When it rains on cut hay, growers need to act quickly to save as much of the crop’s nutritional value as possible, notes Steve Norberg, regional forage specialist with Washington State University Extension.
“The answer is to ted the forage as soon as it begins to dry,” he suggests. “A tedder uses moving forks to move and aerate, or fluff-up, the hay.”
Wet forage will dry faster if it’s tedded quickly and frequently, Norberg says.
“Some of the nutrients have been washed away, but you can still prevent blackening of the forage, mold formation and dusting of the hay.
“The goal is to salvage what you can of hay quality. Doing nothing is a sure way to lose most of the quality, restrict regrowth and delay second cutting.”
Find more information in the Washington State University Extension bulletin, Hay Making On The Westside.