Hay trial

Scott Haberman inspects hay bales during the Agri-King high-moisture hay trial.

A national company has shared the results of a trial of its hay preservative, finding that it helps bales with higher moisture levels maintain their value.

Agri-King Inc. stored large square hay bales with three levels of moisture — a control with normal moisture, some bales with slightly higher moisture and other bales with a moisture level 5% to 7% higher than normal.

For farmers, “Many times, moisture can become their nemesis,” said Dave Spangler, director of research and development for Agri-King Inc. of Fulton, Ill.

Farmers need moisture to retain leaves, digestibility and overall nutrition of the hay. If it becomes too dry, Spangler said, the leaves shatter and a lot of nutrition is left in the field when the hay is baled.

But high moisture in hay can increase the risk of heating and mold.

The company’s Silo-King treatment helps farmers bale wetter hay. It’s a food-grade granulated product with antioxidants and mold and yeast inhibitors that’s added during baling.

“We are showing and telling a little bit more about what the product can do ... making a little bit higher moisture than the producer typically thought he was comfortable with,” Spangler said. “A better hay that’s more nutritious, that’s more profitable to them.”

Anna Foley, Grandview, Wash., nutritionist for Agri-King, ran the trial on a farm through an export company in Burbank, Wash. Ag West International in Pasco, Wash., pressed the hay for the trial.

The company announced the results of the trial Oct. 23-24 and is looking for feedback from industry representatives.

Jeff VanOosten, Silo-King sales support representative, said the company wants to see how the product might work for the industry.

They also visited hay export companies to see what problems they were having.

“There’s a lot of things that are affected by moisture,” he said.

The company wanted to replicate field and export conditions, applying the treatment to hay in the field, waiting 30 days, and then pressing it and putting it into three containers — the control, mid-moisture and high-moisture.

They recorded temperatures hourly while storing the bale in the containers for another 30 days.

Bales can ordinarily be stored in containers for 21 to 30 days, and for as long as 45 days.

During the presentation, the company representatives opened the bale containers and presented their data.

“Anna’s had so many questions, comments, curiosity about running this trial,” Spangler said. “I think a lot of people want to know the outcome of it.”

The company saw significantly higher relative feed value and protein retention and lower mold and lower temperatures in the treated bales, Spangler said.

If growers can bale wetter hay, getting hay off the ground a day or two sooner, they might be able to get another cutting, Spangler said.

“It’s going to be more nutritious and worth more money, not only to the producer of it but the exporter of it,” he said.

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