Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hay is the foundation of the diet for all grazing animals

Paddy hay storage for summer for Cows project

SEVAI-OFI Volunteers cow project stacks dry hay fodder for Summer.K.Devendran enlightened he cow farmers of Sirugamani area about Hay and further said, “Hay is the foundation of the diet for all grazing animals and can provide most of the fodder required for an animal. Hay is usually fed to an animal in place of allowing the animal to graze on grasses in a pasture, particularly during times when drought or other conditions make pasture unavailable. The proper amount of hay and the type of hay required varies somewhat between different species. Some animals are also fed concentrated feeds such as grain or vitamin supplements in addition to hay. In most cases, hay must make up 50% or more of the diet by weight. The quantity of hay is important for cattle, which can effectively digest hay of low quality if fed in sufficient amounts. Sheep will eat between two and four percent of their body weight per day in dry feed, such as hay, and are very efficient at obtaining the most nutrition possible from three to five pounds per day of hay or other forage. Hay production and harvest, colloquially known as "making hay", "haymaking", or "doing hay", involves a multiple step process: cutting, drying or "curing", processing, and storing. Methods and the terminology to describe the steps of making hay have varied greatly throughout history, and many regional variations still exist today. It is at its greatest nutritive value when all leaves are fully developed and seed or flower heads are just a bit short of full maturity. When growth is at a maximum in the pasture, if judged correctly, the pasture is cut. Hay cut too early will not cure as easily due to high moisture content, plus it will produce a lower yield per acre than longer, more mature grass. Hay can be raked into rows as it is cut, then turned periodically to dry. Or, especially with older equipment or methods, the hay is cut and allowed to lay spread out in the field until it is dry, then raked into rows for processing into bales afterwards. Hay must be fully dried when baled and kept dry in storage. Hay stored outside must be stacked in such a way that moisture contact is minimal. Some stacks are arranged in such a manner that the hay itself "sheds" water when it falls. Other methods of stacking use the first layers or bales of hay as a cover to protect the rest. To completely keep out moisture, outside haystacks can also be covered by tarps, and many round bales are partially wrapped in plastic as part of the baling process. Loose hay was taken to an area designated for storage usually a slightly raised area for drainage and built into a hay stack. The stack was made waterproof as it was built, a skilled task and the hay would compress under its own weight and cure by the release of heat from the residual moisture in the hay and from the compression forces. Conditioning of hay has become popular. The basic idea is that it decreases drying time, particularly in humid climates or if rain interferes with haying. Usually, a salt solution is sprayed over the top of the hay that helps to dry the hay. However, organic forms of fertilization and weed control are required for hay grown for consumption by animals whose meat will ultimately be certified organic. To that end, compost and field rotation can enhance soil fertility, and regular mowing of fields in the growth phase of the hay will often reduce the prevalence of undesired weeds. Due to its weight, hay can cause a number of injuries to humans, particularly those related to lifting and moving bales, as well as risks related to stacking and storing. Hazards include the danger of having a poorly constructed stack collapse, causing either falls to people on the stack or injuries to people on the ground who are struck by falling bales”. Govin

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