How To Test Hay And Grain Moisture
According to agricultural nutrition experts, the most important factor influencing quality of grain, hay and silage is moisture. It’s imperative to constantly monitor moisture levels and experts agree that producers should test moisture content before, during and after the harvest season.
Testing the moisture content of grain and hay is essential. Without moisture tests, you risk:
- Additional costs if the harvested grain or hay is wetter than what is acceptable and needs to be dried before it’s sold
- Loss of value for dried grain or hay sold for less than its marketable value
- Spoiled grain or hay when stored at low temperatures while still wet
A moisture tester is invaluable when it comes to preserving the value of your crop and ensuring that it sells for the right price. It takes the guesswork out of testing moisture and eliminates the possibility of wasted crops and missed profits due to human error.
Hay Testing Tips
The baler that you use—along with the shape and size of a bale—have an effect on the moisture test results. For example, small, rectangular bales tend to be denser at the bottom, whereas large, rectangular bales tend to be densest in the upper corners. As a bale gets tighter, the moisture levels increase.
It’s important to test moisture levels before baling hay. Wet, baled hay will grow mold and potentially catch fire. If a fire should occur, your operation would suffer from a drastic drop in product sales, property damage and loss of life. Even if a fire does not start, the moldy bale won’t likely be sold because the hay is no longer safe to feed livestock.
Grain Testing Tips
Moisture levels can vary from one plant to the other. For the most accurate results, pick grain from several plants and mix them together before testing the moisture. Test the moisture at least three times and average the results.
Grain loses a lot of its moisture while it cools, so electronic testers cannot accurately measure the moisture content of grain that is being rap¬idly heated or cooled. It’s important to let the grain sit in a container before using the device to measure moisture content.
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