home  Introduction History Technology Agro Associations Agro Scenario Career Opportunities

Birdsfoot Trefoil
False Oat Grass



What is Hay?
Grasses and other products which are cut, dried and baled for use as animal fodder. It also refers to any mix of green leafy plants used for fodder, particularly for grazing animals like cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Hay producers usually grow rye grass, oats or alfalfa, brome, fescue, coastal bermuda, orchard grass, and other native species. Many types of hay may also include legumes, such as alfalfa (lucerne) and clovers (red, white and subterraneum).

The grasses or plants are then cut with machinery and left to dry on the ground for several days. Some hay growers will turn the cut grass over for more even drying, a process called tedding. To obtain its greatest nutritive value, farmers and cultivators try to harvest hay at the point when all
leaves are fully developed and seed or flower heads are just a bit short of full maturity.

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.

Hay Contents
Hay refers to a grass or clover that is cut while still green and used as a fodder. The contents of hay depends on availability of grasses and climatic conditions. Following are the main ingredients of hay:

  • Grasses including rye grass, Italian rye grass, timothy, brome, fescue, coastal bermuda, orchard grass, and other native species
  • Legumes such as alfalfa and clovers (red, white and subterraneum)
  • Oat, barley, and wheat plant materials, etc.

Stages of Hay Production
Hay production and harvesting is divided into several stages. Different regions of the world have their own hay production techniques and methodology. Hay production, also known as "making hay", "haymaking", or "doing hay;" involves the following stages:

  • Cutting: To attain the highest degree of its nutritional value, farmers start cutting at the point when the seed heads are not quite ripe and the leaf is at its maximum.
  • Drying/Curing: After cutting, hay is left for drying in the field. Since it is very sensitive to weather conditions, care should be taken during this stage. 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.
  • Processing: After drying, hay is forwarded for further processing. After performing several mechanical tasks, the finished hay is moved for storing.
  • Storing: 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.

Untitled Document