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Dairy Farming Manual

Volume 3

Husbandry Unit 5.3

page 115

Extension Materials
What should you know about hay making?
What is hay and why is feeding hay important?(5-20)

1 You should know:
- the feed value of hay
- the importance of feeding hay when there is no grass.

When do you cut and how do you dry your hay crop? (21-47)

2 You should know about:
- equipment
- time of cutting
- ways of drying.

How do you bale and store hay?(48-74)

3 You should know how to:
- make and use a baling box
- make a hay store and keep your hay dry.

How can you feed hay? (75-80)

4 You should know how to make feeders for your:
- calves
- cows.


page 117

 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 hay?
8 Cutting Drying Baling Storing Feeding

page 118

What is hay?

9 Grass or legumes which you cut at the beginning of flowering.

At this time your hay crops:
- are rich in protein
- are low in fibre
- give high yields of green matter.

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 20% water.

Quality hay is green in colour and smells good.

Green hay contains:
- carotene
- B complex vitamins
- vitamin D.


page 119

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 your calves.
They need it most.
14 At two weeks old, feed one handful of 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.


page 120

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 the hay and keeping it dry.


 20 A rack for feeding the calves.


page 121

When do you cut your hay crop?
21 At the right time.
Too early:
- 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.

page 122

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.

page 123

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.

page 124

How can you make a hurdle?
36 You need:

8 poles : 200 x 8 x 5 cm
4 poles : 150 x 8 x 5 cm
2 poles : 165 x 8 x 5 cm
Tie, nail or screw the poles together to make two frames like this.

37 Lean one frame against the other to make the hurdle.

Load the hay crop onto the horizontal bars.

page 125

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 and you can remove it.


page 126

 How can you make a fence?

42 You need:
- 4, 5 or more round poles, 240 x 8 x 5 cm
- a bar to make holes
- sisal or ropes.

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 first layer of hay.


43 Load the first layer of hay crop on the rope.

Then tie the second rope on
top and add the second layer of hay.

Continue to tie ropes and add layers of hay.


page 127

How can you make a tripod?
44 You need:

3 poles : 200 x 8 cm
3 poles : 200 x 8 cm
3 pegs : 30 x 8 cm
Drill a hole and tie with wire or rope.

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.

page 128

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.


page 129

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.
Shows moisture.
Do not store the hay.
Dry longer.
56 Skin comes off.
Do not store the hay.
Dry longer.
57 Breaks a little.
Shows no moisture.
Store the hay.

page 130

How can you make a baling box?
You need:

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

page 131

61 Make a platform. This gives an even surface when baling in the field.

page 132

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.


page 133

Why should you store hay?
66 Hay is made from crops grown in the wet season but your calves and cattle need high quality feed 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, remove it from the field.

More grass can grow where you put your hay racks in the field.

69 Store hay close to the shed.

Then it is easy to feed your cattle.

page 134

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.
Watch out for mould.
Do not feed mouldy hay to calves.

72 You can store hay under the roof of the cow shed and above the housing area for calves.

Storage platform

Calf pen

page 135

73 You can also store hay with silage.

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.

page 136

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.

page 137

How can you make a hay rack?

77 Make your calf box like this (measurements in cm):
- with a rack for hay
- and a place for concentrates and water buckets.

page 138

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.

page 139

What do you know about hay making?
Feeding good hay increases your milk production
1 Good hay is: 
- low in fibre
- rich in protein and nutrients.
2 Feed when you have no grass in the dry season. 
Making hay for feed requires planning and equipment
Cutting Sickle -1 When crop flowers Sickle
                          2 When weather dry
Drying               1 Prepare equipment 
                          2 Load and turn hay
                          3 Keep hay off ground/dry 
                          4 Choose a suitable rack 
                          (size, ease of making, 
Drying Racks 
                           1 For keeping leaves 
                           2 For easy handling, 
                              transportation and 
                           3 Checking dryness 
                           4 Making a baling box 
                           5 Using a baling box 
                              (treading, tying, tipping) 


Baling box


Storing  -         Keep hay dry for the dry
Slats and cover

Feeding       1 Making a hay rack
                    2 Making a haystore and
                       self feeder
                    3 Locating for easy feeding
Hay racks  

page 140

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