18 January 2002

Making moist hay free from mould

FUNDING from the Department of Trade and Industry for a project looking into producing moist hay without mould should allow the nutritional value of hay to be improved, according to award recipient Ecosyl Products.

The SMART award, which promotes innovative technology in small to medium-size businesses, will provide 75% of the cost of an 18-month research programme. This will look into the feasibility of developing safer, more environmentally friendly methods for preserving low moisture feeds, says Ecosyls Terry Owen.

"Hay produced at 14-15% moisture will not go mouldy, however, about 10% of nutrients can be lost through leaf shatter, when the crop is preserved at such a high dry matter content.

"Being able to produce hay with a moisture content of 20-25% without it becoming mouldy would improve its nutritive value."

Yorks-based Ecosyl plans to look at combinations of chemical and biological additives to produce well-preserved moist hay. &#42