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Test Hay Moisture With Your Microwave
If you're looking for a quick and accurate method to determine the moisture content of hay and other forages, use a microwave oven.
University of Wisconsin ag engineer, Richard Straub, says a microwave is more accurate than many moisture testers. Here, according to Straub, is how to do it:
Use a 100 gram (about 1/4 lb.) sample for ease of figuring.
Place the sample in the microwave, setting it to "cook". For hay that's about ready to bale, cook the sample for 3 to 4 minutes. Next, remove the sample, weigh it and cook it for another 30 seconds. Continue this process until the hay does not lose any more weight.
Now, weigh the hay again. If you started with a 100 gram sample but now have 70 grams left, you know that the hay was 30% moisture.
The equation for determining hay moisture, no matter what weight unit you use (grams or ounces) is: (Starting weight-dry weight) = starting weight = % moisture.
Straub cautions that if you overdry the hay you'll actually burn it. As a safety precaution he suggests putting a glass of water in with the hay as it cooks so you don't damage the microwave by leaving the hay in too long.

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #4