The Spring 2012 weather was favourable this haymaking season and as a result the quality of hay has generally been excellent with early cutting and short curing times. However dry conditions since December 2012 have lowered the quality of late cut hay. FeedTest has compiled some averages from the samples tested in the first half of this season and it shows some interesting patterns.
Generally, Digestibilities (DMD) and Energies (ME) are higher compared to last season. Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF) is lower which can indicate low yields due to lack of water or a short growing period or even earlier cutting with rapid curing. The net result is generally better quality hay. Protein levels are similar but show some variation.
Silages are similar to last year but with some proteins being surprisingly low perhaps indicating the drier growing season or leached nitrogen. The better hay results would indicate favourable curing conditions.
FeedTest has tested a large amount of vetch hay this year and the overall quality is excellent with proteins up 1% and energies up from a season average last year of 9.4 MJ/kg to 10.7 MJ/kg so far this season. Clover hay tested so far shows a similar improvement. Cereal hays also show a similar trend with higher energies.
Average results for last season can be found by following the link below although care must be exercised in making any comparisons. The data listed here are for the first half of the 2012/13 season whereas last year’s results were compiled from the whole 2011/12 season and involve a lot more samples over the whole season. Various factors can influence the data so only general trends can be drawn.
Average results for the whole of the 2012/13 season have now been posted.