Hay Storage: Dry Matter Losses and Quality Changes
Although cool-season annual forages are produced in Mississippi, hay is still a primary source of livestock feed during the winter. A solid understanding of how hay storage conditions affect hay losses and quality changes can help producers reduce feeding costs. Maintaining hay quality after harvest depends on proper storage. Total loss for high quality hay stored outside on the ground could be 25 percent to 30 percent, while losses for animal feeding could reach 40 percent. This dry matter (DM) loss from poorly stored hay also translates to significant dollar losses when lost nutrients have to be replaced by protein or energy products.
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