Ash content of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) hay typically ranges from 6% to 8% dry matter (DM) with ash contents > 8% indicating hay that is likely contaminated with soil. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of rake-type on ash content of alfalfa hay. Research was conducted in 2015 in Minnesota (loamy sand), Pennsylvania (silty loam) and Wisconsin (silty loam) on first cutting alfalfa hay. Treatments involved consolidating two swaths of mowed hay with a wheel rake, side-delivery rake, rotary rake or a hay merger. To show changes in ash throughout haymaking, random samples were taken from the standing forage, cut swaths, windrows made by each rake type and from bales (Minnesota and Wisconsin) or haylage (Pennsylvania). Samples were analyzed for ash content using wet chemistry procedures. Statistical significance was set at P ≤ 0.05 and mean separations were determined using Tukey HSD and are presented as percent DM. Differences in ash content were found between rakes at two locations with the wheel rake resulting in the greatest amount of ash and the merger resulting in the least amount of ash. Farmers looking to reduce ash content of hay should consider using a hay merger when combining swaths.
Neu, A.E.; Sheaffer, C.C.; Undersander, D.J.; Hall, M.H.; Kniffen, D.M.; Wells, M.S.; Catalano, D.N.; Martinson, K.L..
Effect of Hay-Rake Type on Exogenous Ash Content of Alfalfa Hay.
University of Minnesota Extension.
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