Cutting and baling hay for storage or sale is a messy, rough, and time consuming process. At the mercy of Mother Nature we are sometimes pressured into putting hay up a little moister than usual, but beware, there are many dangers associated with overly damp hay and forage.
The storage of wet hay is the most common cause of hay fires. When hay is improperly dried, the moisture left trapped allows all the microbial action to continue, turning the center of bales into hot compost heaps, sometimes reaching temperatures in excess of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
AgAnswers (an extension of Ohio State) gives us some good guidelines for moisture content:
In general, hay is considered too wet for storage if moisture levels are higher than 20 percent in small rectangular bales, higher than 18 percent in large round bales, and higher than 16 percent in large square bales.
Wet hay can be bad for the consumer as well. Feeding wet forage to livestock can cause a number of respiratory and gastric ailments, some of which can be fatal. Small pet owners have to be wary of dampness also, as many caged pets are susceptible to similar health issues.
We offer an excellent hay probe to sample in the windrow or the bale for enhanced quality control of your forage. The kit comes complete with a 10″ prod that attaches directly to the meter, but if you need extra length we also stock 18″ and 36″ prods. Lightweight and versatile, it only requires one 9V battery and offers conveniences such as a memory of 100 accumulated readings and a display of the average and highest readings in your data set. The meter is rugged and ergonomic with an easy to read digital display, ensuring that your data is fast and accurate. With a three year warranty, you can trust that you’ll have a reliable forage meter for harvests to come.
Contact us at AgPoint Precision for your lab quality hay and forage tester today!