The hay moisture tester is a reliable way to ascertain the moisture of hay. If the hay moisture test results are too low or high, it can affect the hay’s stability, safety, and nutrient content. The hay moisture meter will enable you to store and maintain the hay in the proper condition.
The list of hay moisture testers available in the market is undoubtedly long. If you don’t want to spend time filtering and finding the best hay tester, you can go through our top list and pick a winner.
In this article,
- Our picks for the best hay moisture testers
- How to test hay moisture
- How to choose the right hay moisture meter
- FAQs about hay moisture meters
Our Picks for the Best Hay Moisture Tester
- Best Overall: Agratronix Portable Hay Moisture Tester
- Top Pick: AgraTronix (07101), DHT-1-24 Portable Hay Moisture Meter with 24″ Probe
- Best Value: Agratronix (Windrow) Hay Moisture Tester
- Premium Pick: Delmhorst Hay Moisture Tester
- Most Versatile: All States Agratronix Hay Bale Moisture Tester
1. Best Overall: Agratronix Portable Hay Moisture Tester
Battery: 9 Volts
Moisture Range: 14% – 44%
Temperature Range: 0° to 107°
Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
The Agratronix 07121 hay moisture tester meter for hay is one of the few portable moisture testers with a calibration clip. The calibration clip takes less than 20 seconds to calibrate and shows the moisture content results on the LCD screen.
The bale hay moisture tester has a moisture range of 14% – 44% and a temperature range of 0° to 107°. The equipment gets powered by a rechargeable 9 volts battery.
2. Top Pick: AgraTronix (07101), DHT-1-24 Portable Hay Moisture Meter with 24″ Probe
Battery: 9 Volt
Moisture Range: 14% – 45%
Temperature Range: 33°-250°
Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0
The AgraTronix 07101 hay moisture tester probe is ideal if you want to safely purchase or store baled hay. Place the hay tester probe inside the hay, and get immediate moisture and temperature readings.
The rigid handle of the hay bale moisture tester provides a safe grip. The hay moisture meter has a backlit LCD that enables you to use it during nighttime.
3. Best Value: Agratronix (Windrow) Hay Moisture Tester
Battery: 9 Volt
Moisture Range: 13% – 70%
Temperature Range: N.A.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0
The Agratronix hay moisture tester meter for hay is ideal for both the buyer and seller. The hay tester helps ascertain whether the hay can get baled at specific moisture levels. When hay gets stored at the proper moisture and temperature levels, it prevents mould development, preserves the colour and enhances its value.
The compact design of the hay moisture tester enables you to measure forage from a windrow and lose hay quickly. It substantially reduces the time spent baling and chopping the hay to ascertain the moisture level.
Using this hay bale moisture tester makes it a popular choice among farmers. Add loose hay to a five-gallon bucket, insert the bale moisture meter into it, and press the button to get accurate readings of the moisture level.
4. Premium Pick: Delmhorst (F2000) Hay Moisture Tester
Battery: 9 Volt
Moisture Range: 8% – 40%
Warranty: 3 years
Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0
The Delmhorst F2000 hay moisture tester is one premium testing equipment for hay moisture. The rugged construction of the hay bale moisture tester makes it durable. The bright and clear LCD will enable you to use the bale moisture meter any time of the day or night.
The hay moisture tester can average up to 100 accumulated readings. An adjustable alarm will alert you when a particular preselected percentage of the moisture gets selected. The three-year warranty gives the buyer peace of mind when buying the hay tester.
5. Most Versatile: All States Agratronix Hay Bale Moisture Tester
Battery: 9 Volt
Moisture Range: 8% – 44%
Temperature Range: 32° – 225°
Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0
The All States Ag Parts hay moisture tester is one of the most versatile hay testing equipment available in the market. It has a moisture range of 8% – 44%and a temperature range of 32° – 225°.
The LCD is illuminated, enabling you to use it even at night. You can set below and above moisture level indications to ascertain the quality of the hay.
How to Test Hay Moisture
One of the things that farmers and hay producers know is how crucial it is to control moisture. If there is too little moisture, the hay will lose its nutritional value, and if there is too much moisture, it will start to combust.
The acceptable moisture level of the bale of hay will depend on the bale size and shape, type of hay, baling method, additives used, and temperature.
It is due to this reason that hay producers tend to monitor the moisture and temperature content at regular intervals. A high-quality hay moisture tester often gets used to doing the job as it’s reliable and you get accurate moisture readings.
Here are a few simple tips on how to test hay moisture:
How to Test Hay Moisture Before Baling?
The most effective way to test hay moisture in hay is using a hay moisture tester. The readings are accurate when you use a large volume of hay. All you need to do is to fill a bucket with hay. Ensure that the hay is tightly compacted. Insert the probe of the hay moisture tester and record the readings.
After taking the initial moisture reading, mix the hay and pack it tightly in the bucket again. Retake the reading. Repeat the process many times to get the most accurate moisture reading of the hay in different conditions.
How to Test Hay Moisture After Baling?
It is always easy to test baled hay. Choose a bale, insert the hay moisture probe and take a reading by the hay moisture tester. It would help if you remembered that the density of hay in a bale would not be uniform. You might have to take many readings from the same bale to get an accurate reading.
Ensure that you space out the hay moisture testing points to get a proper representation of the entire bale and not just one point.
Always pay attention if you find variances when taking the readings by the hay moisture tester. It applies to readings before baling and after baling. If there is a significant variation, you should wait for a few days and then retake the reading.
If you find the moisture readings by the hay moisture tester to be consistent between 18% – 20%, you can get assured that the hay is in good condition.
Here is a list of variables that affect the hay moisture content.
Harvest and Storage Methods
The moisture range is affected by how the hay gets cut and stored before and after baling, the bale size and density, and how it gets stored.
The moisture level will vary depending on whether your bale gets cut into a small square shape or a large round or square bale. Heat and moisture escape differently when the bale gets cut square or round. You can use the hay moisture tester to monitor the heat and moisture.
Besides, how you stack the hay will also determine the moisture reading. If the hay gets stacked tightly, the moisture level will differ from hay that gets stacked loosely.
Humidity and Temperature
Hay bales tend to overheat in humid temperatures. The hay quality will be different if the air is dry and cool, and the humidity and temperature levels will affect the moisture level of hay.
Additives get used to preserve hay quality. If additives have been used, you will find that the moisture levels will vary when you checked with a hay moisture tester.
Types of Hay
There are different types of hay harvested and stored. The moisture levels will change along with the quality of hay. The moisture range of orchard grass, alfalfa, and red clover will vary significantly.
How to Choose the Right Hay Moisture Tester
There are a lot of things that you need to consider before you choose the best hay moisture tester. Here is a quick checklist for buying the best hay tester.
Hay Tester for Baled or Loose Hay
Measuring moisture for baled hay is different from measuring it in loose hay. A hay moisture tester meter with a disc-shaped electrode is the best way to measure moisture if you are measuring loose hay in a windrow. Because there are many open pockets of air, only multiple probing points will enable you to get an accurate measurement.
Hay bales can get measured with a long hay moisture tester probe that will enable you to reach the inside of the bale. The length of the probe should be long enough so that it can go through the thickness of the bale.
Meter Casing Construction
Conditions on the farm are often challenging, and any equipment you use needs to be solid and long-lasting. The construction of the meter casing must be tough to withstand frequent use. Always check the casing before you buy a hay moisture tester.
The moisture content of hay varies depending on the bale density and type of forage. The most common moisture ranges include:
- Rounds Bales – 15%
- Large Square Bales – 12% – 16%
- Small Square Bales – 18% – 20%
Any hay moisture tester should be able to measure moisture in the range of 8% – 30%. It will enable you to see hay moisture measurements, which could be below or above the specified level.
When buying a hay bale moisture tester, you need to choose one that has a meter with a continuous mode so that you can keep checking without a break. When selecting a hay moisture tester with this feature, you can check the moisture levels continuously.
With regular use, the bale moisture meter might lose its accuracy. You must check the hay tester meter calibration for the correct moisture reading. Most high-quality hay moisture testers have an in-built calibration, enabling you to get accurate moisture reading.
The hay moisture tester you buy needs to be covered with a warranty. The warranty must clearly state what gets covered and what is allowed in repairs and replacements.
Manuals and Training Material
The best manufacturer of hay moisture testers will always provide a manual specifying how you need to use the equipment. A detailed product manual will make the hay tester easy to understand and operate.
Hay moisture testing is valid only if it is accurate. Only high-quality equipment can provide precise moisture readings consistently. Avoid buying cheap hay moisture testers as they will not be correct, which can ruin your hay business.
Not all hay moisture testers function and perform in the same manner. The hay meter you purchase must be versatile to get correct moisture readings. Choosing a meter with simple features such as audible commands and large buttons is best.
Price is also a crucial factor you need to consider when buying a moisture hay probe. Each hay moisture tester gets priced differently depending on the features available. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose the best hay moisture testing equipment available in the market.
FAQs About Hay Moisture Testers
1. What Is a Good Moisture Content for Hay?
The good moisture content for hay is usually in the range of 18% – 20% by hay moisture tester readings. If preservatives get used, then the moisture content range will be different.
When chemicals are used to preserve hay, you must check the manual to ascertain the perfect moisture level for that bale. Most often, the moisture level will depend on the bale’s shape.
For large round or square bales, which get packed densely, the recommended moisture level is 12% – 16%. For small square bales, the moisture level is 18% – 20%. The small square bales are usually lightweight and don’t get packed tight.
2. Are Hay Moisture Meters Accurate Enough?
You are assured of their accuracy when you use a high-quality hay moisture tester. It would help if you also used, cleaned and stored the hay tester properly to get accurate moisture readings.
3. How Does a Hay Moisture Tester Work?
A bale moisture tester is an electronic tool that gets probed into a windrow or a hay bale to determine its moisture content. It works by measuring the electrical resistance of the hay between the two available sensors.
You will find less resistance if there is more moisture. The resistance then gets converted to a value that indicates the average moisture content.
4. How to Calibrate a Hay Moisture Tester?
Before calibrating a hay moisture meter, you must select a standard level. For example, you can choose 18% as your average moisture level. Some hay moisture testers may return to a preset number each time you switch them on. You will have to change it to a standard level.
Run a couple of calibration tests on the hay moisture tester. Follow the sequence of steps given in the manual to do so. Do a calibration test again to ascertain the accuracy of the moisture reading.
You might have to clean the sensor probe or plate if you get strange results. After cleaning, you can switch on the moisture meter to get accurate results.
5. How Do I Know If My Hay Is Dry Enough to Bale?
After a week of drying, you can use the hay moisture tester to ascertain if the bay had dried enough to bale. If you don’t have a hay tester, you can test the hay the traditional way: twisting or breaking the stems of the hay. If it breaks, the hay is dry and ready to bale.
6. Which Is the Best Moisture Meter?
The best moisture meter is one that is versatile and accurate. It is important to remember that each meter has a different range and accuracy rating. Gain knowledge about it so that you can make an informed choice.
7. How Long Should Hay Sit Before Baling?
On a sunny day, you can let the hay sit for a couple of hours before you start baling. 2 – 3 hours is all it takes to ensure that the hay is completely dry. If you want to determine if the hay is really completely dry, you can use a hay moisture tester to test.
8. Does Raking Hay Help It Dry?
When you rake, you move the wet section of the hay towards the windrow and help it dry quickly. In dry weather conditions, it is best to rake early morning or evening as the hay is moist then and will not shatter.
9. Will Hay Moisture Increase After Baling?
The answer is yes and no. Depending on air humidity, temperature and exposure to weather, the hay moisture may increase or decrease after baling. It can be detected by a hay moisture tester.
10. How Fast Does Hay Dry?
The drying time will depend on the quantity of hay you want to dry, weather conditions, and the purpose of baling. If you are drying hay to make fodder, it usually takes 24 hours or less. If you are drying the hay for baling, it usually takes 3 – 5 days. It is important to remember that a lot depends on the weather conditions.