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Watch that Wet Hay this Spring...


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#1 downtownjr

downtownjr

    downtownjr

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 09:37 PM

This has been a wet spring in many areas and baling and storing hay high in moisture (>20%) will not only reduce the nutritional quality, but can burn down your barn.

According S. Ray Smith, Forage Extension Specialist and Jerry Swisher, Dairy Extension Agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension here are some important points and recommendations...

- Small rectangular bales should be baled at 20% moisture or less to keep molding and heating to a minimum.

- Since large round or rectangular bales retain internal heat much longer than conventional bales, they should be baled less than 18% moisture.
When baling above 20% moisture propionic acid can be applied to reduce microbial activity and subsequent heating. Check for recommended application rates on the label.

- Round bales should usually be left in the field for a few days/weeks (depending on moisture at baling) to allow heat to dissipate. When moist hay is stacked immediately after baling, the stack concentrates the heat, temperatures rise, quality losses occur, and the stage is set for a hay fire.

- Check your hay regularly. Symptoms of heating include: slight caramel odor, strong burning odor, visible vapor, strong musty smell, and hay that feels hot to the hands.
- Check the temperature. The thermometer should be left for 10-15 minutes in several areas of the stack to ensure an accurate reading.

-Watch for the following temperatures:
--150°F (65° C) * Beginning of the danger zone. Check temperature daily.
--160°F (70°C)* Dangerous. Measure temperature every four hours and inspect the mow.
--At 175°F (80°C)* Call the Fire Department. Wet hay down and remove it from the barn away from buildings and other dry hay.
--At 185°F (85° C)* Hot spots and pockets may be expected. Flames will likely develop when heating hay comes in contact with the air. Be extremely careful at this stage when moving hay.
--At 212° (100°C)*Critical. Temperature rises rapidly above this point. Hay will almost certainly ignite.

The entire article can be found for reference at http://www.ext.vt.ed...5/hayfires.html

Have fun this baling season...but be careful out there :)




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