The New International Encyclopædia/Hay

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

HAY (AS. hīg, Goth. hawi, OHG. hewi, houwi, Ger. Heu; probably connected with AS. hēawan, OHG. houwan, Ger. hauen, Eng. hew). A term applied to a considerable number of cured crops used for feeding farm animals. The most important hays are made from the various grasses (timothy, meadow fescue, meadow foxtail, brome grasses, etc.), legumes (clover, alfalfa, etc.), and cereal grains (rye, oats, and barley). The different crops should be cut for hay before they have fully ripened seed, as, generally speaking, the nutritive value increases up to this time and decreases afterwards. (See Grasses.) While most crops will not cure unless they are cut and treated in the usual way, some grasses, for instance Buffalo grass, dry in their natural habitat without appreciable loss of nutritive material, and constitute fairly good natural hay. If the cereal grains are allowed thoroughly to ripen before cutting, and the grain separated, the material is called straw, and is not as valuable for feeding as hay. Hay is cured by exposing the cut crop to the sun and air. The processes of hay-making vary with the crop and climatic conditions. The varying nature of the crops converted into hay, the dampness or dryness of the soil, the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, and the duration and intensity of the sunlight are all factors which influence the problem. At the present time hay-making is quite generally carried on by the aid of machinery. (See Reapers, Reaping; Implements, Agricultural.) Generally speaking, hay is cured in the United States by spreading on the ground. In some parts of Northern Europe, in the Mackenzie River region of Canada, and elsewhere, where the rainfall is very abundant, hay is cured on racks. During the curing process the green crops lose water, which is, perhaps, the most marked change. However, there are other changes, which are due to the action of ferments. These modify more or less the composition of the hay and aid in developing the peculiar aroma. It has been found that grass which is merely dried does not have exactly the same composition as a similar sample which has been cured as hay. Fermentation, which begins in the field, often continues after the hay is stored. As in many other chemical changes, fermentation is accompanied by the liberation of heat, and in the case of hay the temperature may rise sufficiently to cause ignition. Many fires have been caused by the spontaneous combustion of hay owing to this cause. Though frequently a single grass or other crop is planted for hay, meadows often have a number of crops growing together as grasses and clovers, and these yield what is termed mixed hay. The hay from salt marshes consists of such plants as black grass (Juncus gerardi), fox-grass (Spartina patera), branch grass (Distichlis spicata), flat sage (Spartina stricta maritima), etc. The average composition of a number of sorts of hay follows:


Average Percentage Composition of a Number of Sorts of Hay from Grasses, Legumes, and Cereal Grains
KIND OF HAY Water Protein Fat Nitrogen-
free
extract
Crude
fibre
Ash

GRASSES            
Hay from mixed grasses
Timothy
Orchard grass
Kentucky blue grass
Meadow fescue
Salt-marsh hay
Rowen
15.3
13.2
9.9
21.2
20.0
10.4
16.6
7.4
5.9
8.1
7.8
7.0
5.5
11.6
2.5
2.5
2.6
3.9
2.7
2.4
3.1
42.1
45.0
41.0
37.8
38.6
44.0
39.4
27.2
29.0
32.4
23.0
25.9
30.0
22.5
 5.5
4.4
6.0
6.3
6.8
7.7
6.8
CEREAL GRAINS            
Barley hay, cut in milk
Oat hay, cut in milk
Rye hay
15.0
15.0
10.6
 8.8
9.3
9.3
2.4
2.3
2.5
44.9
39.0
8.7
24.7
29.2
23.6
 4.2
5.2
5.3
LEGUMES            
Red clover
White clover
Crimson clover
Alfalfa
Cowpea
Soy bean
Pea-vine
Vetch
Serradella
Peanut-vines (without nuts)
Sanfoin
Alsike clover
15.3
9.7
9.6
8.4
10.7
11.3
15.0
11.3
9.2
7.6
15.0
9.7
12.3
15.7
15.2
14.3
16.6
15.4
13.7
17.0
15.2
10.7
14.8
12.8
3.3
2.9
2.8
2.2
2.9
5.2
2.3
2.3
2.6
4.6
3.0
2.9
38.1
39.3
36.6
42.7
42.2
38.6
37.6
36.1
44.2
42.7
39.5
40.7
24.8
24.1
27.2
25.0
20.1
22.3
24.7
25.4
21.6
23.6
20.4
25.6
6.2
8.3
8.6
7.4
7.5
7.2
6.7
7.9
7.2
10.8
7.3
8.3


Hay contains more nutritive material in proportion to its bulk than the green crops from which it is made. In other words, it has been concentrated by the evaporation of a large amount of the water originally present. It contains fairly large amounts of carbohydrates, both nitrogen-free extract and crude fibre, and a considerable amount of protein. The latter constituent is especially abundant in hay from leguminous crops. The different sorts of hay are very important feeding stuffs for all classes of farm animals. They are valuable not only for the nutrients they contain, but because, like all coarse fodders, they furnish the needed bulk in the ration. In early times animals were wintered on hay alone, but experience has shown that although farm animals may be maintained without other feeding stuffs, if it is desired to produce gains in weight or abundant yield of milk, hay must be supplemented by grain or other concentrated feed.

Rowen, that is, hay made from second-growth grasses or aftermath, is especially rich in nutrients; but it is made at a time of the year when the ground is often damp, the days shorter, and the sun's heat less strong than earlier in the season. This renders the curing of rowen somewhat difficult, and the product is usually of less value for some purposes than first-crop hay. When cured under favorable conditions, aftermath hay is an excellent article for winter feeding. In Switzerland and other parts of Europe it is customary to cut the soft grasses which are often grown a number of times during the season. The resulting hay is fine, and is said to be especially relished by stock. New-made hay is laxative, and should not be fed to work-horses or to driving horses. Generally speaking, new-crop hay cannot be successfully fed until the sweating process in the mow is completed and the hay has cooled. The average coefficients of digestibility of a number of sorts of hay follow:


Average Digestibility of a Number of Kinds of Hay, Shown by the Percentages of Digested Constituents
KIND OF HAY Dry
matter
Protein Fat Nitrogen-
free
extract
Crude
fibre
Ash

GRASSES            
Timothy
Timothy rowen
Orchard grass
Pasture grass
Mixed grasses
Salt-marsh hay
Rowen
56.6
62.2
56.6
72.6
57.1
56.4
64.4
46.9
68.0
59.5
73.4
58.5
42.6
69.1
52.2
49.5
53.8
67.3
48.5
29.7
47.4
62.3
63.4
55.4
74.2
58.7
54.7
66.2
52.5
66.5
60.4
76.1
59.7
60.7
66.6
32.8
56.4
 
51.8
 
69.8
46.6
CEREAL GRAINS            
Barley
Oat
61.2
49.3
65.2
54.2
40.5
61.9
63.3
52.0
61.7
43.5
44.8
34.6
LEGUMES            
Red clover
Red clover rowen
Alsike clover
Alfalfa
Cowpea vine
57.4
58.0
62.3
58.9
59.2
58.0
64.8
66.1
72.0
64.8
55.2
59.8
50.2
51.0
51.8
64.4
62.8
70.7
69.2
70.6
54.2
47.4
53.5
46.0
42.0
29.1
45.8
52.2
39.5
49.5


Hay is fed ‘long,’ i.e. whole, or ‘chopped,’ i.e. more or less finely cut. Where a large number of animals are fed, chopping has some advantages. If a little water is added to the chopped hay it lays the dust. Meal may be added to the moistened chopped hay. Such a ration is especially recommended for hard-worked horses which are in the stable only at night. If animals have abundant time for chewing and digesting, chopping is not very desirable. Growing pigs and breeding swine are often benefited by a reasonable allowance of steamed or boiled and chopped alfalfa or clover hay. The boiling or steaming increases the palatability of the feed, though it probably does not increase its digestibility. Cooked clover hay is often given to poultry with advantage. In general it does not pay to steam or cook hay for stock.

‘Hay tea,’ properly made, has been successfully used for rearing calves in place of milk. The tea should be supplemented by ground flax-seed and middlings cooked in it, or some other suitable material.

Hay is commonly stored under cover or in stacks in the open field. It is now generally baled for shipping, in which form it is conveniently handled and stored.