Category Archives: Timothy Hay

For dairy farmers and race horse owners, the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies are famous for their Hay Production. The region boasts Timothy hay of acclaim the world over.

Timothy Hay

The Benefits of Timothy Hay: A Nutritional Powerhouse for Your Livestock

As a livestock owner or small animal caretaker, you understand the importance of providing the best nutrition for your animals. With numerous hay options available, it’s crucial to find the most nutritionally balanced hay that meets your animals’ dietary needs. Two of the most popular types of hay used for livestock are legumes and grass hay, with alfalfa and timothy hay being the most well-known, respectively. This article will focus on the benefits of timothy hay and why it’s an excellent choice for a variety of animals.

Timothy Hay
Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is a premium feed option due to its specific qualities, making it ideal for many feed programs. This cool-season grass thrives in regions with a cool spring and harsh winters but requires adequate irrigation to avoid drought damage. Most timothy hay production occurs near the base of major mountain ranges, where winds help dry the hay before sun bleach sets in.

As a grass hay, timothy hay is characterized by long, hollow stems that can grow up to 60 inches tall with leaves up to 17 inches long. Its distinctive heads, or inflorescence, are densely packed with spikelets that flower when mature.

Nutritionally, timothy hay contains 7 to 11 percent crude protein and 0.38 to 0.51 percent calcium, with a digestible energy of 0.82 to 0.94 megacalories (Mcal) per pound. Timothy hay is ideal for horses and cattle due to its low protein, high fiber, and high energy content, which make it easily digestible. It can be fed regularly without providing excess calories and protein, making it an excellent choice for less active and stabled horses. For livestock with higher protein requirements, it’s often combined with alfalfa or another legume in a comprehensive feed program.

In addition to horses and cattle, other animals such as goats, camels, and sheep benefit from timothy hay in their diets. It’s also a popular feed option for small animals like rabbits, chinchillas, degus, and gerbils due to its high fiber content, which is essential for their digestive health.

In summary, timothy hay is a nutritious and versatile feed option for a variety of animals. Its low protein and high fiber content make it ideal for regular feeding without overloading on calories or protein. When considering the best hay options for your animals, don’t overlook the nutritional powerhouse that is timothy hay.

Are you looking for high-quality timothy hay for your livestock? Look no further! Our timothy hay is grown and harvested with care to ensure the best nutritional value for your animals. Click here to order your timothy hay today and see the difference it can make in your animals’ health and well-being!

Reducing Risk of Fire on Your Farm & Ranch

Reducing Risk of Fire on Your Farm & Ranch

Part 2 – Reducing Risk of Fire on Farm & Ranch

As we discussed in Part 1 of Farm, Ranch & Fire, an agricultural fire tends to be more costly than other industrial fires.  Not only is property and equipment affected, so too are crops and livestock – the combination is a double whammy which increases the commercial value of the loss.

Clearly all the safety precautions in the world won’t help if a wildfire has advanced to the point that evacuation of your farm or ranch is necessary, nonetheless whatever fire prevention precautions can be taken should be.  In Part 1 of this article we looked at some simple steps every farm or ranch can take with a mind to fire prevention.  Now we will take a closer look at ways to reduce the risk of fire to your farm or ranch.

Fire Prevention Measures

Forest Fire.  No one ever wants to have to use it, but it is a good idea to develop an evacuation plan (bearing in mind livestock) and incorporate drills into your staff training and education.

Noncombustible Zones.  Keep dry and flammable vegetation at least 5 feet away from barns, outbuildings and residences.  Establish a noncombustible zone around fuel, chemicals, hay and equipment. Welders/ and cutting torches should only be used in clean areas well away from flammable materials (at least 35 feet). Keep roofs and eaves troughs free of combustible debris.  Maintain appropriate fire guards around crops and pastures.

Equipment.  Replace belts, bearings and electrical components in a timely manner.  Keep engine compartments clean.  Be sure mufflers and manifolds are in proper working order.  Follow maintenance schedules for machinery.  Machinery or vehicles with special hazards should be stored separately. Fire extinguishers should be on tractors, combines and other farm and ranch vehicles.

Buildings.  Be sure to include updating buildings with fire resistant materials (and sprinklers) in your budget and short and long-term planning.  To prevent the spread of fire, construct new buildings away from preexisting ones.  Keep vegetation cut around and between buildings.  Use fire doors and smoke detectors.

Electrical.  Be sure staff and family know how to disconnect main power.  Extension cords are not designed to be permanent wiring solutions.  When you need to use them for a temporary purpose, be sure they are rated appropriately for the task.  Keep an eye out for exposed wiring or frayed insulation around wiring.  Better safe than sorry.  Bring in a licensed contractor for advice, inspections, renovations and new construction.

Heating Sources.  Use dust and moisture resistant covers on lights.  Tank heater cords and heat tapes should be protected against damage by pests or livestock.  Use heaters with tip-over protection and be sure they are not placed in high traffic areas or where combustibles and flammables are stored.  Dispose of oily rags in a timely manner.  Cure hay to the proper moisture content before bailing.

Controlled Burns.  The Government of Saskatchewan has a great little article online entitled “FireSmart: Farm and Ranch Practices”.  The article has some excellent tips about controlled burns, as well as fire prevention in general for farmers and ranchers.

Farming and ranching may feel a bit like gambling sometimes.  There are many variables at play which can affect the prosperity of an operation from year to year – don’t let careless fire prevention be one of them.  Be vigilant, establish a culture of safety on your farm or ranch.



Contact Barr Ag to get more information on any of our crops including Alfalfa, Timothy, Mixed Hay, Canadian Grains and Pulse crops.

The Government of Saskatchewan; Wildfire Education and Prevention; FireSmart: Farm and Ranch Practices

Overview of Timothy Hay

 Timothy hay, (Phleum pratense), is the only species within its genus-Phleum- of substantial importance economically. This perennial bunchgrass, referred to as a cool-season, cold-tolerant grass, possesses a life span ranging from moderate to long. The plant’s shallow root system is located in the first 30 centimetres of soil (Gesshe, 1994) though roots have been found much deeper in feral timothy where soil and other conditions are optimal and the plant has been left undisturbed.

With long, straight stems, timothy hay reaches a height of between 1 and 1.5 metres when fully mature. (Gesshe, 1994) At the base of the stem is a bulbous looking structure known as a corm. The corm’s chief purpose is the storage of sugars which it then uses to provide the nutrition for the production of new shoots. As this new secondary crop begins to develop, it begins to take root and forms new secondary corms. From these secondary corms arises yet another set of shoots-the stage at which the plant will over-winter.
The plentiful amount of basal and stem leaves renders timothy a productive hay crop. The leaf blades of the timothy plant are flat and the seed head, which is cylindrical in shape, is located at the top of the stem. The seeds themselves are shaped like a short grain of rice encased in a hull. The hulls are compacted together in the head which can grow to be a full 15 centimetres in length (Gesshe, 1994).

Timothy possesses outstanding winter hardiness both as a seedling and an established plant and thrives in temperatures between 15 and 21ºC. While the plant is tolerant to acidity, timothy’s optimal pH soil environment is within the 5 to 7 range and it does not do well in soils that are alkaline or saline. Timothy is well adapted to heavier textured black, grey and organic soils and requires limited fertilization. With poor tolerance for flooding and even poorer tolerance for drought, timothy is well suited to the 45 to 55 centimetre precipitation zone found in western and northern Alberta. (Gesshe, 1994)

There are many varieties of timothy which are classed as being: early, very early, midseason or late. At Barr-Ag, we grow 2 styles of timothy hay. We take 2 cuts from the early maturing variety which is grown on our irrigated farm in southern Alberta. Our late maturing variety is grown on dryland on our other farms near the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Barr-Ag’s head office is located at 5837 Imperial Drive, Olds, Alberta, Canada, T4H 1G6. Please visit our website(link to home page) or call or write if you have any questions about our timothy hay, non-GMO alfalfa hay or any of our other products. We can be reached by telephone at: 403 507 8660 or by email at: or .

Agriculture Canada (1978) Timothy: High-Quality Forage for Livestock in Eastern Canada
Casler, Michael, D., Kallenbach, Robert, L. (2007). Forages: The Science of Grassland Agriculture Vol II
Gesshe, Ray, Foothills Forage Association (1994). Timothy Production Handbook
Langer, R.H.M. (1973). Pastures and Pasture Plants

Canadian Timothy Hay

Canadian Timothy Hay

Canada’s forage industry is booming as Asian markets continue to provide strong demand for one of the most commonly-grown forage grasses in Canada, timothy hay. Timothy is perfectly suited for growing in cooler, more temperate climates like that of the Alberta province. As far as forage grasses go, timothy hay is one of the more palatable options and preferred by most livestock.

Barr-Ag grows timothy hay in the cool and clean environment of the Canadian Rockies. Timothy Hay Barr-AgThe area near the eastern slopes where Barr-Ag grows its timothy is known for producing the sweetest timothy hay anywhere on the planet. It is thought that this is the result of the outstanding growing environment created by the perfect altitude and seasonal changes for timothy hay.

Timothy is a perennial bunchgrass that is well-adapted to climates like those found in Western Canada. The fertile farmland there is paired with long daylight hours and plentiful sun; because of the exceptional environment for the growing season, Barr-Ag is able to grow and produce timothy hay of unsurpassed quality. This is very important as increased incomes and better standards of living in many areas of the Middle East and Asia are resulting in higher demands for animal-based protein and dairy. The rapidly-expanding dairy and beef industries in Asian countries rely on Canadian timothy hay due to limited land area for growing forage in their own countries. In fact, Canadian timothy hay exports are growing nearly exponentially and currently account for more than $100 million in trade on a yearly basis.

Barr-Ag produces dry-land timothy hay that is harvested once every season, and irrigated timothy that can be harvested twice every season. Nearly all hay produced by Barr-Ag comes from their farms, with the balance coming from trusted producers. Additional hay is procured only from producers who have been carefully vetted to ensure their adherence to Barr-Ag’s strict growing protocols and standards of quality control.

Barr-Ag makes shipping easy through thorough accommodation of customer needs. All shipping and customs documents are prepared for buyers to help ensure that every delivery goes smoothly. Shipments to other continents, as well as those heading into the US, are treated with the utmost care and are routed through various ports to keep shipping time to a minimum. Various shipping options are offered by Barr-Ag, including cost and freight (CNF) and freight on board (FOB); container yard (CY) shipping is also available.

Contact Barr Ag to get more information on any or our crops including Alfalfa, Timothy, Mixed Hay, Canadian Grains and Pulse crops.

Timothy Seed

Canadian Timothy Hay

Timothy seed is most produced in Western Canada, specifically Alberta and Manitoba.  Although much of the product is used throughout North America, some varieties are grown and shipped to international markets.  Timothy hay readily produces the seed and it can be harvested for seed as well as for forage.

The price of timothy seed is affected by the supply of seed producers in western Canada and the market demand.  International demand for Canadian timothy seed comes mostly from the USA and European countries.  Seed prices are also affected by the yield of timothy hay produced and sold for forage.  In years where overall hay production for forage was low due to weather conditions or other factors, the fields can still be harvested for the seed.

Timothy Seed in the Marketplace

Growers of Canadian timothy hay and seed have several options for marketing their crops.  Canadian growers can choose to sell into the cash market or grow under contract from an international buyer.  Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development mentions two options for contracting timothy seed: forward priced or production contracts.

Forward pricing is when the grower is contracted to grow and deliver a certain amount and grade of seed at a specific date.  Depending on the contract, the seller could pay the shipping and handling costs.  Then the seed company will pay a certain price depending on the quality and grade of timothy seed.

A production contract is signed between a grower and seed company when the grower agrees to produce a specific variety of seed from a certain growing area.  A specific price is set, but if the seed does not meet the quality as outlined in the contract upon delivery the price to the grower can be reduced.  Most production contracts are for certified production.  That means that a field inspection is completed and the timothy seed is registered and certified.  One benefit to Canadian growers entering into a production contract is that they are guaranteed a minimum price for their crop, offering a small amount of protection in a sometimes unpredictable marketplace.

Varieties of Timothy Seed

There are many varieties of timothy seed on the marketplace.  The most common variety grown by Canadian producers is Climax, which was developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Varieties that are more commonly exported to Europe are usually grown under production contract with seed companies.

Here is a list of available timothy seed varieties grown in Western Canada:  Alma, Basho, Bottnia II, Bounty, Champ, Climax, Comtal, Hokuo, Itasca, Rasant, Richmond, Tiiti, Tiller, and Timfor.

Important Factors for Growing Timothy Seed

Field selection is very important and must meet a number of requirements.  The field must be a certain distant from other fields growing different timothy varieties and that are free of perennial weeds.  Timothy hay is tolerant to flooding so it will actually grow well in a poorly drained field.  It’s also important to know the history of herbicides previously used on the field and if any remaining residues will affect the crop.

Timothy is a small seed and must be planted shallow into a firm seedbed at about two pounds of seed per acre.

Establishing stand, row spacing, and fertility will help growers decide on in-crop herbicides and pesticides.  Timothy hay is a very sensitive crop and herbicide selection must be done considering the weeds present, the amount of stress the crop is already under, stage of the timothy and rotation of herbicides.

Fortunately, well established timothy stands are not affected by insect pests.  Newer stands might could see grasshoppers, wireworm or cutworms most likely because these pests were already in the field when it was planted.  Keeping a close eye on moisture levels will help the new crop tolerate damage created by feeding insects.



Timothy Hay – Natural Crop Production

The Canadian Rocky Mountains. Banff National Park. The region congers up images of unspoiled wilderness hikes and skiing in a majestic winter wonderland; the great outdoors at its finest. For dairy farmers and race horse owners, the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies are famous for something else. Hay. The region boasts Timothy hay of acclaim the world over.

Timothy hay grown at the higher altitudes of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is extremely palatable. The growing season in this region is characterized by long warm days and cool nights- ideal conditions for producing Timothy hay with higher sugar content.

The region is also characterized by long, inhospitable winters; unpleasant yet advantageous for the purposes of crop production. Unlike crops grown in areas with longer growing seasons and milder winters, the sub-zero temperatures of this area enable a more natural method of husbandry. There is little to no need for pesticides and herbicides because the same winter that is inhospitable to humans is also inhospitable to many pests and weeds.

The shorter growing season means that land isn’t forced to produce by the use of artificial fertilizers. Where hay producers in warmer climates may coax 6 or 7 cuttings out of a given area in a season by using artificial fertilizers, only 1 or 2 cuttings in a season are possible east of the Canadian Rockies. The land has time to recover so the following year’s crop is grown in rich, healthy soil.

Barr-Ag Ltd is a producer and exporter of  Timothy hay, grain and forage. Our operation is based out of Olds, Alberta, near the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. If you are interested in finding out more about Barr-Ag’s hay and grain and export operation, visit our website at

Timothy Hay: Processing and Export

Timothy hay grows extremely well in Western Canada’s growing conditions. The clean air, rich soil and cooperative climate all contribute to the production of some of the most palatable hay in the world. Since this Timothy hay is grown at higher altitudes, with long warm summer days and cool nights during the growing season, it matures with an increased sugar content and makes excellent forage for livestock.

Canadian Timothy hay and other forages are in demand in Japan and other countries along the Pacific Rim. It is used as forage for beef and dairy cattle, as well as in the horse industry in certain parts of Asia. It’s a nutritious source of fibre, encourages growth and is beneficial to livestock producers who do not have the land or the means to grow it locally. As a result, the export market for Canadian hay has expanded rapidly.

Canadian hay growers see hay processors and exporters like Barr-Ag as their consumer. They will sell their crops to a local exporter, where the Timothy hay is compressed and processed for shipment. The true customer is the export market. Canadian hay growers who want access to the export market should contact a hay processor to learn about market demands, specific standards for raw material and the preference of the international customer. .

Product quality is incredibly important when trying to sell your crops to a hay processor and exporter. Shipping products like Timothy hay such large distances is very expensive. In order to ensure the needs and expectations of the international customer are met, a hay processor must hold a high standard for the hay it chooses to purchase, process and export.

In regards to Timothy hay, the end-user is looking for long, course stems with long heads. The stems should be green, leafy and have a minimum of brown leaves. It should be free of mold, weeds, or other plant species and contaminants. It must have a low moisture content to ensure mold and moisture damage doesn’t occur during transport or storage.

Processing the crop into compressed bales can reduce shipping costs. Timothy hay can be compressed or even double compressed to better fit into transportation containers. They are usually transported by truck to a container yard, then picked up by rail and moved to a Canadian port. If the hay is going to Asia it will be moved to a port in Vancouver, shipments going to Europe travel to Montreal, and shipments going to the United States are transported via Chicago and/or Fort Lauderdale. From these ports they’re loaded on ocean container ships and sent to overseas markets.


In order to ship Timothy hay to international markets the hay exporter must obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate. This is the official document issued by the plant protection organization of the exporting country to the plant protection organization of the importing country. It makes sure the product has been inspected, free of quarantine pests, and cleared according to specific regulations of the country receiving the shipment.

Some markets do not hold as strict standards as Japan. If the baled Timothy hay does not meet Japanese requirements it can be sold to residual markets such as Korea or Taiwan. A hay processor can also market single-compressed hay in the USA, Europe, the Caribbean and Middle East as they each have different requirements and may accept a variety of Canadian hay products.

For more information on selling your Canadian grown Timothy hay, contact Barr-Ag.  If you’re interested in importing Canadian forage, click on the image and fill our the request form.


Timothy Hay Overview

History of Timothy Hay

Timothy hay, also referred to as Timothy-grass, is a grass native to Europe.  It is also known as meadow cat’s tail and common cat’s tail and can be found in most of Europe, excluding the Mediterranean region.

The grass was introduced to North America by settlers in the early 18th century.  It was first cataloged by a man named John Hurd, who has noticed it growing wild in New Hampshire and started feeding it to his livestock.  He called it “Hurd grass”.  In around 1720 a farmer named Timothy Hansen began cultivating it and promoting it commercially throughout the other states.  It was around that time the grass got the name “Timothy Hay” and the name has stuck to this day.

Timothy Hay for Forage

Timothy Hay is most used as feed for cattle and horses.  It is noted for its relatively low protein and high fibre content.  It also contains low moisture which makes the dried grass ideal for storage without worrying about rotting.

Mature horses especially benefit from the low protein and high-quality nutritional content of Timothy hay as it allows them to eat without gaining extra calories or weight.  These same dietary factors are beneficial for thoroughbred race horses.  Timothy hay is easy on animals’ digestive systems and its high fibre content promotes regular bowel movements.

In many cases, horse owners and cattle producers will mix Timothy hay with other forages like alfalfa and red clover, especially if they feel their animals could benefit from the extra protein and calories offered by legume forages.  Since Timothy hay has a low calcium content, it is ideal feed for domestic animals like rabbits and guinea pigs, which are may be more prone to developing bladder stones and crystallization of the urine.  Many small animal vets recommend Timothy hay to avoid these problems.

Timothy Hay for Export

Timothy hay grows extremely well under Canada’s growing conditions and is in demand in countries along the Pacific Rim, specifically in Japan.  It is used to add fibre to the diets of cattle, and as forage for horses in the Asian market. This huge export market has picked up substantially in Western Canada, with producers like Barr-Ag Hay & Grain Exporters working hard to keep up with the pace of the worlds expanding demand for Timothy hay.

According to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, export shipments from Canada’s western provinces have increased from a trial shipment of 17 tonnes in the early 1980s to over 300,000 tonnes in 2003-04.  Out of that total, 80% of it is going to Japan making them Canada’s largest customer for Timothy hay.

Barr-Ag Timothy Hay

Grown near the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is argued to be some of the most palatable hay in the world. We are fortunate to have clean air, rich soil and a pristine environment in which to grow our hay. Increased sugar content is the result of higher altitudes and our northern location, which makes for long, warm days and cool nights during the growing season.

Dryland Timothy hay is cut once per season, while irrigated Timothy is harvested 2 times per season. The majority of Barr-Ag’s Timothy hay is produced on our own farms and the rest we purchase from trusted producers who follow our growing protocols and adhere to our quality control standards.

Contact Barr-Ag for further information regarding grades currently available.