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