Effect of Soaking on Nitrate Concentrations in Teff Hay

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Abstract

Soaking can affect respirable dust particles and the concentrations of some nutrients in alfalfa and cool season grass hays. However, the effect of soaking on nitrates in hay has not been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of soaking on teff hay, a warm season annual grass, that contained high concentrations of nitrate (>2.0%). Six bales of teff hay were used for the study. Six 0.5 kg samples were taken from each bale and assigned to one of six soaking treatments: no soaking (control), cold water immersion for 10 seconds, warm water immersion for 10 seconds, cold water soaking for 1 hour, warm water soaking for 1 hour, and cold water soaking for 8 hours. After soaking, hay was dried, ground, and submitted to a commercial laboratory for analysis. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance as a block design. When the main effect of treatment was significant (P < .05), means were separated by Tukey's honest significant difference test. Soaking for 1 or 8 hours decreased water-soluble carbohydrate (P < .0001). Phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc concentrations were reduced by soaking for 1 hour or longer (P, K, Na: P < .0001; Zn: P = .003). Nitrate concentrations were reduced (P < 0.05) to safe levels for horses (≤0.5%) by soaking hay for 1 hour or longer but soaking also reduced the concentrations of some nutrients in the hay. Minimal differences were observed between cold and warm soaking temperatures.

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