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Hey! What’s the difference
between Hay and Straw?

Ah ha! Hay is to be eaten. Straw can be either bedding (for livestock), mulch or many other uses. So, technically, your “hay”ride is really a strawride. With straw you won't itch as much!

Hay
Straw
Hay (noun) 1. grass, alfalfa, clover, etc. cut and dried for use as fodder Straw (noun) 1. hollow stalks of grain after threshing, used for bedding, for weaving hats, baskets, etc.
Feeding hay to cows
This farmer feeds hay to his cows when fresh green grass isn’t available.
Cows in barn with straw bedding
These cows in a barn, are made more comfortable with straw covering the ground.
Clover field
Clover is a very high quality hay made from a clover field. Yes, you may find a 4-leaf clover in this field.
Orchard Grass field
This is a Orchard grass field. Not as high quality as the clover, but great to munch on (for livestock).
Straw field
This wheat field is ready to harvest. First, the machine called a Combine drives through and harvests the grain (the “head" or top of the stalks.)
Cutting hay
When the hay is ripe and ready, he cuts the hay with long bar with moving "teeth" on it.
Combine
Here comes the HUGE Combine to harvest the grain. Lots of noise and dust!
Old photo of horse and wagon haying
This is a old-timer photo of the hot job of baling hay - using horses to pull the wagons!
Baling straw
Today, farmers either use a baler (above) or use another machine that rolls the straw into HUGE round bales that you see in some fields.
Hay round
The big round bales in fields can be either hay OR straw. Farmer Ben uses large straw bales, for mulch.
Stacked straw in a barn.
Individual bales of straw and hay can be stacked high inside barns. Straw bales are MUCH lighter than Hay bales. The straw and hay should be as dry as possible when baled or rolled, so that mold won't begin to grow inside the bale while in the barn..
Cow eating hay
Yum! This Timothy hay is a delicous mouthful! That is another high quality hay. Really fills up that livestock (horses, cows, sheep, goats, llamas, etc.) all winter.
Straw bales
Straw isn't quite THIS yellow, but compared to bales of hay, (which is greener, usually) it is.

Ben and Maureen Allnutt
Homestead Farm, 15604 Sugarland Road, Poolesville, Maryland 20837 301-926-6999