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Mechanical and Chemical Conditioning Effect on Field Drying Rate and Quality of Grass Hay

  • Seo, S. (Grassland and Forage Crops Division, National Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Chung, E.S. (Grassland and Forage Crops Division, National Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Kim, J.G. (Grassland and Forage Crops Division, National Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Kang, W.S. (Grassland and Forage Crops Division, National Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Kim, W.H. (Grassland and Forage Crops Division, National Livestock Research Institute)
  • Received : 1999.07.13
  • Accepted : 1999.12.15
  • Published : 2000.08.01

Abstract

A field experiment was carried out to determine the effects of mechanical and chemical conditioning at mowing on field drying rate and quality of grass hay in 1996. Mower conditioner and/or chemical drying agent $(K_2CO_3)$ were used at different harvest stages (late boot, heading and bloom stages) for hastening hay-making. After field drying, square bales were made by hay baler, and the visual estimation and nutritive value of hay were evaluated after storing two months. In mower conditioning, the duration of field drying was shortened by 0.5 to 1 day compared with drying agent, and by 1 to 2 days compared with control. The drying matter loss of hay was reduced by late harvest and mechanical conditioning. The visual score (leafiness, green color, odor and softness), and acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), in vitro dry matter digestibllity (IVDMD), and relative feed value (RFV) of hay were improved with mechanical conditioning, but chemical alone had little effect on quality. The quality of hay harvested at bloom stage was much lower than that of hay harvested at late boot and heading stage. In conclusion, mower conditioning can enhance the field drying rate of grass hay, however the drying efficiency of chemical drying agent is very low. Also the effects of chemical/mechanical combined conditioning are very similar compared with mechanical conditioning alone. Harvesting at late boot to heading stage is recommended for the production of high quality hay.

Keywords

Mower Conditioner;Drying Agent;Drying Rate;Hay Quality;Grass Hay