Seldom does the weatherman provide a perfect window for making hay, from cutting through baling. If your hay is ready, but rain is in the forecast, should you cut or wait?

Research over several years at the University of Kentucky has demonstrated that hay cut at the right stage with rain damage has greater digestibility than over-mature hay that was mowed later with no rain. According to researcher Michael Collins with the university’s agronomy department, one inch of rain reduces the nutritional value of alfalfa about as much as one week of delay maturity. 

Collins adds that the drying process can be improved with mechanical conditioning such as raking or tedding; and the addition of chemical desiccant solutions containing potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate. To read more of Collins’ comments on reducing the risk of rain-damaged hay, follow this link.