Know Your Hay

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Know your hay!

We can define hay as feed for animals that are typically composed of dried grasses, legumes (not beans!), and grain straw. Hay is meant to replace the need for grazing, especially during winter or times when pastures are not optimal for grazing.

There are quite a few different types of grasses you can use for hay. The most common include brome, fescue, cocksfoot (orchard), ryegrass, and timothy. The legumes used in hay are usually alfalfa and/or clovers. Alfalfa (also known as Lucerne) hay is the most popular hay crop in the United States, particularly in the north and west part of the country. Clover (also known as trefoil) are abundant, nutritious and can grow in a wide range of soils and climates.

Knowing the content of your hay is important to protect your livestock. Switching to different hay quickly can have negative effects on your livestock since they will be used to a certain pH and nutrition content in their diet.