Hay is grass, legumes, or other herbaceous plants that have been cut and dried to be stored for use as animal fodder, particularly for large grazing animals raised as livestock, such as cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. However, it is also fed to smaller domesticated animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. Even pigs may be fed hay, but they do not digest it as efficiently as herbivores.

Hay can be used as animal fodder when or where there is not enough pasture or rangeland on which to graze an animal, when grazing is not feasible due to weather (such as during the winter), or when lush pasture by itself would be too rich for the health of the animal. It is also fed when an animal is unable to access pasture, e.g. the animal is being kept in a stable or barn.

Fresh grass hay, newly baled
Good quality hay is green and not too coarse, and includes plant heads and leaves as well as stems.


Commonly used plants for hay include mixtures of grasses such as ryegrass (Lolium species), timothy, brome, fescue, Bermuda grass, orchard grass, and other species, depending on region. Hay may also include legumes, such as alfalfa (lucerne) and clovers (red, white and subterranean). Legumes in hay are ideally cut pre-bloom. Other pasture forbs are also sometimes a part of the mix, though these plants are not necessarily desired as certain forbs are toxic to some animals.

Oat, barley, and wheat plant materials are occasionally cut green and made into hay for animal fodder; however they are more usually used in the form of straw, a harvest byproduct where the stems and dead leaves are baled after the grain has been harvested and threshed. Straw is used mainly for animal bedding. Although straw is also used as fodder, particularly as a source of dietary fiber, it has lower nutritional value than hay.

It is the leaf and seed material in the hay that determines its quality, because they contain more of the nutrition value for the animal than the stems do.[1]:194 Farmers try to harvest hay at the point when the seed heads are not quite ripe and the leaf is at its maximum when the grass is mowed in the field. The cut material is allowed to dry so that the bulk of the moisture is removed but the leafy material is still robust enough to be picked up from the ground by machinery and processed into storage in bales, stacks or pits. Methods of haymaking thus aim to minimize the shattering and falling away of the leaves during handling.[1]:194

Close view of loose grass hay.

Hay is very sensitive to weather conditions, especially when it is harvested. In drought conditions, both seed and leaf production are stunted, making hay that has a high ratio of dry coarse stems that have very low nutritional values. If the weather is too wet, the cut hay may spoil in the field before it can be baled. Thus the biggest challenge and risk for farmers in producing hay crops is the weather, especially the weather of the particular few weeks when the plants are at the best age/maturity for hay. A lucky break in the weather often moves the haymaking tasks (such as mowing, tedding, and baling) to the top priority on the farm's to-do list. This is reflected in the idiom to make hay while the sun shines. Hay that was too wet at cutting may develop rot and mold after being baled, creating the potential for toxins to form in the feed, which could make the animals sick.

After harvest, hay also has to be stored in a manner to prevent it from getting wet. Mold and spoilage reduce nutritional value and may cause illness in animals. A symbiotic fungus in fescue may cause illness in horses and cattle.[2]

Round hay bale, partially eaten
Poor quality hay is dry, bleached out and coarse-stemmed. Sometimes, hay stored outdoors will look like this on the outside but still be green inside the bale. A dried, bleached or coarse bale is still edible and provides some nutritional value as long as it is dry and not moldy, dusty, or rotting.

The successful harvest of maximum yields of high-quality hay is entirely dependent on the coincident occurrence of optimum crop, field, and weather conditions. When this occurs, there may be a period of intense activity on the hay farm while harvest proceeds until weather conditions become unfavourable.

Feeding hay

Hay or grass is the foundation of the diet for all grazing animals and can provide as much as 100% 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 in the winter or during times when drought or other conditions make pasture unavailable. Animals that can eat hay vary in the types of grasses suitable for consumption, the ways they consume hay, and how they digest it. Therefore, different types of animals require hay that consists of similar plants to what they would eat while grazing, and likewise, plants that are toxic to an animal in pasture are also toxic if they are dried into hay.

Horses eating hay

Most animals are fed hay in two daily feedings, morning and evening. However, this schedule is more for the convenience of humans, as most grazing animals on pasture naturally consume fodder in multiple feedings throughout the day. Some animals, especially those being raised for meat, may be given enough hay that they simply are able to eat all day. Other animals, especially those that are ridden or driven as working animals, are only free to eat when not working, and may be given a more limited amount of hay to prevent them from getting too fat. 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 or pasture forage must make up 50% or more of the diet by weight.

One of the most significant differences in hay digestion is between ruminant animals, such as cattle and sheep; and nonruminant, hindgut fermentors, such as horses. Both types of animals can digest cellulose in grass and hay, but do so by different mechanisms. Because of the four-chambered stomach of cattle, they are often able to break down older forage and have more tolerance of mold and changes in diet. The single-chambered stomach and cecum or "hindgut" of the horse uses bacterial processes to break down cellulose that are more sensitive to changes in feeds and the presence of mold or other toxins, requiring horses to be fed hay of a more consistent type and quality.[3]

Hayfield in fall
These round bales have been left in the field for many months, perhaps more than a year, exposed to weather, and appear to be rotting. Not all animals can safely eat hay with rot or mold

Different animals also use hay in different ways: cattle evolved to eat forages in relatively large quantities at a single feeding, and then, due to the process of rumination, take a considerable amount of time for their stomachs to digest food, often accomplished while the animal is lying down, at rest. Thus quantity of hay is important for cattle, who 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,[4] and are very efficient at obtaining the most nutrition possible from three to five pounds per day of hay or other forage.[5] They require three to four hours per day to eat enough hay to meet their nutritional requirements.[6]

Unlike ruminants, horses digest food in small portions throughout the day, and can only use approximately 2.5% of their body weight in feed in any 24-hour period. They evolved to be continuously on the move while grazing, (covering up to 50 miles (80 km) per day in the wild) and their stomach digests food quite rapidly. Thus, they extract more nutrition out of smaller quantities of feed.[7] However, when horses are fed low-quality hay, they may develop an unhealthy, obese, "hay belly" due to over-consumption of "empty" calories. If their type of feed is changed dramatically, or if they are fed moldy hay or hay containing toxic plants, they can become ill; colic is the leading cause of death in horses. Contaminated hay can also lead to respiratory problems in horses. Hay can be soaked in water, sprinkled with water or subjected to steaming to reduce dust.

Making and transporting hay

Haymaking - geograph.org.uk - 980046
A tractor mowing a hay field, with the cut hay lying in the foreground.
NRCSIA99200 - Iowa (3095)(NRCS Photo Gallery)
A round baler dumping a freshly rolled hay bale
Modern small-scale transport. Pickup truck loaded with "large square" bales

Hay production and harvest, colloquially known as "making hay",[8] "haymaking", or "doing hay", involves a multiple step process: cutting, drying or "curing", raking, processing, and storing. Hayfields do not have to be reseeded each year in the way that grain crops are, but regular fertilizing is usually desirable, and overseeding a field every few years helps increase yield.

Methods and the terminology to describe the steps of making hay have varied greatly throughout history, and many regional variations still exist today. However, whether done by hand or by modern mechanized equipment, tall grass and legumes at the proper stage of maturity must be cut, then allowed to dry (preferably by the sun), then raked into long, narrow piles known as windrows. Next, the cured hay is gathered up in some form (usually by some type of baling process) and placed for storage into a haystack or into a barn or shed to protect it from moisture and rot.

During the growing season, which is spring and early summer in temperate climates, grass grows at a fast pace. 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 or field, if judged correctly, it is cut. Grass 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. But hay cut too late is coarser, lower in resale value and has lost some of its nutrients. There is usually about a two-week "window" of time in which grass is at its ideal stage for harvesting hay. The time for cutting alfalfa hay is ideally done when plants reach maximum height and are producing flower buds or just beginning to bloom, cutting during or after full bloom results in lower nutritional value of the hay.

Hay can be raked into rows as it is cut, then turned periodically to dry, particularly if a modern swather is used. Or, especially with older equipment or methods, the hay is cut and allowed to lie spread out in the field until it is dry, then raked into rows for processing into bales afterwards. During the drying period, which can take several days, the process is usually sped up by turning the cut hay over with a hay rake or spreading it out with a tedder. If it rains while the hay is drying, turning the windrow can also allow it to dry faster. However, turning the hay too often or too roughly can also cause drying leaf matter to fall off, reducing the nutrients available to animals. Drying can also be sped up by mechanized processes, such as use of a hay conditioner, or by use of chemicals sprayed onto the hay to speed evaporation of moisture, though these are more expensive techniques, not in general use except in areas where there is a combination of modern technology, high prices for hay, and too much rain for hay to dry properly.[9]

Once hay is cut, dried and raked into windrows, it is usually gathered into bales or bundles, then hauled to a central location for storage. In some places, depending on geography, region, climate, and culture, hay is gathered loose and stacked without being baled first.

Hay must be fully dried when baled and kept dry in storage. If hay is baled while too moist or becomes wet while in storage, there is a significant risk of spontaneous combustion.[10] 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. Hay is also stored under a roof when resources permit. It is frequently placed inside sheds, or stacked inside of a barn. On the other hand, care must also be taken that hay is never exposed to any possible source of heat or flame, as dry hay and the dust it produces are highly flammable.

Breviarium Grimani - Juni detail
Haymakers, from the Grimani Breviary, c. 1510.
Haymaking NLW3364567
Haymaking in Wales c. 1885
July 1903 - on the Gaisberg, nr Salzburg
July 1903 - on the Gaisberg, near Salzburg
Two men loading hay on a truck in Massachusetts, 1936.

Early methods

The Haystack by Henry Fox Talbot
The Haystack by Henry Fox Talbot, 1844.

Early farmers noticed that growing fields produced more fodder in the spring than the animals could consume, and that cutting the grass in the summer, allowing it to dry and storing it for the winter provided their domesticated animals with better quality nutrition than simply allowing them to dig through snow in the winter to find dried grass. Therefore, some fields were "shut up" for hay.

Up to the end of the 19th century, grass and legumes were not often grown together because crops were rotated. However, by the 20th century, good forage management techniques demonstrated that highly productive pastures were a mix of grasses and legumes, so compromises were made when it was time to mow. Later still, some farmers grew crops, like straight alfalfa (lucerne), for special-purpose hay such as that fed to dairy cattle.

Much hay was originally cut by scythe by teams of workers, dried in the field and gathered loose on wagons. Later, haying would be done by horse-drawn implements such as mowers. With the invention of agricultural machinery such as the tractor and the baler, most hay production became mechanized by the 1930s.

After hay was cut and had dried, the hay was raked or rowed up by raking it into a linear heap by hand or with a horse-drawn implement. Turning hay, when needed, originally was done by hand with a fork or rake. Once the dried hay was rowed up, pitch forks were used to pile it loose, originally onto a horse-drawn cart or wagon, later onto a truck or tractor-drawn trailer, for which a sweep could be used instead of pitch forks.

Boerderij Diermenseweg 3 - Putten - 4
A hay barrack. The roof is moved up and down as the hay level changes.
Hay scow
Late 19th century hay boat with small square bales

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. The stack was fenced from the rest of the paddock in a rick yard, and often thatched or sheeted to keep it dry. When needed, slices of hay would be cut using a hay knife and fed out to animals each day.

On some farms the loose hay was stored in a barrack, shed, or barn, normally in such a way that it would compress down and cure. Hay could be stored in a specially designed barn with little internal structure to allow more room for the hay loft. Alternatively, an upper storey of a cow-shed or stable was used, with hatches in the floor to allow hay to be thrown down into hay-racks below.

Depending on region, the term "hay rick" could refer to the machine for cutting hay, the hay stack or the wagon used to collect the hay.

Hay baling began with the invention of the first hay press in about 1850.[11] Hay was baled for easier handling and to reduce space required for storage and shipment. The first bales weighed about 300 lb. The original machines were of the vertical design similar to the one photographed by Greene Co. Historical Society. They used a horse driven screw press mechanism or a dropped weight to compress the hay. The first patent went to HL Emery for a horse powered, screw operated hay press in 1853. Other models were reported as early as 1843 built by PK Dederick’s Sons of Albany, NY, or Samuel Hewitt of Switzerland County, Ohio.[12] Later horizontal machines were devised. One was the “Perpetual Press” made by PK Dederick of Albany, NY, in 1872. They could be powered by steam engines by about 1882. The continuous hay baler arrived in 1914.

Modern mechanized techniques

Different balers can produce hay bales in different sizes and shapes. Here two different balers were used to create both large round bales and small square bales.

Modern mechanized hay production today is usually performed by a number of machines. While small operations use a tractor to pull various implements for mowing and raking, larger operations use specialized machines such as a mower or a swather, which are designed to cut the hay and arrange it into a windrow in one step. Balers are usually pulled by a tractor, with larger balers requiring more powerful tractors.

Mobile balers, machines which gather and bale hay in one process, were first developed around 1940. The first balers produced rectangular bales small enough for a person to lift, usually between 70 and 100 pounds (32 and 45 kg) each. The size and shape made it possible for people to pick bales up, stack them on a vehicle for transport to a storage area, then build a haystack by hand. However, to save labor and increase safety, loaders and stackers were also developed to mechanise the transport of small bales from the field to the haystack. Later in the 20th century, balers were developed capable of producing large bales that weigh up to 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg).[13]

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 (generally alfalfa) that helps to dry the hay. Conditioning can also refer to the rollers inside a swather that crimps the alfalfa to help squeeze out the moisture.

Fertilization and weed control

Modern hay production often relies on artificial fertilizer and herbicides. Traditionally, manure has been used on hayfields, but modern chemical fertilizers are used today as well. Hay that is to be certified as weed-free for use in wilderness areas must often be sprayed with chemical herbicides to keep unwanted weeds from the field, and sometimes even non-certified hayfields are sprayed to limit the production of noxious weeds. 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. In recent times, some producers have experimented with human sewage sludge to grow hay. This is not a certified organic method and no warning labels are mandated by EPA.[14] One concern with hay grown on human sewage sludge is that the hay can take up heavy metals, which are then consumed by animals.[15] Molybdenum poisoning is a particular concern in ruminants such as cows and goats, and there have been animal deaths.[16][17][18] Another concern is with a herbicide known as aminopyralid, which can pass through the digestive tract in animals, making their resulting manure toxic to many plants and thus unsuitable as fertilizer for food crops.[19] Aminopyralid and related herbicides can persist in the environment for several years.


Small bales

Grass hay by David Shankbone
When possible, hay, especially small square bales like these, should be stored under cover and protected from precipitation.

Small bales are still produced today. While balers for small bales are still manufactured, as well as loaders and stackers, there are some farms that still use equipment manufactured over 50 years ago, kept in good repair. The small bale remains part of overall ranch lore and tradition with "hay bucking" competitions still held for fun at many rodeos and county fairs.

Small square bales are stacked in a criss-crossed fashion sometimes called a "rick" or "hayrick". Rain tends to wash nutrition out of hay and can cause spoilage or mold. Hay in small square bales is particularly susceptible to this, and is therefore often stored in a hayshed or protected by tarpaulins. If this is not done, the top two layers of the stack are often lost to rot and mold, and if the stack is not arranged in a proper hayrick, moisture can seep even deeper into the stack. The rounded shape and tighter compaction of small (and large) round bales makes them less susceptible to spoilage, as the water is less likely to penetrate into the bale. The addition of net wrap, which is not used on square bales, offers even greater weather resistance.

People who keep small numbers of animals may prefer small bales that can be handled by one person without machinery. There is also a risk that hay bales may be moldy, or contain decaying carcasses of small creatures that were accidentally killed by baling equipment and swept up into the bale, which can produce toxins such as botulism. Both can be deadly to non-ruminant herbivores, such as horses, and when this occurs, the entire contaminated bale generally is thrown out, another reason some people continue to support the market for small bales.

Large bales

Round bale 3066
Round bales are harder to handle than square bales but compress the hay more tightly. This round bale is partially covered with net wrap, which is an alternative to twine.

Farmers who need to make large amounts of hay are likely to choose balers which produce much larger bales, maximizing the amount of hay which is protected from the elements. Large bales come in two types, round and square. Large square bales, which can weigh up to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb), can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. Large round bales, which typically weigh 300 to 400 kilograms (660–880 lb), are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

The ratio of volume to surface area makes it possible for many dry-area farmers to leave large bales outside until they are consumed. Wet-area farmers and those in climates with heavy snowfall can stack round bales under a shed or tarp, but can also use a light but durable plastic wrap that partially encloses bales left outside. The wrap repels moisture, but leaves the ends of the bale exposed so that the hay itself can "breathe" and does not begin to ferment. However, when it is possible to store round bales under a shed, they last longer and less hay is lost to rot and moisture.[20]


Heuballen Plastik Steiermark
A completely wrapped silage bale in Austria.

For animals that eat silage, a bale wrapper may be used to seal a round bale completely and trigger the fermentation process. It is a technique used as a money-saving process by producers who do not have access to a silo, and for producing silage that is transported to other locations. However, a silo is still a preferred method for making silage.[21] In very damp climates, it is a legitimate alternative to drying hay completely and when processed properly, the natural fermentation process prevents mold and rot. Round bale silage is also sometimes called "haylage", and is seen more commonly in Europe than in either the United States or Australia. However, hay stored in this fashion must remain completely sealed in plastic, as any holes or tears can stop the preservation properties of fermentation and lead to spoilage.[22]


Haystacks are stacks of harvested hay, stacked in many different ways depending on region of the world, climate, if baled or loose, and so on.

Hay requires protection from weather, and is optimally stored inside buildings,[23]:89 but weather protection is also provided in other ways involving outdoor storage, either in haystacks or in large tight bales (round or rectangular); these methods all depend on the surface of an outdoor mass of hay (stack or bale) taking the hit of the weather and thereby preserving the main body of hay underneath.

Traditionally, outdoor hay storage was done with haystacks of loose hay, where most of the hay was sufficiently preserved to last through the winter, and the top surface of the stack (being weathered) was consigned to become compost the next summer. The term "loose" means not pressed or baled, but it doesn't necessarily mean a light, fluffy lay of randomly oriented stems. Especially in wet climates, such as those of Britain, the degree of shedding of rainwater by the stack's outer surface is an important factor, and the stacking of loose hay was developed into a skilled-labor task that in its more advanced forms even involved thatching the top. In many stacking methods (with or without thatched tops), stems were oriented in sheaves, which were laid in oriented sequence.

With the advent of large bales since the 1960s, today hay is often stored outdoors because the outer surface of the large bale performs the weather-shedding function. The large bales can also be stacked, which allows a given degree of exposed surface area to count for a larger volume of protected interior hay. Plastic tarpaulins are sometimes used to shed the rain, with a goal of reduced hay wastage, but the cost of the tarpaulins must be weighed against the cost of the hay spoilage percentage difference; it may not be worth the cost, or the plastic's environmental footprint.

After World War II, British farmers found that the demand outstripped supply for skilled farm laborers experienced in the thatching of haystacks.[24] This no doubt contributed to the pressure for baling in large bales to increasingly replace stacking, which was happening anyway as haymaking technology (like other farm technology) continued toward extensive mechanization with one-man operation of many tasks. Today tons of hay can be cut, conditioned, dried, raked, and baled by one person, as long as the right equipment is at hand (although that equipment is expensive). These tons of hay can also be moved by one person, again with the right (expensive) equipment, as loaders with long spikes run by hydraulic circuits pick up each large bale and move it to its feeding location.

A fence may be built to enclose a haystack and prevent roaming animals from eating it,[25][26] or animals may feed directly from a field-constructed stack as part of their winter feeding.[27]

Haystacks are also sometimes called haycocks; among some users this term refers more specifically to small piles of cut-and-gathered hay awaiting stacking into larger stacks.[28] The words (haystack, haycock) are usually styled as solid compounds, but not always. Haystacks are also sometimes called stooks, shocks, or ricks.

Loose hay stacking

Loose stacks are built to prevent accumulation of moisture and promote drying, or curing. In some places, this is accomplished by constructing stacks with a conical or ridged top.[25][29] The exterior may look gray on the surface after weathering, but the inner hay retains traces of its fresh-cut aroma and maintains a faded green tint.[25] They can be covered with thatch,[29][30] or kept within a protective structure. One such structure is a moveable roof supported by four posts, historically called a Dutch roof, hay barrack, or hay cap.[30][31] Haystacks may also be built on top of a foundation laid on the ground to reduce spoilage, in some places made of wood or brush.[25] In other areas, hay is stacked loose, built around a central pole, a tree, or within an area of three or four poles to add stability to the stack.[32][33][34]

One loose hay stacking technique seen in the British isles is to initially stack freshly cut hay into smaller mounds called foot cocks, hay coles, kyles, hayshocks or haycocks, to facilitate initial curing.[25][35] These are sometimes built atop platforms or tripods formed of three poles, used to keep hay off the ground and let air into the center for better drying.[36] The shape causes dew and rain water roll down the sides, allowing the hay within to cure.[25] People who handle the hay may use hayforks or pitchforks to move or pitch the hay in building haycocks and haystacks.[25][37] Construction of tall haystacks is sometimes aided with a ramp, ranging from simple poles to a device for building large loose stacks called a beaverslide.[25][38]

Romanian hay

Loose stacked hay built around a central pole, supported by side poles in Romania

Hay cocks - geograph.org.uk - 1439469

Hay cocks in a field in Ireland


A beaverslide with a full stack of hay in Montana, USA

Hayrack full

Kozolec, a traditional Slovenian hayrack

Safety issues

Farmer's lung (not to be confused with silo-filler's disease) is a hypersensitivity pneumonitis induced by the inhalation of biologic dusts coming from hay dust or mold spores or other agricultural products.[39] Exposure to hay can also trigger Allergic rhinitis for people who are hypersensitive to airborne allergens.

Hay baled before it is fully dry can produce enough heat to start a fire. Haystacks produce internal heat due to bacterial fermentation. If hay is stacked with wet grass, the heat produced can be sufficient to ignite the hay causing a fire. Farmers have to be careful about moisture levels to avoid spontaneous combustion, which is a leading cause of haystack fires.[40] Heat is produced by the respiration process, which occurs until the moisture content of drying hay drops below 40%. Hay is considered fully dry when it reaches 20% moisture. Combustion problems typically occur within five days to seven days of baling. A bale cooler than 120 °F (49 °C) is in little danger, but bales between 120 and 140 °F (49 and 60 °C) need to be removed from a barn or structure and separated so that they can cool off. If the temperature of a bale exceeds more than 140 °F (60 °C), it can combust.[41]

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. Large round hay bales present a particular danger to those who handle them, because they can weigh over 1,000 pounds (450 kg) and cannot be moved without special equipment. Nonetheless, because they are cylindrical in shape, and thus can roll easily, it is not uncommon for them to fall from stacks or roll off the equipment used to handle them. From 1992 to 1998, 74 farm workers in the United States were killed in large round hay bale accidents, usually when bales were being moved from one location to another, such as when feeding animals.[42][43]

Hay is generally one of the safest feeds to provide to domesticated grazing herbivores. However, some precautions are needed. Amount must be monitored so that animals do not get too fat or too thin. Supplemental feed may be required for working animals with high energy requirements. Animals who eat spoiled hay may develop a variety of illnesses, from coughs related to dust and mold, to various other illnesses, the most serious of which may be botulism, which can occur if a small animal, such as a rodent or snake, is killed by the baling equipment, then rots inside the bale, causing a toxin to form. Some animals are sensitive to particular fungi or molds that may grow on living plants. For example, an endophytic fungus that sometimes grows on fescue can cause abortion in pregnant mares.[44] Some plants themselves may also be toxic to some animals. For example, Pimelea, a native Australian plant, also known as flax weed, is highly toxic to cattle.[45]

Field of freshly baled round hay bales.

Chemical composition of hay

Description Water Ash Albumin-




Extractive Matter Free From Nitrogen Fat
Meadow hay- poor 14.3 5.0 7.5 33.5 38.2 1.5
Meadow hay- average 14.3 6.2 9.7 26.3 41.6 2.3
Meadow hay- good 15.0 7.0 11.7 21.9 42.3 2.2
Meadow hay- prime 16.0 7.7 13.5 19.3 40.8 2.6
Red clover hay- poor 15.0 5.0 7.5 33.5 38.2 1.5
Red clover hay- average 16.0 5.3 12.3 26.0 38.2 2.2
Red clover hay- good 16.5 5.3 12.3 26.0 38.2 2.2
Red clover hay- prime 16.5 7.0 15.3 22.2 35.8 3.2
Timothy 14.3 5.0 7.5 33.5 38.2 1.5
Redtop 8.9 5.2 7.9 28.6 47.5 1.9
Ky. blue grass 9.4 7.7 10.4 19.6 50.4 2.5
Orchard grass 9.9 6.0 8.1 32.4 41.0 2.6
Meadow fescue 20.0 6.8 7.0 25.9 38.4 2.7
Brome grass 11.0 9.5 11.6 30.8 35.2 1.8
Johnson grass 10.2 6.1 7.2 28.5 45.9 2.1
Alfalfa 8.4 7.4 14.3 25.0 42.7 2.2
Red clover 20.8 6.6 12.4 21.9 33.8 4.5
Crimson clover 9.6 8.6 15.2 27.2 36.6 2.8
Cow pea 10.7 7.5 16.6 20.1 42.2 2.9
Soy bean 11.3 7.2 15.4 22.3 38.6 5.2
Barley 10.6 5.3 9.3 23.6 48.7 2.5
Oats 16.0 6.1 7.4 27.2 40.6 2.7

See also


  1. ^ a b Deere and Company (1957), "23: Hay conditioners", The Operation, Care, and Repair of Farm Machinery (28th ed.), Moline, Illinois, USA: Deere and Company, ASIN B000FNB7WM, OCLC 965865819.
  2. ^ Jones, Steven M.; Russell, Mark, Managing Fescue for Horses FSA3042 (PDF), University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cattle grazing fescue often develop a chronic, unthrifty condition, especially apparent during the summer months. In addition, some cattle occasionally develop lameness and lose portions of their feet and tails during fall and winter. Some mares grazing fescue have reproductive problems during the last trimester of pregnancy.
  3. ^ "Selecting Hay for Horses". Agry.purdue.edu. 1914-06-30. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  4. ^ Schoenian, Susan. "An Introduction to Feeding Small Ruminants". Western Maryland Research & Education Center. Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
  5. ^ "Information on Feeding sheep". Archived from the original on 2007-11-14.
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External links

Media related to Hay at Wikimedia Commons

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a type of inflammation in the nose which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Signs and symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, red, itchy, and watery eyes, and swelling around the eyes. The fluid from the nose is usually clear. Symptom onset is often within minutes following exposure and they can affect sleep, the ability to work, and the ability to concentrate at school. Those whose symptoms are due to pollen typically develop symptoms during specific times of the year. Many people with allergic rhinitis also have asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, or atopic dermatitis.Allergic rhinitis is typically triggered by environmental allergens such as pollen, pet hair, dust, or mold. Inherited genetics and environmental exposures contribute to the development of allergies. Growing up on a farm and having multiple siblings decreases the risk. The underlying mechanism involves IgE antibodies attaching to the allergen and causing the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine from mast cells. Diagnosis is usually based on a medical history in combination with a skin prick test or blood tests for allergen-specific IgE antibodies. These tests, however, are sometimes falsely positive. The symptoms of allergies resemble those of the common cold; however, they often last for more than two weeks and typically do not include a fever.Exposure to animals in early life might reduce the risk of developing allergies to them later. A number of medications may improve symptoms including nasal steroids, antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, cromolyn sodium, and leukotriene receptor antagonists such as montelukast. Medications are, however, not sufficient or are associated with side effects in many people. Exposing people to larger and larger amounts of allergen, known as allergen immunotherapy, is often effective. The allergen may be given as injections just under the skin or as a tablet under the tongue. Treatment typically lasts three to five years after which benefits may be prolonged.Allergic rhinitis is the type of allergy that affects the greatest number of people. In Western countries, between 10–30% of people are affected in a given year. It is most common between the ages of twenty and forty. The first accurate description is from the 10th century physician Rhazes. Pollen was identified as the cause in 1859 by Charles Blackley. In 1906, the mechanism was determined by Clemens von Pirquet. The link with hay came about due to an early (and incorrect) theory that the symptoms were brought about by the smell of new hay.


A baler, most often called a hay baler is a piece of farm machinery used to compress a cut and raked crop (such as hay, cotton, flax straw, salt marsh hay, or silage) into compact bales that are easy to handle, transport, and store. Often, bales are configured to dry and preserve some intrinsic (e.g. the nutritional) value of the plants bundled. Several different types of balers are commonly used, each producing a different type of bale – rectangular or cylindrical, of various sizes, bound with twine, strapping, netting, or wire.

Industrial balers are also used in material recycling facilities, primarily for baling metal, plastic, or paper for transport.


Manihot esculenta, commonly called cassava (), manioc, yuca, macaxeira, mandioca and aipim is a woody shrub native to South America of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. Although a perennial plant, cassava is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Though it is often called yuca in Latin American Spanish and in the United States, it is not related to yucca, a shrub in the family Asparagaceae. Cassava is predominantly consumed in boiled form, but substantial quantities are used to extract cassava starch, called tapioca, which is used for food, animal feed and industrial purposes. The Brazilian farinha, and the related garri of Western Africa, is an edible coarse flour obtained by grating cassava roots, pressing moisture off the obtained grated pulp, and finally drying it (and roasting in the case of farinha).

Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people. It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporter of cassava starch.

Cassava is classified as either sweet or bitter. Like other roots and tubers, both bitter and sweet varieties of cassava contain antinutritional factors and toxins, with the bitter varieties containing much larger amounts. It must be properly prepared before consumption, as improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication, goiters, and even ataxia, partial paralysis, or death. The more toxic varieties of cassava are a fall-back resource (a "food security crop") in times of famine or food insecurity in some places. Farmers often prefer the bitter varieties because they deter pests, animals, and thieves.

Clan Hay

Clan Hay is a Scottish clan that has played an important part in the history and politics of Scotland. Members of the clan are to be found in most parts of Scotland and in many other parts of the world. However, the North East of Scotland, i.e. Aberdeenshire (historic), Banffshire, Morayshire and Nairnshire Nairn (boundaries), is the heart of Hay country with other significant concentrations of Hays being found in Perthshire, especially around Perth, in the Scottish Borders, and in Shetland.

Colin Hay

Colin James Hay (born 29 June 1953) is a Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor. He came to prominence as the lead vocalist of the band Men at Work, and later also as a solo artist. Hay's music has been frequently used by actor and director Zach Braff in his work, which helped a career rebirth in the mid-2000s.

Crop circle

A crop circle or crop formation is a pattern created by flattening a crop, usually a cereal. The term was first coined in the early 1980s by Colin Andrews. Crop circles have been described as all falling "within the range of the sort of thing done in hoaxes" by Taner Edis, professor of physics at Truman State University. Although obscure natural causes or alien origins of crop circles are suggested by fringe theorists, there is no scientific evidence for such explanations, and all crop circles are consistent with human causation.The number of crop circles has substantially increased from the 1970s to current times. There has been little scientific study of them. Circles in the United Kingdom are not distributed randomly across the landscape but appear near roads, areas of medium to dense population and cultural heritage monuments, such as Stonehenge or Avebury. In 1991, two hoaxers, Bower and Chorley, took credit for having created many circles throughout England after one of their circles was described by a circle investigator as impossible to be made by human hand.Formations are usually created overnight, although some are reported to have appeared during the day. In contrast to crop circles or crop formations, archaeological remains can cause cropmarks in the fields in the shapes of circles and squares, but they do not appear overnight, and they are always in the same places every year.

Earl of Erroll

Earl of Erroll is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1453 for Sir William Hay. The subsidiary titles held by the Earl of Erroll are Lord Hay (created 1449) and Lord Slains (1452), both in the Peerage of Scotland. The Earls of Erroll also hold the hereditary office of Lord High Constable of Scotland. The office was once associated with great power. The Earls of Erroll hold the hereditary title of Chief of Clan Hay.

The Earl of Erroll is one of four peers entitled to appoint a private pursuivant, with the title "Slains Pursuivant of Arms". Earl of Erroll is also the name of a Scottish highland dance, danced today at Highland games around the world.The family seat is Woodbury House, near Everton, Bedfordshire.

Earl of Kinnoull

Earl of Kinnoull (sometimes spelled Earl of Kinnoul) is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1633 for George Hay, 1st Viscount of Dupplin. Other associated titles are: Viscount Dupplin and Lord Hay of Kinfauns (1627) and Baron Hay of Pedwardine (1711). The former two are in the Peerage of Scotland, while the third is in the Peerage of Great Britain. The title of Viscount Dupplin is the courtesy title for the Earl's eldest son and heir.

Harry Hay

Henry "Harry" Hay, Jr. (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) was a prominent American gay rights activist, communist, and labor advocate. He was a founder of the Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights group in the United States, as well as the Radical Faeries, a loosely affiliated gay spiritual movement.

Born to an upper middle class family in England, Hay was raised in Chile and California. From an early age he acknowledged his same-sex sexual attraction, and came under the influence of Marxism. Briefly studying at Stanford University, he subsequently became a professional actor in Los Angeles, where he joined the Communist Party USA, becoming a committed activist in left-wing labor and anti-racist campaigns. As a result of societal pressure, he attempted to become heterosexual by marrying a female Party activist in 1938, with whom he adopted two children. Recognizing that he remained homosexual, his marriage ended and in 1950 he founded the Mattachine Society. Although involved in campaigns for gay rights, he resigned from the Society in 1953.

Hay's developing belief in the cultural minority status of homosexuals led him to take a stand against the assimilationism advocated by the majority of gay rights campaigners. He subsequently became a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Gay Liberation Front in 1969, although in 1970 he moved to New Mexico with his longtime partner John Burnside. Hay's ongoing interest in American Indian religion led the couple to co-found the Radical Faeries in 1979 with Don Kilhefner and Mitchell L. Walker. Returning to Los Angeles, Hay remained involved in an array of activist causes throughout his life, and became a well-known, albeit controversial, elder statesman within the country's gay community.

Hay has been described as "the Founder of the Modern Gay Movement" and "the father of gay liberation" and has been the subject of a biography and documentary film. Controversially, Hay supported the inclusion of NAMBLA, a pedophile advocacy organization, in gay rights marches.

Hay, New South Wales

Hay is a town in the western Riverina region of south western New South Wales, Australia. It is the administrative centre of Hay Shire local government area and the centre of a prosperous and productive agricultural district on the wide Hay Plains.

Located on the main route, approximately midway between the large cities of Sydney and Adelaide at the junction of the Sturt, Cobb and Mid-Western Highways, Hay is an important regional and national transport node. The town itself is built beside the Murrumbidgee River, part of the Murray-Darling river system; Australia's largest. The main business district of Hay is situated on the north bank of the river.

Hay-Zama Lakes

Hay-Zama Lakes is a 586-square-kilometre (226 sq mi) inland wetland and wildland park in northwestern Alberta, Canada. It was designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance on May 24, 1982, and is recognized as an Important Bird Area. It "constitutes one of the most extensive sedge wetlands in western North America".The site has been under consideration for classification as a World Heritage Site. It is approximately 100 km (62 mi) west-northwest of the town of High Level, 140 kilometres (87 mi) from the border with the Northwest Territories.

It is being twinned with Dalai Lake National Nature Reserve in Inner Mongolia.


Hay-on-Wye (Welsh: Y Gelli Gandryll or just Y Gelli), often abbreviated to just "Hay", is a small market town and community in the historic county of Brecknockshire (Breconshire) in Wales, currently administered as part of the unitary authority of Powys. With over twenty bookshops, it is often described as "the town of books", and is both the National Book Town of Wales and the site of the annual Hay Literary Festival.

The settlement's name is first referred to between 1135 and 1147 as "Haya"; in 1299 the name of "La Haye" is used. By the 16th century it was simply called "Hay", and the use of the river as a suffix is a later addition. In 1215, a Welsh name, "Gelli" was recorded, and "Gelli gandrell" in 1614; the two names may have been used concurrently in 1625. The English language name, "Hay", is derived from Old English "hæg", possibly meaning a "fenced area" and a noun used in late Saxon and Norman times for an enclosure in a forest. The Welsh word celli (lenited to Gelli) has a range of meanings including wooded areas of various extents.The population of the town in 1841 was 1,455. This had grown to 1,680 by 1901.

Hay River (Canada)

The Hay River (South Slavey: Kátå’odehche) is a large river in northern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, Canada.

It originates in the muskeg of north western Alberta, flows west to British Columbia, then curves northward and returns to Alberta, where it follows a north-northeast course towards the Northwest Territories. After passing over two main waterfalls, the Alexandra Falls and Louise Falls, it flows through the town of Hay River and discharges into the Great Slave Lake. From there, its waters are carried to the Arctic Ocean by the Mackenzie River.

Hay River has a total length of 702 kilometres (436 mi) and a drainage area of 48,200 square kilometres (18,600 sq mi).Tributaries of the Hay River are the Chinchaga River, Meander River (in South Slavey: Tahchee), Steen River, Melvin River and Little Hay River. The Hay River effectively flows through the Hay-Zama Lakes. Rainbow Lake is a widening of the river itself.Communities in the Hay River basin include Rainbow Lake, Zama City, Steen River, Indian Cabins (in South Slavey: Dzêtú) in Alberta and Enterprise and the homonymous Hay River in the Northwest Territories. There are two first nations communities in the river basin: Chateh and Meander River.

At the Alberta – Northwest Territories border, the annual discharge is 3,630,000 cubic decametres (2,940,000 acre⋅ft).

Hay Shire

The Hay Shire is a local government area in the Riverina area of south-western New South Wales, Australia. The Shire comprises 11,326 square kilometres (4,373 sq mi) and is located adjacent to the Sturt, Mid-western and Cobb Highways. The area includes the towns of Hay, Booligal and Maude.

Hay Shire was established in 1965 by the amalgamation of the Municipality of Hay with the surrounding Waradgery Shire.The mayor of Hay Shire is Cr. Bill Sheaffe, an unaligned politician.

Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty

The Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty (Spanish: Tratado Hay-Bunau Varilla) was a treaty signed on November 18, 1903, by the United States and Panama, which established the Panama Canal Zone and the subsequent construction of the Panama Canal. It was named after its two primary negotiators, Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, the French diplomatic representative of Panama, and United States Secretary of State John Hay.

John Hay

John Milton Hay (October 8, 1838 – July 1, 1905) was an American statesman and official whose career in government stretched over almost half a century. Beginning as a private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln, Hay's highest office was United States Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was also an author and biographer, and wrote poetry and other literature throughout much of his life.

Born in Indiana to an anti-slavery family that moved to Illinois when he was young, Hay showed great potential, and his family sent him to Brown University. After graduation in 1858, Hay read law in his uncle's office in Springfield, Illinois, adjacent to that of Lincoln. Hay worked for Lincoln's successful presidential campaign and became one of his private secretaries at the White House. Throughout the American Civil War, Hay was close to Lincoln and stood by his deathbed after the President was shot at Ford's Theatre. In addition to his other literary works, Hay co-authored with John George Nicolay a multi-volume biography of Lincoln that helped shape the assassinated president's historical image.

After Lincoln's death, Hay spent several years at diplomatic posts in Europe, then worked for the New-York Tribune under Horace Greeley and Whitelaw Reid. Hay remained active in politics, and from 1879 to 1881 served as Assistant Secretary of State. Afterward, he remained in the private sector, until President McKinley, for whom he had been a major backer, made him Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1897. Hay became Secretary of State the following year.

Hay served for almost seven years as Secretary of State, under President McKinley, and after McKinley's assassination, under Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was responsible for negotiating the Open Door Policy, which kept China open to trade with all countries on an equal basis, with international powers. By negotiating the Hay–Pauncefote Treaty with the United Kingdom, the (ultimately unratified) Hay–Herrán Treaty with Colombia, and finally the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty with the newly-independent Republic of Panama, Hay also cleared the way for the building of the Panama Canal.


A meadow is an open habitat, or field, vegetated by grass and other non-woody plants. They attract a multitude of wildlife and support flora and fauna that could not thrive in other conditions. They provide areas for courtship displays, nesting, food gathering, pollinating insects, and sometimes sheltering, if the vegetation is high enough, making them ecologically important. There are multiple types of meadows, such as agricultural, transitional, and perpetual, each important to the ecosystem. Meadows may be naturally occurring or artificially created from cleared shrub or woodland.

Men at Work

Men at Work were an Australian rock band formed in 1979 and best known for their 1981 hit "Down Under". Their founding mainstay was Colin Hay on lead vocals and guitar. After playing as an acoustic duo with Ron Strykert during 1978-79, he formed the group with Ron Strykert playing bass guitar, and Jerry Speiser on drums. They were soon joined by Greg Ham on flute, saxophone, and keyboards and John Rees on bass guitar, with Ron then switching to lead guitar. The group was managed by Russell Depeller, a friend of Colin Hay, whom he met at Latrobe University. This line-up achieved national and international success in the early 1980s. In January 1983, they were the first Australian artists to have a simultaneous No. 1 album and No. 1 single in the United States Billboard charts: Business as Usual (released on 9 November 1981) and "Down Under" (1981), respectively. With the same works, they achieved the distinction of a simultaneous No. 1 album and No. 1 single on the Australian, New Zealand, and United Kingdom charts. Their second album Cargo (2 May 1983) was also No. 1 in Australia, No. 2 in New Zealand, No. 3 in the US, and No. 8 in the UK. Their third album Two Hearts (3 April 1985) reached the top 20 in Australia and top 50 in the US.

They won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1983, they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1994, and they have sold over 30 million albums worldwide. In May 2001, "Down Under" was listed at No. 4 on the APRA Top 30 Australian songs and Business as Usual appeared in the book 100 Best Australian Albums (October 2010).

In February 2010, Larrikin Records won a case against Hay and Strykert, their record label (Sony BMG Music Entertainment), and their music publishing company (EMI Songs Australia) arising from the uncredited appropriation of "Kookaburra" for the flute line in "Down Under". The original band line up split in two in 1984, with Jerry Speiser and John Rees being asked to leave the group. This left Colin Hay, Greg Ham and Ron Strykert. During the recording of the Two Hearts album, Ron decided to leave. Soon after the release of Two Hearts, Greg left also, leaving Colin Hay as the sole remaining member. Colin Hay and Greg Ham toured the world as Men At Work from 1996, until 2002. On 19 April 2012, Greg Ham was found dead at his home from an apparent heart attack.

Pound (mass)

The pound or pound-mass is a unit of mass

used in the imperial, United States customary and other systems of measurement. Various definitions have been used; the most common today is the international avoirdupois pound, which is legally defined as exactly 0.45359237 kilograms, and which is divided into 16 avoirdupois ounces. The international standard symbol for the avoirdupois pound is lb; an alternative symbol is lbm (for most pound definitions), # (chiefly in the U.S.), and ℔ or ″̶ (specifically for the apothecaries' pound).

The unit is descended from the Roman libra (hence the abbreviation "lb"). The English word pound is cognate with, among others, German Pfund, Dutch pond, and Swedish pund. All ultimately derive from a borrowing into Proto-Germanic of the Latin expression lībra pondō ("a pound by weight"), in which the word pondō is the ablative case of the Latin noun pondus ("weight").Usage of the unqualified term pound reflects the historical conflation of mass and weight. This accounts for the modern distinguishing terms pound-mass and pound-force.

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