Precut Rye Straw
Rye straw is harvested with standard hay making equipment and is often brighter and longer that standard straw. This video describes the process of making rye straw, its advantages and challenges and economics.
(computer mouse click)
- [Instructor] Precut rye straw is made from cereal rye that is cut green after heading but before seed formation.
It requires some rain to bleach it from green to white, or yellow, then it's raked and baled.
Rye straw is longer and cleaner than combine straw since it's not been run through a combine.
Commonly owned hay equipment can be used to make it.
And a combine is not necessary.
It's often used for landscape mulch and horse and livestock bedding.
Rye's mowed with a traditional haybine or discbine.
Timing is important that you get it as the rye is in full heads, but before the anthers and the pollen starts to shed.
Rye that's allowed to shed pollen can be a problem, because the pollen gets on equipment, and the anthers can get stuck in the air intakes of tractors.
It can be messy.
Just like hay, rye is ted the day after mowing to help dry it out and to provide a nice spread of the material over the field.
After a few tenths of an inch of rain the rye turns from green to yellow and will be ready to bale soon.
When good weather's in the forecast, a day or two after a rain it's time to rake it, and get it ready to bale.
Typically, rye is made in small square bales.
But it can also be made in round bales, or big square bales.
Just like you would with hay or straw.
Here's a picture of rye in wagons that was made into small square bales.
Rye is also sold for landscape mulch, as seen in this picture on a trailer ready to go out to a job.
An advantage of rye is that you can double crop field corn, soybeans, sweet corn, and pumpkins after it because it's usually harvested in late May or early June.
Pumpkins fit well under this scenario because they get planted in mid June.
Sweet corn also fits into this schedule, as well, because it can be planted into June and July for later plantings.
Some potential problems, if rye is notilled into field corn in the fall, and it's not mowed, the discbine rake can pick up the corn stalks and mix that with the rye straw.
Another problem is if rye's allowed to go to seed, those rye seeds can germinate in the field, causing a problem for the next crop.
The rye seed will be in the straw, causing a problem with rodents, and also weeds in the mulch that it's being used for.
Rye can lodge due to heavy rain with a high nitrogen.
And it can be difficult to cut cleanly and it can be hard to handle and drive if it's too thick.
Here's a picture of a corn fodder and rye that was rained on multiple times on the top of the mound compared to rye that was cut and made with ideal conditions below it.
Some economics about rye straw, typically two to three tons per acre is standard.
With $120 to $250 per ton.
Depending on the market and the bales that are baled.
Providing a $240 to $750 per acre of gross revenue.
Expenses with two bushel per acre at roughly $15 a bushel was about $30 an acre.
Plus the notilled planting expense of $20 an acre.
Fertilizer removal from the (mumbling)
Guide is about $75 an acre.
And some farmers will put an additional 50 units of nitrogen on in the spring and green up with another expense.
But roughly $150 an acre of growing expenses.
Harvesting expenses are like that of hay.
$20 an acre to mow.
$10 to ted.
$10 to rake.
At a two and a half ton yield and a dollar a bale, $125 an acre.
Plus the handling expenses of the straw.
So adding up the expenses you get $150 an acre to grow it.
$165 an acre to harvest it.
With your expenses roughly at $315 an acre.
And you still got to cover crop over the winter to protect the soil.
Any questions, feel free to contact me.
My information is listed below there.
Frequently Asked Questions