Practical tips from AGRAVIS on dryng hay
The good weather should actually be a reason for celebrating: Summer at last! But the weather is currently making life difficult for farmers. "They have the problem that, because of the high humidity, hay is not drying sufficiently," explains Dr. Sabine Rahn, responsible at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG for specialist feed products.
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At present, many farms are cutting for a second or even a third time. The sustained mugginess makes a correct and, above all, a consistent drying difficult. "This is a problem because a water content of 20 percent in the hay leads to quality losses," says Dr. Rahn. The fine line between hay that is too wet and too dry is narrow, however: At 25 percent the overheating limit may be reached, which in the worst case could lead to spontaneous combustion of the hay.
It is therefore essential to remember two things: dry storage and constant checks of the temperature. "The temperature of the hay must be measured regularly with a hay probe," explains the expert. At temperatures above 45 degrees, there is an increased risk of spontaneous combustion. In this case the temperature measurements must be repeated. At temperatures above 70 degrees there is an acute risk and the fire service should be alerted.
AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG together with Raiffeisen Versicherungs-Vermittlungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (r.v.v. ) has created a Hay Measurement Calendar, which helps the farmer to know at a glance when there is a particular risk. A colour scale from green (safe) to yellow, orange and red (acute risk) has been created. "The farmer can note the day of gathering and then over the drying weeks can cross off the temperature range, in which the hay moves," says Dr. Sabine Rahn. As a result, possible outliers and problems quickly become visible and allow immediate action.
Here is a link for downloading and printing the Hay Measurement Calendar.