Hay There: What’s the Difference Between Hay and Straw?

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Hay Ride
Did you think hay and straw were the same thing? Think again. The next time you take a “hay ride,” know you might technically be seated on straw.

Straw is what remains of hay after the hay has dried and lost its nutritional value, McMinnville hay farmer Mark Prater says. “When you’re talking about straw around here, it’s normally wheat straw,” he says.

Prater grows 100 to 200 acres of wheat for hay annually. Of the wheat that he doesn’t use for hay, he uses a combine to harvest for seed to plant the next year or to sell to other farmers. Straw is “the dry stem left after the seed is combined,” he says. It is baled for bedding, mulching and non-food uses.

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