Print-friendly version


Grass is the cheapest source of feed for any livestock.  Good quality hay is excellent feed for livestock over the winter months.  It takes time and patience to make good hay and of course some dry weather.  Grass should be cut at the right time and correct growth stage.  As grass gets older its yield decreases and nutritional value decreases. Cut to young and again the nutritional value will be decreased.

Once the grass is cut it is left to ‘dry out’ in the field.  The cut grass is turned or ‘tedded’ to dry the crop, this also puts the grass in long, narrow piles known as windrows  The drying process can take several days. Once dried the hay is then commonly baled into ‘square’ bales, they are actually rectangle in shape, for easy handling.

Hay must be fully dried when baled but most importantly must be kept dry in storage, therefore hay is commonly stacked in a hay barn.

The judge will be looking for hay that smells sweet, is free from dust and other impurities and has plenty of leaf as this is the most nutritious part of the plant. 

Meadow hay is made from grassland that has established for 10 years or more and will contain a whole range of plant species, not just grasses.  Seeds hay is made from grass that has recently been sown (less than 10 years) and will be prominently ryegrass with some other grass species and clover.