Grevillia Ag

Making Hay

Making hay is one of the most common methods of preserving fodder and straw around the world. It relies on the crop being dried down to a point where moisture levels will no longer support the growth of spoilage bacteria. To dry it, the crop is cut and raked into windrows, being turned from time to time to help the drying process. The sun energy is the drying source, with a low humidity is preferred during the process to speed it up.

Baling moisture levels are generally below 14% will ensure good quality hay. Over the years hay making has become a very precise scientific process, with hay makers constantly working to get their hay harvest done and bailing out of the field before bad conditions arrive. In some regions harvest occurs at a time of year where the weather is invariably dry and air is low humidity.

However, should unseasonal conditions occur and hay making is difficult due to wet weather during the harvest window, it can cause major problems. Some hay making regions also have regular rain events during the harvest, e.g. subtropical areas which require changed management of the process. If the weather is cloudy, or high humidity exists, the whole process slows down resulting in bleaching, degradation of the hay, and growth of moulds can commence.

This results in low quality, or mouldy hay which is worth much less in price, or may be unsaleable.

In recent years, changes in technology, improvements in machinery such as the availability of conditioners etc have given hay producers and contractors more flexibility.

However, in recent years in Australia, there have been many situations where inclement weather during the harvest period has made it extremely difficult to make quality hay using standard hay making methods.

In addition to this, drought conditions during the crop growing season may result in crop failures, and the only choice may be to make hay. These “failed crops” are extremely hard to dry down due to stems with nodes and cereals with seed heads in the boot.

Hay preservatives have been available for many years. The original preservatives were chemical based, salts or acids.

More recently, technological advances and research has shown that hay producers can use bacterial hay inoculants to allow them to make hay under less than ideal conditions, at moisture levels up to 25% moisture.

High Moisture Hay

Many hay producers and contractors have been working with high moisture hay, using fresh culture bacterial inoculants such as Si-Lac Extra to enable them to bale hay at moistures up to the 25% level. By doing this, they can produce high quality hay, whilst beating the weather risk. Other contractors are able to start earlier in the day and work longer into the night, when moisture levels are elevated and usually present a risk.

Others, producing high value hays such as Lucerne (alfalfa) hay bales earlier at higher moistures, use Si-Lac Extra to enable them to produce a higher quality hay due to less need for turning, and of a greener colour which is desired by some hay consumers e.g. the performance horse industry. In turn this makes for higher value in the market.

Grevillia Ag has worked with industry to develop robust recommendations and use patterns for Si-Lac Extra hay inoculant with high moisture hay.

In Summary:

  • Always test moisture levels using a microwave moisture test before getting started. This avoids baling hay that is too moist and a fire risk. Testing after baling using probes can give levels that are 5% away from actual.
  • Ensure the sample is representative of the paddock.
  • Bale high moisture hay between 17 to 25% moisture. Too high and it is too wet, and if too dry, it is actually too dry for the bacteria to grow and colonize the hay.
  • Always apply the inoculant as a fresh growing culture, as recommended on the label. This ensures the bacteria can grow through the hay immediately they are applied, with no lag period.
  • Always apply the inoculant to the hay at the pick-up before it enters the chamber, and protect the spray by angling the nozzle back into the throat of the baler. Applying inoculant to the windrow ahead of the baler is not recommended! If the bacterial spray applied to the windrow dries, the bacteria will not survive.
  • Ensure that all the hay in each and every bale is treated – the bale you miss will be the one that burns your shed down.
  • Make sure the calibration of the inoculant applicator is accurate.
  • There are a number of technical articles available that provide technical information on making high moisture hay. You can download and print these PDF files.
  • Getting the best from High Moisture Hay using Si-Lac Extra
  • Why should I use Si-Lac Extra with Lactobacillus buchneri when making silage and hay?
  • Making quality Lucerne (Alfalfa) using Si-Lac Extra
  • Calibrating Silage & Hay Inoculant Applicators
  • Measuring moisture in high moisture hay and silage

How Are We Different?

Our reputation has been built on supplying Australian and New Zealand’s farmers with the highest quality products, backed by an excellent level of service all combined with our high reliability of delivering hay making supplies across Australia and New Zealand. As an established business, we are able to service our customers all across both countries, wherever they are.

You Will Be Backed By Our Excellent Customer Service!

Our wide reach is made possible by effectively using our logistics networks, this means that we can fulfil orders quickly and efficiently. If anyone has any questions then they can call one of two Customer Service Line:

  • Australia: 1300 669 556
  • New Zealand: 0508 473 845

We encourage our customers to call during business hours so we can provide them with some (more) immediate attention.

Contact Grevillia Ag Today

If you are looking for the best, high-quality bale wrap & net wrap then you can rely on the Grevillia Ag team to provide you with what you need at the best possible price. Get in touch with our knowledgeable, friendly team today. We look forward to hearing from our new or existing clients, and to continue providing great service.

Get in touch with us today

Advice for the agricultural world

Grevillia AG

“There must be a better way.” That was the conclusion reached by businessman and farmer John Lever on his cattle property “Grevillia”.


10 Bult Dr,
Brendale QLD 4500

Phone Number

(07) 3205 1788

Customer Service

Australia: 1300 669 556
New Zealand: 0508 473 845