Check "dry" hay for heating

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Reports of at least one hay shed fire in Ontario this week should serve as an alert to other farmers who took advantage of the dry, hot week in late May to put up dry hay.

As Christine O’Reilly, Ontario’s forage and grazing specialist, tweeted out on June 5, hay that was put up “dry” has increased in moisture content in storage. Why? It’s likely because young/immature plants, like those taken in the early window, retain more stem moisture than more mature plants, and stem moisture isn’t easily measure by hand-held moisture meters in the swath.

Those who made dry hay should be extra vigilant in probing hay in storage and monitoring the temperature of the bale stack. However, as O’Reilly shares in her Field Crop News article, moving hot hay should only be done with the fire department present as the addition of oxygen can cause a flare up or spontaneous combustion.

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