A concerning hay harvesting technique - spraying

Eoroe

Gold Member
I just thought I would enlightlen you all to a practice of harvesting hay that is becoming popular due to its aparent results for the farmer.

The results rely on the practice of spraying the hay crop with Herbacide Glyphosate 24hours prior to cutting it. This results in a faster wilting time, due to the absorbtion of the chemicals and the stress to the plant.

This is a practice that allows the turnover time of the hay harvest to be rapidly shortened to almost sprayed, cut, baled and in the shed within 4 days, as opposed to the realistic time of anywhere from 1 - 3 weeks.

This is a techinique that they are using to minimise risk and spoiling time, as well as trying to make their time more efficient.

It certainly isnt something that I would expect to be happening in the process of hay production - and the question I ask is what is the life of the glyphosate in the plant. As it is not longer a living plant, as has the ability to transpire the chemical out through leaves, or send the residues to the roots of the plant - is this going to have harming effects on US as we get coverd in it, breath it in when feeding out, and OUR ANIMALS that consume this hay?

It may now be a question that You find yourself asking when you look at hay - was this sprayed prior to cutting to speed up the harvest? Do i really want to buy it? :confused:

As this practice will be found in the most visually appealing, sweetest smelling hay. As it has not been out in the weather for as long, the hay had not been bleached by the sun, and subsequently the sugar levels are high, as well as the glyphosate sweetening the crop.

The hay conractor that was telling us about this said...."well - If they are doing it, it must be alright to do. otherwise it wouldnt be done".

Hmmm somehow I dont think it works that way......:eek:*#)
 

pso

Gold Member
ok...I have heard off this...and another spray they use (you must have all seen the neon green lucerne hay/chaff around?)

But...It is safe to graze horses on pasture 24hrs after it has been sprayed with glyphosate...so how is this any different?

My botanical knowledge is rusty:eek:...The plant only dies when the glyphosate is sucked into the roots- right?...so if it is wilting already...the salt is in the roots already...and not in the leaves/stalks which are cut off for consumption?
maybe?:p

I imagine if we start asking for unsprayed hay the price will go up from $13.40 to $20+ a bale!
 

Eoroe

Gold Member
lol - neon green lucerne hay! :)

No - I havnt seen it - but they dont grow lucerne in our region, their just isnt the rainfall for it. And we dont spray ours.

what do they use on the lucerne?

Its interesting isnt it. Im still undecided on the idea of putting a high value to a product that has been chemically harvested. :S

Yes - what you have said about glyphosate is pretty much what the industry standard knowledge is on the use of glyphosate.

This isnt occuring on a huge level yet - so in theory if a large percantage of the hay produced is done in the traditional method, then it shouldnt have a large bearing on the consumer price. UNLESS greed steps in.

Bear in mind the cost of Glyphosate - it isnt free **) Traditionlly produced crops are harvested without that crop. Risk yes, but Glyphosate cost free (in the later stages anyway) :)

My other thought is also on the quality - can someone tell me if the quality would be affected by the wilting of the plant? does - would it affect the nutritional value, or would it make it more avaliabe for the animal. Such as the sugars levels being bumped up by the Glyphosate.
 

Merlin

Well-known Member
Roundup is very expensive, there are going to be huge costs involved in spraying entire crops. It is meant to be "non-toxic" I worked with it for years spraying parks and verges and was never sick from it. However will it be toxic to horses as it builds up in the system, that is the question*#)
 

Jacky Y

New Member
Hay harvesting

We grow lucerne and cut it for hay approximately six times in the hay season. We certainly don't spray it with glyphosate as this would damage the plant and reduce your yield dramatically. The colour of the lucerne hay depends on the humidity and remains very green when it is low. Higher humidity will bleach the colour from the hay and lowers the sugars a little but it makes no difference to the protein levels. The bleaching probably a good thing as most diets in our domestic horses are often much too high in sugar.
 

Eoroe

Gold Member
Im not sure about the spraying of the Lucerne crops - but this is certainly something that is being done in the Cerial crops.

Yes - It would be crazy to spray lucerne with glyphosate - you'd wipe out your crops ! lol **)
 
F

Floggadog

Guest
Don't know of anyone in our area that does it Eoroe. But a quick search of 'spray topping', which is essentially what it is brought up the term 'hay freezing' with the following description coming from the WA ag dept. Keep searching the term & I'm sure you'll find more info.

Department of Agriculture and Food - Tactic 3.4


Hay freezing is similar to brown manuring with the additional aim of creating standing hay. In this case herbicide is applied earlier than if the crop was to be mown for conventional hay making. Hay freezing is a more reliable tactic for controlling weed seed-set than conventional hay making, with the added advantage that existing boom sprays are used rather than specialised haymaking equipment. The protein content and digestibility of standing hay are similar to those of conventionally baled hay.
 

sherreem

Well-known Member
i have never heard of this before and pretty sure none of the guys around here do it, you would be able to tell driving around the roads looking in the paddocks just before they are cut as there would be tyre marks in the crop.
this alone would be a good reason not to do it. because to spray you have to drive over your crop to do it and the tyres would flatten what you are about to cut.

if growers are doing it i cant see the benefits of it myself as i think it would only cut out a day maybe and then there would be the extra cost.

i know it is definately something that we would never ever do.
 

Beutey

Well-known Member
First of all you can drink roundup/glyphosate it wont hurt you! we dont use the chemical on the hay crop but every other cereal crop barley,wheat etc all gets spray topped before harvest and noone is sick from eating or drinking the produce.
Pasture paddocks are spray topped just before they start to die off it freezes the nutrition in whatever pasture is there which makes it better for the stock. My horses went on these paddocks last year after a few days to a week and they are all still alive **)
The article is american and there is a BIG difference between here and there.
 

himitsu

Well-known Member
there are ALOT of very disturbing agricultural practices around... one of them being the lack of sheep/livestock to rotate through paddocks... Alot of farmers (and DAFWA) seem to have very short term approaches to farming... not good!

Thank god my hay comes from a more-or-less organic farm :)
 

ArBeeBar

Active Member
First of all you can drink roundup/glyphosate it wont hurt you! we dont use the chemical on the hay crop but every other cereal crop barley,wheat etc all gets spray topped before harvest and noone is sick from eating or drinking the produce.
Pasture paddocks are spray topped just before they start to die off it freezes the nutrition in whatever pasture is there which makes it better for the stock. My horses went on these paddocks last year after a few days to a week and they are all still alive **)
The article is american and there is a BIG difference between here and there.

True Beutey, glyphosate is relatively the lesser of chemical evils. However, indigestion of a high % of glyphosate could be extremely harmful. I'm not sure I'll be mixing into my cocktails any time soon :)

Concerningly, there is still research on the biodegradability of Roundup as a whole. Some research has found that glyphosate is still present 3 months after spraying. Which is a concern. There are also many "claimed" serious illnesses relating to this ingredient < and has been the "proven" cause.

It is certainly a wise idea to find out what chemicals have been used by the farmer. There are several chemicals used on lucerne to control; help the hay dry in humid climates, prevent bloat, prevent baterical mould, cosmetically greening agents.
 

Beutey

Well-known Member
Unless you are going to buy organic, you are going to get chemicals used. We have a very strict spraying program here and the paddocks are better for it every year there are less and less weeds which means the chemicals we use are not as harsh as some.
If you want good quality hay then the paddocks have to be sprayed to kill the weeds otherwise there will be radish, wild oats,and many more weeds all through your hay. I used to work for the ag dept himitsu and i know what you are saying!
But this farm is one of the ones set up for long term it is all on tram lining and very good paddock rotations which is all done by an agronomist **)
 
F

Floggadog

Guest
there are ALOT of very disturbing agricultural practices around... one of them being the lack of sheep/livestock to rotate through paddocks... Alot of farmers (and DAFWA) seem to have very short term approaches to farming... not good!

Thank god my hay comes from a more-or-less organic farm :)

I'd like to see you suggest to a few farmers that their approach to farming is short term & see what answer you receive.
I suggest you keep researching that idea.
 

Eoroe

Gold Member
Unless you are going to buy organic, you are going to get chemicals used. We have a very strict spraying program here and the paddocks are better for it every year there are less and less weeds which means the chemicals we use are not as harsh as some.
If you want good quality hay then the paddocks have to be sprayed to kill the weeds otherwise there will be radish, wild oats,and many more weeds all through your hay. I used to work for the ag dept himitsu and i know what you are saying!
But this farm is one of the ones set up for long term it is all on tram lining and very good paddock rotations which is all done by an agronomist **)

Personally, we have top quality hay.

we practice paddock roation religiuistly, we use strip grazing to mazimise our grazing potential - but besides which, our hay crop is top nutritional value, undersown with clover. Yes we have rygrass in approx 10% our hay, but personally, I dont see oaten hay based on a monoculture programme as being the best of quality for animal feed.

You also wont see wild radish and wild oats in our crop.

We didnt burn our stubble, we flattened it as a weed smothering mat. we sowed the clover to smother the weeds, and fix the nitrogen.

The result has proven sucsessful. Good quality hay, good quality 'happy' soil, no spraying at any point throughout the crop growth.

Happy me! :)*

buuuuut.....it was cut, baled, and stacked over a period of 2 weeks. YES - I was praying we had no rain - lol!**)

So it can be done.
 

Seahorse

Well-known Member
Eep, glyphosate is not safe enough to drink. Yikes.
But it's relatively safe and non-toxic compared to other herbicides and pesticides in use. Look up the MSDS if you want to see the details.
Studies seem to show that there aren't strong associations between glyphosate exposure and diseases like cancer, but there are some correlations (eg lymphoma).
So yeah ... might leave the glyphosate margarita for another time :)
 

maxntaz

Well-known Member
but this is certainly something that is being done in the Cerial crops.

After speaking with my o/h (a chemical rep that sells chemicals to places like Elders, Landmark etc) - I dont know if I completely agree...

If farmers are spraying their *cereal* crops (this can be wheat, oats, barley etc) there is a 7 day withholding period (so if they spray they cant harvest (which inlcudes cutting for hay) for 7 days). To me that would defeat the purpose of spraying so they can cut and bale a crop quicker. O/H said if they are doing it there must be an underlying issue (generally weeds perhaps caused by late rains).

There is only one chemical that is registered for a preharvest application in wheat.

Cutting for hay is classed as harvesting and because glyphosate is a translocated herbicide it moves throughout the whole plant (I think that someone else was asking whether or not it would travel through whole plant).

Its certainly not something that is widely practiced (according to o/h) and not practical for farmers as the costs of chemicals in general is huge on farm.

For me, looking at farm budgets everyday for my work, we have farms that spend upwards to $200-500k on chemical for their "pre and post" emergent spraying, so to add on the cost of spraying crops right before harvest (prior to any farm income coming in (which comes in generally from late november through to jan/feb) - most farmers including the "big guys" cant afford to be doing extra sprays in the hope of getting a hay crop in the shed quicker.

Its certainly something that is not practiced widely in the "wheatbelt" but there is nothing to say that there is farmers doing it in areas closer to perth.

someone else was asking about asking the farmers what they spray on their crops - i reckon if you did that you would never want to feed your horses hay again!!!!!! There are loads of different chemicals that are sprayed onto hay crops throughout its growing life for various reasons...

There are very few farmers around that do EVERYTHING completely chemical free - its takes upwards to 8 years or something like that to be registered as a organic farm... it can take longer too if the farmer next door sprays and the spray drifts onto your property...it may mean another year before you can register as an organic farmer - you can loose your registration so quickly also...

Anyway i will shut up now, those are just my thoughts!!!:)*
 

Siren

Well-known Member
Where Im living is one of the biggest producers of oaten hay in WA and they certainly didnt spray 24hrs before cutting. When the hay was tested it came back as being the highest sugar content in the country, so far this year. So Im not sure on the comment of sugar content?
They were spraying a couple of weeks before cutting, and fair bit throughout the growing period.
As maxntaz has said, it would probably be better for our sanity to not look in to what goes on hay, and grain. Just one of those things.
I think you'd be very hard pressed to find a broadacre organic farm willing to take on supplying the equine industry, is hard enough for human consumption. Plus what would we prefer, toxic weeds or residual chemicals?
 
Last edited:

Dirt Angel

New Member
As an elders employee, as well as a horse owner, and a member of a cropping family, I can see how the idea of spraying to cut down handling time of hay might seem like a good idea, but it just wouldn't be pratical. The cost of spraying, and production losses would out weigh any apparent benefiets.

However... as for the health issues for those who are apparently worried about contractors and farmers who may be using the method, I really wouldn't consider it much of an issue. Spraytopping a pasture is a common practice to prevent seed set in a pasture that is going to be grazed by sheep especially lambs destined for slaughter, as seeds can work thier way into the wool and damage the carcass - and I've seen the result of that - and helps cut back on contamination of the wool clip. The usual guidline for grazing after application is 24 hours.
If the thousands of farmers in this country are happy to risk thier livelihood by grazing sprayed pastures, then doesn't that ease your mind just a little?

The other thing is, neither a contractor or a producer would use th method if it posed any risk to the animal - no one wants a client coming back and complaining that thier hay killed thier stock.

Sorry, just had to add my 2 cents :)) cheers
 
Top Bottom