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Morgan Watts column: Sampling hay

By Morgan Watts
For the Salisbury Post

Should I sample my hay and have it tested? The short answer is yes, and here is why. A complete hay analysis from N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will give you information such as crude protein, total digestible nutrients and mineral levels that you can then use to make sure you are meeting the nutritional needs of your herd, flock or horse. You can choose the necessary supplementation if your hay does not meet their requirements. In some cases, you may even find that you are supplementing too much or that you don’t need to at all.

Sampling is fairly easy, and the cost is minimal. To have a complete analysis done through N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the current cost is $10. To submit a sample, you can go to https://apps.ncagr.gov/agrsysportal/forageanalysis/analysisform to complete an online form. After the form is completed, you can mail your sample off. Be sure to label each sample clearly, and include an envelope with your name and $10 payment (cash or check). Fresh forage, hay and silage samples must fill a gallon-sized bag. Grain, roughage, home mix or TMR samples must fill a quart-sized bag. The NCDA Farm Feed Testing Service will not analyze commercial feed samples. If via U.S. Postal Service, mail to: Forage Testing, NCDA&CS, 1070 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1070. If via FedEx or UPS, mail to: Forage Testing, NCDA&CS, 4000 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh, NC 27607.

The Rowan County Center does have a hay probe that can be used for sampling. Contact Morgan Watts, livestock and field crops agent, at 704-216-8970 or amwatts@ncsu.edu for more information. You can also stop by to get a hard copy of the forage form if you do not have access to the internet to submit online.

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