Quick Answer: How Long After Cutting Hay Can You Bale It?

How do I know if my hay is dry enough to bale?

Hay will not have completely cured in that time.

He said many producers are using moisture probes to decide if hay is dry enough to bale, but probes measure the moisture only on the outside of the stem.

Hay that measures 13 percent moisture can jump to 25 or 30 percent a few days after it’s put up..

How tall should hay be before cutting?

16 inches tallThe first cutting in the spring should be when grass has greened up and reached 12 – 16 inches tall. This should clean up all the old growth of winter weeds and such. Then each subsequent cutting is at 3.5 to 5 week intervals.

How long does hay need to sit before feeding?

“Some traditional horsemen believe that fresh-baled hay should ‘sweat’ for two to four weeks before feeding. This allows the hay to cure, which might be important if the hay too wet when it was baled.

What happens if you bale hay too early?

There is more moisture on the inside of the stem that’s not being measured. A day or two later, that moisture will migrate to the outside of the stem, raise the moisture content in the bale and heating, mould formation and heat damage to the protein can occur.

What time of day is best to cut hay?

morningWith all of these factors in mind, it is best to cut hay when there is the greatest opportunity for successful drying, or early in the morning after the dew has dried off.

How do you know when hay is ready to cut?

It’s best to cut grass pastures from the boot stage to the early head stage for the first cut, and then 4 to 6 weeks afterwards. The late boot level might best be described as when the seed head first pops out of the sheath. The early head stage is when the plant has grown about another foot or so.

How long should you let hay dry before baling?

about three daysTime your mowing around the most reliable weather forecast you can find. It basically takes about three days of good weather to cure hay. This can be a challenge in late May or early June. A good strategy is to mow just before or right after a rain, because of the likelihood of good weather for the next few days.

Can horses eat hay that has been rained on?

Hay that has gotten wet and is fed immediately is perfectly fine to feed to horses, and a bale of hay that has been rained on and then dried thoroughly, and fed within a week or so is also not going to cause any problem whatsoever.

Will wet hay catch fire?

“Excessive moisture is the most common cause of hay fires,” Schroeder says.” Odd as it might seem, wet hay is more likely to lead to a spontaneous-combustion fire than dry hay.” High-moisture haystacks and bales can catch on fire because they have chemical reactions that build heat.

Is hay just tall grass?

Hay is grass, legumes, or other herbaceous plants that have been cut and dried to be stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for large grazing animals raised as livestock, such as cattle, horses, donkeys, goats, and sheep. However, it is also fed to smaller domesticated animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

What is the best moisture to bale hay?

18 to 22 percentWhen hay is baled, it should not be higher than 18 to 22 percent moisture. At higher levels of moisture, bales lose large amounts of dry matter (Figure 1) caused by excessive heating and molding (Figure 2).

Is first cut hay better than second cut?

First cut hay is coarser than second cut, this is because the spring growth (rain, etc.) leads to thicker stems and stalks and heavier leaves. Second cut hay has a finer texture and usually, a greener color and heavier leaves. It is more dense, the leaves are more tender and healthier, especially in protein.

Can grass hay be too bale dry?

Some of this grass hay produces the best quality bales when baled at 24 to 30 percent moisture. … Too dry, and they shatter and fall off during the baling process. Too wet, and hay will heat and mold.

Is it OK to cut hay in the rain?

This can lead to even greater losses in quality and a loss in dry matter. The timing of when rainfall occurs after cutting will also influence quality. … Sometimes, rain will not reduce hay quality significantly if the hay has adequate time to dry and cure prior to baling.

How wet can you bale grass hay?

Hay moisture while baling Farmers may bale hay before it’s dry to avoid rain or other poor weather conditions. Wet hay results in mold and lower forage quality. Hay baled at less than 15 percent moisture is usually stable with little heating.