Script 9.5

Notes to broadcasters

Information on this topic was requested by DCFRN Participants in Bolivia, Colombia, Guinea, Guyana and Philippines.


1. This item is more likely to be useful in areas with dry seasons than in areas that are humid all year round. You should consider this when deciding whether or not to pass on this information to your farmers.

2. It is suggested that, before using this information, you read the notes at the end of this item concerning related DCFRN items.

3. In this item we have used the word “forage” when talking about animal feed like leaves, grasses and legumes (wild or cultivated) eaten by farm animals. If this word is unfamiliar to the farmers in your area, please use a word or words that they will understand (e.g. “fodder”, “animal feed”, “leafy or grassy plants”, etc.)

Additional Notes:

1. This item (Item 5) is the second of a series or two items in this package on the subject of hay. If they are relevant to the farmers you serve, please use these items in the correct sequence.

2. For maximum benefit to your audience, you might consider using this item in association with information from another DCFRN item:

“Legumes, Our Best Source of Protein from Plants – Why and How” – DCFRN Package 5, item 3. (This item tells how to make silage, which can be made in areas where the weather is too wet to make hay.)

“A Drying Structure for Groundnuts” – DCFRN Package 8, Item 1A. (Plants dried on this structure provide dried vines for animal feed, as well as dried groundnuts for people to use.)


George Atkins

We at this radio station are part of a world-wide information network that gathers farming information from developing countries all over the world. It’s the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency, Massey-Ferguson, and the University of Guelph.

Through this Network we bring you information on ways to increase food supplies for your family, or to sell — ways that other farmers have used successfully.

Recently on this program we talked about how to make hay by drying grasses and forages, and about how important it is to dry the hay properly.

After your hay has dried, you should do all you can to prevent it from getting wet. You must protect it from the weather, and keep it dry until you need it. The best way to store hay is in a dry shed or under some kind of roof. But another way is to make a haystack, probably as close as possible to the place where you feed your animals.

Your haystack is really a pile of hay that you build. It’s bigger at the bottom and smaller at the top, with steep smooth sides. It is shaped that way so that if and when it rains, most of the rainwater will run off the top and sides of the haystack, and won’t soak into the hay underneath. This is very important, because if water gets inside the haystack, the hay can spoil, and will be no good for your animals to eat.

Many farmers build their haystacks around a tall vertical pole. Here’s how to do that.

Bury the end of a vertical pole 60 centimetres (2 feet) or more in the ground. This will be at the centre of the area where you will be building the haystack. This central pole will make the stack more steady, so it won’t be blown over by the wind.

Try to choose a plac where the ground is dry and well drained, so that hay in the bottom of the haystack won’t get damp and rot.

To help keep the hay dry at the bottom it’s also a good idea to cover the ground around the pole with rocks, so that the hay is stacked on the rocks and not directly on the ground. If the ground is wet, or if termites are a problem, it’s better to store the hay raised up above the ground, for instance on a good strong raised platform.

Now start building your haystack by spreading a layer of dried hay around the central pole. Put more hay on this, and more again, building upward layer by layer. Build your stack so that the pole is always in the middle. As you add more and more hay, make the pile narrower and narrower toward the top, with the sides sloping steeply down at an angle.

Finally you’ll have a cone-shaped haystack — wide at the bottom, with sloping sides, and a small peak at the top.

You should then rake or comb the sides of the haystack downward with a hayfork, so that when it rains, water will run down and off the sides of the haystack. If you think it might rain quite heavily, and that water might get inside the stack, you should probably cover it, or at least the top of the stack, using plastic or something else to keep out the rain.

Don’t let your animals eat the hay directly from the haystack, because if they do, they’ll waste a lot of the hay by pulling it out of the stak and stepping on it. Keep them away from the haystack itself, by using a fence or some other means.

If you store up good forage during the rainy season this way, then later when the pastures dry up and there’s little or no forage for your animals, you’ll be able to keep them strong and healthy by feeding them high-quality hay until the next rainy season comes along.

Serving “Agriculture, the Basic Industry”, this is George Atkins.

Information Sources

Information Sources for Items 4 and 5:

1. Suelo Productivo (“Productive Soil” – In Spanish Only) published by Accion Cultural Popular, Apartado Aereo 7170, Bogota, Colombia, sent by DCFRN Participant, Dr. Jose A. Rodriquez.

2. Crop Production, Unit 12 of Modern Agriculture Series, Schools Agriculture Panel, Ministry of Education, Mbabane, Swaziland.

3. People’s Workbook, published by the Environmental and Development Agency (EDA), box 62054, Marshalltown, 2107 Johannesburg, South Africa.

4. World Neighbours in Action, volume 10, no. 3E, “Livestock Feed for All Seasons”, and “Hay Making”, a transcript (illustrated) of a World Neighbours Filmstrip. These are both available from World Neighbours, 5116 N. Portland Ave., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112, U.S.A.

5. An Introduction to Animal Husbandry in the Tropics (Third Edition 1978), by G. Williamson and W.J.A. Payne. This book is part of the Tropical Agriculture Series published by Longman Group Ltd., Longman House, Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex, England.

6. Potential of the World’s Forages for Ruminant Animal Production, Winrock Report (1977), available from Technical and Information Services, Winrock International, Route 3, Morrilton, Arkansas 72110, U.S.A.

7. “The Production, Storage and Feeding of Herbaceous Forages to Support Rujinant Livestock in Developing Countries of the Tropics and Subtropics”, Agriculture Technology for Developing Countries, Technical Series Bulletin No. 27, Office of Agriculture, Bureau for Science and Technology, Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C. 20523, U.S.A.