Q. How does hay stack up against other exports going out of the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle, now called the Northwest Seaport Alliance?
A. A shipping container which measures 20 feet long by 8 feet high by 8 wide is equal to 1 TEU. By TEU’s the largest agriculture export commodity is animal feed with 130,400 TEUs, or 36 percent of the total ag commodity containers in 2015. Second was prepared foodstuffs with 20 percent of the containers followed by vegetables 11 percent, fruit 10 percent, meats 4 percent, all others 4 percent. Agriculture exports based value include: french fries $747 million, apples $497 million, hay $461 million, and legumes $281 million. The largest importer of USA hay from the Northwest Seaport Alliance is Japan, however their percentage of the market however is declining and South Korea (second largest) and China (third largest) is increasing in volume and market share.
Q. What hay is low in sugar content?
A. One of the most frequent questions I get from horse owners is about hay for horses that are laminitic or insulin resistant. Laminitic horses are associated with diets high in easily digestible carbohydrates, which can occur in hay but especially grain. One way to measure this is the amount of water soluble carbohydrate (WSC). A good article on the issue and comparison of different types of hay can be found in a publication located at: http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu/+symposium/proceedings/2010/10-233.pdf . The WSC of legume hay, cool season grass hay, bermuda grass hay, and teff hay is 9.1 percent, 10.9 percent, 7.4 percent and 4.3 percent. My research confirms that teff hay has about half of the WSC of timothy hay. So, I encourage horse owners to pay extra for teff hay and help get the market established for the crop. If you pay for extra for teff hay they will grow it.
Never miss a local story.
Q. I have lots of moss in my lawn this spring; how can I get rid of it?
A. Moss grows where the soil is compacted, drainage is poor, fertility is poor, dense shade, or other reasons that keep the soil moist for extended periods of time. If the moss is just in your lawn, rake it out and make sure to provide a healthy environment for your lawn to thrive. Adequate lawn fertilization in late spring and fall, proper watering, and both good aeration and drainage will ensure your turf is healthy.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.