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How to Make Cost-Saving Vinegar Hay

December 2, 2019

How to Make Cost-Saving Vinegar Hay

Are you putting up hay this year? Now's the time to make a plan to create delicious hay, forages that are the next-best-thing to living grass. Freshly-cut grass should be a "sugar ball" of energy. However, good hay is rare.

To speed up the process, savvy producers are now learning how to make "Vinegar Hay". It is accomplished using high-quality, unpasteurized, and whole-apple-derived Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). The sooner it is sprayed on the cut forage, the better it works. Many hay producers simply drive up and down the windrow with an ATV and spray about 3 gallons per ton of hay right on the center of the window.

It starts working immediately with the living enzymes and microbes doing all the work. Sure, another name for vinegar is acetic acid, the natural chemical that preserves silage or forage, but that acid is only a small fraction of a living (unpasteurized) product, maximally only 6% of the total liquid. The next best method is to add the pure raw ACV to a tank on the front of the baler and roll it up right into the bale.

Hay that is preserved in this manner can be "dry baled" at up to 25% moisture and the bales or stack will never heat up, and there will be close to zero mold! This eliminates one of the trickiest aspects to putting up hay! Everything that has been said so far also applies equally to all bagged or silo-destination forages as well.

I should add that not everyone makes their own hay. Purchased hay can be converted to Vinegar Hay very easily, starting with one labor-saving technique which is to tip all the bales up on their ends, load a tote of ACV onto the forks of a tractor and drizzle the appropriate number of gallons right into the bale. Then flip the bales back down so it doesn't run out. Don't worry that it's not evenly distributed, this is still a good technique. Finally, there is the most-commonly used technique which is to calculate the correct amount of ACV needed for 1-3 days of hay consumption, put it into a bucket and pitch it directly on the hay as it's being fed. This works great and since ACV has the flavor effect of "salad dressing" on the hay, it makes it taste very sweet and desirable, so it will increase consumption in every case. Note too that the "worse" the hay, that is, if it’s stemmy, overture or just old, the better the ACV works!

Livestock will consume less hay overall, since ACV stimulates the cellulosic bacteria of the rumen, the specific bugs that digest cellulose and hemicellulose, e.g. "wood", this is a really good thing because the majority of "energy" in forage is locked up in the fiber. If the animal cannot digest the fiber, all that good energy source goes to waste and can be seen in the manure. As a result, vinegar hay will increase forage digestion efficiency by at least 20%. That means a 20% or greater reduction in your feed bill! This more than pays for the ACV and many see a 2-3X Return on Investment (ROI) for every penny or dollar spent on ACV.

Grass Farmer Supply is now also offering an all-natural Haylage/Baylage Preservative! A 1 lb. package can treat 200 tons of haylage/baylage! Just mix the packet with 100 gallons of water and apply at a rate of ½ gallon per ton haylage/baylage. Only $200 for the 1 lb. packet!
Contact us for more information!

Maci Maier

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