It's all in the timing!
The best time to cut grass for hay is when the leaves are fully developed but just before the seed heads appear, this is the stage at which you will be able to make the most nutritous hay for your stock.
- Cutting the hay too early will result in lower yields.
- Cutting the hay too late will result in lower nutrient value, because the plant has begun focusing on seed production & not stem and leaf growth.
Time your mowing around the most reliable weather forecast you can find. It generally takes about three days of good weather to cure hay, which can be a challenge in certain times of the season prone to unpredictable weather.
Cut early or late in the day?
Cutting hay in the morning after the dew is off maximizes daylight hours for drying and minimizes respiration losses for the rest of that day, however there is some research that suggests delaying cutting until late in the day to maximize sugar content that travels up the plant stem duing the day in turn giving you hay with a higher nutrient content.
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