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Forage Preservation and Haymaking

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  1. Forage Preservation and Haymaking INAG 116 – Hay Production April 29th - May 6, 2007

  2. Haymaking and forage preservation • Why preserve forages? • Forage preservation methods • Is it worth it for you to do it on your farm? • COST • EQUIPMENT

  3. WHY?? • Natural foraging behavior • Size of most animal operations today • Quality of feed that is transportable • Animal health • Permits long-term storage

  4. Natural foraging behavior • High forage diets lead to digestive tract health • Decreased incidence of colic and founder in horses • Healthier microbial populations in hindgut of horses • Provides a more filling diet than diets high in concentrate

  5. Animal production in the 21st Century • Most operations are small or have more animals than land available for grazing • Requires use of preserved forage to meet nutrient requirements of the animals

  6. Feed Quality • Forage, when preserved correctly can be a very high quality feed for animals at all stages of production

  7. Animal Health • High quality forage is healthy for the animals

  8. Long-term storage • Quality does decrease over time • Microbial respiration • Nonenzymatic chemical reactions • Plant enzymatic activity • If humidity and temperature can be controlled, hay quality will remain higher • Temps above 20º C (68º F) • Humidity above 70% Leads to fungal growthand decreased quality!

  9. Overall Objectives in Managing Preservation • Want a stable product • System to minimize losses associated with harvesting and processing • Must meet transportation and storage needs/capacities

  10. Consequences of using preservation systems • It is NOT 100%!! Process Fresh vegetation Preserved Forage Dry Matter LossesQuality Loss

  11. Dry Matter Loss • Loss of Dry Matter due to: • Plant metabolism • Microbial metabolism (which lasts longer than plant metabolism) • Physical losses • Shattering or breaking of plant material • DM yield of fresh forage is greater than that of preserved vegetation

  12. Dry Matter Loss • The nutritional value of fresh forage is greater than that of preserved forage • Most nutritious chemical components of plants are the parts most susceptible to loss • LEAVES are more nutritious than STEMS

  13. Methods of Forage Preservation • Hay • Silage • Haylage • Others

  14. Haymaking • Phases • Treatments • Problems encountered • Use of Preservatives

  15. Main phases of haymaking • Curing • Packaging • Storage

  16. Key Success Factors in Hay Production Labor: The labor requirements for small square bales can quickly eliminate profits. Increasing labor charges and decreasing labor availability has forced most producers to look towards labor saving equipment. Weather: The humid climatic conditions and sometimes frequent rains can result in high losses of quality and quantity.

  17. Labor Saving Equipment Cutting Curing Raking Baling Stacking Storage

  18. Curing Step One: Cutting

  19. Curing Step 2: Tedding

  20. Curing Step 3: Raking

  21. Labor Saving Equipment Cutting Advent of disc-bines allows for much faster cutting speeds.

  22. Labor Saving Equipment Bale Accumulators

  23. Labor Saving Equipment Bale Accumulator

  24. Labor Saving Equipment Accumulator Forks

  25. Labor Saving Equipment Accumulator Forks

  26. Labor Saving Equipment Self Propelled Automatic Stacking Wagon

  27. Labor Saving Equipment Pull Type Automatic Stacking Wagon

  28. Labor Saving Equipment Bale Ejector

  29. Avoiding Weather Losses Equipment to reduce drying time:

  30. Avoiding Weather Losses Equipment to reduce drying time: Tedders

  31. Avoiding Weather Losses Equipment to reduce drying time: Window Inverter

  32. Avoiding Weather Losses Equipment to reduce drying time: Hay Preservatives

  33. Avoiding Weather Losses Equipment to reduce drying time: Haylage Bale Wrapper

  34. Avoiding Weather Losses Equipment to reduce drying time: Inline Bale Wrapper

  35. Other Equipment Options • Large square balers • Re-balers for converting round bales to square bales • Larger wheel rakes for faster raking • Self propelled windrowers and mower conditioners • Hay Basket Wagons

  36. When to Cut?

  37. Management Goals • YIELD • QUALITY • PERSISTENCE

  38. Factors in response to harvest of legumes • Presence of leaf area • Determines capacity for photosynthesis • Carbohydrate reserves These are compensating factors (one can compensate for the other in its absence)

  39. Alfalfa Reserve Levels(initial spring regrowth) Full bloom Bloom Mature seed Bud Growth initiated 8-10 in Regrowth

  40. Alfalfa Reserve Levels(Impact of frequent cutting) Full bloom Pre-bud cutting Bloom Mature seed Bud Growth initiated 8-10 in Regrowth

  41. Alfalfa Reserve Levels(total season) Cut Cut Cut Cut Cut (7-10 in)

  42. Factors determining regrowth response of grasses • Forms of carbohydrate reserves in grasses • Cool season grasses fructans, simple sugars • Warm season grasses starch, simple sugars • Storage sites • Crowns (stem bases) • Roots (small amounts) • Rhizomes, if present

  43. Lesser importance of Carbohydrate reserves in grasses • Morphology  storage organs are less massive • Small crowns • Diffuse roots • No taproot • Physiology  reserves remain low for longer periods during a regrowth cycle

  44. Harvest timing & optimization of yield, quality and persistence 3 Yield accumulation during regrowth (one cycle) • Lag phase • Growth rate is a function of slope • Linear phase • Growth rates are highest • Declining phase • Maturity reached or nutrients sapped 2 1 * * Point where you begin to achieve maximum light interception

  45. Yield accumulation over multiple regrowth cycles Yield advantageof later harvest New growth curve whencut at bud stage New growth curve whencut at bloom

  46. Curing Phase • Overview of the curing process: • Objective is to promote drying as rapidly as possible • Factors that affect curing: • Leaves dry faster than stems • Exposed forage always dries faster • Drying rates during curing are high early on, then low later

  47. Factors affecting the duration of curing • Typical duration • 3-7 days • Environmental factors • Mechanical factors

  48. Factors that promote curing: High temperature Low humidity High wind Solar radiation Weather hazards during curing: High humidity Rain Causes increased shattering Delays curing Leads to mold development MOLD Field = black Baled = white Environmental Factors

  49. Cutting considerations • Cut when soil surface moisture is below 45% • If raining? • Move hay carefully! • Leaf shatter • Turn windrows

  50. Loss Due to Rainfall • Leaching • Respiration • Leaf Loss • Quality?