Document Type


Publication Date



moisture content, forages, microwave oven

Extension Number

ExEx 8077


Plant Science


Knowing the moisture content of forages at the time of harvest and storage is essential for making and preserving high-quality hay and silage. Knowing the moisture content of stored forages is important for accurate ration formulation. A squeeze test, which involves squeezing forage into a ball and then guessing the moisture content, is a common method of determination. This method is rapid, but it lacks precision. Resistance-type moisture testers estimate moisture as a measure of electrical resistance. These devices provide estimates rapidly, but they usually are expensive (about $100 to $150) and vary in accuracy. A portable, electric drying unit also is available and is fairly accurate, but it requires at least 30 minutes before readings can be taken. Using a microwave oven to determine moisture content is advantageous because it dries forage in a minimum amount of time and can provide accurate results. The following procedure describes how to use a microwave oven for moisture determination. This is a good option for producers who do not want to purchase expensive moisture testers.


Updated June 2002