KER.com - Full Article
August 21, 2018
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff
Cultivating good-quality hay is no easy task and is dependent on cooperative weather for optimal success. Hay farmers must keep a keen eye on plant growth, the moisture content at harvest, and other baling considerations. Mold forms on hay because of excessive moisture, which is why it is so critical to harvest hay under the most conducive conditions and then store it properly once baled.
Moisture content is a crucial measure when it comes to hay production. Once hay is cut in the field, it needs to dry. Length of drying time varies based on geographical region and weather. Humidity or rain will slow this process, leaving the crop vulnerable to mold and fungus. If hay is baled at 12-14% moisture or less, the likelihood of mold is reduced.
If a preservative is not used on cut hay, mold will grow if moisture concentration above about 14%-15%. In addition to nutrient loss, mold growth produces heat. If moldy hay is stored in tight stacks or in areas of poor ventilation, there is a risk for spontaneous combustion...
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