A collective hay dryer in barn


The heat from a digester is used to dry green forage. The barn hay drying system is collective. Ten dairy farms are involved.

The aim of farmers is to improve protein self-sufficiency by producing high quality forage and to reduce feeding cost.

190 t dry matter have been dried, come from 84 ha of alfalfa, red clover and multi-species grasslands.

In this farm, 6 ha of multi-species grasslands have been harvested and dried in the collective unit. These grasslands have produced 9,3 t dry matter per ha.

In this farm, temporary grasslands are sown under a cereal cover crop to ensure grassland establishment.

Reason for the innovation

  • Focusing on higher production
  • Decreasing feeding cost
  • A collective organization of harvests
  • Curiosity in subject

Farm description


This plain farm is located in western France, in the department of Mayenne.

  • Soils: Clayed-loam
  • Climate: Temperate oceanic climate, especially good for forage yield

Grassland management

  • Grazing management type: Strip stocking
  • Length of grazing period: 8 months
  • Forage conservation type: Silage and barn dried hay


  • Annual Work Unit: 4
  • Agricultural area: 116 ha UAA
    • 34 ha temporary grasslands
    • 13.5 ha permanent grasslands
    • 50.5 ha corn silage
  • Herd: 115 Holstein cows—178 LU
  • Stocking rate: 1.5 LU/ha main forage area
  • ≈ 20 fattening bulls sold each year

Animal performance

  • Milk production per head : 8 300 L /year

Why it is working

A good work organisation and available labour: all farmers aim at a good quality of forage and it needs a harvesting schedule to mow at good maturity stages in each farm.

Proximity between barn hay system and farms: All 10 farms are located around 15 km around the collective unit.

Good relationship between managers of the digester unit and farmers.

This forage conservation type requires a storage building for loose dried-hay.

Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

animal feeding management, forage conservation technique, legume management – Perennial legumes

Main types of animal

dairy cattle



Product type

Farmer portrait


English, French

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