If you own a farm with horses and cattle, you must have been checking out hay for sale ads. While you might see a number of ads in the market, not all hay is of the same quality. Since you are using it as livestock feed, you must make sure that you always buy the highest quality of hay available in the market. This will further mean that they are getting the right nutrition as well as the best possible care.
Buying hay can be quite complicated without the right considerations in mind. You should know what you should ask or what to look for before buying hay. If you are in a similar position and require some guidance, this article is the perfect read for you. Here you will learn a few quick tips on how to find the best quality of hay.
- Know Where It Came From:
This is one of the first things you need to keep in mind before purchasing hay, especially if it is alfalfa hay. Knowing what region or country the hay comes from is of utmost importance, and it can help you understand if there are blister beetles.
Blister beetles should be avoided at all costs. They are toxic, and even as few as four beetles are enough to kill a horse. These beetles are usually found in the southern, eastern, and Midwestern regions of the United States. This also includes central Kansas, Oklahoma, and Southern Nebraska.
- Understand The Color Of Hay:
As a livestock farmer, you might have seen light-green-colored hay and thought it was quite good-looking. However, it is not that simple. Here are some things you should look out for while analyzing hay color:
- Green: Undoubtedly the most desirable color of hay, it means that the grass has a higher vitamin and protein content. It also tells you that the hay was not left in any harsh or stringent conditions while storing or curing. This further means that it will be mold-free and more nutritious.
- Yellow: This commonly seen color on hay mainly occurs when the hay gets sun-bleached or if it has been stored in the sun. Usually, the sides that get discolored are the ones that are directly under the sun. This might further lead it to lose some nutrients, but the inside of the hay is not harmed at all. Hay can also get this color if there has been light rain before. In such a case, make sure there is no molding.
- Dark Brown: If the hay you buy has been under significant heat damage as a result of extremely high moisture while it was baled, it turns to a dark brown color. The same can happen if it has been exposed to rain. However, this kind of hay can be quite moldy, and it is best if you refrain from feeding it to your horses.
Keeping in mind these couple of points can help you understand if you are making the right purchase.