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Feb 22 2013

A quick rhetorical question about animal husbandry

Who here can tell me the difference between hay and straw?

84 comments

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  1. 1
    Chris Clarke

    Ah, I see His Cephalopodness beat me to it by mere seconds.

  2. 2
    Inaji

    Hay is for horses, straw is for assholes to build structures of pure inanity.

  3. 3
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Hay is dried meadow grass and flowers. Straw is dried cereal crop stalks.

    /literal

    Imma click the link now. *trepidation*

  4. 4
    Robert Harvey

    Hay is nutritious. It consists of any number of combinations of clover, grass, alfalfa, timothy, etc. Straw has some nutritive value, but is mostly used for bedding and an soaking up urine and feces. On our farm, the straw consisted of the stems left over after threshing the grains of oats from the oat grass. Hay is generally green, straw is generally yellow. I wasn’t very old when I left the farm, but that is what I remember. Straw can be used to stuff mattresses, can be woven (straw hats!), and gets stuck in your hair when you copulate in the hayloft (never called a stawloft, even if there are bales of straw) of a barn.

  5. 5
    Francisco Bacopa

    Since a little pig can build a house of straw, I always figured straw was the thick stems of tall grasses. Hay seems to be made from the leaves of shorter grasses that are suitable food for cows and horses. Straw seems to be the less palatable parts of taller grasses

  6. 6
    Inaji

    I think a lot of people don’t know the meaning of rhetorical…

  7. 7
    robertharvey

    No, hay is more than grass, though it may contain grass. Alfalfa, timothy, clover, etc. Don’t get me started on silage.

  8. 8
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    Chris,

    Ah, I see His Cephalopodness beat me to it by mere seconds.

    It’s not a problem. As I look at it, your contributions here are doubling the awesomeness of the joint.

  9. 9
    Jadehawk

    I think a lot of people don’t know the meaning of rhetorical…

    Come on. The difference between hay and straw is a far more interesting topic than Radford’s productions. Don’t you think?

  10. 10
    RealityEnforcer, Roaming Bear, terror of the Boy Scouts

    I was going to post something interesting about the difference between hay and straw, but the link killed enough brain cells to force a reboot. Intelligence will probably return in the next few hours. I hope it isn’t permanent.

  11. 11
    didgen

    If that article was the epitome of Mr. Radford’s sense of humor, he should skip dinner and go eat his bedding.

  12. 12
    ChasCPeterson

    hay’s for eating, straw’s for pissing on, rhetorical’s for when you don’t have data, the Oxford comma’s right here where it belongs, and Radford’s a tubeworm.

  13. 13
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Hay is what you make when the sun is shining.

    This can take many forms, but is most often seen when a sudden increase in attention is paid to someone. It would appear that Radford is indeed making hay, why else try and defend such obvious bullshit?

    A straw is the final bulwark against summary dismissal, a frail and fragile thing by all accounts. Radford just snapped it, I never had much interest in low hanging fruit skepticism so no great loss.

  14. 14
    Cuttlefish

    hay foot, straw foot, travelin’ on…

  15. 15
    carlie

    (+1 Chas)

  16. 16
    chuckonpiggott

    If you’ve ever worked a dairy farm in the summer you know the difference between hay & straw. About 25 lbs when you’re loading it up into a barn.
    A hot humid summer day with what seems to be a never ending line of hay wagons rolling up is absolute hell. Of course those were the days when hay was in bales not big rolls. Straw is still baled and it was lighter but it still itched.

  17. 17
    robertharvey

    Haymaking was not so bad. Eventually we had crimping macnines that crushed the stems of the plants and facilitated dessication. But the threshing of the oats produced huge amounts of straw (useful as bedding) but also chaff — yellow dust that adhered to sweaty skin and itched like crazy. Plus threshing was very labor intensive, so the farmwives needed to cook for 20 or 30 men, three meals per day for the three-to-five days that it took to thresh. My mother went into labor during threshing season (her mother-in-law stepped in) and was back at the stove in three days.

  18. 18
    Marcus Ranum

    Straw is wheat stems. Hay is grass, alfalfa, clover, timothy and sometimes weeds.

  19. 19
    Marcus Ranum

    A hot humid summer day with what seems to be a never ending line of hay wagons rolling up is absolute hell. Of course those were the days when hay was in bales not big rolls. Straw is still baled and it was lighter but it still itched.

    The year i had 600 bales down and my tractor’s oil pump went, so me and my dogs brought it jn using my pickup truck – that was no fun. 30 bales a trip and I had to load and unload (couldn’t tow the hay wagon) That cured me of any desire to make hay. Now I let a neighbor plant about 80 ac of corn for biodiesel.

  20. 20
    Argle Bargle

    Satire is a difficult form of humor to write. The best satirists, like Mark Twain, Terry Pratchett, and Mel Brooks, make it appear effortless. Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” was a better movie than the one it satired, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”. But even Brooks occasionally failed in making good satire (“History of the World Part 1″ and “Spaceballs”). I’d tell Radford to forget about writing satire and stick to skepticism, but he fails even at that.

  21. 21
    Menyambal

    Hay is the edible leaves of non-domesticated grasses.

    Straw is the inedible stems of domesticated grasses raised for cereal crops.

  22. 22
    Gregory in Seattle

    Here is a quick, unrelated answer:

    Don’t get caught at it.

  23. 23
    johnmckay

    I think we’ve pretty much nailed the hay/straw question. Now we need to work on convincing the religious right that animal husbandry doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means.

  24. 24
    kestrel

    I wrote a little poem for Ben Radford but I do not know if he will post my comment or not. It goes like this:

    Straw is yellow, and makes a great bed.
    Hay is green, and to animals is fed.

    Anyone who can not tell the difference has clearly never had to pick any of it up. And if you did feed your animals straw, well, they’d be looking pretty darn bad. It is just about as nutritious as shredded phone books.

  25. 25
    heliobates

    The comments over there are more amusing than the “satire”.

    Isn’t one of the main complaints that the Horde is one big echo chamber?

    Self-reflection. U r doin it rong.

  26. 26
    poeducker

    Hay is a river in British Columbia, Canada. Straw is a UK pop group.

  27. 27
    athyco

    Most in Radford’s comments seem to think he’s written the seminal straw post. It seemed really jerky and off to me.

  28. 28
    Ichthyic

    Eventually we had crimping macnines that crushed the stems of the plants and facilitated dessication.

    Don’t forget the aliens helped out too. Those crop circles ain’t hay, brother.

  29. 29
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Come on. The difference between hay and straw is a far more interesting topic than Radford’s productions. Don’t you think?

    Does Radford actually produce anything?

  30. 30
    Tethys

    Alfalfa in bloom smells wonderful, and makes good hay.

    I’m sure there is a good rumplestiltskin joke to be made about Ben’s latest whinge. Only a troll would spend so much time trying to spin straw into gold.

  31. 31
    Jadehawk

    Does Radford actually produce anything?

    producing shit is still production

  32. 32
    Holms

    But even Brooks occasionally failed in making good satire (“History of the World Part 1″ and “Spaceballs”).

    [ ] Strongly Agree
    [ ] Agree
    [ ] Not Sure
    [ ] Disagree
    [ ] Strongly Disagree
    [x] You Get That Shit Outta Here, That Move Was Fucking Excellent

  33. 33
    Menyambal

    Hay was very influential in the settling of Europe. Once people figured out how to make hay, they could keep cows and horses over the winter in places where there wasn’t edible grass outside in wintertime. Of course, they bedded the animals on straw ….

  34. 34
    Rey Fox

    There’s more content in this post than Radford’s.

  35. 35
    Ichthyic

    [x] You Get That Shit Outta Here, That Move Was Fucking Excellent

    wait…. you think spaceballs was good? Am I reading that right?

    wow.

  36. 36
    billingtondev

    Straw – camel – back?

  37. 37
    Crudely Wrott

    There is a song that goes . . .

    “As a young man
    I helped the old man
    Workin’ in the field
    And ev’ry day
    We hauled the hay
    To the rollin’ of the wheel
    Until one day
    The tractor lay
    The old man down
    To the ground
    The tractor pitched him
    Into a ditch and
    He lay there
    Still for the sound
    Of a wheel that kept
    Spinnin’ ’round”

    I’ll remember the artist later on; anomia again.

    My father taught me to stack baled hay. He was proud that his stacks didn’t fall down. The corners are critical. I learned. I also got foxtail barbs in my boots, up my sleeves and down my neck. Itched like crazy. And once, stacking with a hired hand who chewed RedMan ‘baccy, I took a little slice, swallowed, got dizzy and fell off the hay stack. First time I ever had the wind knocked out of me. Thought I was dying.

    Others above have got it pretty much right. General rule of thumb, hay is cut when it is alive, green. Straw is cut when it is dead. Hay is food, straw is temporary flooring.

  38. 38
    ambulocetacean

    It seems that Dunning-Kruger also applies to humour.

    At least Radford is doing valuable work debunking Bigfoot.

  39. 39
    otrame

    My goodness. Radford is truly petty, isn’t he.

    It give me great pleasure to note that the Horde spent so much time answering PZ’s question at face value. I love you guys, I do.

  40. 40
    Crudely Wrott

    Well, Otrame, honest question, honest answers.

    A perfect balance.

    In testament to such balance you will observe that the universe is not spinning wildly out of balance.

    The Horde saves another day. Tomorrow looms. We’ll be ready.

  41. 41
    John Morales

    otrame, it’s not PZ’s question.

  42. 42
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Athyco @27:
    Are you saying Ben’s post was one big jerk off?

  43. 43
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Jadehawk:
    I think Ben recycls shit. He doesn’t produce it. The production would take some originality.

  44. 44
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    John:
    Perhaps it is the fluffy kitty beards that PZ and Chris possess that explains such mixups…

  45. 45
    bad Jim

    I remember reading a former soldier saying that it was more comfortable to sleep on hay than on straw, which reminds me that it’s time to hit the hay, whatever that means.

  46. 46
    Kristjan Wager

    It seems that Dunning-Kruger also applies to humour.

    That was actually one of the original subjects that Dunning and Kruger tested people on, so that should come as no surprise. If you haven’t read the original article (“Unskilled and unaware of it”), I highly recommend it.

  47. 47
    slowdjinn

    “Hay, man” is a greeting,
    strawman is a fallacious rhetorical device.

  48. 48
    coyotenose

    First Ben Radford I’ve ever read. It did not encourage me to bother with him again. He and his sycophants have pretty miserable senses of humor. And I don’t call them sycophants out of tribalism, but rather because they actually call that piece “brilliant” and make up MORE strawmen attacks on the piece itself. Hey, I could criticize PZ, but for actual reasons*. They got nothin’.

    That they obsess over PZ’s publication status says nothing about their target, but it speaks volumes about their desperate need for legitimate talking points.

    *None of which are significant enough to affect my opinion of the blog, and I’ve dumped a lot of blogs over the authors’ failures.

  49. 49
    mikmik

    A pound of straw weighs more than a pound of hay.

  50. 50
    Argle Bargle

    A pound of straw weighs more than a pound of hay.

    Is this about troy ounces versus avoirdupois ounces?

  51. 51
    dgrasett

    Hay goes in the cow – straw goes under the cow.

  52. 52
    mikmik

    Is this about troy ounces versus avoirdupois ounces?

    I’m not sure!? All I know is that there was a needle in the straw I was weighing, and it pricked me and some blood dripped onto the scale.

  53. 53
    Eristae

    Actually, I initially took the to be a critique of people’s inclination to blame PZ for anything, even things that it was unreasonable to blame any one person for.

    Then I got farther along in the piece and had to shake my head and sigh sadly.

  54. 54
    athorist

    I think the real question is is: PZ, why don’t you have legs? (or a shadow) http://benjaminradford.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/PZMeyers.jpg

  55. 55
    rumson

    Don’t be so quick to dismiss straw! Besides being used in stalls, it works great for insulating coups and dog houses, makes great looking pottery when used in pit firing, covers newly seeded lawns to help hold moisture and protect the seed,and is clean enough to be used as bedding for newly born foals. Also, when certain types of straw becomes moldy, you can use it to fight off some forms of algae in Koi ponds. I’m sure I could come up with some more, but I think you get the point.

  56. 56
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    PZ also doesn’t cast a shadow in that picture, but before we race to a conclusion that Radford is accusing him of vampirism, let us observe the similar attention to detail in Radford’s choice of file name for the image: PZMeyers.jpg

    Obviously fake.

  57. 57
    leftwingfox

    The non-nutritive value of hay is also what makes it safe to use as insulation in a hay bale home; vermin aren’t interested in eating it.

  58. 58
    leftwingfox

    Straw, straw! Dammit.

    Right. One more coffee and back to work I go. My brain is obviously at the correct power level to operate heavy equipment.

  59. 59
    chigau (違う)

    re: shadows
    Benjamin is as skilled at photoshop as he is at satire.

  60. 60
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    A poem:

    Roses are red, violets are blue
    I have no idea what Radford thinks he’s doing

    I didn’t say I was a good poet, sheesh!

  61. 61
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    I was trying to work out why the name Ben Radford sounded so familiar:

    It takes a lot to strawman a 4-year old, but Ben’s done it.

    Intellectual Cage Match: Ben Radford vs a 4-year old (linky)

  62. 62
    vaiyt

    I wouldn’t put it past some people to deliberately spell it “Meyers” just to spite the FTBullies. Who knows.

  63. 63
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    vaiyt:
    That spelling of PZs last name is one of the _tells_ of his detractors.

  64. 64
    RFW

    In the garden, the difference is important: put down hay as a mulch, and you will get a good crop of all sorts of things, probably including some weeds you didn’t have before. Put down a mulch of straw and you sometimes get a crop of wheat, barley, or whatever grain the straw is from, thanks to incomplete threshing – or you get nothing at all.

    I had a marvelous wheat crop last year from one bale of straw! Judging from the little caches of grain I found hidden here and there, the field mice thought so too.

  65. 65
    charlessoto

    Back at my grampa’s ranch, the hay was for the young’uns to feed to the horses and cows. The straw provided a place for the diamondbacks to sleep.

  66. 66
    mikmik

    PZ also doesn’t cast a shadow in that picture, but before we race to a conclusion that Radford is accusing him of vampirism, let us observe the similar attention to detail in Radford’s choice of file name for the image: PZMeyers.jpg

    JPG’s don’t support transparency, so he obviously Photoshopped the shadow out.

    Obviously fake.

    I concur.

  67. 67
    enki23

    Is he under the impression that scientists write *books* for a living?

  68. 68
    mikmik

    @59chigau (違う)

    You had beat me to eet!

  69. 69
    SallyStrange

    Straw is good for building houses. Hay is not.

  70. 70
    athyco

    Tony @47:

    Are you saying Ben’s post was one big jerk off?

    Why, how could that be, Tony? A nobody commenter finding for a joke a less common but still “animal husbandry” definition of “straw” than the one pulled by Ben Radford? Unpossible.

  71. 71
    René

    @RH, #4

    stuck in your hair when you copulate in the hayloft

    Ah, memories. Seventy-two, -three.

  72. 72
    zbeeblebrox

    When my brother was in college, he majored in Animal Husbandry, until they caught him at it one day.

  73. 73
    texasaggie

    When you are pondering your existence as a worthless nothing, and you decide that it makes you feel bad and know that there isn’t anything you can do about it, one way to make yourself feel important is to attack someone who really is important. That’s why Reagan and Lennon were shot.

  74. 74
    athyco

    What the hell, texasaggie?

    You hit post six hours after the last comment on a thread full of jokes with dreck that ends “That’s why Reagan and Lennon were shot.” You’re an assclam looking to give the ‘pitters something to copy for slyme purposes, aincha?

  75. 75
    Chris Clarke

    Please not to the describing of peoples as worthless nothings, even in ironic attempt at jest. And this isn’t an “importance” dicksize contest, even if Radford wants to make it one. (Also, let’s not break out the Klout scores.)

  76. 76
    Ichthyic

    That’s why Reagan and Lennon were shot.

    and why you’re posting?

  77. 77
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Straw is what Ben makes his points out of. Hay is what he makes when he creates endless wankery in his posts.

  78. 78
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    @ 61-

    Intellectual Cage Match: Ben Radford vs a 4-year old

    OMG, I totally forgot this fuckery! Wow, Radford is such a piece of incredible shit through the whole article.

  79. 79
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Fuck, forgot to close my blockquote.

    :/

  80. 80
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Hay is what we feed the rabbits in winter.
    Straw is what Radford uses for a brain (German: Strohkopf)

  81. 81
    pacal

    Ulysses no. 20 says:

    The best satirists, like Mark Twain, Terry Pratchett, and Mel Brooks, make it appear effortless. Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” was a better movie than the one it satired, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”.

    Sorry to disagree. A two hour film of a white wall would have been better than Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

  82. 82
    konradzielinski

    It’s a question of when its picked. Hay is picked green and hence retains some nutritional value as animal feed. Straw is picked late in the season, after it has already turned brown /yellow, and has little or no nutritional value.

  83. 83
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    In a famous incident in 2009, Myers overheard a young woman mention that she was a staunch vegetarian, to which he immediately responded: “You know, Hitler was a vegetarian… What other Nazi policies do you agree with?”

    *headdesk*

    I stopped reading at the Godwin.

  84. 84
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    The linked (I gather from the comments) “satire” seems to have been removed now. I got only an error message in its place.

    &&&&&

    @poeducker :

    Hay is a river in British Columbia, Canada. Straw is a UK pop group.

    Hay is also a town in Australia near the junction of the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers. See :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hay_nsw

    The surrounding area is also known as the Hay plains.

    I could talk a lot about the different types of hay and straw I’ve handled & worked with – pea straw (good mulch), bedding straw (good for lining chook-houses, guinea pig /rabbit hutches), wheaten oaten and lucerne hay (animal fodder) but I reckon that’s already been covered pretty thoroughly.

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