Dairy Farming Manual
What should you know about hay making?
|What is hay and why is feeding hay important?(5-20)
1 You should know:
|When do you cut and how do you dry your hay
2 You should know about:
|How do you bale and store hay?(48-74)
3 You should know how to:
|How can you feed hay? (75-80)
4 You should know how to make feeders for
What do you make hay from?
|5 During the rains there is more grass than at any other time of the year.|
|6 There is enough grass for fresh feeding.
There is also a surplus of grass.
|7 You can turn this surplus forage into silage or hay.|
|What are the steps in making and handling
8 Cutting Drying Baling Storing Feeding
What is hay?
9 Grass or legumes which you cut at the beginning of flowering.
At this time your hay crops:
|10 Grass or legumes which you dry quickly
in the sun and wind to:
- reduce the water content of fresh plant matter
- preserve the nutrients.
|11 Hay contains about 80% dry matter and
Quality hay is green in colour and smells good.
Green hay contains:
Why is feeding hay important?
|12 There may not be enough grass to make hay for all your cows and calves|
|13 but you can produce enough hay for
They need it most.
|14 At two weeks old, feed
hay every day.
Gradually increase the amount.
|15 Feeding hay to young calves:
- maintains growth when there is no grass
- helps the development of the rumen
- reduces milk consumption in liquid feeding so you can deliver more milk to the collecting centre.
What equipment do you need to make and handle hay?
|16 A sickle for cutting the hay crop.|
|17 A rack for keeping the crop off the ground while drying it.|
|18 A wooden box for making the hay into bales.|
|19 A structure with a roof for storing
hay and keeping it dry.
| 20 A rack for feeding
When do you cut your hay crop?
|21 At the right time.
- not enough green matter.
|22 When the hay crop starts flowering:
- at this time, the crop has maximum nutrients and green matter.
|23 Too late:
- too low in protein
- too high in fibre.
|24 When the weather is dry.
25 Too wet:
- at this time, the crop will dry more quickly
but do not wait for sunshine.
26 A drying rack can help you to overcome your problems with the weather.
How can you dry the hay crop quickly?
|27 After cutting the hay crop, turn over often to help wilt all parts of the crop.|
|28 Load hay onto a drying rack.|
|29 Take away plant matter which touches the ground.|
30 Cover the rack with mats before it
becomes wet by rain.
|31 If you do not have enough mats to cover the sides, brush the hay downwards so that it sheds rain.|
What kind of drying racks can you use?
32 The hurdle:
- is suitable for smallholders
- has a capacity of 30-40 kg
- is easy to assemble.
33 The heinz:
- is suitable for all weather conditions
- is easy to make and assemble
- requires a plastic tent.
34 The fence:
- requires little material
- has a capacity of 80 kg (4 poles)
- can be loaded with wet hay
- requires careful assembly.
35 The tripod:
- is better in dry climates
- leads to moulding in high humidities.
How can you make a hurdle?
|36 You need:
8 poles : 200 x 8 x 5 cm
|37 Lean one frame against the other to make the
Load the hay crop onto the horizontal bars.
How can you make a heinz?
|38 Lay a dark plastic sheet
on the ground to collect the sun's rays.
Put a thick pole into the ground.
Fix thinner poles in horizontal positions at right angles.
|39 Fix support poles and a roof pole.
Load the hay crop onto the horizontal arms.
|40 Cover with a clear plastic sheet to protect from rain.|
|41 After about two days the hay is dry
you can remove it.
|How can you make a fence?|
|Make holes in the ground with a bar. Note the angle of the poles!||Make holes in the ground with a bar. Note the angle of the poles!||Tie the rope to the poles for the
|43 Load the first layer
crop on the rope.
Then tie the second rope
Continue to tie ropes and add layers of
How can you make a tripod?
|44 You need:
3 poles : 200 x 8 cm
Fix pegs to support poles.
|46 Begin loading from all three corners. Then move towards the middle.|
|47 Load the hay to form a
cone. Keep the surface area small.
A tripod can carry about 500 kg of grass.
Why should you bale hay?
|48 Legumes cut for hay lose
their leaves easily.
Baling keeps the leaves in the bale - from the field to the feeder.
|49 Baled hay is easy to handle.|
|50 It is easy to transport|
|51 easy to store
|52 and easy to ration at feeding time.
How do you know when hay is dry enough to bale or store?
|53 Take a handful of hay from the inner layers of the drying rack.|
|54 Twist the hay by hand and look at it carefully:|
|55 Does not break.
Do not store the hay.
|56 Skin comes off.
Do not store the hay.
|57 Breaks a little.
Shows no moisture.
Store the hay.
How can you make a baling box?
Side boards: 6 pieces 65 x 12 x 2 cm
Cross bars: 2 pieces 50 x 15 x 2 cm
End boards: 6 pieces 36 x 12 x 2 cm
Corners: 8 pieces 36 x 15 x 2 cm
Handles: 2 pieces 105 x 8 x 2 cm
|61 Make a platform. This gives an even
surface when baling in the field.
How do you use the baling box?
|62 Put two long ropes into the baling box.|
|63 Tread the hay into the box.|
|64 Tie the ropes very tightly.|
|65 Lift the baling box, and tip
the bale out.
Why should you store hay?
|66 Hay is made from crops
in the wet season but your calves and cattle
for many months in the dry season.
You must store hay for the dry season. Then your animals can feed when grass cannot grow.
|67 How can you store hay?|
|68 When the hay is ready for storing,
it from the field.
More grass can grow where you put your hay racks in the field.
|69 Store hay close to the
Then it is easy to feed your cattle.
|70 If you have no suitable storage site,
store hay on slats:
- slats to keep the hay off the ground
- mats or plastic cover to keep the hay dry
- bales of hay.
|71 If you store hay for a long time, it
has lower feed value.
Hay may also become mouldy.
72 You can store hay under the roof of the cow shed and above the housing area for calves.
|73 You can also store hay with
The roof shelters hay and silage.
The platform supports the hay and helps further drying.
|74 The pit gives room for forage to make silage.|
How can you feed hay?
|75 You can feed hay from hay racks in individual calf boxes|
|76 or from self feeders for calves in your exercise yard.|
you make a hay rack?
your calf box like this (measurements in cm):
How can you build a basket hay store and self feeder for the exercise yard?
|78 You need:
- grass for the roof
- sticks and branches for the sides.
Do not use nails or wire.
These may hurt cattle.
Use ropes to tie branches and sticks.
||79 Make the roof from thatching grass.
You can lift the roof to add more hay.
Add poles to make the feeder stronger. A feeder of this size can hold up about 250 kg of hay.