrade. The simplest illustration is like this; a box of cereal will be good for several years - until you open it - then it will have a shelf life of a few weeks. If the plastic liner in the box were better - say doubled, it might last for 10 years. As it is, small amounts of air leak thru the plastic over time and slowly the cereal becomes stale. Hay is much the same way - the outer 2 inches of a stack of hay - even stored inside are probably worthless in 6-8 months. In a years time, that may increase to the outer 4 inches, in 2 years, maybe the outer bale. It all depends on the density of the hay bales, the stack integerity, exposure to heat, etc. As the hay oxidizes, protein and other nutrients are lost. Vaccume seal your hay in a bag and put it in a freezer, and it might be good for many years. Let it sit under a tree at the edge of a field in TN, You might be better off investing in the stock market;.)

#5 greengirl

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 11:05 AM

I found a very useful bit of information via an experiment that was carried out so it may give you an inclination as to what you might be looking for. I hope it helps.

Investigation on change of forage quality at harvesting, during hay making and storage of hay harvested at different growth stages in the Adamawa plateau of Cameroon

#6 haydays

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 07:53 PM

It all depends on the storage used. I guess if you have tight storage facilities then you would lose less of the nutrients needed to feed the animals concerned so investing in a good storage place for your hay would be a good bet.:)

#7 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 05:39 PM

Hay, I assume you are using 50 to 60 lb square bales, bales well and does not loose leaves between 16% moisture & 18% moisture. Seeing as most of the nutrition in hay is in the leaves it is a no brainer.
What you want is hay that is spread out to cover the whole field at mowing or at least in an hour after mowing.
About 30% of the moisture goes out through the stomata on the underside of the leaf. These stay open as long as that hay is in the direct rays of sunlight.
Drop the moisture in the hay down below 50% and all respiration will end. No more respiration the & carbohydrates and proteins are not used and the hay will have more feed value.
The second day the direct rays of the sun heats the moisture in the stems and this added vapor pressure pushes more moisture out of the plant.
Rake the hay the morning of the third day. Rake at first light when the humidity is in the 90% range. With this humidity the hay will be over 40% moisture and very few leaves are shattered off.

I hope you see a pattern here. Hay with good nutrition will be bleached evenly at this point.

The fourth day is probably the day to bale. (This varies by the amount of sunlight, the heat of the sun, to some extent the amount of wind. 75% of hay curing is a function of a hot sun. )

I look at both humidity and bale moisture on baling day. I plan to start baling at 65% humidity, (At this point the hay will be between 18% and 20% moisture.) I watch the moisture meter & delay baling if the moisture is much above 18%.
You will find that you need to stop baling as the humidity goes below 55%. At this point the hay will be baling at roughly 12% moisture and leaf shatter will become a factor.
Here, near Temple TX some days I have to delay starting baling until noon or 1 PM. These days I can expect to be able to bale until about 3 PM when the hay will be too dry. Other times I may start baling at 9 AM and be pulling out of the field by 11 AM. It all depends on the humidity, not at the weather station or on the back porch but down next to the windrow.
In East Texas back around Canton I expect they have two or three hours of good baling time that I do not enjoy.

Please understand it is possible to find pretty green bales of hay, but they will come from New Mexico and West. Land where the humidity is always so low that they do not need sunlight to cure hay.

Here is something. I have found bermudagrass will shed leaves in greater quantities than alfalfa. I put up both and in the barn where the bermudagrass hay is stored the floor is covered with leaves, by the end of the season.
A bale of bermudagrass hay with all the leaves gone will still look good, in the bale.
Alfalfa with all the leaves gone will look like a bundle of sticks.

You might get the Blackland Income Growth (Texas Extension Service) people to put on a what is good hay program for horse owners. Try Rebecca Parker r-parker@tamu.edu . If she asks tell her a nut case named wilson made the suggestion!

Edited by hay wilson in TX, 10 April 2009 - 05:45 PM.





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