moisture content, forages, microwave oven
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.
Twidwell, Edward K.; Wagner, John J.; and Thiex, Nancy J., "Use a Microwave Oven to Determine Moisture Content of Forages" (2002). SDSU Extension Extra Archives. 282.