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Green

What You May Not Have Known About Hay

Bet you never thought much about hay, right? Well, if you’re a farmer, you know all about hay, how it’s made, what its quality indicators are, and so forth. For the rest of us, it can be helpful to have a primer on interesting things about hay you may have never known.

Hay is essentially harvested plant life, such as grass, that has been dried and cured. First, the leaves grow, and then the plant grows a bud, which soon turns into a bloom, which then goes to seed. Farmers cut hay either in the late bud or early blooming time period because that’s when it’s most nutritious and extends the amount of hay you can get per acre.hay-bales

Hay, Did You Know?

Hay’s fiber content goes up as it grows, yet protein levels drop over time. In order to feed horses quality hay, it has to be free of things like weeds, mold and dust. To achieve this, farmers must cut hay at just the right time, which is usually after a recent dry and warm stretch of weather. In the field, it’s then left to dry out before being baled for storage and use. There are many different kinds of hay in the U.S. that make great horse feed, from timothy and alfalfa to oat and fescue. Clover, rye, orchard, and coastal hay round out the list of popular varieties.

Hay can be categorized into legumes and grasses. Depending on the season, different hays are used and can be further classified into cold-season and warm-season varieties. Cereal grain hays, higher in nitrate levels, are another option, and these range from wheat and rye to barley and oat. Horses can get sick if they eat too many nitrates, though, so it’s always important to test the hay beforehand. If you feed horses good-quality hay, they will get all the vitamins and nutrients they need to survive and thrive. A healthy mix of grass and legume hay is the best option for horse feed.

Indicators of Quality

There are several tell-take signs that alert you to the quality of a particular batch of hay. Color is a big factor. If your hay is green, it likely is high in protein and vitamins, although it may also be high in nitrates. Beige-colored hay will have sat in the sun awhile and it may also indicate it was rained on before being baled. Dark brown hay indicates heat damage after being baled wet, perhaps after it had been rained on heavily for some time. This is generally an indicator of low-quality hay, and it may contain mold.

Other factors that may affect the quality of hay include forage variety, fertility of the surrounding soil, plant maturity come harvest time and storage method, says the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Hay production and efficiency can be boosted over time by paying attention to the soil fertility and harvesting in a timely manner.

This article was written by David Aguinaldo, a student of agriculture who hopes to help you understand farming better. He recommends that you sell hay online at Hay for Sale if your have a surplus of hay in order to get the most value.  

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Green Home Improvement

Natural Pest Control Tips for the Home

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No one likes a bunch of creepy crawlies taking up residence in their home, whether it be ants, cockroaches or anything in between. While we may not be able to completely cut off contact with the bugs who share our world, there are lots of things we can do in the home to keep them at bay. If you are interested in using natural methods, whether exclusively, or in conjunction with more conventional treatments, here are a few strategies for the different types of pests you may be dealing with.

Cockroaches

Even writing about them makes my skin crawl; as someone who spent an extended amount of time in tropical locales where they are especially prolific, I learned a lot about keeping these least favorite of the pests at bay. These formidable opponents can squeeze through holes the size of a quarter and live up to a month without food. But, there are several strategies that can keep them out of your home. First and foremost, keep your home clean, especially the bathroom and kitchen. They like water and food. Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic substance that will cut through the exoskeleton and kill the roach within 2 days—though, you may initially see more of them after putting out the treatment since its dehydrating effects will put the bugs on a fervent search for water. But, within two weeks, most of them should be killed off. Other deterrents include catnip, which you can use in the form of satchels or a tea which you can spray in various areas. If you see a roach, spraying it with soapy water will kill it instantly.

Ants

Ants are relatively harmless, but their numbers can be unsettling. Being in areas where they were abundant, I can attest to the fact that even the smallest crumb or sticky spot can attract hundreds. So, do not underestimate a clean kitchen as your best line of defense.  Ants have a natural dislike of cucumber so place some peels or slices near the areas where they enter your home. Crushed cloves or mint leaves also seem to work well. If you want to kill the colony,  a mixture of water, Borax and sugar soaked in cotton balls and placed in containers with holes in the lid can work—the ant will crawl inside, take the bait and bring it back to their home base.

Flies

If flies buzzing around your house are bothersome to you, there are many natural treatments that will keep them at bay.  Place small bags of crushed mint around the house. Wrapping bay leaves, eucalyptus or cloves in cheesecloth, that are then hung around the house, is another popular natural remedy for fly control. Place a cloth soaked in eucalyptus oil anywhere that flies gather in the home. Phermone-based , non-toxic fly traps for outside and inside are available in many stores. If you want to keep flies away from your pet’s food or any other open food, a container of sweet basil and clove should do the trick.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of home care topics.She recommends following the link to learn more about one of the top companies for pest control Phoenix.

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