Advantages of hay drying

In a drying plant (e.g. batch drying), the dried or heated air is usually blown into the feed from below. Therefore, from “bottom to top”, the lowest feed is dried first. If too much fresh feed is added to the drying, the resistance (pressure) for the drying air to blow through increases.

Although a thicker layer height would require more drying air, just the opposite happens because less air can be blown through the drying material due to the greater resistance. In this situation, the drying air will already saturate earlier – e.g. in the middle of the layer – and can no longer absorb water in the top layer. In extreme cases, this even leads to condensation in the top layer when the air is oversaturated. Today, this problem is prevented with pressure-stable fans and the selection of the right box size.

Conservation of the feed

Hay drying is a type of preservation, i.e. preservation of fodder – as with herbs or dried fruit. After successful drying, no more faulty fermentation or reheating takes place. The removal of water deprives bacteria and fungi of their basis of life and thus preserves the quality of the feed for many months. In addition to a maximum residual water content of 13% (87% dry matter), rapid drying of the feed within 70 hours (3 days) is crucial for successful preservation. From this time on, quality degradation occurs and only post-aeration should be necessary.

Post drying of the grass

The second advantage of technical drying is the possibility of bringing in moister forage, which would not be possible with cold ventilation or soil drying. As a result, crumb losses in the field can be largely avoided. The ideal residual moisture in the forage is 35% (65% dry matter) as a compromise between crumble losses and a very high energy consumption during drying. At more than 40% residual moisture (60% dry matter), drying costs increase disproportionately and even good drying plants run the risk of being overloaded.