Get Your Hay Tested for Free!



Lyndall Harned – Boyd County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources


   Now is that annual time of year to have your hay or haylage samples taken for testing, and the testing is free!  The other options for you have this type of analysis done will cost you a minimum of $10 per sample.

Something that is truly free is pretty rare these days. It used to be that BOGO meant Buy One, Get One free. Now, it usually means buy one, get a percent off of the next one.

   This is not a pay for one sample and get another free. Or pay for three tests and get the fourth one free. No, no, no. This is get them all free, from the first one to infinity.

   All you have to do is call your local Extension Office. For Boyd County residents the Boyd County Extension office is 606.739.5184. Call and schedule us to come and take the sample(s). There is no charge for that either.

   But there is a limited time frame for this offer. All samples must be taken by the end of the day Monday September 27. That is an absolute hard deadline. So call now and get your farm visit set. When this makes the paper, there will only be a few days left to get this done, though we have been taking samples for a week already.

   No, you cannot just go out in the barn or hay storage shed, grab some hay and bring in for testing. All samples, which has been the case for the last 25 years, must be taken by the county agent or their program assistant. No exceptions.

   These samples can be taken for various reasons. Some will be entered into the annual East Kentucky Hay Contest. Some will be tested just so you know what the nutritional quality of the forage is. Then this information can be used to help make a balanced ration for your animals. 

   Some use it as a marketing tool for hay they will be selling. This is good for the buyer and the seller. The buyer will know exactly what they are getting for their money and the seller can use the info in planning future management of their crops, including fertilization and harvest timing.

   I just mentioned making a balanced ration. When you have your hay tested, if you want, we will use that info, along with other feed info we get from you, to make a ration specifically for your animals. We just need a feed tag or a list of what else you will be feeding your stock.

   We can get rations made for cattle, horses, goats, feeder calves, pregnant cows, a finishing ration for steers, or anything between.

   They can done be for brood mares, growing yearlings, show or trail horses. Or for the plain ole pasture ornaments, that are just enjoying life in the field. Any type of goat can have a ration made for them, also.

   This year, for the third year, the samples will be tested at the UK Princeton forage lab. The method they use is a lot more detailed and accurate than the former method. 

   This year the contest winners and results will be given out on November 9 at Meade Equipment in Hazard. Meade will also be providing a bar-b-que meal for all attending. The location for the awards program move around each year to different locations within the 23 counties who participate in the program. 

   Just to be clear, this only applies to dry hay and haylage/baleage. We do not sample or test grain silage. Small grain baleage can be sampled and tested as a forage, but not as a silage. 

   So, be sure to contact your local county Extension Office if you want to have your stored forages sampled and tested for free.