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Damp Straw

8 November 2017

Damp straw quickly becomes mouldy.  Some of the potential consequences are –

  • A much higher risk of farmers lung. All staff should have high quality face masks which should always be worn when handling straw eg bedding and in particular where bedding straw is being chopped and blown, chopping straw in mixer wagons, etc.
  • Damp straw, stored indoors can develop white moulds binding the bale together and making it impossible to spread out. Would bales made from wet straw in the swath be better stored outside rather than indoors?
  • If storing bales outdoors either build a stack and carefully sheet it or place bales on a well drained, exposed site with gaps between each bale to allow maximum air movement.
  • Is it worthwhile bedding with wet straw? Just 7 inches depth of wet straw in a round bale is half the straw in the bale.  If it takes the same amount of dry straw to “dry up” wet straw then the bales would make no contribution to bedding a pen!  This would make is worthwhile trying to take off the wet outside layers and put them directly into the midden!
  • Damp straw can heat and cause internal combustion ie fires. The biggest risk is perhaps where damp straw is chopped and stacked.  Letting air in when it starts being used is the most dangerous point.

Basil Lowman,

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