RANCH MUSINGS: If I didn’t have some complaints, I wouldn’t be a rancher

This column tries to shed light on some aspects of ranching, while not being too technical

Of course my complaints are about the weather, what else? Casual conversations with people shows me that there is real sympathy in the public for the challenges this year in getting feed preserved for the Canadian winter.

This column tries to shed light on some aspects of the ranching industry, while not being too technical. Today I am being a little technical.

My topic here tries to explain a challenge when the weather is not just hot and dry enough for extended periods enabling easier hay harvesting.

Simply put, if the hay is not 20 per cent or less in its moisture content then it can overheat. The respiration process continues and mould can develop. This is not good for the livestock.

If heating hay is tightly packed in a barn , then internal heat in the hay can create internal (spontaneous) combustion.

In a worst case this heat can cause fire and the barn burns down.

Farmers and ranchers are really forced to bale hay a little “green” or moist because the threat of rain results in a decision to get it up as quickly as possible. That is the lesser of two evils. Rain on almost dry hay causes spoiling.

A little spoilage in the curing process still makes for better feed than if you let it get rained on. This gets kind of technical.

Hay can heat to about 120F (49C) with no serious forage quality loss.

Read More: RANCH MUSINGS: No till pasture rejuvenation and silvopasture trials: up-coming event

If it heats to 121-140F (50-60C) the hay will be less digestible, and be brown in colour with a tobacco smell.

Should the temperature reach 141-160F (61-71C) one should check daily since the chemical reactions can escalate rapidly.

If the hay reaches over 175F (80C), fire might break out. If it is in a barn the danger of losing the barn is real.

My source says that if the temperature is 195F (90.5C) or hotter then moving the bales without a fire truck standing by is not wise since spontaneous combustion can occur.

Under normal conditions a bale will reach no higher than 130F (54C) The internal bale temperature should peak three to seven days after it was baled.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.

Just Posted

Canadian Wrestling’s Elite slams into Williams Lake tonight, Nov. 17

Headlining the event will be WCW and lucha libre cruiserweight Juventud Guerrera

EDITORIAL: Let it snow

Congratulations are in order for the new, private owners of Mt. Timothy Recreation Resort

RANCH MUSINGS: Young people and the business of ranching

We recently had our vet check our cows to see if they were “in calf” or “open”

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Most Read