Managing for high-quality hay

Controlling forage quality is critical to the success of any operation, whether you’re a dairy producer, livestock producer or custom harvester. Baling hay at high moisture levels (up to 25%) may help prevent leaf loss, preserve nutrients, protect yield potential and increase the efficiency of hay production. But baling wet, untreated hay can cause molding and heating, which robs the hay of valuable nutrients and reduces palatability.

Kemin® Fresh Cut® Plus brand preservative can help you control the risks of high-moisture baling and optimize the nutritional quality of your hay crop.

Benefits of high moisture hay

Bailing hay at higher moisture levels can reduce leaf shatter shatter and may improve leaf retention, resulting in higher yield potential, more nutritious hay. Baling sooner after cutting reduces the risk of rain damage. Supple, high-moisture hay is more palatable, which promotes better dry matter intake.

Risks of mold growth and heating

Molds consume nutrients in hay and reduce the hay’s value. Molds produce spores and mycotoxins that are hazardous to human and animal health. Molds can cause heating in untreated hay. Heating causes additional nutrient decay — when hay reaches 100°F, chemical reactions between proteins and carbohydrates make these nutrients unavailable to cattle. Hot spots in hay pose a serious combustion hazard.

Optimize hay quality with Kemin® Fresh Cut® Plus brand preservative

Fresh ® Plus allows you to bale sooner, without the risk of molding or quality loss due to heating. Fresh Cut® Plus (applied as a liquid at baling) uses a precise blend of organic acids and antioxidants to inhibit mold growth and control heating during storage.

Potential benefits of using Fresh Cut® Plus

-Organic acid blend helps retain valuable nutrients and maintain natural color of forages

-Antioxidants help control heating during storage

-70% total acid

-Non-corrosive (pH 5.5)

-Conveniently available in 50-lb., 450-lb. and one-ton units

Application of Fresh Cut® Plus

Bale Type

Moisture Level

Fresh Cut® Plus Minimum Application Rate

Small square bales, alfalfa hay

25% or less

4 lbs./ton

Small square bales, first-cutting alfalfa, stemmy alfalfa, grass hays

25% or less

6 lbs./ton

High-density small square bales

25% or less

6 lbs./ton

Stacker

25% or less

4 lbs./ton

Large round bales, alfalfa hay

25% or less

6 lbs./ton

Large round bales, first-cutting alfalfa, stemmy alfalfa, grass hays

25% or less

8 lbs./ton

Large square bales

25% or less

8 lbs./ton

 

Checklist for Effective Hay Management

  • -After cutting, leave hay in wide swaths to speed drying.
  • -Never rake hay below 40% moisture and never bale hay containing more than 25% moisture. Test moisture level using a microwave oven or reliable moisture meter.
  • -During baling, apply Fresh Cut® Plus preservative using an approved applicator, calibrating equipment according to manufacturer directions. Monitor baling rates and adjust application equipment as needed. Contact your local cooperative for application equipment and services.
  • -Stack hay cut-side up. Store hay under cover and off the ground, and never store high-moisture treated hay with untreated hay.

-To learn more about how these forage management products can impact your operation, contact your local co-op handling Land O’Lakes Feed products.