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