Hay needs sunny and dry weather. However, stable storage in good weather is increasingly rare. This is why farmers often rely on preservation mediums for hay harvesting. Not all products can be used easily, however. RaicoSil Hay offers an environmentally friendly and economical alternative.
Producing quality hay – it’s not so simple
Hay harvesting has changed a lot in the last few years. Big bales have replaced small bales and loose storage. The composition of the types and varieties on the pastures is also different now. Varieties with high sugar content, high energy density, more yield and greater foliar mass dominate in many areas. These varieties involve a different drying process than the comparatively older varieties. Although they have more leaf mass (and the leaves dry more quickly), they also have higher sugar contents that make drying more difficult. Sugar influences the aw value by binding water. And removing the biochemically bonded water in the drying process is always difficult. The harvesting window has also become shorter. Quality hay needs stable storage in good weather – and this is increasingly rare. Furthermore, the hay doesn’t always dry evenly on the field during the traditional ground drying. High-density storage and unstable weather in particular make the process more difficult.
The problem of residual moisture
Usually the knots are the areas that contain residual moisture. After the harvest, the residual moisture seeps back into the stems and leaves. And because hay is usually pressed into square bales, it can barely escape. This in turn creates fertile ground for micro-organisms, especially mould. The result is a degradation of nutrients and reductions in quality combined with a lower hygiene status. If the drying doesn’t proceed favourably, the losses of easily digestible nutrients increase, as does the risk of mould. Mould spores irritate the animals’ respiratory tracts and can result in health problems.
Traditional hay preservation
To generate quality hay, preservation methods are indispensable by now. Preservation mediums based on propionic acid can be applied, for example. They already ensure quality with dry matter contents of 75 to 80 per cent. However, the use of acidic products can be problematic, for example with corrosions on the pick-up equipment, high amounts of effort or transport limitations. Special dispensing equipment may also be required.
As an alternative: RaicoSil Hay
RaicoSil Hay is the first preservation medium for moist hay that belongs to the group of neutral salts. Its ingredients are the salts potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and sodium propionate. Before application, RaicoSil Hay is dissolved in water and then sprayed on in liquid form. Since hay harvesting is possible in a safe and low-loss manner starting at 75 per cent dry matter with the addition of RaicoSil Hay, it is possible to harvest it about two days earlier. This means: fewer losses due to crumbling and lower nutrient losses. The bales don’t heat up during storage and the dreaded Maillard reaction is eliminated. The risk of residual moisture is also stopped.
Benefits of RaicoSil Hay
Ensuring quality and nutrient density
Improved hygiene status
Fewer losses in the field and in storage
Avoidance of unwanted spoiling processes
Reduction of the harvest window by at least two days
And another benefit
In case of temporary bad weather, the plants can also be harvested as haylage – RaicoSil Hay ensures the quality here as well. It is possible to select between moist hay and haylage. Shorter harvest windows are more convenient since the weather risk becomes more predictable.
We have compiled all information in compact form in our Hay guide .