Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hay ("cut grass," cognate with the verb to hew), grasses and other plants cut and dried as fodder (q.v.). In England the hay-harvest is, under favourable conditions, completed by the end of June or early in July. The crop, which usually consists of natural grasses, sometimes amounts to two tons per acre. The grass should be cut before it runs to seed, as the moister it is the better hay it is likely to produce. In order to preserve its quality after it has been cut, it must be repeatedly turned and dried as speedily as possible. For the latter purpose artificial means are employed when practicable. The common method of drying hay is to shake it and spread it over the field by means of forks or tedding-machines, and after it has remained thus during the day to collect it into windrows or haycocks before nightfall. This process is repeated for two or three clays or longer, after which the hay is stacked in ricks. Injury to the hay commonly arises either from stacking it before the natural moisture has been sufficiently removed, in which case it becomes over-heated, or from putting it together when it is wet with rain or dew, which tends to render it mouldy. The latter evil is sometimes remedied by mixing a little salt with the hay. In Scotland.Clover and ryegrass are usually grown for hay, instead of natural grasses.