Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Technological solutions for high – quality hay production

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.01  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Agricultural plants 

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Hay quality, mechanical and storage losses, artificial hay drying technologies, production costs
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  05658  PhD Drago Babnik  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  369 
2.  23180  PhD Janez Benedičič  Mechanical design  Researcher  2016 - 2019  126 
3.  04124  PhD Rajko Bernik  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  529 
4.  17302  Anton Gjergek    Technical associate  2016 - 2019  25 
5.  12288  MSc Tone Godeša  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2017  216 
6.  17008  PhD Anastazija Gselman  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  151 
7.  00371  PhD Viktor Jejčič  Plant production  Head  2016 - 2019  1,183 
8.  05087  PhD Branko Kramberger  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  520 
9.  33233  PhD Branko Lukač  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  172 
10.  25012  MSc Ben Moljk  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  364 
11.  19322  MSc Miran Podvršnik  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  96 
12.  11087  MSc Tomaž Poje  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  2,237 
13.  24580  PhD Hans-Josef Schroers  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  197 
14.  13374  Janko Verbič  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  343 
15.  10035  PhD Jože Verbič  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  996 
16.  22606  PhD Tomaž Žnidaršič  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  195 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  20,079 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,743 
3.  0482  University of Maribor, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences  Hoče  5089638004  9,926 
4.  0782  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering  Ljubljana  1627031  29,344 
Grasslands represent almost two-thirds of Slovenian agricultural. Grassland’s forage can be conserved as hay or as silage for the winter period. In Slovenia, hay represents more than half of the prepared conserved forage. Quality hay is a very palatable and valuable source of protein in comparison with ensiled grassland forage of the same quality material. Intake of high quality hay on a dry matter basis is higher in comparison with silage intake from the same plant material (Gruber et al., 2006). Consequently, proportion of expensive concentrates in food ration for ruminants could be lowered. However, in Slovenia all advantages of hay are poorly exploited, because of low hay quality. Results of chemical analyses of hay samples, which were analyzed during the period from years 2000 to 2010 have shown that net energy value of hay is under recommended values for hay (5,6 MJ NEL kg-1 DM for first mowing and 5,4 MJ NEL kg-1 DM for following mowing). Recommended minimum net energy value for dairy cows (5,5 MJ NEL kg-1) has been reached with only 16,1% of received samples. It should be noted, that the hay analyses are mainly made on bigger farms, where forage analyses are a valuable tool for formulating the rations for dairy cows or cattle fattening and such data is considered valuable. In recent decades traditional haymaking lost its importance, due to unfavorable weather conditions at first cut and consequently poor nutritive value. There are many methods to achieve better hay quality related with improving botanical composition, earlier mowing dates and use of conservation techniques that are less weather dependent, e.g. ensiling or artificial drying technologies. The evidence that positive changes are possible, is more than doubled average yield of hay on our permanent grasslands in recent years (from the initial 2.5 tons per hectare in year 1992 to 5.5 tons per hectare in year 2008; SURS, 2008). To improve hay quality, it is also necessary to minimize mechanical losses by field drying and to introduce artificial drying methods. It is very important to reduce decrease of nutritive value during haymaking process. Loss of nutrients during haymaking is a result of oxidation and microbiological processes in the freshly cut forage, leaf losses and leaching of water-soluble substances due to rain (Mrhar, 1992). With increased duration of field drying, the mechanical and nutritional losses get considerably higher (also up to 50 %). On the other hand, problems appear also with material with rates of humidity that are too high. There has been noted some moldiness in round hay bales with long term storage of inappropriate dry matter content (( 85%). Loss of nutrients and mold growth can be restricted by appropriate drying technique on the field and additional drying of hay on artificial drying facilities. We are faced with numerous challenges regarding production of high quality hay therefore we propose seven work packages:   Work package 1: Current status of hay production in Slovenia and identification of main issues In Slovenia we still need reliable data about use of permanent grassland and their nutritive value. Therefore, in the frame of the first work package we will conduct a survey for the farmers about their grassland management and their haymaking practices, etc. In the survey we will collected data on uses of grassland on farms and their hay production methods. Farms that produce hay under traditional field conditions, and farms where hay is dried under artificial conditions, will be chosen. Samples of hay from all cooperating farms will be assembled and the nutritional value by using NIRS will be analyzed. Based on the results, weak points of haymaking will be identified, and a detailed insight into the actual hay quality on Slovenian farms will be made.   Work Package 2: Technological solutions of artificial drying with modern drying equipment to achieve better hay quality. The purpose of the work is to determine th
Significance for science
The project focuses on solving practical problems in the production of high-quality hay on permanent grasslands. We believe that the wider international public will be mainly interest in the results on the drying dynamics of some economically important grasses, which are an integral part of permanent grassland swards. The project joins researchers from different research areas (grassland menegment, cultivation and preservation of forage, animal nutrition, agricultural techniques and machinery, and agricultural economics) and institutions (Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering).
Significance for the country
The project relates to the announced content. The results of the project will be relevant for the research area of forage production and cattle production. These two areas attribute to about 45% of the value of agricultural production in Slovenia (beef 14 %, milk 14.4 %, forage crops 17.3%). With this project we address some of the basic guidelines of the Operational Programme for the implementation of the Resolution on the strategic orientations of development of Slovenian agriculture and food industry in 2020. We project relates to the contents such as: increasing the competitiveness of milk and meat production, with an emphasis on improving efficiency and sustainability of rearing, reducing the dependence of Slovenian cattle production from the world market of cereals and protein, better use of natural resources, strengthening technological development, adaptation to global trends in milk production - hay milk, and the effective transfer of knowledge in the production and adaptation to climate change.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2016, 2018, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2016, 2018, final report
Views history