Some people might see Hay and Straw as interchangeable products? They are both light and easy to move, however, they are very different in a variety of ways.
Hay is used as animal feed and is essentially dried grass that is greenish in color. Hay can be available in different types with some having a higher energy content than others and additionally being full of nutrients. Hay is usually gathered up into bales and stored for animals including cattle, sheep and horses to eat in the winter when the grass is not growing.
The process of going from the plant in the field to being stored for its later use has several steps:
- Mow the grass.
- Rake it into rows – this ensures it is dried properly to make it safe for animals to eat.
- Collect into bales – this makes it easier to manage when it comes to using it.
What do you know about Lucerne Hay?
It comes from the lucerne plant that can grow to around 1m in height and it has a very deep tap root. The key attributes include;
- Drought tolerance
- High Protein
- Repeated growth if care carefully managed.
- Tolerates regular cuts.
The fundamental difference between hay and haylage is the way that the grass is conserved. Haylage tends to be cut earlier in the season than hay and then is left to wild for a shorter period in the field before being baled and wrapped with several layers of plastic. Haylage is typically between 50 and 70% dry matter, where hay is approximately 88%.
Straw is used as an animal bedding material and is golden in colour. Straw is the stems that are leftover from the oat, wheat, or barley plant, so essentially the stalk of the plant without the grain head. The stalks that are left are generally very low in quality and nutritional value resulting in not being suitable for animal feed. This is the reason for it being used as a bedding material.
When drying and storing either hay, haylage, or straw, some places are too damp so mould grows, some places can get the hay and straw contaminated with things that are not safe for animals, some places are so dry and dusty the hay becomes an irritant. You can avoid all this by buying just the amount you require, rather than trying to make your own.
Here at Baled, our process involves removing the bales from storage and deconstructing each one, once it has been cleaned (i.e. checked for bad bits), de-dusted and re-baled. This results in less wastage and an assurance that what you’re getting is the highest quality product.
If you are interested in finding out more about our Baled products, contact us today!