National Hay Association President Amy Freeburg has been a commercial hay grower supplying the dairy industry for 45 years. Alfalfa hay is a key feed used in the dairy industry, but Freeburg says wheat straw is also used in dairy rations because it floats in the rumen of the cow. Members of the association also grow grasses for dairy goats, horses and to sell to zoos.
Freeburg says technology has become prevalent in the forage industry just as it has in other parts of agriculture. Her booth at the 2017 World Dairy Expo included a brand new probe to take temperature and moisture readings of individual hay bales.
“The end user on the other end can see how hot the hay got, or how much moisture was in it before it started to cool back down. It’s quite a new technology. The back side of it is, though, that your hay barns have to have wifi because these little probes all have to have some kind of an internet connection,” she said.
Freeburg said the forage market has also become a global market, with China, Japan and India representing important export opportunities.
Listen to more of Jamie’s interview with Amy Freeburg here: Interview with Amy Freeburg, National Hay Association