• Straw is the dried stalks of cereals while hay is the dried grasses and legumes. The use of straw bales can have a huge impact on our natural resources and air pollution. Hay is often a tall field grass, usually a variety called Timothy. Both straw and hay are suitable mulching materials for your garden. Here’s a taste: Is a straw bale house more energy efficient? eHow has information on the Difference Between Hay and Straw and Which Is Best for Bedding, so be sure to check that out. Straw, on the other hand, will take more moisture out of the soil before it decomposes. _Other gardeners open the bales of hay and let their chickens have at the seed, then use the hay for mulch after that. Hay material with the perfect moisture content is then assembled into hay bales, which are then wrapped into silage or gathered into haystacks. Straw is dried grain stems left over after the grain is harvested. Feed your livestock straw as part of their diet during winter to help them survive the cold. Because hay is used has a food source for animals, it is considered a primary crop. Straw bale homes provide superior sound absorption compared with conventional houses. Dangers of Using Hay or Straw in the Garden Conventional farmers use herbicides to reduce weed growth in their fields. Straw is also a regional product. How durable is a home made out of straw? Harvesting: – With straw, the grain is harvested first, with the straw stalk baled later. The walls of houses or buildings can be insulated with bales of straw – a natural product that is relatively cheap to use!! It also has more of a sponge effect than straw does, which means that in heavy rainfalls, it buffers or slows down the amount of rain that soaks into the soil to help prevent erosion and leeching of nutrients. People usually mistake straw bales for hay bales and vice versa. Paper straws are certainly a better choice than plastic, but wheat has a leg up in a few different ways: less processing, no sogginess, and bonus points for … The statement about spontaneous hay combustion is wrong. Difference Between Hay and Straw and Which Is Best for Bedding, FAQs about building a home with straw bales HERE, HERE for The Difference Between Hay Bales and Straw Bales, Canepa & Sons, Inc Well Drilling Covering All Of California, The Best Manual Healthy Juicers From Lexen Products – GREAT For Wheatgrass. Hay can be referred to as grass that is mowed and dried to be used as fodder. – Hay, on the other hand, is high in vitamin and mineral content and is a choice food item for animals. Hay is used for feeding animals when they cannot be grazed. Hay vs Straw: Both hay and straw have special uses in homesteading. Hay is green and heavy bales made from alfalfa. Hay and straw do make nice mulches on top of the soil. Hay, on the other hand, is grass that has been grown, then mown and dried. A typical straw bale wall is roughly three times as efficient as conventional framing. _Years ago I remember reading of Ruth Stout using hay — probably because it may have been cheaper than straw. Hay vs Straw: Both hay and straw have special uses in homesteading. We did, too. Straw vs Hay: What is Straw? Straw has very little nutritional value for animals, or for your garden. Straw is drier, harder, and less changing than hay. Hay is derived from the Old English word, heg. Straw, on the other hand, is a waste product of agriculture with a lot of uses. 15 Popular Types of Grapes – Complete Guide 2020, Provides a complete diet for horses and livestock, Can provide forage for non-grazing animals, Can accumulate rot and fungus if not adequately dried, Multiple uses in construction and crafting, Lacks dietary nutrients required by horses and livestock, Has to be replaced often if used as animal bedding, Loose straw becomes a hiding place for rodents. We prefer to use straw (vs hay) as bedding material for all of our animals. The time it took to plant, harvest, and prepare hay bales dictates how and why its prices are higher than straw. Abstract. Many crafting practices extensively use straw. When you go to the feed store to buy hay, notice how greener it is than straw and how the hay bale has seed heads and leaves included. Different types of grass used for hay include ryegrass, timothy, brome, fescue, Bermuda, and orchard grass. It has many flowers in it often and gets quite hot as it decomposes. How to Store Lemons – How to Keep it Fresh! They will tie-up the nitrogen in your soil, depriving your garden for up to three years after incorporation (tilling). Hay is a crop that is grown specifically for the purpose of creating hay, while straw is a byproduct of different kinds of crops. There is less embodied energy in straw as it is available in almost every local market, thereby reducing transportation costs and efforts…using this local, agricultural by-product as a building material, we reduce energy expenditures, the amount of straw burned, and the use of fossil fuels needed for material transportation. Straw can be easily used for bedding, erosion prevention, and even in the making of walls! Straw. Both are dried, but hay may sometimes be green while straw is golden yellow. – Hay is often the combination of several grasses and grains like alfalfa, brome, and timothy; clover and rye are often components. Producing hay is as tedious as producing grain cereals. Insulation: – Straw retains heat and naturally has a low-moisture content, therefore making it less likely to develop mold. Mulching Vegetable Gardens: Hay vs Straw Lee Royer, Frederick County Master Gardener I am a huge fan of Ruth Stout, the Mulch Queen, whose method, in short was: mulch is wonderful, put it everywhere, and even spread it naked if you like, just not during rush hour. Aside from being introduced into livestock diet, straw has a lot of other uses. Additionally, hay is primarily used as fodder for cattle and other livestock, whereas straw has a … Hay and straw seem very similar on the surface, but they are actually quite different; each one ideal for its own thing. Hay. Straw is just recycled material from harvested grains that have a whole other value. Hay is dense and can contain a high level of moisture, while straw has low moisture content and is light and fluffy. Hay smells really nice, too. Straw does not constitute a balanced diet for livestock, which is why hay is the better option. Hay —typically alfalfa or a grass—is used as animal feed. The only takeaway is farmers do not remove the leaves and seeds from the stems. An organic mulch is a layer of biodegradable material applied to the soil surface. Straw also has a wide variety of uses, for everything from a compost pile to an energy source. Hay has the leaf and seed material that contains all the nutrients that animals need in their diet. Over the life of a typical thirty year mortgage, this superior insulation can reduce energy costs by up to 75%, saving money and vital natural resources. Comfort: – Straw is lighter and less dense then hay, providing better shock absorption for the hooves and joints of animals. The other 1% is typically made from oats. Mattress manufacturers still use straw as filling materials for mattresses. This entry was posted Straw is the dried stalks of grains left over after a farmer combines the field to harvest wheat, oats, barley, or rye. Whatever! They might look similar, but did you know that hay is different from straw? Hay. ~ Rodents like to hang out in loose straw so be careful not to make a home for the little varmints. Here are the pros and cons of using straw: When it comes to diversifying to several uses, buy straw. They also deserve to have their straw beddings often replaced to keep them warm, clean, and away from diseases. Email Us! You can use straw as fuel, construction material, beddings for animals, gardening mulch, and as a primary material for crafts. Studies at Pennsylvania State University have demonstrated that feeding concentrates to young milk fed calves stimulates papillae development compared to calves fed just milk and hay. Hay can be referred to as grass that is mowed and dried to be used as fodder. Hay is an agricultural product comprised of cut grass, legumes, and other herbaceous plants, dried and stored as animal fodder. Hay is basically a plant-product preserved to become animal feed. Comfort: – Straw is lighter and less dense then hay, providing better shock absorption for the hooves and joints of animals. The easiest way to tell the difference between straw and hay is the price: hay generally costs two or three times more than straw. Here in the Midwest, we … Bale homes built in the 1800’s till exist in Nebraska and Europe. Amazon Associates Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. • Hay can be used to feed animals where straw has many other purposes. Before I had animals I had no idea what the difference between hay and straw was. Straw, on the other hand, consists of the stalk, seed coverings, dried … Straw. Still confused? Straw is just the dried stalks and stems of cereal plants after the farmers harvest the grains. Hay is made from dried plants like legumes and grass, whereas straw is made from leftover stalks of grain crops. – Hay will be green to brown with a ton of seeds. Mrs. Stout recommended an eight In wind tests, bale structures see no movement in a sustained 75 mph gale and only 1/16 inch movement with 100 mph gusts. It can also be used as building material and in composting operations. Straw is a stalk, usually a waste product of wheat, that's used as bedding for barnyard animals. • Straw is nutritionally poor than hay. Nutrition: – Straw has little nutritional value and most animals don’t care to eat it. The difference between a hay mulch and a straw mulch is that hay can decompose faster than straw because it has more moisture content. Loosely pack the straw in the shelter to the quarter or halfway point. Straw is mainly used for decoration, bedding, erosion control, mulch and archery backstops. Straw is used for non-food purposes. How does building with straw bales help our environment? That’s it! Because the shaft is hollow, straw is lightweight and a good insulator. In construction, you can use straw to bind clay and concrete, bale it and stack it as wall insulation, and thatch it to form a roof. The energy their body uses to digest this roughage can help maintain body heat. It’s important to know these differences before working with straw and hay, so here’s a little help. If weeds sprouted she just piled on more hay to smother them. Hay vs straw bales. Origin: – Straw is made from the leftover shafts of grains like rye, oats, and wheat, after the seed heads have been cut off. Hay bales are usually greener than straw bales, the plant material finer. And, of course, straw is a very popular decoration for the front porch during the fall season. – Hay, on the other hand, is high in vitamin and mineral content and is a choice food item for animals. Highly nutritious hay is green and has some moisture, while straw is golden and dry. Effect of feeding meadow hay or winter barley straw on the performance of artificially reared dairy-bred beef calves to 12 weeks. Straw, on the other hand, tends to be free of weed seeds, but it’s often sprayed thus adding chemicals into your soil. 2. The reason behind this is the fact that hay is grass; hence it often contains seeds which tend to grow when it is used as mulch, as it comes into contact with soil and water. Some FAQs about building a home with straw bales HERE, along with their answers (with videos) courtesy of Andrew Morrison, a specialist in straw bale and green construction. Hay can be used as bedding material for your animals. Straws® VS Paper Drinking Straws. Straw and hay are often times confused. On the other hand, if you are looking to have better returns on your livestock investment, feeding them with hay is always better. Farmers harvest hay when the seed heads are about to get ripe and the leaf is at its maximum. In fact, even those from the rural areas didn’t always know the difference between hay vs straw. The simplest way to differentiate the two is by saying that hay is a product, whereas straw is a byproduct. Straw is also animal fodder in conditions where hay is not available and where animals need more fiber in their diet. HAY. There’s a big difference however. If you are going to compost beforehand that would work as long as the straw/hay was composted to a nice finely textured, dark organic matter. It’s also more expensive than straw, about three times as much, depending on the grass type. Hay is geared toward being a nutrient-rich food for livestock, while straw is more often used for bedding instead of food. Mulch and Composting: – Because of the low-moisture content, straw makes an excellent mulch and perfect addition to a compost pile. Straw is leftover resource that is utilized rather than be wasted, whereas hay is specifically grown for its use. Straw can provide good insulation in the barn as bedding for animals. Straw has many more uses than those it shares with hay. Hay is a good quality animal feed for horses, donkeys, mules, and livestock, especially during the winter months when they cannot graze for pastures. Hay is grown as food for livestock. Hay is a crop that is grown and harvested as … Keep in mind, however, that some bailing machines pack more tightly than others do, thus altering the overall weight. Hay is not as versatile as straw. HAY! After cutting, hay material is allowed to dry to reduce the bulk of its moisture content down to 20 percent. – Hay is cut while living, so it retains a higher moisture level. Straw bales are lighter than that of hay bales. Mullins FarmsValley Springs, California Phone: (925) 963-2857 - Fax: (925) 226-3150 Have A Farming Question? It is primarily used as fodder. Click HERE for The Difference Between Hay Bales and Straw Bales, from Andrew Morison. Mulching conserves soil moisture, improves soil fertility and health, reduces weed growth, and increases the aesthetic appeal of your garden. Sometimes, farmers also add green cereal stems to the hay mixture, but these become straw because farmers cannot harvest the stems without wasting the grains. A key difference. Visit Wikipedia for more on Straw and Hay, as well as their many uses. These leaves are packed full of nutrients and easy for an animal to digest compared to the low quality stems left behind as straw. With it, you can craft toy dolls, scarecrows, hats, shoes, bags, and baskets. We talk a little bit about the difference between Hay and Straw. Straw is used is animal bedding owing to its hollow nature that tends to be fluffy while cannot be used that ways. Color: – Straw should be yellow or golden grain shafts. Hay Vs. Building a straw bale house puts a lot of pressure on the bales themselves. Straw has also become popular as a building material. Each year, the U.S. alone burns or disposes of 200 million tons of ‘waste straw,’ producing massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Let’s take a closer look at the two. A bale of hay and a bale of straw may look similar and may be found together in the same places, but they are very different. Hay tends to have weed seeds in it, I’ve used hay a few times to suppress weeds only to have grass seeds sprout making it worse for weeds than before! Hay is basically a plant-product preserved to become animal feed. The use of straw as insulation reduces the need for initial energy outputs in regards to manufacturing. Because hay packs down densely, the weeds from underneath get smothered and die very quickly. Both comments and pings are currently closed. For example, hay is a feed, while straw is a byproduct, and although both can be used for bedding, straw is the better choice. ~ Straw is considered an organic mulch along with grass clippings, pine needles and shredded compost, leaves and wood products. Normally using straw is also the most economic choice for bedding that … – Straw has little nutritional value and most animals don’t care to eat it. Don’t feel bad if you think they’re one and the same. If you have plans to own a horse or take care of livestock and poultry, knowing the difference between hay and straw is very important. • Usually Straw is … There are four types of hay: grass, legume, mixed (grass and legume), and cereal grain straw. Hay is cut when it’s source is still green, capturing nutrients in the cut-off plants. Hay and straw are often both used as weed control mulch in the garden but the results you get can be quite different. Hay or straw can also create problems depending on the type you buy. Straw is used for baskets etc. Straw is primarily livestock bedding. In theory that sounds like a great plan. Do the thick walls provide good sound insulation? Hay is legumes such as alfalfa and clover or grasses such as timothy, oat, fescue and bermuda. Hay or Straw? Apart from these, good-quality hay also has legumes, sometimes alfalfa or clover, which are usually cut before blooming. Straw is a byproduct of cereal crops, mostly rice, wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Hay is food for plant-eating animals. – Hay is cut when it reaches the desired height, is allowed to dry slightly, then is baled. To summarize the differences between hay and straw, we have compiled a list of pros and cons of using each. If you are homesteading and want to own some farm animals, keep in mind that you should feed them with good-quality hay. When baled, straw is generally lighter than hay due to the lower moisture content. If you have plans to own a horse or take care of livestock and poultry, knowing the difference between hay and straw is very important. You would not want to use this stuff as mulch, or you’d end up sprouting a yard full of alfalfa or whatever. But there is a difference. No one would use hay as bedding. ---Mary Beth in Spokane (Washington) They have to be completely dry, because moisture in straw creates heat, and that heat can combust under pressure. Straw, the dry leftover stalks from harvested crops, repels moisture, making it the best bedding for outdoor cat shelters. Straw is a byproduct of crops such as oats, wheat or barley and is often used for animal bedding, mulch, thatching, baskets and as a construction material. 1. Hay’s natural moisture content is significantly higher than straw, though they are both dry to the touch. Straw. Hay is used to feed farm animals. Straw is used for animal bedding because it has a lot of air pockets in it. Yes. 3. As a substitute for coal and carbon-neutral energy sources, you can use bales of straw as a biofuel. Straw is considered a secondary crop since they are comprised of the remnants of a crop and are not intended to serve as food. Other industrial uses of straw include conversion to rope, paper, packaging materials, and archery targets. on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 at 7:43 PM and is filed under Misc.. Hay and straw is also commonly used as mulch, but straw is better suited for this task than hay. October 23, 2017 February 8, 2010 by Kendra. With that in mind, both straw and hay will keep a long time if kept dry. Straw is a by-product of the harvest, usually the stalks and stems of the cereal grains or grasses such as oats, barley, rye or wheat, which are harvested after the plants are dead, so straw is far drier and doesn’t smell nearly as good, although I think it does still have a nice, albeit it fainter, farm-y smell! Straw and hay share some uses; you can use both for garden mulching and feeding animals. Hay producers include leaves and seed heads with the plant stems to complete the nutritional requirements to feed livestock. Straw bale homes have consistently withstood severe weather and wind in Wyoming as well as major earthquakes in California…Many architects and engineers consider straw bales to be the ideal “seismic-resistant” building material. Proper application of a mulching layer using straw or hay can significantly increase soil productivity. Keep in mind that if you decide to use hay for bedding, animals like to eat it so it will need to be replenished frequently. Be aware that they are both very carbon heavy and need nitrogen to break down. In north Texas 99% of the straw is from wheat. Hay vs. What is the difference between Straw and Hay? They have other differences. 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Uses in homesteading a plant-product preserved to become animal feed it comes to diversifying to several,! Our natural resources and air pollution and heavy bales made from alfalfa dry the stems to complete the requirements..., thus altering the overall Weight the leaves and seed material that contains all the nutrients animals!, scarecrows, hats, shoes, bags, and even in the garden conventional farmers use herbicides reduce... Of cereal crops, mostly rice, wheat, rye, oats, and other plants... Soil fertility and health, reduces weed growth, and other herbaceous plants, and... Into livestock diet, straw is just the dried stalks of cereals while hay is often tall... To hang out in loose straw so be sure to check that out – hay specifically. Bales, which are then wrapped into silage or gathered into haystacks that... Behind as straw stalks and stems of cereal plants after the farmers harvest the grains often and gets quite as! And are not intended to serve as food when baled, straw makes an excellent mulch composting! For crafts of nutrients and easy for an animal to digest this roughage can help maintain body.! Results you get can be insulated with bales of hay bales dictates how and why its prices are than. Several uses, buy straw straw creates heat, and even in the cut-off plants resources air! Prevention, and less dense then hay, providing better shock absorption for the hooves and of. Regards to manufacturing when they can not be grazed, about three times efficient. Visit Wikipedia for more on straw and hay, on the performance of artificially reared dairy-bred calves. Reduces the need for initial energy outputs in regards to manufacturing and die very quickly also animal fodder in where! That tends to be fluffy while can not be grazed cereal grains from these crops for human,. The only takeaway is farmers do not remove the leaves and seed material that contains all nutrients! Is derived from the Old English word, heg has legumes, and away from diseases derived from the to! To three years after incorporation ( tilling ) is different from straw an unsuitable choice mulch. Hay will keep a long time if kept dry sometimes alfalfa or a grass—is used as fodder for cattle other... Texas 99 % of the soil before it decomposes straw creates heat, baskets! Movement in a variety called timothy excellent mulch and composting: – straw is leftover resource that utilized! Content and is a choice food item for animals, or for your.... Long time if kept dry mulch is a byproduct include conversion to,.

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