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 Nutrient losses in hay from cutting...
 Cutting time
 Storage and handling














Group Title: Department of Animal Science research report - University of Florida Department of Animal Science ; AL-1976-2
Title: Nutrient losses in hay from cutting to feeding
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073081/00001
 Material Information
Title: Nutrient losses in hay from cutting to feeding
Series Title: Department of Animal Science research report
Physical Description: 6 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hentges, J. F ( James Franklin ), 1925-
University of Florida -- Dept. of Animal Science
University of Florida -- Agricultural Experiment Station
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1976
 Subjects
Subject: Hay as feed   ( lcsh )
Cattle -- Feeding and feeds -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 6).
Statement of Responsibility: James F. Hentges, Jr.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "Presented at 25th Annual Beef Cattle Short Course. May 6, 1976."
General Note: "May, 1976."
General Note: Typescript.
Funding: Animal science research report (University of Florida. Dept. of Animal Science) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073081
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 50685365

Table of Contents
    Nutrient losses in hay from cutting to feeding
        Page 1
    Cutting time
        Page 2
        Modern equipment
            Page 3
        Chemical preservatives
            Page 4
        Haylage
            Page 4
    Storage and handling
        Page 5
        Feeding
            Page 5
        Literature cited
            Page 6
Full Text



Department of Animal Science Florida Agricultural
:Research Report AL-1976-2 Experiment Station
May, 1976 Gainesville, Florida


NUTRIENT LOSSES IN HAY FROM CUTTING TO FEE )4. j "i
2
James F. Hentges, Jr.

Ffs1Y24 97

The demand in Florida for all kinds of hay is st rng i'bt e market for gl
quality, nutritious hay is especially good. The biggest'neg 4tr//~tip r affe tii
the nutritional quality of hay in peninsular Florida is the seabn~_.Of
rains which cannot be controlled; but there are management tools and nev lop-
ments available to hay producers for the reduction of nutrient losses between
cutting time and .feeding time.

Several facts about hay-making in Florida need to be recognized at the
beginning:

1. Buyers, especially those for dairies and horse farms, are learning
to discriminate between high and low quality hays and premium prices
are being paid for top quality hay. Hay quality is described by
Moore (1976) in terms of animal performance such as "average daily
weight gain" and reflects (1) the quantity of hay that is volun-
tarily eaten when it is offered ad libitum (free-choice) and (2)
the digestibility of nutrients in the hay usually expressed as
digestible crude protein and/or digestible dry organic matter. The
following data illustrates the effect of different qualities of
Suwannee bermudagrass hay (Cynodon dactylon) on intake by sheep
(Adams et al. 1972).

75
Organic matter(OM) intake(g/kg bodyweight )
As effected by age(weeks of regrowth)

2 4 6 8 10 12

OM 69 70 65 51 51 48

Digestible OM 46 41 37 25 24 22


As hay quality decreased due to delayed cutting time or increased
plant maturity, the quantity eaten and the digestibility both de-
creased. Hay producers in Florida are challenged to find the best
compromise between yield (tons of hay per acre) and hay quality as
it affects price ($/ton).




Presented at 25th Annual Beef Cattle Short Course. May 6, 1976.


Professor and Animal Nutritionist, Department of Animal Science.










-2-


2. Hay nutrient quality is not important in some situations. At some
feedlots, dairies and ranches, there is a need for a diet ingredient
that is simply "filling" or bulky and with a large particle size.
This is essential in high grain diets to prevent "feedlot founder",
to cause the cow to "chew her cud" and to ensure motility of the
stomach. In these situations, hay nutrient content is not as im-
portant as the other quality attributes of (1) freedom from mold,
weeds, impurities (hardware, rocks, etc.) and (2) physical condition
of the hay package (bale, roll or stack). Tightly-tied, dense bales
or rolls and tightly compressed stacks not only are easier to trans-
port, but also they retain nutrients better and have less wastage
at feeding time. Several research studies have shown up to 10%
more loss of quality attributes in smaller, less dense packages.

3. With the exception of cloudy rainy weather, by far the most im-
portant factors affecting hay nutrient quality in Florida are
(1) soil fertility (2) kind of forage plant (3) fertilizer program
(4) insect and weed control and (5) availability of irrigation
water. These forage plant management practices represent the best
opportunity for improvement of hay quality. To a large extent, hay
quality has already been fixed when it is decided to harvest the
grass.

4. Year-round forage feeding programs are being recognized by more
Florida cattlemen as a way to build flexibility into their calf,
yearling and culled breeding stock marketing programs. Feedlot
markets in recent years have fluctuated from demands for thin,
thrifty feeders that have lots of compensatory gain in a long
feedlot period to heavy, fleshy yearlings that will finish out
quickly. Slaughter demand for grass-feds of all weights and
sexes have often afforded the only opportunity for profit. The
Florida cattlemen who proudly proclaim to be "good grass farmers"
and who have some "stored forage as hay or silage" in addition
to their rangeland (deferred winter grazing) are in the best
position for profit.

The foregoing is evidence of growing interest in haymaking in Florida and
acknowledgment of the fact that hay quality is largely determined by cutting or
harvesting time. Retention of hay nutrient quality can be assured by minimizing
losses (1) at cutting time (2) in the transportation and storage of hay and (3)
at feeding time.


CUTTING TIME

Stage of Maturity

At the 1973 Beef Short Course, Dr. J. E. Moore discussed the effect of
maturity at cutting time on grass hay quality. For example, as Suwannee bermuda-
grass increased in age, it declined in % crude protein and increased in indigestible
lignin as illustrated.












Age (weeks of regrowth after cutting)


2 4 6 8 10 12

% C. P. 19.5 13.5 9.4 7.5 6.5 5.6
% Lignin 4.5 5.1 6.1 7.5 8.2 8.4


The digestibility of nutrients in the grass as expressed by TDN (total
digestible nutrients) was affected as follows by these chemical changes:


Age (weeks of regrowth after cutting)

2 4 6 8 10 12

T.D.N., % 63 57 54.6 47.9 45.4 44.8


Without question, the biggest loss of potential hay nutrients is due to de-
laying cutting to a late stage of maturity. During the rainy season, such delays
may not be preventable but by proper grass management, one cutting of good quality
hay can be made before the rains start in June and another after rains cease in
October.


Modern Equipment

In the past when one cut grass at the best stage of maturity and gambled on
getting good drying weather, he frequently lost and wound up with a field full of
50-80 lb. bales containing more than-20% moisture. Such hay frequently heated
to temperatures above 1000 F, molded and underwent losses in dry matter and losses
in digestibility of both dry matter and protein. Today, modern mower-conditioners
have rollers of rubber, fiber or steel which will crack or crimp the stems of
Florida grasses and markedly speed up drying especially when the hay is laid back
in a wide fluffy swath instead of a window. Some prefer rotary cutters which
make a fluffy swath. The use of a "fluffer" or "tedder" will turn the swath over
and can speed drying without excessive leaf loss. Also, the use of balers that
make large, round rolls and stackers have resulted in better retention of hay
nutrients for several reasons (1) the operator can bale or stack a field of hay
much quicker thereby often avoiding a rain shower on windrowed hay (2) the rolls
and stacks shed rain better than conventional rectangular 50-80 lb. bales and
(3) the loss of dry matter and digestibility of dry matter is less in large hay
packages (rolls, stacks). At Purdue University (Lechtenberg et al. 1974), large
rolls and compressed stacks stored outside, lost from 8.6 to 12.6% of their total
digestible dry matter due to weathering where small, round bales stored outside,
lost 16.9%. At the University of Florida, weather damage was confined to the out-
side 2-3 inches in dense, tight 1250-1350 lb. rolls but was twice as extensive in
looser 900-1000 lb. rolls made in the same model baler but differing in tension
design and adjustment.













It should be emphasized that hay rolls must be densely packed and tightly
tied for best nutrient retention. A wide variation in weight of rolls from 900
to 1400 pounds is evidence of the difference in density of hay rolls. Part of
the variation is "operation error" and part may be "baler design or adjustment".
Essentially the same can be said for stacking equipment. Again, moisture content
should not exceed 20% and the stack should be pressed more than the usual 5-7
times as it is being formed to get a denser stack which will have less spoilage
from heating and molding after rains.


Chemical Preservatives

When the hay maker gets caught with grass hay in the window with more than
20% moisture, he now has another tool to use in chemical preservatives. Most
are organic acids, primarily different proportions of propionic and acetic acids.
In general, these are sprayed on the window in front of the baler at rates up
to 20 pounds per ton of windrowed hay. Grain growers have added organic acids
to high moisture grains for years to inhibit bacteria and fungi growth. Another
preservative being researched is gaseous anhydrous ammonia which also reduces
heating of high moisture hay and adds to its nitrogen (apparent crude protein)
content. It has been applied under stacks or bales covered with polyethylene.

The criteria by which to judge the effectiveness of the chemical preservatives
are (1) limiting bale core temperatures below 1000 F. Above this temperature,
nutrient and digestibility losses occur. (2) Comparison of dry organic matter,
total protein and digestible organic matter before baling treatments and during
storage. To date, one has to conclude that more research needs to be done before
recommendations can be made. In some studies, the method of applying the pre-
servative either behind the mower-conditioner or ahead of the baler did not give
uniform distribution and some was lost in the air, raising questions about the
best method of application. Spray application equipment is being researched by
Dr. L. O. Bagnall and Dick Cromwell, Agricultural Engineers at the University of
Florida. In other cases, the preservative apparently evaporated before it had a
significant effect, raising questions about the quantity that needs to be applied.
Levels used have varied from 2 to 20 lb. per ton (field weight) of baled hay.
Results have been best with hay between 20 and 25% moisture with promising results
up to 30% moisture. Purdue researchers (Holt et al. 1975) have suggested that
anhydrous ammonia and propionic acid be applied at a rate of at least 20 lb. per
ton (1%) of hay. At this rate, the cost of chemical preservatives becomes
important and has to be considered along with the considerable initial investment
in a stainless steel tank, acid-resistant hoses, and pressure spraying equipment.
Georgia researchers (Johnson and McCormick, 1976) tested a commercial preservative
applied at 3.9 lb. per ton of hay dry matter on Coastcross-1 hays at 16 and 24%
moisture and reported no beneficial effects in cattle and laboratory tests. The
hay producer should remain optimistic about preservatives and support tests of
promising ones because the potential savings are enormous.


Haylage

Haylage ensiled at 50 to 65% moisture is one alternative for windrowed hay
that gets rained on. It must be chopped short and packed to exclude oxygen and
prevent heating above 1000 F.













It should be emphasized that hay rolls must be densely packed and tightly
tied for best nutrient retention. A wide variation in weight of rolls from 900
to 1400 pounds is evidence of the difference in density of hay rolls. Part of
the variation is "operation error" and part may be "baler design or adjustment".
Essentially the same can be said for stacking equipment. Again, moisture content
should not exceed 20% and the stack should be pressed more than the usual 5-7
times as it is being formed to get a denser stack which will have less spoilage
from heating and molding after rains.


Chemical Preservatives

When the hay maker gets caught with grass hay in the window with more than
20% moisture, he now has another tool to use in chemical preservatives. Most
are organic acids, primarily different proportions of propionic and acetic acids.
In general, these are sprayed on the window in front of the baler at rates up
to 20 pounds per ton of windrowed hay. Grain growers have added organic acids
to high moisture grains for years to inhibit bacteria and fungi growth. Another
preservative being researched is gaseous anhydrous ammonia which also reduces
heating of high moisture hay and adds to its nitrogen (apparent crude protein)
content. It has been applied under stacks or bales covered with polyethylene.

The criteria by which to judge the effectiveness of the chemical preservatives
are (1) limiting bale core temperatures below 1000 F. Above this temperature,
nutrient and digestibility losses occur. (2) Comparison of dry organic matter,
total protein and digestible organic matter before baling treatments and during
storage. To date, one has to conclude that more research needs to be done before
recommendations can be made. In some studies, the method of applying the pre-
servative either behind the mower-conditioner or ahead of the baler did not give
uniform distribution and some was lost in the air, raising questions about the
best method of application. Spray application equipment is being researched by
Dr. L. O. Bagnall and Dick Cromwell, Agricultural Engineers at the University of
Florida. In other cases, the preservative apparently evaporated before it had a
significant effect, raising questions about the quantity that needs to be applied.
Levels used have varied from 2 to 20 lb. per ton (field weight) of baled hay.
Results have been best with hay between 20 and 25% moisture with promising results
up to 30% moisture. Purdue researchers (Holt et al. 1975) have suggested that
anhydrous ammonia and propionic acid be applied at a rate of at least 20 lb. per
ton (1%) of hay. At this rate, the cost of chemical preservatives becomes
important and has to be considered along with the considerable initial investment
in a stainless steel tank, acid-resistant hoses, and pressure spraying equipment.
Georgia researchers (Johnson and McCormick, 1976) tested a commercial preservative
applied at 3.9 lb. per ton of hay dry matter on Coastcross-1 hays at 16 and 24%
moisture and reported no beneficial effects in cattle and laboratory tests. The
hay producer should remain optimistic about preservatives and support tests of
promising ones because the potential savings are enormous.


Haylage

Haylage ensiled at 50 to 65% moisture is one alternative for windrowed hay
that gets rained on. It must be chopped short and packed to exclude oxygen and
prevent heating above 1000 F.











Silage

Silage is another alternative when the grass is at the proper stage of
maturity for harvesting and the outlook for drying weather is bad. A useful
service would be the advent of custom ensiling firms who could harvest and put
chopped forage into an existing tower, trench or bunker silo, or into the re-
cently introduced 80-foot long polyethylene bags in the field.


STORAGE and HANDLING


Losses of dry matter will occur during storage and handling regardless of
packaging or storage methods. In general, the following practices reduce losses:


1. Packaging hay into dense, tightly compressed rolls or stacks.
The larger the package, the smaller the percentage of loss
due to weathering.

2. Field storing of rolls in sunshine, not under trees, and with a
space between rolls.

3. Field-storing on a hard surface if available because moisture levels
in the bottom one-third of rolls usually is higher due to ab-
sorption from the ground.

4. Barn storage of rolls unquestionably reduces weathering losses
and results in hay with a better appearance if it is being
sold, with less dry matter loss, more protein retention and
a higher digestibility of organic matter. It may not require
many years of barn storage to recover the initial barn con-
struction cost.

5. The handling and transportation losses of dense, tightly com-
pressed rolls or stacks is much lower than with loose packages
and the possibility of accidents is reduced. It is not unusual
to see low 20-30 ft. trailers loaded with 5 to 8 large rolls,
a sign that the commercial saleability of large rolls is im-
proving. Unquestionably, tight rolls are easier to transport
by tractors over bumpy pastures when carried on a spike on
front and an unroller in back.


FEEDING


When large packages (rolls and stacks) of hay were first introduced, feeding
losses due to trampling and excretal contamination ranged up to almost half of the
hay. This was contrasted with a wastage of only about 5% with conventional 50-80
lb. bales. Solutions to the problem of wastage from large packages were soon
discovered and are described in the following outline:
1. The quantity of hay offered to cattle can be limited so that it
will be eaten within 6 to 8 hours. This can be accomplished











Silage

Silage is another alternative when the grass is at the proper stage of
maturity for harvesting and the outlook for drying weather is bad. A useful
service would be the advent of custom ensiling firms who could harvest and put
chopped forage into an existing tower, trench or bunker silo, or into the re-
cently introduced 80-foot long polyethylene bags in the field.


STORAGE and HANDLING


Losses of dry matter will occur during storage and handling regardless of
packaging or storage methods. In general, the following practices reduce losses:


1. Packaging hay into dense, tightly compressed rolls or stacks.
The larger the package, the smaller the percentage of loss
due to weathering.

2. Field storing of rolls in sunshine, not under trees, and with a
space between rolls.

3. Field-storing on a hard surface if available because moisture levels
in the bottom one-third of rolls usually is higher due to ab-
sorption from the ground.

4. Barn storage of rolls unquestionably reduces weathering losses
and results in hay with a better appearance if it is being
sold, with less dry matter loss, more protein retention and
a higher digestibility of organic matter. It may not require
many years of barn storage to recover the initial barn con-
struction cost.

5. The handling and transportation losses of dense, tightly com-
pressed rolls or stacks is much lower than with loose packages
and the possibility of accidents is reduced. It is not unusual
to see low 20-30 ft. trailers loaded with 5 to 8 large rolls,
a sign that the commercial saleability of large rolls is im-
proving. Unquestionably, tight rolls are easier to transport
by tractors over bumpy pastures when carried on a spike on
front and an unroller in back.


FEEDING


When large packages (rolls and stacks) of hay were first introduced, feeding
losses due to trampling and excretal contamination ranged up to almost half of the
hay. This was contrasted with a wastage of only about 5% with conventional 50-80
lb. bales. Solutions to the problem of wastage from large packages were soon
discovered and are described in the following outline:
1. The quantity of hay offered to cattle can be limited so that it
will be eaten within 6 to 8 hours. This can be accomplished












with round bales by use of tractor or pickup rear-mounted unrollers
and with stacks by use of stack movers equipped with slicing and
feeding attachments.

2. In small herds or where hay is not fed daily, a feeding panel can
be placed between the cattle and the roll or stack. These may be
hinged for portability and sized to enclose either a small 6 or 7
foot diameter roll or a large stack. Feeding on a hard-surface
feeding slab is ideal; however, the common practice of moving the
feeding site from one well-drained site to another helps to pre-
vent mudholes and destruction of pasture grass sod.

3. Where the hay storage area is several miles from the cattle feeding
area, a low, flat-bed trailer on mobile home axles can be equipped
with a horizontal bar (2" pipe) about 18 inches above the floor
on the sides and front. Loading ramps on the rear of the trailer
can be lifted up and fastened to hold several rolls on the trailer.
If the trailer is 7 to 8 ft. wide, cattle can reach and consume
rolls of hay with little wastage. Also, the feeding site can be
changed with each new load of rolls. If the trailer is needed for
other uses, the feeding bar can be lifted out of slots in the flat-
bed and removed.

4. Restriction of cattle access to round bales through the use of an
electrically charged wire has successfully limited consumption and
wastage but the feeding site might present a serious mud problem if
it is not on a hard surface slab or is not changed frequently.

5. When it is desired to feed a limited quantity of hay in fenceline
bunks or mixed into a complete diet, an ideal way to minimize wastage
is to grind the hay in a large portable tub grinder and feed ground
hay. The equipment and operating cost of this system may limit it to
large operations with backgrounding or feedlot cattle.


Literature Cited

Adams, C.B. and J.E. Moore. 1972. Nutritive evaluation of bermudagrass hay. J.
Anim. Sci. 35:226.

Holt, D.A., V.L. Lechtenberg and R.A. El-Tekriti. 1975. Preservation of high
moisture hay. Proc. Beef-Forage Day, Purdue Univ., Lafayette, Indiana.

Johnson, J.C. and W.C. McCormick. 1976. Influence of a preservative on bermuda-
grass hay stored with approximately 16 and 24% moisture. J. Anim. Sci. 42:175.

Lechtenberg, V.L., W.H. Smith, S.D. Parsons and D.C. Petritz. 1974. Storage and
feeding of large hay packages for beef cows. J. Anim. Sci. 39:1011.

Moore, J.E. 1973. Effect of maturity on energy and protein value of grasses. Proc.
Beef Short Course, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.




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