Skip to content

Common Questions During Hay Season – Cattlemen’s Livestock Auction

Common Questions During Hay Season - Cattlemen's Livestock Auction

Hay season is upon us and there are common questions that can be answered by our livestock auction to help you bale quality hay.

How long does hay dry before baling?

Because it takes about three days of good weather to cure hay after mowing, time your cutting around the most reliable weather forecast available. It can be a challenge during late spring’s rainy days, but you might mow right after rain because the weather most likely will be dry for the following few days.

Do you have to plant hay every year?

Some fields are always used to grow hay and don’t require re-planting every year. In other cases, hay is a part of a crop rotation. Farmers plant different crops on the same field in different years and therefore need to be re-planted. Hayseed can be a mixture of many types of seeds, with alfalfa, clover, and timothy being among the most common.

Can hay be too dry to bale?

Some types of grass hay, in dry weather conditions or on dry ground, will be much too dry when baled as small bales using eight to 15 percent moisture (the traditional rule of thumb) as a guide. To make good hay, enough moisture must be present to keep all the leaves intact.

When should hay be cut?

It’s best to cut grass pastures from the boot stage to the early head stage for the first cut, and then 4 to 6 weeks afterward. The late boot level might best be described as when the seed head first pops out of the sheath. The early head stage is when the plant has grown about another foot or so.

How many times a year can you harvest hay?

In most areas of the country, grass hay can be cut twice, sometimes three times, per year. The first cutting generally has the largest yield.