Hay forms an important source of nutrient for your livestock only if you get the best quality hay. Different types of hay exist and each type has varied nutritional contents and properties. Before buying hay, it is vital consider the nutritional needs of your livestock so that you know which hay suits them. Nowadays, many stores sell hay and it is not a difficult to find commodity and you can buy it at a reasonable price. However, you want you livestock to get the best hay, then you must not purchase any hay you come across without carefully assessing it and make a few considerations. If you are not conversant with what to look into when buying hay, here is what you should know.
Request to open a few bales. Nowadays, many unscrupulous trader exist and you should take caution by check what is inside the bale of hay. Ask the seller open a few bales of hay so that you can evaluate the inside contents. Some sellers have a tendency of covering the bad hay with good hay so that you only see what is appealing from the outside.
Choose high quality hay. If you want maximum production from your livestock, then you have no option but to give them the best quality hay. Now, how do you determine if hay is high quality or not? Simply check if the hay is fine-stemmed, green and leafy and it is soft when you touch it. Importantly, ensure that the hay does not have a lot of foreign materials such as weeds, trash, debris and dirt.
Ensure that the hay is not contaminated. Contaminated hay can be source of diseases to your livestock and thus, you must ensure that it does not have harmful micro-organisms. Inspect the hay and confirm if it is free from molds. For instance, check for blister beetles in alfalfa type of hay and also ask the seller whether there are any reported problems in the area.
Avoid hay that seem to be above the average weight. Hay is best utilized as a dry matter and therefore, you should only accept well-dried hay. If hay is not properly dried, it contains excess moisture and that could lead to excess weight. The problem with hay containing moisture is that it does not have a long store duration and it is likely to develop mold which can adversely affect livestock.
When you are buying hay in bulk, it is recommendable to engage a certified forage laboratory for proper analysis. The analysis would reveal the nutrient content of the hay and that helps to know whether it is appropriate for your livestock. Livestock in different ages require nutrients in different quantities and thus, the laboratory report would guide on what type of hay to give animal in different growth stages.
When you buying hay, always try to feed it to the animals within a year when its nutrient content is high. Further, you must keep hay properly away from direct sunlight, rain and pest that might damage its quality.