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record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
*PRESS BULLETIN 175
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
CURING THE HAY CROP
BY C. K. MCQUARRIE
The Experiment Station wants to call attention in the most emphatic man-
ner to the necessity for making hay this year on the part of the farmers of the
State. All the markets in the country are lacking in this commodity, and
prices will run high. There are thousands of acres of our farm lands produc-
ing large grass crops which are allowed to wither and decay. This should not
be so when it is so easy to make first-class hay.
To make fresh herbage into hay is to evaporate the moisture in it before
the leaf structure is destroyed by the hot sun. No mowing should ever be
done when the grass is wet with either dew or rain. If one gets into the field
a little too early of a morning, or stays too late of an afternoon, the result
will be moldy hay. Owing to our moist climate we had better wait until the
grass and ground are thoroughly dry before we start the mowing machine. In
a spell of dry weather one can make more and better hay, if not in too much
of a hurry of a morning, and by not mowing too late of an afternoon; for when
the proper conditions prevail, hay can be put in the barn the day after it is cut.
STAGE IN WHICH TO CUT
The stage at which to cut our hay and get the best results is one of the
problems to be settled. Grass does not deteriorate for hay by standing in the
field until it is a few days over-ripe, so much as the hay does when lying on
the ground for the same number of days. So we had better delay cutting for
a few days if the weather is in any way unsettled, than try and rush things
when we think the grass is ripe enough to cut, and run the risk of loss in
quantity or quality of hay. The value of one ton of well-cured hay exceeds
that of two tons of moldy stuff.
Crab grass, which is the most abundant grass on our sandy lands, should
be cut after the first stalks of bloom begin to show, as it depreciates in value
quickly when it gets riper.
Sepitemberl 9, 1911
On the heavier soils of the State, particularly in the Western part, this
plant has an important position as a hay producer. It comes as a catch crop
in the corn fields and other spring-planted crops, and yields satisfactorily. The
stage at which to cut it is when the first bloom appears. To prevent shedding
the foliage, it should be cut in the afternoon, when it wilts quickly. It should
be handled as little as possible, and the afternoon of the second day should see
it in the barn. In many of our fields we have a mixture of crab grass and
Mexican clover, which makes an excellent hay. The cutting period in this
case should be when either of them shows the first signs of blooming.
This should be cut when the first bloom shows on the plant, particularly if
the growth is rank, as it gets woody soon after. It is advisable to cut it late
in the afternoon, so as to allow the leaves to wilt naturally. Sun-wilted leaves
are apt to be shed in handling the hay. The best rule to follow is to put it in
the barn the day after it is cut.
Hay made from cowpeas requires very careful handling. It should be cut
when the first pods are in the snap stage. Hay made at this time will be
found the most nutritious and palatable. Cut as soon as the dew is off, rake
into windows, and put into small cocks the same afternoon. Next day open
up these cocks and test the hay by twisting a bunch in the hand; if no mois-
Sture shows, put it in the barn. It will undergo a sweating process in the mow;
but by leaving it undisturbed it will come out all right, and make hay of the
These are useful if unfavorable weather prevails, and they will then re-
pay their cost several times over. They can be made from 72-inch muslin, cut
into squares, soaked in raw linseed oil, and wrung dry. They should have
string loops on the corners, so as to fasten them to the cocks by wooden pins.
Very thin muslin is best; for if thick muslin is used it causes the hay to
sweat, and is no more effective in shedding rain.
State papers please copy.