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Harvesting and storing forage at the proper moisture concentration is essential to producing a high-quality product. Ideally, hay forage should have a moisture concentration between 15 percent and 18 percent during baling. Hay baled at higher moisture levels is subject to heat damage, dry-matter loss, mold spoilage, and hay fires. Protein and total digestible nutrient losses are increased for hay baled at lower moisture levels. Baling at the proper moisture level is critical to making quality hay, especially for larger bales (round and square) since moisture and heat dissipate more slowly in comparison to smaller bales.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
July 2, 2020