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Hay clock in the Engadine around 1900

When hay is referred to the dried above-ground biomass of grassland plants such as grasses , herbs and legumes . It is usually used as food for farm animals and pets.

The hay must be separated from the straw . Straw is the dried aboveground biomass of threshing plants ( grain , legumes and oil plants ) after threshing - i.e. after their seeds ( ears , pods , oilseeds ) have been removed .


Turning hay with the rotary tedder

In order to achieve a conservation of grassland , for example meadows , consisting of grasses and usually also meadow herbs, through dehydration , the mowed growth must be as quickly as possible, but at the same time gently, to a dry matter content of over 80% in the form of the Floor drying, scaffolding drying or sub-roof drying with the use of ventilation methods.

When the soil is dried, the growth remains on the grassland for several days after mowing to allow air to dry. During this time the crop is after the mowing first tedded (apart scattered) overnight to reduce moisture by dew so-called night windrows raked back, and additionally usually about day one or turned several times, and then again for removal to swaths meet to become. In modern agriculture, tedding, turning and raking are done mechanically using hay rakes and rakes , in special cases (e.g. for hobby farmers or on steep slopes) but also by hand with pitchforks and hay rakes . It usually takes three to four days with favorable, dry weather to dry the floor. Soil drying is associated with relatively high losses of substance from the crop due to the breaking off of leaves of the crop, the so-called crumbling losses.

To remove the hay, in modern agriculture it is usually pressed into small bales with a weight between 10 and 30 kg and sizes around 35 × 25 × 100 cm or into large round or square bales weighing up to several hundred kilograms. If stored in a dry place, the hay can be used as feed for farm animals for over a year .

In order to reduce the weather risk, especially in areas with high levels of precipitation, methods of making hay have been developed instead of on the ground on scaffolding, through which the negative effects of precipitation on drying and at the same time the loss of crumbling could be reduced. However, it is disadvantageous in terms of rational agriculture according to today's standards that all scaffolding drying processes require a high degree of manual labor. Various forms of hay riders are used to dry the scaffolding , namely Heinzen (individual posts with cross bars), Schwedenreuter (cords or wires tied to posts), hay huts (slatted frames set up against each other in a tent) or three-ply reuter (structures made up of three posts connected with cross bars, similar to Indian tents). With the Heinzen and Schwedenreutern, the harvested crop can be hung on them immediately after cutting, with the hay huts or three-legged harrows, however, pre-drying to around 50% dry matter content on the ground is required.

The methods of aeration drying the hay also serve to reduce the weather risk and the loss of crumbling. Here, the haystack (the haystack) on the farm is forced to blow through (ventilated) cold or warmed air using a blower until a dry substance content that can be safely conserved is reached. Depending on the layout of the system, the cuttings that have been pre-dried on the ground can be brought in with a moisture content of 65%; If the weather is good, this is the case after just one day of drying the floor. After the hay has dried sufficiently, it can remain in the same store for further storage. In the case of ventilation drying, the hay is not pressed using a baling press, since it cannot be compressed and ventilated, but is retrieved with the help of loading wagons and taken to the hay store.

High quality hay should be low in dust and have a dry matter content of around 86%. Hay must be stored for at least two months before being fed, as otherwise incomplete fermentation processes (so-called sweating phase) in the hay can lead to dangerous digestive disorders.

The individual cuts show clear differences in quality: the hay includes the fiber and carbohydrate-rich grasses up to the first bloom, and the typical spring meadow flowers (for example buttercups or yarrow ). Grummet is shorter and contains more herbs. Because it is cut earlier than the first cut, it is richer in nutrients or has a lower proportion of structural carbohydrates than hay. Because of its high protein content, Grummet is particularly suitable as feed for dairy cattle. Due to the risk of colic , it can even be dangerous for horses. The other cuts are inferior and instead grazing is widespread.

In today's production methods, the first cut is not preserved as hay, but largely as silage in order to increase the total yield of the grassland and to increase the digestibility and nutrient content of the feed. In addition, the proportion of leaves (herbs, flowers) is minimized. This tends to mold in the silage and leads to increased losses during harvest. Growths for silage are usually mowed shortly before shooting , and growths for hay two to four weeks later. The later cutting time increases the proportion of structural carbohydrates (see also crude fiber ) in the plant, which on the one hand shortens the drying process and on the other hand leads to less losses in the field (fewer recovery losses due to the higher stalk proportion ). The number of possible uses of the growth depends very much on the intensity of the management. In the case of extensive land use , the areas are mowed once or twice a year (possibly plus pasture), in the case of intensive land management three to five times a year (possibly afterward pasture or mulch / care cut). The strength of the management also depends on the location ( climate , soil , etc.).

With hay as a form of preservation, the weather risk is significantly higher than with silage: While silage is ideally brought in with a water content of 65%, hay should not contain more than 15% water. It therefore has to remain in the field for a much longer period of time to dry (up to several days, silage sometimes only for one day). In order to prevent the hay from spoiling in bad weather, it was previously distributed (by hand) on hay racks (scaffolding drying, see above). If the hay is pressed too moist, this leads to a reheating of the material , mainly due to fungi ( yeast ). This is associated with a loss of nutrients and contamination with fermentation pests. To moist hay due to intensive fermentation so high heat performance produce that it reaches in this matching accumulation in the interior of such high temperatures that about hay bale hay or can spontaneously ignite ( Heuselbstentzündung ).

Because of the more humid climate in northern Germany, hay is a much less common form of preservation there than in southern Germany. In addition, however, the lower losses and easier handling have ensured that silage and haylage are more common forms of conservation in agriculture today.

Differentiation and naming according to harvest time

Grass mowing with scythe, near Haselbach, Thuringian Forest, early 1940s
Hay turning with horse-drawn fork tedder in Affeln, Sauerland

Depending on the region, but also the regional altitude (climatic conditions), meadows in Central Europe are cut up to six times a year ( cuts or mowing ).

First cut: hay mowing

The first cut, which takes place in early summer, is specifically called haymowing ( the f. , Regionally also the n. , Early mowing, early hay , etc.), so that in specialist circles 'hay' only means the forage of the early summer harvest. This specialization is more pronounced in the south than in the north.

Second cut: Grummet, Emde, Ettgrön

The second cut, which is usually done in midsummer, and also its harvest, is called Grummet (n.) In general . Other regional expressions are Emd (e), Öhmd , or Ettgrön . Where there are only two cuts, it is also called aftermath , otherwise it means another cut. The lack of a separate word for the second cut is documented for the early 20th century only for two larger islands, in Südmärkischen near Berlin (second cut) , and Erzgebirge ( second cut) .

The grummet is characterized by a higher protein content, which is why it has to experience more intensive drying than the first cut. Hay tedders are used in agriculture to support the drying of cuttings. If the drying process is not sufficient, there is a risk of spontaneous combustion when it is subsequently stored on the hayloft .

More cuts

The third cut only has its own regional word, for example Tyrolean Pofel , Aurntalerisch Böüfel , the origin of which is unknown, or in the Salzburger Seenland , Mondseeland and Tennengau Woad (to pasture, then the cattle can be placed on the hay meadows to "graze") . Otherwise the other cuts are only counted (third cut) .

Executed before the haymaking cuts in the spring of hot regional pre- or early-section ; partly it also stands for haymaking.

History of the hay industry

Haymaking in Pomerania


The word hay (from Middle High German Höuw ) itself is used as “the hewn” (grass that has been cut off, mowed to dry) or “that to be hewn”, from ahd. Houwi / hewi , surely to be cut (Middle High German houwen ). Mahd is the Upper German noun to mow , and describes the process like the product ('the mowed', see sowing → Saat : sowing and seeds ), and has probably been restricted to making hay, grain and other crops (such as hemp / Flax) are "cut", not "mowed".

The word Grummet as the main form for 'second mowing' originated from mhd.  Gruonmât , which has been documented since the 13th century and, according to today's view, a compound formation as a substitute for hay , the meaning of which was restricted to the first cut. In the composition with Mahd , the first component is etymologically related to green , perhaps because other green forage such as overseeding was increasingly mowed, but goes back to a common Germanic strain * grō- 'grow', which is based on both green and grass , as well as English grain 'Grain' and similarly Bavarian Grõā for the respective main grain dialectal also in German. In its high German form today, the word is used in the Vosges (Grummat) and the Sudetes ( Grummet ). In addition, in Tyrol Gruamat , Upper Bavarian - Austrian Groamat / d , Lower Bavarian Gram (m) at, Groamet , in the Rhön Grommet , in the Rhenish Slate Mountains Graumet , Middle Rhine Gro (o) m, Grommet, Gromisch (with sounds up to J- ), Lower Saxon Gramme (t), Grammer , East Central German Grum (m) t, Gru (h) nd , East Prussian Gromme (l) t common.

The second form is Alemannic Emde (n.), From mhd.  Âmât  for 'Abmahd' ( mhd.  Ā-  for 'fort, away') in the same formation as Grummet . Most common today is Swiss German and Swabian Ö (h) md, E (h) mt , on the Rhine also Amat , north O (h) m (e) t , Vorarlbergisch O (h) mad , between the Danube and Lech Aumat . There is also ommetes on a linguistic island in the Harz Mountains .

A third form is Ettgrön , ett- to ahd.  Ita-  ' again- ' (as in ahd.  Itaruchen  'ruminate' and ahd. ' Return  '). This word has only survived in Schleswig and East Frisian , Ettgroahr was found on the Ems , Ettgrau in the Weserbergland . The word may have been more common earlier. A related form, Ettwort (to Asächs . Wurt 'root'), is Oldenburg.

Another, probably more recent, form is aftermath (f.). It can only be found in the Low German- speaking area, generally Na (h) mad / t , Holstein Na / ohmeid , Lower Franconian / Westphalian N (a) ohmatt and forms subsidiary forms such as Limburgian Nohheu 'Nachheu' and Ostpommersch No (h) schnitt ; small scale at Lueneburg was also Nachgras and Oldenburg Nohgrus in use.

Traditional haymaking

The hay industry is the production of dry preserved green fodder for winter barn feeding. This type of economy, which is widespread worldwide, probably dates back to the High Middle Ages ( Schwaigen ) in the Alpine region and was the most widespread way of working until the late 20th century.

Before tractor- powered loader wagons and balers became commonplace , most of the hay was loaded onto wagons pulled by horses , oxen, or cows by hand with a pitchfork and transported to the yard . After the hay was on the wagon, it was weighted down lengthways with a Wiesbeam (regionally also Wiesbaum) . A rope attached to it was wound up on a winch with the diaper spoons , tensioned, and thus the hay was secured from falling. Loose hanging hay was removed with the rake and reloaded. In more difficult terrain (e.g. wild hay ), the hay often had to be carried on the back into the barn . Also Holzschlitten found at Heutransport use.

With the advent of silage (acid-preserved green fodder), the more complex and much more weather-dependent hay was increasingly displaced in the smallholder sector. In 1970, for example, 80 percent of Austrian farmers in Austria did without silage, by 2010 it was only 15 percent.

After entire rows of houses burned down in many villages, strict regulations were issued in the 18th century under Count Palatine Karl IV to prevent a fire, which also regulated the proper handling of hay and straw.

Renaissance of the hay industry in the context of greening

In the process, however, disadvantages, especially for milk product manufacture , quickly became apparent, especially traditional cheeses, especially long-matured hard cheeses made from raw milk (such as Emmentaler, mountain cheese), were difficult or impossible to make with milk from silage feed ( danger of clostridia ). That is why silage- free or hard cheese-compatible milk is increasingly becoming a market-relevant product line again. In addition, haymaking was increasingly recognized both as a cultural asset as well as a measure of landscape and nature conservation : the early cutting dates possible in silage production in mid-spring and at shorter intervals made the characteristic, species-rich flower meadows that had developed over centuries disappear within a few years.

Therefore, the hay industry is increasingly being promoted again in many areas.


Feeding horses with hay

Hay feeding is important in dairy farming for raw milk cheese production ( Emmentaler , Gruyere , Sbrinz etc.). Since silage feeding in dairy farming can lead to problems in the production of raw milk cheese, the suppliers of raw milk dairies are partially prohibited from feeding silage and are being replaced by hay and green meal feeding. Milk from silage-free feed is sold regionally in Austria and other countries under the brand name Heumilch .

Due to its favorable composition for horses, hay is very important in horse feeding , its use in cattle feeding is decreasing due to the excellent silage feeding . Hay with increased residual moisture, which is preserved in the absence of air, is considered haylage and is used as a dust-free feed in horse keeping. Despite the sometimes diverse composition of several plant species, hay is legally considered a feed material.

The fine material left over from hay storage, mainly broken leaves, husks and seeds and other small parts, is called hay flowers (Graminis flos) and is a traditional remedy. Corresponding essential oil mixtures are called Foin Coupé (hay smell) in the perfumery . Coumarin gives fresh clippings its peculiar, pleasantly spicy smell. If the hay goes moldy, harmful coumarin derivatives can develop.

For the energetic use of hay is partially suitable, especially due to its high silicon -content, which leads to particularly stubborn contamination, and its relatively inhomogeneous consistency. Its use as a stalk-like fuel is permitted in suitable heating systems. Due to the fuel properties of hay, the system technology is more demanding than, for example, the combustion of wood , and downstream exhaust gas cleaning is also necessary for small systems in order to comply with applicable emission limit values .

In Austria, haymaking is promoted primarily by ARGE Heumilch Österreich , in which around 8,000 farmers are represented, around 40% of the around 20,000 milk producers in Austria. This means that a quarter of all 22 cheese types registered (up to 2014) are explicit hay milk products, and over three quarters are otherwise restricted to hay feeding due to the way they are made. The pleasure regions now play a central role in the marketing of the products obtained from the ÖPUL program.

Hay is not considered a food

On the occasion of the presentation of a bread that was flavored with aqueous extract of hay, the Styrian food authority declared that such bread may not be marketed as food. Similarly, the Carinthian authorities earlier decided to have a hay lemonade.

See also


  • Gottfried Briemle u. a .: Sustainable grassland management in Baden-Württemberg . In: Günther Linckh u. a .: Sustainable agriculture and forestry. Requirements, possibilities, measures . Springer Verlag, Berlin 1996 ISBN 3-540-61090-1 , pp. 125-256
  • Ernst L. Klapp : Grassland vegetation and location. Based on examples from West, Central and South Germany . Parey Verlag, Berlin 1965
  • Ernst L. Klapp: meadows and pastures. A grassland lesson . Parey Verlag, Berlin 1971, ISBN 3-489-72510-7
  • Gerhard Voigtländer (Ed.): Grassland farming and forage production . Ulmer, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-8001-3071-8
  • K. Buchgraber, L. Gruber, A. Pöllinger, EM Pötsch, R. Resch, W. Starz, A. Steinwidder: Forage quality from the grassland is worth more again. In: The progressive farmer 86, (6), 2008, pp. 16-19.
  • WL Greenhill, JF Couchman, J. De Freitas: Storage of hay. In: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 12, 1961, pp. 293-297.
  • R. Resch, T. Guggenberger, G. Wiedner, A. Kasal, K. Wurm, L. Gruber, F. Ring-Dorfer and K. Buchgraber: Feed value tables for basic forage in the Alpine region. In: The progressive farmer (24), 2006, special supplement
  • Horst Eichhorn (editor): Landtechnik , 7th edition, Ulmer, Stuttgart, 1952, 1999, ISBN 3-8001-1086-5 , p. 382 ff.
  • Klaus-Ulrich Heyland (editor): Special Plant Cultivation , 7th edition, Ulmer, Stuttgart, 1952, 1996, ISBN 3-8001-1080-6 , p. 57 ff.

Web links

Wiktionary: Heu  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Hay  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. cf. Manual horse, 6th edition, BLV, Munich, 2005, p. 160, ISBN 3-405-17019-2
  2. Horst Eichhorn (Ed.): Landtechnik . 7th revised and expanded edition, Ulmer, Stuttgart 1952/1999, ISBN 3-8001-1086-5 , p. 262 ff.
  3. a b MAHD, n. And fem. Mowing and mowing . In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm : German Dictionary . Hirzel, Leipzig 1854–1961 ( woerterbuchnetz.de , University of Trier).
  4. a b c GRUMMET, n., Foenum secundum . In: Grimm: German dictionary. Hirzel, Leipzig 1854–1961 ( woerterbuchnetz.de , University of Trier).
  5. a b c d e f g h i Werner König: dtv-Atlas German language (=  dtv-Atlas . Volume 3025 ). 1st edition. dtv, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-423-03025-9 , Grummet , p. 215 , col. 1 (map p. 214).
  6. HAY, n. Foenum . In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm : German Dictionary . Hirzel, Leipzig 1854–1961 ( woerterbuchnetz.de , University of Trier).
  7. EMDE, n. Chordum, grumbles . In: Grimm: German dictionary. Hirzel, Leipzig 1854–1961 ( woerterbuchnetz.de , University of Trier).
  8. With rucksack and scythe into the Mulbeerau. -The haymaking as it used to be-. Bürstadt town hall, February 10, 2004, archived from the original on July 21, 2012 ; Retrieved on June 21, 2013 (The Wiesbalken was a several meter long log beam, which reached out over the wagon. The diaper spoons were "paddle-shaped" boards which were inserted into the winch and used for tensioning. The winch itself was an octagonal planed one Round wood , which was stored at the ends. The round wood had elongated holes offset by 90 °, the diaper spoons were inserted alternately into these elongated holes. The rope was tensioned by turning the round wood.).
  9. Hay milk - a marketing disgrace? . In: Wiener Zeitung , October 1, 2010.
  10. ^ Franz-Josef Sehr : The fire extinguishing system in Obertiefenbach from earlier times . In: Yearbook for the Limburg-Weilburg district 1994 . The district committee of the Limburg-Weilburg district, Limburg-Weilburg 1993, p. 151-153 .
  11. Art. 10 Livestock keeping and genetic diversity appropriate to the location and Art. 11 Marketing of the Alpine Convention - Protocol on Mountain Agriculture (P2); Protocol for the implementation of the Alpine Convention of 1991 in the area of ​​mountain agriculture - Protocol "Mountain Agriculture " StF: Federal Law Gazette III No. 231/2002 (as amended online, ris.bka ).
  12. a b c Comp. Foin Coupe (hay smell). In: Fred Winter: Fragrances and Perfuming Technology: Genesis, Characteristics and Chemistry of Fragrances with Special Consideration of Their Practical Use for the Production of Complex Fragrance Mixtures. Springer-Verlag, 2013, ISBN 978-3-7091-5731-2 , p. 319 ff ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  13. Dr. Hans Oechsner: Tour of the pilot plant for hay burning. (PDF; 519 kB) (No longer available online.) In: ALB specialist discussion wood, grain & Co. ALB Baden-Württemberg eV, archived from the original on March 5, 2016 ; Retrieved June 21, 2013 .
  14. Discussion about hay as a food kindled orf.at, October 2, 2017, accessed October 2, 2017.