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Cooperative Crop and Livestock Reporting Service (Wis.); Federal-State Crop and Livestock Reporting Service (Wis.); Federal-State Crop Reporting Service (Wis.) / Wisconsin crop and livestock reporter
Vol. XL ([covers January 1961/December 1961])

Wisconsin crop and livestock reporter. Vol. XL, no. 4,   pp. [1]-4 PDF (1.9 MB)

Page 2

Anrl   96
Farmers Really Want Good Hay
Contributed by Jamies IW Crowley,
D)airy Husbandry Department, IVis-
cons in College of Agriculture at
ceqiiesQ (of rea(ders.
Dairy farmers and the scientists
have always preferred good hay to
poor hay. However, the good roughage
was usually preferred only if it could
be obtained at the same cost as poor
hay. If making good hay interfered
with other farm work, slowed down the
haymaking operation, or increased
cost, quality was usually sacrificed.
Research and practical experience with
good hay have shown that quality in
hay is worth added effort. Research
workers in other fields such as agrono-
my, agricultural engineering, ento-
mology, and soils as well as the nutri-
tionist have become increasingly con-
cerned with quality as well as quanti-
ty of forage crops.
Through the efforts of educational
programns and because of profitable
experience, farmers also have in-
creased their efforts to get good hay.
Special storage facilities such as more
silos, air tight silos, and barn driers
are purchased to improve hay quality.
Likewise new varieties of forage crops
that improv2 quality are readily
adopted, even if special field prepara-
tions and higher seed cost are neces-
In choosing hay making equipment,
the farmner now looks for equipment
that will improve or at least not de-
stroy quality (luring harvesting and
storage of the crop. In additions,
special equipment such as wagon
driers and hay crushers or crimpers
are purchased-in spite of the fact
that they add both cost and extra
operations to the hay making job.
What Makes Good Hay
The essential steps in obtaining
good forage are:
1. Grow good quality crops. Choose
species an(l varieties.
2. Fertilize, limne, and control water.
3. Control insects.
*1. Control weeds.
5. Cut early.
6. Preserve quality in hay making
an(l storage.
To have good quality hay at feeding
time, each link in this chain of events
must be soun(l. There has been great
improvement in all of the areas.
Further research work is in progress,
and further improvements will be
made in each of them. At present,
there is special interest and noticeable
change in time of cutting hay.
Research workers at Cornell Uni-
versity report up to 27 percent more
milk from forage harvested on June
3 as compared with forage harvested
all July 9.
After the forage is cut, the hay-
maker's job is to conserve the quality.
I)ifferent procedures can be used, but
the goal of each is to reduce the water
in the forage for safe storage without
the loss of leaves and green color. At
the time of early cutting, the forage
contains up to 80 percent water. For
safe storage as dry hay, this must be
reduced to about 20 percent. This
means about 1,200 pounds of water
must be removed from each ton of
fresh cut forage.
The sun is still relied on for remov-
ing most of the water from hay. Cur-
rent practices stress ways to speed
the hay drying process to minimize
losses due to long exposure to sun-
shine and to reduce the risk of rain
damage. Storing forage as silage with
50 to 70 percent moisture requires
only two to six hours exposure to sun
after cutting.
Why Cut Alfalfa Early?'
Stage of  Cuttings  Total  digestible  Milk
maturity           protein  nutrients
Number Per acre Per acre Per acre
1X10 bloom     3      1,427   4,660   6,330
1/2 bloom      3      1,381   4,413   5,254
Full bloom     2       977    3,269   3,970
IFrom United States Departinent of Agriculture Bulle-
tin 73!,.
Using barn drying equipment to
finish the drying after storage re-
duced exposure time by about one-
third. Both of these procedures not
only reduce time that the hay is ex-
posed to the weather but also decrease
the loss of leaves due to shattering.
Since forage leaves dry faster than
stems, various devices have been in-
vented to promote uniform drying of
the stems and leaves. Crushing and
crimping of forage at the time it is
mowed decreases time of exposure re-
quired and also conserves leaves. Work
by the United States Department of
Agriculture shows that crimping or
crushing equipment eliminated one
night's exposure of the crop during
good hay making weather. These de-
vices can be used for complete field-
cured hay or can be used in combina-
tion with barn drying or silage mak-
All feeds-whether purchased or
produced by the farmer-must ulti-
mately compete with each other in
terms of cost. Poor hay is poor com-
The basic Information for the map above showing the percent of
farms using hay crushers and crimpers while harvesting their 1960
hay crop was furnished by Wisconsin assessors as part of their annual
State Farm Census report.
2       (14)
April 1961
_l .

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