Well the first cut hay is in around here. I have found a really good local source for a decent price but my barn is not finished yet! Is it true that the first cut is better quality than second cut? I've always heard that but am not sure if it is true. Also, how long can you store hay? They have offered me some of last year's hay for super cheap, but I'm wondering whether it's worth it.
is usually better, and more nutritious, hay.
I wouldn't buy last years hay if it were me.
Only if you separate it out and feed it first.
If I had the choice, I'd rather buy this years hay.
You could ask your hay guy if you could pay for it now, and have him hold it until your barn is finished (ie. a deposit).
Buying last years hay depends on lots of things.
Are you feeding easy keepers that you would like to have food in front of just so they have something to chew?
How is the hay stored? Is it dust and mold free? Still smell good?
I see nothing wrong with using last years first cutting as long as it has been stored well.
Many people prefer the second cut. Just because the first cut went through the hard winter months. The second cut holds a lot more nutrients. The third cut is sometimes drained.
I do hay and this years first cut was a lot more dry than usual.
Like your lawn, the field sits dormant all winter.
Did the first cutting hay pull into the ground during the winter and then come back out of the ground this spring or something?
Any green growth this spring has grown this spring.
The only way the 2nd cutting holds more nutrients is if you fertilized it more. The only way the 3rd cutting is "drained" is if you installed field tile to pull the water off the field.
You can store hay that was put up correctly and stored correctly for many years.
If last years hay is good (a forage test will tell) buy the older hay as too many people don't understand reality.
Well I am going to disagree with soem people here haha. My family has been in the baling business for over 22 years and we sell most of our hay to the states and lots of it to horse guys. We are probably one of the biggest baling operations in Canada.
3rd cut is the best hay and then 1st and then 2nd. The reason 2nd cut is the worst is that it grows so fast after 1st cut that it doesn't get as many nutrients. 3rd cut grows slower and is better. 1st is good too but as a general rule, 3rd cut is the best.
As for hay from last year, my horses are currently getting 3rd cut from last year as it is the best we currently have. You could feed 1st cut too. One thing you want to be carefuly of is that you don't want to feed freshly baled bales. You want to wait at least a month after they are baled before you feed. The reason is that the hay needs to settle before feeding.
The main thing when buying hay for horses is that you don't want it to be moldy, heating, or dusty. After you make sure that you don't have any of that, then you worry about hay quality. Obviously you don't want the super rich stuff but you don't want poor quality hay either.
As Production Acres said, the best way to tell is to get a forage test done. Because depending on the season, sometimes 3rd cut is really bad if it got rain after it was cut or if it was super dry and didn't grow well.
Around here it is hard to say which is better as the cuts are different.
For starters, I do not know of any big time hay dealers in my immediate area. I know we (NY) produce a lot of hay that is shipped all over the country but my dealings are not with that type of hay producer and no one I know deals with that type of hay producer.
Most fields are planted with more than one thing (usually timothy and alfalfa). First cutting is mainly grasses. They grow fast and tall in the spring. First cutting gets lots of grass (timothy) and a little alfalfa. Second cutting the grass takes a while to recover but the alfalfa grows strong and gets big. Second cutting is pretty must all alfalfa with a small amount of grass. Third cutting is rare.
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